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-   -   First balsa build - StevensAero SkyBuggy 300 (https://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73817)

mclarkson 05-30-2014 08:15 PM

First balsa build - StevensAero SkyBuggy 300
I just reached my fourth anniversary. In that time, I've gone from an RTF, no-interest-in-building guy to an avid scratch builder. But I've never built an old-school balsa and covering model. I'm about to rectify that.

I just ordered a StevensAero SkyBuggy 300 and all the requisite bits.

I'll say right now that I have no idea how to apply covering (in this case, AeroLITE) to a plane. That's the part I'm most nervous about, but I trust that I can get some tips and tricks here on Watt Flyer if and when I need them.

Wish me luck.


Stevephoon 05-31-2014 02:59 AM

Nice! I'll be watching.

Which motor are you planning on using? StevensAero states a brushed GWS 350 should be used.

Covering is not really too difficult, but it does take some time and patients. You'll do fine!


Fishbonez 05-31-2014 03:07 AM


Believe it or not I just saw this plane yesterday in a warehouse type of hobby shop in Greeley Colorado called "Things with Wings" and was thinking that is the coolest cartoon plane I have seen in kit form

mclarkson 05-31-2014 03:37 AM

I emailed StevensAero about a brushless setup and Bill wrote me back (at midnight, no less.) He recommends something like an E-Flite Park 370 (1080Kv), or a Hacker A20-26M (1130kV).

I have two 370-class motors - the Emax CF2822 (1300kv) from HeadsUp, and the AX 2308N (1100kv) from HobbyKing. I will probably run one of those with a Turnigy Plush 18A ESC on a 2-cell 850mAh battery.

mclarkson 05-31-2014 03:39 AM


Originally Posted by Fishbonez (Post 949396)

Believe it or not I just saw this plane yesterday in a warehouse type of hobby shop in Greeley Colorado called "Things with Wings" and was thinking that is the coolest cartoon plane I have seen in kit form

It was either the SkyBuggy, or the S-POU:


They're both adorable.

Fishbonez 05-31-2014 03:43 AM

LOL I like that one as well

mclarkson 05-31-2014 09:51 AM

My plan is for my wife to work on the build with me - a little project we can do together - so I gave her the final say in choosing the model.

Stevephoon 05-31-2014 02:09 PM


Originally Posted by mclarkson (Post 949408)
My plan is for my wife to work on the build with me - a little project we can do together - so I gave her the final say in choosing the model.

That's great! My wife keeps telling me to build a balsa plane in the bones for display at the house. :$

I have had good luck with the CF series of emax motors. Nice motors for the price. I don't have any experience with the other one, but I think either of the motors you are thinking of would work well.


mclarkson 06-03-2014 01:58 AM

To help me choose between motors and propellers, I've built a cheap thrust measurement stand.

mclarkson 06-03-2014 02:54 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Also, all my parts are here! :) (The prop, alternate motor, and ESC aren't pictured, cuz they're on the thrust rig from the previous post.)

riverrat 06-03-2014 02:22 PM


Brner 06-03-2014 05:22 PM

Cute little plane....your wife has great tastes.....:)

mclarkson 06-04-2014 02:08 AM

As I said, I've got two possible motors on hand and a half dozen possible props, so I built a little test stand to help me choose between them. Here are my results:


I can clearly not choose the 1180 or 1080 Slow Fly props.

Stevephoon 06-04-2014 02:29 AM

Cool data Mark, I should use my thrust stand more....

Just by what you are seeing and thinking that you probably won't need (or want) too much speed with this plane, I'd use the AX motor with the 1047 SF prop. You will still have more thrust than weight... Plenty of performance at not too high of a current draw. Looks like a good match to me. But actual flying will always be the true test!


mclarkson 06-04-2014 02:46 AM

I'm curious - why do you prefer the 1047 to the 1138? The 1138 looks to draw less current and provide more thrust. In fact, on the AX, it has the lowest peak amps of any prop.

Stevephoon 06-04-2014 03:40 AM

Well, hmmmm. I didn't notice that the 11 in prop actually was pulling less current. It was more on the Emax. So I stand corrected. Sorry, 11 in with the AX motor does look better.


mclarkson 06-06-2014 08:36 AM

I gave all the wood parts a light sanding

And then it was time to dry fit my very first part. Yay!

Everything snapped together just like a well-built jigsaw puzzle. So far, so good.

mclarkson 06-06-2014 08:54 AM

Quick question about gluing up these things. How do I lay it out, let CA soak into the joints, and yet avoid gluing the whole thing to my work surface? The instructions recommend I use the plastic wrapper to protect my work surface, but won't I just end up gluing the parts to the plastic wrapper?

rcers 06-06-2014 01:04 PM

Use TINY amounts of CA and wax paper for plastic wrap. Test if you use plastic wrap but most of the time it wont adhere that (well). Same for the wax paper.

Again - repeat after me - TINY amounts of CA with a small applicator tip (not the bottle tip!).

Most use 10x too much glue.

Also with these jigsaw type laser cuts, you can lift the piece off the bench - the fuse especially since they lock so well without glue. This by the way is something we never would have dreamed of doing in the old days. :)


pd1 06-06-2014 02:42 PM

Hi Mark, Nice project. It will be fun watching this progress.
I use Saran Wrap over the plans, or Freezer paper when using CA.

As Mike said, don't use a lot of CA. Get a bunch of the small applicator tips and you won't be spilling CA everywhere, much easier to control the amount dispensed.
Keep the dirty tips in a can of acetone overnight, and they'll clean up like new.

Don't put the wet tips on the CA bottle, they'll cause the bottle to harden, acetone is a solvent for CA and an accelerator too.
Looking forward to your progress.


hkeelljr 06-06-2014 03:11 PM

I agree with rcer and pd1, Saran wrap is my favorite, except when the wife catches me with it, go ahead and buy your own roll, it will last a long time, on second thought after this, you might need a case!

Stevephoon 06-06-2014 04:23 PM

The plastic wrap the kit came in works well too. It's thicker than Saran wrap and a little easier to work with. A small applicator for the CA is a must. These types of things:

Tiny amounts is all you will need.


mclarkson 06-06-2014 08:19 PM

Thanks, guys.

mclarkson 06-07-2014 03:38 AM

Got some bits assembled and glued together tonight.






mclarkson 06-07-2014 03:39 AM

So far, it's easy-peasy. Pretty much everything fits perfectly without any sanding or cutting. Instructions are clear and easy to follow.

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