Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stripped Servo

During a move from the East Coast home to the West Coast my aileron got knocked into a high position. Like an idiot I tried to adjust it neutral by hand instead of plugging in my transmitted and battery pack, which would have done it without stripping a gear.

I bought a replacement gear set for less than $6 for my Hitec 56HB servo. I only needed to replace one gear. I wanted to replace them all since I had it open, but I could not get the ball bearing off of one of the gears so instead of break that by trying to force it I just reused it since it was NOT damaged. It all works well and dandy now.

The whole process can be done in 20-30 minutes.

Unfortunately, I lost the second half the pictures for this slideshow showing you the reassembly of the servo and the white (bike) grease I used, but all you need to do is follow these two links: The Toys RCForum and RCHelisite.

Please note that if you are making your place sea worthy this would be a great time to use the black non-conductive grease that water proofs your entire servo. I read about that and it sounds neat.

Motor Break-in

I won't recreate the wheel, when you can learn everything you need to know about motor break-ins here on the rcuniverse forum. This is a fantastic write-up.

In this picture I broke-in a brushed motor on the Horizon Hobby Super Cub LP. Note that I used plastic ice packs to cool the motor and two AA batteries, which ran for about 1.5 hours before dying. Usually, I do not break-in with the esc wires still attached, but this time I was lazy and ran the motor with the wires still soldered on. I did remove the gear box and pushed it free so the motor ran under NO load at all. You can't see that in the picture.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Learn to fly for youngsters

Any young people 10 and older (6-9 years with a parent) who would like to learn to build indoor flying rubber band powered free flight planes and fly them they can contact the West San Jose Community Center at 408-249-6580 Monday-Friday or drop in to see the planes in action at the Moreland Community Center at 1850 Fallbrook Avenue, San Jose 95130.

They are there every Sunday* evening between 4 and 8 PM when they will be building and flying.

No charge for spectators, participants pay nominal fees for instruction and only $3 (17 and under) to fly.

Some of their students compete in national and international contests, and learn to apply physics, aerodynamics, and mechanics in a fun activity.

Radio controlled planes may not be flown in the gym, but learning to build planes will set you on the road to building your own RC planes if you are interested.

* To be sure of the schedule, you can e-mail DGBJ at America Online dot com.

Teaching High School Students to fly RC

Well in the past couple years, my family and I moved 3,000 miles from PA home to CA, bought a house, and now have a five day old daughter named Piper, after the Piper Cub.

I teach at a charter high school in East Oakland. Every May, our school hosts a program called Week Without Walls, where students leave the school and are exposed to new areas and experiences and often learn through the new experience.

My Week Without Walls is titled, "Week With Wings." I reached out to my local community and have gotten quite a positive response from members of the modeling and aviation community to volunteer and help with this project. You can read about it on the Bay Area Remote Control's (BARC) community forum.

Here is a draft proposal for the program:

Enduring Understandings:
• Students will be able to teach the history of flight.
• Students will understand and relate to flight, because they will have experienced it first-hand in a small aircraft via the national non-profit “Young Eagles”.
• Students will build a model remote control airplane.
• Students will learn the safety steps for building and flying model airplanes.
• Students will practice flight on a model remote control airplane flight simulator to understand the physics of flight in practice.
• Students will fly their own model remote control airplane that they built to understand the physics of flight.
• Students will demonstrate the physics of flight, by adjusting things such as center of gravity, trim, etc.

Monday -- Students will (1) receive hands-on activity led by the South Bay Soaring Society to learn the physics of flight, (2) they will learn the history of flight through rubber band powered planes on the Castlemont football field, (3) practice flying on a flight simulator, (4) build a foam remote control airplane as a class, and (5) watch a demo of a remote control plane and helicopter by a professional and insured pilot on the Castlemont football field.

Tuesday -- At the flying field students will learn the safety steps to model airplane flying. Students will learn how to maintain the care of their model airplane. Students will review the physics of flight and the effect of wind on flight. Students will receive an introduction to flying model remote control airplane. Professional and insured model airplane pilots will provide students with remote control “training boxes,” which connect to their control boxes. They will teach the students how to fly. Field & location to be determined.

Wednesday -- We will charter a bus to Vacaville. The Young Eagles are hosting a very special event for LPS -- College Park only. Five pilots have taken the day off work and will take the students up for a flight in their personal airplanes. The flight instructors at the airport have graciously offered to feed the students burgers for lunch. Students will be ensured through EAA for one million dollars each once their parents sign the waiver. Students will introduced to scale aircraft and learn first hand about airplanes.

Thursday -- Students will master the physics of flight using their rubber band model airplanes (center of gravity, trim, etc.) Students will practice flying and receive advanced training in flight from professional and insured model airplane pilots using buddy boxes. Students will fly the model airplane the class made -- this includes setting trim and center of gravity. Students will review the lesson of physics of flight as it relates to their first hand experience of flying. Field & location to be determined.

Friday -- Students will provide a slide-show documenting their week and what they learned. Students will give

**** Note: The schedule may change as well as the details.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Snow skis

Interested in making functional snow skis for your electric RC or free flight airplane? If so, I have instructions and photos how on my retired and sister blog. You will find a handful of videos there as well as home-made free flight airplanes.

For mounting your skis on large scale free flight or your RC review this post. The photos will prove very helpful. Note: your spring should not be bent on the Du-Bro skis as pictured. That was my error when installing that specific ski. The other one was done correct and the spring was not bent -- it was straight.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Homemade Micro RC Airplane

On those weekend mornings, with no wind and a nice cup-o-joe in your hand you probably stare out the window to your backyard and wish you were flying. You can.

Here's what you need:
$13 -- an A drive 4:1 IPS series GWS geared motor
$2 -- 5.43 prop
$15-30 -- 7.4volt 350 mah 2 cell lipo batt
$6/each -- Qty: 2 Blue Arrow micro servo BA-TS-3.6
$15 -- Blue Arrow R3P5-H/T receiver w/ crystal
$25 -- Pixie-7 Castle Creations ESC
$6 -- Du-Bro micro servo arms package
$9 -- Harbor Freight Tools electric free flight airplane

$97 -- Grand total

1) Use your lipo charger and your transmitter.
2) The electronics go on sale and can be found for the prices I listed.

The important thing to remember is all of this stuff is reusable and if you completely destroy your plane you can have a new one for $9.00. I am also building a balsa wood backyard/indoor flyer that will use all of these components except the motor so this investment is considered long-term and the guts will get reused in many different aircraft.

I see these planes as great indoor and backyard combat flyers that you and your friends could enjoy over beers and your summer BBQs.

For reassembly:
1) Consider white glue as opposed to epoxy or CA glue as it weighs lighter and it will be easy to seperate the fuse halves and get to the components when you gut the plane.

2) Build a balsa firewall and use epoxy to mount it. Then screw the motor to the firewall.

3) Use white glue or canopy glue for reattaching the plastic canopy.

4) Use double stick tape or velcro to mount the servos and receiver.

5) Cut a grove into the fuse that your lipo can mount into vertically. Use velcro to mount it. You may need to build a balsa wall for the velcro to attach to.

6) Build balsa wood supports for wings and control surfaces and get rid of all plastic ones.

7) Get the CG down before you reseal up the fuse completely.

8) For the section where the original battery/charger mounts you can carve and shape with very fine grit sand paper a piece foam to glue into that place.

9) Consider making a hatch to give yourself access to the guts.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Homemade electric free flight

Here's an old challenge of building free flight planes that my friend, Pilot Dave, and I use to do. You can find photos and descriptions of our competitions at:

I challenge all readers and lurkers of this blog to build a set of functional floats for one of these free flight electric planes and video tape it landing in a pool of water. Or build a plane that will fly for 2 minutes or more and video tape.

Please send me photos and link of the video and I will gladly post it.

Next time the wind is a 0 MPH I will record a video of these birds (in the video) flying and post them.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Repairs after a nose dive

It's been two years since I have had a wreck (not counting screwing around with the Yellow Bee) and sadly . . . as all experienced pilots say:

"Everyone crashes. If you don't then you're not flying."

I have gotten too comfortable . . . I was in the process of landing after a ten minute flight using throttle maintenance, so I should have had plenty of power for landing. I was flying to an adjacent baseball diamond, a last minute decision, because of the wind direction and I had to cross the sun. I juiced the throttle to fly above the sun from my point-of-view to avoid being blinded . . . suddenly my plane dove -- I was 12 to 18 feet from the ground. I panicked. I over sticked and my plane spiraled. I could not tell if I was upside up or upside down.

To this day I wonder if my batt was to low and ESC cut power momentarily. That's the only way I can explain the dive.

The obvious solution would have been to land in the grass next to me so I could see my plane and guide it to the ground safely.

Above is what my plane looked like after the hard nose dive and somersaulted across the grass field at a local park. As you can see this is a critical spot that endures a lot of stress, because it houses my motor mount. The prop didn't fair to well either.

Typically the longer it takes for an epoxy to cure the heavier the epoxy weighs. It is best to use as little epoxy as possible, but in case like this I was generous. You should wipe off all excess glue immediately. Ninety-five percent of the time CA glue or 5-minute Epoxy is the best choice for park flyers, but this time I used 24-hour epoxy because I need this bond to be very strong. This slower epoxy also allows me to set everything perfectly and check and then recheck.
The best way to tighten up the sides in a glue job like this is criss-cross your needles at opposing angles. This will not only pull the sides closer together, but also hold them better. I should have done that more on this job, but if you look at the top end you will see that I did.

I aim to fly again as soon as the weather permits.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Graupner Mini Piper Make-Over

I made over my Hobby-Lobby Graupner Mini Piper to look like the Grasshopper L-7 Army plane. My Piper is not 100% fully authentic in appearance, but I am happy with the outcome nonetheless.

I am not happy with how these pictures came out beneath the flourescent lights in my kitchen. I will take more photos outside on a sunny day, which will show you how nice the plane really looks.

The flourescent lights called attention to all the blemishes of the plane, whereas when you look at it with the naked eye you don't see them.

The video camera did not do any justice to how nice the plane came out either.

Bummed with the photos and videos!

Video cameraing a plane is not easy

With our new video camera Pilot Tom shot the film. It is really challenging to record a plane. I did not do any stunts in this video and tried to keep a slow speed for Tom.

I really recommend that the pilot and camera person discuss a flight pattern before take-off and the pilot will need to cue the camera person in on when he/she will speed up so the camera can zoom out first. The pilot needs to fly lower to the ground and closer to the camera than I did.

If the camera can be manually focused I recommend that. If not, for the sake of the auto focus the pilot should maintain the same amount of distance from the camera and the same speed in order to produce a crisp video.