Finishing - page 9
Just a few more things to do!
5/8/06 - Installed the air tank, valve and lines to the landing gear, ball turret and tail skid using nine tees and a whole lot of tubing. Because i'm running out of room to put stuff, even with that large fuselage, I had to put the air tank behind the CG.
The gear moves on it's own for the first time! I got it all hooked up and pumped up the air tank and the gear slowly retracted and the ball turret came down. I cycled the gear down and up with the radio and it came down but wouldn't go back up. I took the wings back off and turned the fuselage over so I could work on the air valve and the valve was frozen. When I put thread lock on the retaining nut it seeped onto the slide valve and very effectively locked it in place. After I got that cleaned up the gear cycled perfectly. It worries me when I put the gear up for the first time. One time after finishing a model I pumped up the air tank and hit the retract switch and the gear slammed up into the wheel well and cracked the top sheeting. Now when I hit the switch for the first time I make sure that is not going to happen again. The gear cycles very quick, not very scale like, but for the first flights I want it to go up and more important, come down right away.
I had to re-think the wing mount bolts. The 8/32 socket head screws screw into the wing root and keep the wing from sliding off the wing tube. I thought I could just reach up in the bomb bay, put the bolt in and tighten them down. It has become apparent that that's not going to work so I made some captured bolts using 5/16 brass tubing and scrap plywood and glued those inside the fuselage. I had to drill a hole through one side of the fuselage so I can get the ball driver to the bolt after both wings are on but it now is much much easier to tighten down the bolts.
5/10/06 - I hooked up the gear door sequencer and when I hit the switch for the gear to come down, the doors didn't open, the wheel hit them and broke off one of the track runners. I had to do two things to get the doors to open and the gear to work. The sequencer needs the servo throws to be set at 100%. That means you can't set the end points electronically. I made a slot in the servo arm to get the 1/4" servo throw I needed, switched the air lines at the valve and set the sequencer up correctly and everything is now working very well. The doors open then the wheel comes down. The wheel goes up, the doors close.
5/15/06 - I glued in the elevator and rudder hinge rods, put the servos in the tail, connected them to 3' leads and fastened down the tail section. I adjusted the servo throws to give just a little deflection at low rate and increased throw on high rate with rudders at max.
5/16/06 - Nobody makes 1/12 scale full body pilots. I've looked for doll clothes that I could use, I even tried sewing together a uniform. That was tough and looked horrible. I finally just dove into the scrap box and made up two pilots and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to make them. I measured myself, scaled it down, made arms, legs, a torso, glued them together and put a Williams Bro's. 1/12 scale pilot bust on top. Some light weight filler in the gaps and then painted. I used hardwood for the hands. They're not perfect but they're good enough to fly. So now that I have them I can finally put on the canopy.
I molded a new canopy because the old one had too many blemishes. I cleaned the mold real good and got a very good one one the first try! I trimmed it and, after testing on some scrap, sprayed the inside of the frame with 3M Super 77 and carefully laid it onto the canopy glass. I glued the canopy onto the fuselage with Weldbond Space Age adhesive. After that dried I realized i didn't put headsets on the pilots! Dang. I think I can get to them through the top turret hole and maybe get them some headsets.
The battery hatches are the superchargers and to make them easy to remove i'm using 1/8" rare earth magnets from Radio Shack. They're actually 3/16" dia. and have great holding power. I a drilled 3/16" hole as deep as the magnet in the battery tray, put cellophane between the magnets so they don't get glued together and epoxied one to the tray and one to the hatch.
5/19/06 - I thought I would get it balanced and be finished today but things always seem to take longer than I think they will.
I tried to bolt the wings on for the first time but ran into trouble. With all the wires coming out the wing root I had to trim away some of the wing plate in the fuselage. When I did get clearance I knocked off one of the captured bolts and had to re-glue that on. By the time I got that all done it was time to quit for the day and weekend.
Monday I will get it balanced and everything hooked up, working correctly and hopefully taxi it around a bit.
Today it finally rolled around under it's own power.
I got the wing bolts tightened down for the first time and got the beast balanced by adding 27 oz. of lead to the nose. Ouch! The final takeoff weight is 20lbs. Ouch again! It's heavy but it should still fly. I could have made it a little lighter at the tail end by shaving down the fuselage formers and not having the servos in the tail. I could also make the tail turret lighter and remove the ball turret and tail skid but I want those things in so we'll see how it flies and if needs be, I'll start reducing weight but I don't think I'll need to.
I put the batteries in, which worked fine. Laying on the ground I was able to slide the batteries in, get all the wires in and get the supercharger on. There's barely enough room in the inboard nacelles but plenty of room in the outboards. I have all ESC's BEC's (Battery Elimination Circuit) connected together and going through a switch so I can hook up the batteries and when I'm ready to roll I can turn it all on at the switch.
With the power hooked up I taxied to the end of my driveway (about 30 ft.) and back a couple times. The brakes didn't work so I had to be extra careful not to run into anything. The last time up the driveway I gave it a little more power and it lurched forward and got moving pretty good. Fortunately it was uphill and slowed down and stopped before it got to the garage. It has plenty of power! I didn't have a helper so I didn't do a full power test yet. Going electric is great. It just sits there waiting for me to hit the throttle and when I do all four motors start right up.
The brakes didn't work because the brake servo is connected to the elevator control (down elevator is brake on) and when I reduced the elevator throw I also reduced the brake travel. I moved the brake to AUX3 and now have as much brake as I need. It's just not as convenient as moving the elevator stick. I will probably move it back to the elevator control later when I need the AUX3 channel for the bomb bay doors but for now it works.
I adjusted the flaps so they work in unison. I just need to get the nose turret on and it's ready to fly. First flights should be in a week or two.