Archives for August 2016

Enlarging Yard Ace Plans

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

I took the first step on my next aircraft modeling project, making a smaller size version of the Yard Ace.

The Yard Ace is one of my earlier radio control model airplane designs. The Yard Ace uses a simple layout and is easy to build.  The model makes for a great first time plans build modeling project.  Many site visitors have made their own versions of the Yard Ace, to include such adaptations as all-foam construction.

I decided to make a version of the Yard Ace that will be around 75% smaller than the original design. The idea is to build to a size that can use the ParkZone line of ultra-micro radio control electronics and motor.

FedEx plans scanner and enlarger

FedEx plans scanner and enlarger

I really like the ParkZone electronics brick that includes within one unit two servos, a receiver and an electronic speed control. Several of my designs, such as the Fokker Spin and a Guillows conversion have successfully used the ParkZone hardware.

From experience I know a 28 inch wingspan is about the right model size for the thrust put out by the system’s electric motor. I figured out the appropriate enlargement conversion factors to the plans as printed out on my computer’s 8.5” by 11” printer (Yard Ace plans are available here).

8.5" by 11" print out of Yard Ace plans next to enlarged version

8.5″ by 11″ print out of Yard Ace plans next to enlarged version

The next step is to enlarge the plans to produce a full size version for construction of the model.

For this I checked with a nearby FedEx Office store. They have a wide format scanner that will scan in the paper print out of the plan and enlarge to a percentage that you type in.  It really could not be much easier.  The paper roll on this printer was 36 inches wide, so no problem with this smaller size enlargement.

As you can see from the photo, the enlarged plan came out just fine. I am still quite busy with my August United Express flying schedule.  Hope to start building this new version of the Yard Ace during the first week of September!

Electric RC Beginners

One of the neat items with working on a website like this is the various e-mails I get from visitors.

Following are two great examples:

Initial placement of the motor and RC electronics in the Guillow Lancer

Initial placement of the motor and RC electronics in the Guillow Lancer

Hi Gordon,

I stumbled upon your website as I am looking for some advice. I recently bought this old vintage plane model which actually used to fly with gas.
I’d like to restore it and make it fly again, but I have no idea where to look for help.

Do you have any direction/ recommendation?

Do you think it is worth trying to make it fly at all?

Thank you!

S.

Or this note from Mike:

Gordon: Thanks, I received the Yard Ace plans fine.

Detailed view of the nose section of the Stevens Aero 1919 White Monoplane

Detailed view of the nose section of the Stevens Aero 1919 White Monoplane

Having been out of modeling for years, I am “re-learning” techniques, etc. It’s all new for me. I have grandsons who are interested in modeling. Having no experience for electric motors, where and how can I learn about them, especially where to look for a motor for a 10oz. model.

Or any resources on small radio contol electronics. I am a wakefield/free flight guy, and no experience with RC.  Thanks!

Mike

It is fun to see modelers reentering modeling and radio control fight, working to learn about electric power systems.

I was in the same situation when I first flew electric powered model aircraft in 2000. Everything, and I mean everything, was new at the time. Back then it was nicad batteries, brushed geared electric motors and building models as light as humanly possible to ensure any type of successful flight.

Close up of the Finch nose section and fuselage underside

Close up of the Finch nose section and fuselage underside

Today, with the use of lipo batteries, computer controlled chargers and balancers combined with an incredibly wide range of electric motors, just about any model plane can be successfully “electrified” and truly fly well.

The question remains, with this wealth of information, where to start?

I’ve added a new section on Beginners which will attempt to answer some of these questions, and more importantly provide a framework to seek further answers as new hardware and software items become available.

The first entry covers motors and electronic speed controls, plus the selection of a lipo battery and charger. More to follow!

Modeling Tools

I’ve added a new section to the website pull-down menu bar on useful modeling tools.

I like to build RC model planes and I certainly encourage others to give this aspect of the hobby a try. With the proliferation of almost and ready to fly radio control models there is a distinct lack of kit and plans build models at your typical flying field.

Interestingly enough, with the universal use of computer aided design and laser cutting machines, there is a wide range of high quality model airplane kits available. It really is very easy these days to find and build your own kit. Stevens Aero with their step-by-step photo illustrated guides is a perfect example of this trend.

All metal "The Jigs Up" jig used to hold electrical components in place for precise soldering

All metal “The Jigs Up” jig used to hold electrical components in place for precise soldering

As you build a model airplane it is imperative that you have the right tools for the various tasks ahead. There are a range of tools needed and some modelers have more than others. But is it necessary to have at least the basics to get the job done.

A great example of this discussion involves electrical soldering. If you fly electric radio control models, at some point you will have to do some basic soldering. This can involve hooking up electrical plugs such as Dean connectors or putting gold bullet plugs to connect the motor to the electronic speed control.

While I will not go into the details of how to solder on this post, it is vital that you have the correct tools, such as a hot solder iron and fixture jig.

You can see here a neat tool that is an immeasurable assist with soldering, and that is a jig to hold the wires and connectors in place. Soldering a joint involves a rapid application of heat to the connection as solder is flowed on. There is no way to simply put the pieces in place on a table and hope the solder joint comes out well. You have to have some sort of jig to properly hold everything precisely in place.

I found this Whats Up soldering jig via a Google search, which is an great method to search for anything related to RC. A few clicks later and the device was in my workshop.

In summary, you absolutely must get the right tools to build any model airplane correctly. Tools are a perfect investment, last a lifetime and produce superior flying models.