First time builder: what I have learned so far

Well, after working on it now for about three weeks so far, I am happy to say
that I am finally about half way through the building of my Dynaflite "Piece O'
Cake" motorglider, and I really must say that I am enjoying this project
enormously. I started out with one package of five magnets, which I purchased
at Radio Shack, and one tube of Super Glue jel, which I purchased at the Home
Depot. Since that time, I have gone back to Radio Shack four seperate times,
each time to purchase one additional pack of magnets, and I have gone back to
the Home Depot four seperate times, first, to purchase one additional two pack
of jel, secondly, to purchase two additional two packs, and thirdly, and
fourthly, for three additional two packs each. My magnets add up to forty
cents apiece, although I have also discovered some larger magnets at Radio
Shack, which are selling for a dollar apiece. Since my current plan is to
continue to build sailplanes of increasingly larger dimensions, I probably will
eventually stock up on the larger magnets. Of course, in the mean time, I am
also learning how to estimate the amount of glue which I will be needing for
future projects.
The only tool which I started out with in launching into this project, unless
magnets and glue might also be thought of as tools, is a plastic handled hobby
knife, which I purchased at the Hobby Lobby. Several days later, I went back
to the Hobby Lobby, for an additional package of #11 blades, and, up until a
few days ago, these were the only tools that I was using. In pushing my knife
through the piece which would become the leading edge of the wing, though, I
began to realize that a razor saw would be very handy to have. Finally, after
trying, for three times in a row, to cut a gusset, and failing all three times,
because of my inability to prevent the wood from splitting, I realized that to
complete this kit, a razor saw is actually a necessity. Nevertheless, I
continued to press forward, postponing this tool purchase, for I was anxious to
get the four wing panels to the point where I could then join them all
together. Gluing the #1 wing ribs was another detail which I postponed,
because, although I am sure that I would have done just fine, had I simply
followed the instructions, still, I had something else in mind.
I have a book which was written by a fellow named Willaim Cumpiano, and which
explains about how to build a steel stringed acoustical guitar. Well, the head
piece of a guitar is that part upon which the tuning machines are mounted, the
tuning machines, of course, being those items of hardware which are used for
either tightening or loosening the strings. In the Cumpiano book, there is a
picture of the author using a stainless steel protractor to establish the angle
of a guitar headpiece. Similar to a miter gauge, this particular protractor
has a moveable, lockable straight edge which is a functional part of it, and
this Cumpiano protractor is the same one which is sold at the Home Depot. Once
I got to the point where it was time for me to make the dihedral gauges, I went
ahead and purchased this tool. This was about three days ago. And, by the
way, here is a picture of the protractor:
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I drive a compact pick up, and there would not be room for me to transport my
plane in the cab of my truck. Since I mow grass on a daily basis during the
season, I therefore have built a camper to protect my tools. My camper,
though, does not include side windows. Instead, I have installed shutters,
which, of course, reduce my visibility when they are in place. In addition to
this, since, again, I plan to continue to build sailplanes of increasingly
larger dimensions, I will eventually get to the point, regardless, where it
will be necessary for me to consider the building of wings consisting of more
than one piece. Well, the Piece O' Cake does not come with a two piece wing
option. I have discovered, though, that the Great Planes Spirit sailplane does
come with a two piece wing option, and, since the Spirit is in the same class
as the Piece O' Cake, I decided that if I could somehow locate a manual for the
Spirit, that it would then be possible for me to duplicate this feature for my
own plane. Well, I consider myself to be very fortunate that Tower Hobbies has
seen fit to include the manual for the Spirit on their web site, in the form of
a PDF file. I downloaded this manual yesterday, and am now studying it, also
for the spoiler option.
Well, this is just a little progress report, I suppose, and, as always, I am
open to any additional comments or suggestions which might be put forth. Happy
Michael Mandaville
in the Texas hill country, just west of Austin
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Nice report on your lessons learnt. So many of us seem to have forgotten all the small things that a beginner needs, that it made refreshing reading for me. No wonder my shop is such a mess. Welcome to the crowd.
Reply to
Pé Reivers
Perhaps you could hang the wing from the ceiling of your camper top, using cleats to hold bungie cords.Keep it out of the way from the lawn mowers.
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Get some single edge (safety) razor blades, too, They are good at things like the gussets, where you need to press straight down to avoid splitting, plus they are very thin and very sharp. -- Jim in NC
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I second that.
I am a building contractor, and drive a full size van. Many years ago when I was learning to fly, I finally had my first solo session where I came home with my equipment still usable again. I was so proud! About 2 blocks from home, I went around a corner wit a big bump and my 80 lbs, air compressor tipped over, and crushed my plane. Sweet irony. -- Jim in NC
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| I started out with one package of five magnets, which I purchased at | Radio Shack, and one tube of Super Glue jel, which I purchased at | the Home Depot. Since that time, I have gone back to Radio Shack | four seperate times, each time to purchase one additional pack of | magnets,
If you have old (and therefore just about worthless) computer hard drives kicking around (the 5.25" drives work extremely well) you can tear them apart and will find some of the strongest magnets you've ever seen in them.
Be careful with them! They're so strong that they'll pinch the hell out of you if you let them touch with some skin in-between, and they'll happily magnetize things like monitors and TVs if you get too close.
They might be a bit strong for your purposes, but they're perfect for things like magnetizing screwdrivers and the like.
| a PDF file. I downloaded this manual yesterday, and am now studying | it, also for the spoiler option.
Spoilers are certainly nice, and at this stage you can probably add them pretty easily. But you'll need more than the 3 channels you were talking about a few weeks ago to properly use them.
Speaking of spoilers, I took a `demo ride' in a full scale glider last week. It was kinda neat! Pictures --
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You're probably pretty close to them, if you ever wanted to see how `the other half' lives :)
Reply to
Doug McLaren
Hello again, Doug... you might already know, I missed this month's meeting of the Hill Country Aeromodelers. I specify "as you might already know", because I know that you might have been there yourself. Actually, since my mowing season will be ending next month, I probably won't be able to make it to a meeting until next spring. In the meantime, though, I've been reading the club journal.
I clicked on the link to the soaring pictures, and it looks like you had yourself a whole lot of fun. Again, what I have in mind is to continue to build sailplanes of ever increasing dimensions, and what I actually mean by this is that I would like to eventually build a full sized glider.
I followed the links to your family page, where I discovered that to access some of the content, I would be needing a password. I will send you an email with the subject line of "from Michael Mandaville", so you will know that it is from me.
I also noticed that you are an internet specialist, and that you have a degree in physics. I have a background in electronics myself, and I can program in html, but I don't have a digital camera yet. On the other hand, I do have a scanner, so maybe this off season I will finally get around to building a web site.
Well, I'm going to get back to studying that Spirit manual again, so I'll TTYL.
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I have been building on a regular basis since 1965 and have not finished buying gadgets of all sorts. That's because they keep inventing gadgets of all sorts. Welcome to the hobby.
Reply to
John R. Agnew
I also agree with hanging the planes. I am an electrical contractor with a small pickup and service top. I have looped soft rope hanging in three rows of two on one side, and adjustable straps on the other side. I can hang 3 - 60 sized planes and wings in the back over all of my electrical supplies and transport them free of damage. The wings hang in the rope loops and the fuse's hang in the adjustable straps alternating prop end and tail ends. When I don't have planes in the truck, the ropes and straps get pulled up out of the way. The only part to be careful with is turning corners too fast. They will bang against the side of the service top if I go too fast around a corner. Also, gotta make sure those props are vertical so I don't end up with prop shaped holes in the tail of the next plane! Other than that, it works great!
Reply to
David Morris

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