Category Archives: 1:4 scale

Back on track

Greetings Intrepid Aviators,

The last few days have been plagued with zombies; no seriously, take a look . Now that the zombie menace has been put down for the year, they will be back next year, it’s time to get back on track with the matter at hand, building an airplane.

Nothing new has been done on the 1:4 scale since last week, but I have had some thoughts on the matter. I think making the paper laminates in smaller sections rather than the 24” x 12” pieces I planned on, using thinned glue, and pressing the material with more weight should help make the resulting material a high quality substitute for very thin plywood. This week I am going to focus on the laminate first and then if all is going well I will get started milling the lumber materials from the Dough Fur I purchased last week.

VP-2Another task for this, and the next few weeks is to dive into the plans in much more detail. I have looked over both the VP-1 and VP-2 plans but I have not really focused on them in detail or thought about what assemblies to begin with. I am considering picking up a large drawing pad and redrawing the plans so that all of the details for a sub assembly will be presented on a single sheet. I like to study the details of drawings and plans by reproducing them by hand. The process helps create 3D models of each piece and assembly and how they interrelate with other parts. It gives me a clearer vision of the entire plane and all of its component parts. By redrawing the plans I will also be able to come up with a complete parts list, assembly parts lists, work operations list by assemblies, and other useful administrative minutia that should make the build go smoothly for me. A side benefit is taking the time to include the 1:4 scale dimensions in parenthesis alongside the full scale dimensions.

All of this may sound like it is complete over-kill, and it may be, but it’s how I work. I like to plot out all of the details and have contingencies for problematic areas. It comes from decades of working with non-profit groups and producing events. Even though I have been harassed mercilessly for taking so much time in planning to the smallest detail, everything works out smoothly even in the face of adversities most of the time. It is an attitude thing, too. When running an event, it is easy for panic and frustration to kick in when something starts to turn south, particularly during the event. It’s all about focusing on solving the problem at hand, removing the cause, and smoothing out the bumps. Oh, and doing it all behind the scenes without the general public knowing it happened at all. All in a day’s work as they say.

Blue skies and tailwinds,

Starting the 1:4

1:4 MaterialsWell, to start things off this post is a bit late. As I mentioned in a previous post, this time of year is very busy for my wife and I. I did manage to get out and pick up some supplies. A trip to Home Depot yielded some Gorilla Glue for the frame and some Titebond III to make the laminate that I will use as a plywood substitute and thinned a little it should work well as a sealer to replace varnish on the 1:4.

After looking over the wood at HD and finding all of their lumber riddled with knots, I decided to head over to Southern Lumber. Since I was planning to use clear vertical grain Douglas fir for the aircraft build I decided to use DF for the 1:4 as well. I have heard that DF is more difficult to work with so it makes sense to experiment a little with it before buying a bunch for the full size aircraft.

WorkspaceAfter I got home I set up a little workspace at my desk and set up an area for testing the ply material layup. I cleared the space and prepared the surface, laying out some 6 mil sheeting and taping it down to the desk top. After the work surface was ready I started the first piece of the paper laminate by covering a 1′ x 2′ sheet with Titebond III. Once the glue was brushed over the entire sheet I let it set until slightly tacky to the touch, once it was ready I added the second sheet and smoothed it out, making sure any air bubbles had been worked out, you can see these steps in the pictures below.

Later in the day I checked out how things looked. I was not pleased with the results.

let it dry under a little weightmake sure glue is spread out evenly spread the glueAfter all was said and done, the end product was wrinkled, warped and in general undesirable. Thinking back to my days doing some bookbinding I remembered that glued paper products need considerable compression and dry time. I am going to experiment a little more with the laminating process. I still have hope for the it working well as a stand-in for plywood.

Next week I should have time to start the milling. I know what size pieces are included in the spruce kit so I can start with those. Once I have the lumber milled I can get started with the bulkheads. Hopefully I will have figured out the ply stock issue by then.

Till next time, blue skies and tailwinds,