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My AP/AV Twinstar II "Big Fish"

Old 06-16-2008, 01:04 AM
  #1  
stinkweed007
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Default My AP/AV Twinstar II "Big Fish"

I probably should have done a build thread but after reading many other threads on the Multiplex Twinstar II, I knew that she would never survive my ideas stock. So let me tell you what I have done with her. I put a lot of time into this craft, a kind of summary of my own skills and tons of advice from Wattflyer users.

First, and least difficult. Her name. To date I have related the naming of my planes to my gal. or simply allowed her to name them. Since she understands very little from the hobby, I give her that honor so she can play a part. My Twinstar II is called “Big Fish” first because she is my largest built plane. Since my gal is rather small, nothing big would work.. but.. When ever we go to McD’s she always orders a Big Mac and a Filet o Fish.. lately we just say she wants a Big Fish.. so the name was given..

Anyway.. I digress..
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:05 AM
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Default Building the Big Fish

This plane was begging me to AP/AV when I was contemplating the purchase. Huge wingspan and almost no weight.. plus ELAPOR foam construction making her rather robust. So I bought her, brought her home and by that evening had her in the air.

I did a “semi-permanent” build. Which is to say, I loved the fact that the fuselage had so much darn space. And with the added bonus that the thing was split in half long ways.. it’s a modder’s dream!! So I attached the elevator and rudder with hot-glue. Then generously hot-glued the assembly to the port half of the fuselage. And finished the electrics install. This turned out to be sturdy enough that I could leave the starboard half fuselage as “removeable”. I would only need to disconnect the elevator pushrod at the horn, and the elevator servo lead to free the half fuselage.

I then rigged some carbon tubing with some 3mm threaded rod, washers, lock nuts and thumb screws. Pushed them through the fuse in 3 places.. this holds the entire fuse together for flight. The carbon rod is used to prevent me cranking the thumb-screws into the fuse. A little hot glue on the port side to keep the lock nuts in place.. you will see this in the lighting section of the thread.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:05 AM
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Default Painting The Big Fish

Rule Number 1, You Should Never Use Spray Paint on Styrofoam. The paint dissolves the foam into nothing.. You saw Alien right??

However.. the Twinstar II is made of ELAPOR, not Styrofoam. Most Spray paints DO work on it. I heard there is one type that eats it.. so use the bumper excess foam from the wings to test your paint before you buy/use it.

I went for a straight modern military look. Flat black and Flat gray.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:07 AM
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Default Powering the Big Fish

I let my LHS guy set me up with the motors and ESC’s I would need.

Went home and installed my gear. I had to create motor mounts for the outrunners because I was not certain that the provided mounts were gonna be secure enough. Then it happened, I looked in my pile of junk plastic (the “that could be used on a plane” pile of useless plastic.. you know what I'm talking about) and found a leg to a little plastic table. And wouldn’t you know, it fit in the motor cavities as if it was made for it. So I cut off one side of the square tube, screw mounted the motors to the 3 sided pieces and.. yup.. Hot glued them into the cavities.

I then insulated the plugs with shrink tubing. Then insulated the 3 wire strands with larger shrink tubing. Black. This keeps any one wire from getting beat up on landing and makes a sweet pipe like appearance. The ESC’s are secured to the wing with zip-ties to little self adhesive cable guides. On the exterior behind the thrust provides unmatched cooling. Stabbed bamboo sticks right behind the motors to keep the cables from hanging. And cut a little notch on the tops of the fuse half’s for the cables to enter.

I avoided the little joiner thingy from Multiplex for the motors and just soldered the power leads into a Y and put a HV 6 pin connector for the battery.

I modified the joiner thingy to be the ESC servo lead Y connector where the “red wire” removal takes place.

I then ran the Aileron servo wires and home made extensions. Then I… brace yourself.. Hot glued the carbon rod and wing joiners (top) into place because I was not satisfied that the rod covers were going to hold ANYTHING in place. Then as an added bonus, I pushed 4 holes (2 per wing half) to zip-tie the ends of the carbon rod fixed to the wing. I am just not a fan of my wing coming apart after a dive. I then wrapped 3 bands of packing tape around the wings over the rod covers just as an added support.

The last little, dare I say, mod.. I covered the Aileron servo pockets with packing tape before I painted. Purely cosmetic.

Then kinda disregarded some advice I received about the LiPo’s I had on hand. They just couldn’t handle the load I was gonna throw at it.. so I puffed 2 11.1V 1600mA 10C batts. Then I came back looking for help from those who can crunch numbers better than I.
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34323
(note to self, it always helps receiving advice when to tell the people the right equipment stats)
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Last edited by stinkweed007; 06-16-2008 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:08 AM
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Default Lighting the Big Fish

Very simply, I took apart a High Intensity LED lamp. Put the LED’s on the tips of telephone wire. Then hacked the corners off the leading edge of all control surfaces. Then traced the leading edges with a 5mm (1/4 inch) cut where I ran the wire and nudged it into the cut. Bringing the wires to the fuselage. I also placed one at the tail below the elevator, one below the cockpit and one on the nose just below the cooling vent.

These all run off a 4 AA battery pack placed in the cockpit area. A mini connector at the trailing edge of the main wing joins the power to the main wing for easy removal of the wing. Then shaped some clear packaging plastic to harden and cover the light locations.. and you guessed it.. hot glued the LED and cover into place..
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:09 AM
  #6  
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Default AP/AV’ing the Big Fish

I took advantage of the large cavity below the main wing to put my Aiptek PocketDV T300. cut a little hole and off I went.

The Big Fish powers to a AP/AV target like a champion. Glides like for a week with no power. Can nearly hover like a harrier in light wind. However if you don’t exactly know what your cam is looking at, it can all add up to an elegant and impressive waste of time when you check your pics after the flight.

My camera, like many others, has a neato little cable (which none of us ever use) that can connect the camera to your TV (slideshows n stuff) So I decided to purchase the T500 AV transmitter from HobbyWireless. And connect this cable from the camera to the T500. then use my cheap 2.4GHz receiver and portable DVD player (monitor) to “look through” my camera.

The Twinstar II has much space in the tail for wires and gadgets. So this was the perfect place for the T500. I used one of the compartments and “loosely” mounted the T500 to the fuselage. I just cut squares of ELAPOR from the excess around the motor mounts in the kit and pined the TX to a 45 degree angle in the compartment. Carefully melted a hole (heated coat hanger) in the bottom of the fuse for the antenna. Positioned it just right so that when I bent the antenna on its joint, that it would go flush into a depression I put in the bottom of the fuselage. I set it up this way so that when in the 0 degree position the antenna would have a clear TX radius. But when landing, any obstruction encountered would tap it back into the flush 45 degree position and protect it.

Cooling the T500 (it don’t really really get hot) I punched an “entry” hole in the little compartment to the exterior of the fuselage and an “exit” hole which actually comes out in the same depression where the antenna sits.

I went back to my junk plastic and found a fire button from a computer flight joystick and cut it in half making an air intake to cover the entry hole and channel thrust into it. Then on the inside of the fuse half, I covered the whole compartment with packing tape to make it a cooling chamber.

Powering the T500 left me with a lot of questions.. so I went back to the forums..
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34909
and ultimately powered the T500 with a servo cable on the RX. Soldered the +/- to the tip and ring of the included T500 power cable. Then I connected the Camera cable with the T500 cable. Coiled it all up and put it in the next compartment. Now I can sight my camera.
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Last edited by stinkweed007; 06-29-2008 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:10 AM
  #7  
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Default Camera Removal on the Big Fish

I have 3 camera positions available with my cam. Pilots view from the cockpit with the cam squeezed in above the battery. And then from the belly I have Mapping view straight down or 45 degree down. And all that was working great. I have a modified my cam to use a Pico Switch to AP or start/stop AV. The problem was, I really had to take apart my plane to get to the cam when it was in the belly. That can get frustrating when the camera does something unexpected (like get shut off when I re-join the fuselage or the AV cable comes out) and then have to take everything apart again.

The contemplation of how to correct this problem was very unforgiving. A big honkin hole was gonna have to be cut somewhere. ELAPOR is very robust… ‘cuz its flexible. But a Twinstar with a lot of holes would be a flying noodle. So after days of “yeah but” I finally came to a solution.

Sitting on my parkett floor, staring at the Big Fish.. I had that talk with myself..

I said “self” I already have a hole on the bottom, duh Stink. I’ll make it bigger so I can slide the camera in and out, No Stink, the cam will fall out. But I can rubber band the cam in.. No Stink that will look tacky and beat up the ELAPOR. The other guys have nice mounts with Nylon screws and ply. But that wont work here. Duh Stink. What if I cover the hole? Hmmm.. Velcro some foam.. Velcro adhesive lets go after a little beating plus it never sits the same way twice Stink. Plastic? But how do you connect it to the fuse Stink?

Then it all came to me.

A trap door, with a hole the same size hole as the hole which was there before, then hollow out the hole to the side walls and then put ELAPOR on the door itself to match the floor that was there before. Put it on hinges then create another thumb screw but this time make it removable much like the ones on the main wing.

The plastic door was cut to size from an old CD case. Then I traced the shape on to the bottom of the joined fuselage. One problem, the CD cover is flat, but the Twinstar is beveled like a boat. So I cut a flat depression in the shape of the door. Then placed the plastic door over the hole. Traced and cut (with a dremel) the existing hole in the fuse into the door.

I sunk 2 hinges into slits on the border of the cutout door depression. Then heavily hot-glued them to the plastic door.

The screw was easy but hard to describe. I cut a piece of PVC and put a hole in it. This would be the nut mount inside the craft. I hot glued a standard nut to the “top” of the hole and placed it into a slit in the fuse above where the hole would be. I then pushed a small screwdriver through the ELAPOR from the door depression to the nut. I then slid a piece of carbon tube in the screwdriver hole and lined the nut mount up with it. Plastered it with hot glue so it will never move. Then fashioned a piece of threaded rod to the right length, placed a washer and a lock nut on the tip then gobbed it with hot glue to make the lock nut “bigger” so I could hand turn it. Then melted a hole in the door over the carbon rod. Inserted the screw and it worked perfect.

Then I painted the whole mod with the same flat black which is on the belly of the Big Fish. I left the cut portion white so that if something ever went wrong with the door, the blazing white would be easily seen and warn me to come down.

Then I cut the ELAPOR in the fuse all the way to the side walls which would make it easy to slide my cam in and out. I glued some of what I cut out to the door itself so that the camera would sit exactly the way it did before the cut.

I took a touch of excess foam and put bumpers on the leading side of the front hinge and the thumb screw.. I almost always land in high grass, this would otherwise just rip the door off. I also beveled the trailing edge of the depression so it wouldn’t catch anything.
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Last edited by stinkweed007; 06-16-2008 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:11 AM
  #8  
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Default Big Fish Performance

Weighing in AP Flight ready at a whopping 1620g or 3.5lbs she is a big bad bird. But she climbs with authority and I get about 7 minutes of cookin’ full throttle even with the T500 running. With her glide properties, I have stretched that 7 minutes to an incredible 42 minutes without thermals. I had to buy a bigger SD chip to carry the video..
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:53 PM
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yank51
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Stink, do you find that the lights really help? And, in what way? I guess what I'm asking is, did you put them in for looks, to fly at dark or almost anyway, or do the lights help you with orientation? I'm contemplating adding some ot my MagpieAP as I loose orientation to soon IMO and if I can improve that, I'll be happy. Just don't want to spend the money on something uessless if it won't work Thanks ahead of time...
Ned
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:57 PM
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well.. they WERE put on for dusk flying.. but I tried to do it in a semi-scale way for a good cosmetic appearance.. but I noticed that I need ALOT more lights for dusk flying. only because the lights are only good in certian directions. currently I just use them for show.
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:01 PM
  #11  
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Well, lights aRE cool, but I don't think they'll help with orientation all that much, or it appears so anyway. We'll see......
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:45 PM
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I would reccomend you nearly illuminate your whole plane worry less about outward facing spots (except on your wingtips) and try to make your entire plane visible. I have seen some crazy light jobs.. and now I know why they are so lit up..
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:53 PM
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After the horrible crash in June...

Big Fish 2 took to the air today.. Replaced the fuselage, fixed gear and a steerable nose wheel.. hardwired my AP/AV TX and gave her a solid mount (same place as on the original.

put my Elevator and Rudder servos on the H-Stab.. ceared up some space in the front..

After "driving" her around my block a few times to test the gear.. I took her up tonite.. Only error was a cable tie sticky came loose on her right motor.. but nothing serious..

I would show ya the videos.. but Im gonna use them for my AV contest entry..

gotta love that plane..

a few post re-maiden pics.. (and no, thats not the final paint job... just some base colors)
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:32 PM
  #14  
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Stink...

Awesome looking plane and awesome build details.
Id just like to say THANKS! ...For including a picture of which "red" wire to disconnect with a twin engine. Jeeze, you would be amazed at the number of hobby store employees, other fliers, and what all who cant really explain it!

I knew I didnt want to "double" power my receiver, but didnt really wanna hook up power to my system or cut stuff without confirmation. Excellent pic, excellent thread.

Thanks!
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