Monday, April 29, 2013

Fliskits Pheord X150 Build Part 5 Shroud Scoring

Step 9 has you cut out the shroud. 
You might find it easier to make the score lines before cutting out the shroud.

Step 10 has you cut halfway through the fold lines in the shroud.
A prefer to do a "blind emboss" on the score lines with no cutting.

The backside of a single edge razor blade works well for this. You could also use the non-serrated area of a butter knife.
Put plenty of tape layers over the sharp blade edge so there is no chance of cutting your fingers.
The rolled over metal "top" of the razor blade is flipped over and pressed down. Run the smooth rolled edge over the fold lines.
Don't press too hard, you don't want to scratch the print.

To get a cleaner crease, the straight folds were pressed over a straightedge ruler.

Fliskits Pheord X150 Build Part 4 Fin Gluing

The self stick body wrap fit close to perfect around the BT-20 engine mount tube.
The butted seam will be covered up by the root edge of a fin. Smart thinking , Mr. Flis!
The instructions don't tell you, the side of the wrap facing to the right (with the printed black "flairs") is the top!

Two of the card stock fin alignment jigs were included in the kit.
These are simple and work well.
Glue an engine casing on the center circle. Slide the engine mount tube over the casing and glue on the fins.
Just be sure the trailing edges stay on their alignment lines.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fliskits Pheord X150 Build Part 3 Fin Lamination

Once the leading edges of the sticker are lined up with the edge of the balsa:
Use the flat side of a burnisher to get the sticker on smooth.
In the picture it looks like I'm using the rounded end of the Sharpie barrel. I'm actually using the whole flat side of the white pen body.

Cutting the inside half curved leading edge is a little tough.
Use a new blade.
I cut mine a little wide and sanded to the printed edge as shown in the next step.

The right side of the fin coverings are cut (with no excess edge border) and stuck on the other open balsa side. Use the cut fin sides to line up the sticker edges.

Here I'm sanding the curved root edge with some 400 grit wrapped around the Sharpie barrel.

Fliskits Pheord X150 Build Part 2 Fin Lamination

Look ahead in the instructions and you'll see the self adhesive fin labels are applied even with the leading edges of the fin stock.
The (outside) straight half of the leading edge will run parallel with the balsa grain. The other side of the leading edge, closest to the motor mount tube and root edge is curved.
Sand the edges of the balsa sheet square for an easier alignment of the straight side of the leading edge.

When cutting out the left side fin coverings, you are told to leave about 1/4" around the sides. The way it's printed, there's not enough area between the fins for a 1/4" allowance. Just cut them out leaving enough white border.
Use a straightedge to cut the leading edge.

This is how the first three of the five fins sit on the 3/32" balsa stock.
The other two left sides are yet to be stuck on the other balsa sheet.

TIP: These self adhesive sheets are the "crack and peel" type. I wouldn't recommend cracking the sheets to remove the upper layer. Folding the sheets until they crack will leave creases on the finished fin surfaces.
Stick the tip of your knife blade between the layers and peel off the top printed side.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fliskits Pheord X150 Build Part 1 Parts

Here's all the parts - 

It's pretty much a flat package except for the engine mount tube.
Two of the fin alignment jig sheets were included.

The small piece of crepe paper streamer is for the "redneck gas cap" stuck into the gas cap hole.

The printing on the self adhesive sheets are glossy and well done.
Printed bumper stickers say: "My other saucer is a star ship" and "Poins, Ions or Cryons, nobody rides for free.

Through the windshield you can see aliens wearing baseball caps.

The kit doesn't include the antenna wires.
At one time the wires were included but I guess too many builders had trouble bending them. Enlarge the picture to see the explanation.

I've got some wire in the right diameter so they'll be added.

My Finishing Schedule Tips Part 2

3. Light white undercoats always follow.
Hold your dry, painted parts up to a bright light and look for any rough spots.
Dry sand the rough areas. You don't have to sand these all the way to the surface, just rough up the area. Don't wet sand yet. If any water can get down to the tube surface it'll swell up! The same goes for the wood surfaces. Dry sand for now. Wet sand (if needed) after the final color coats are applied.

4. I still follow the spraying advice from the old catalogs.
Use light coats first then finish with a final heavier "wet" coat. This has served me well over the years.
The heavier final coat is tricky though. Slow down the spraying passes over the model. Lay it on heavier, but not heavy enough to cause drips.

The models pictured here were painted using these steps. Future clear coats were not applied or needed.

My finishing techniques are just that, it's what works for me.
Too many factors can affect a good finish.
For instance, the quality of the balsa and seam width on the tubes. Spray paint formulations and compatibility of paints from the same manufacturer. Pile on top of that humidity, dust and insects that'll land on wet paint!

These two posts are simply food for thought. I would never tell anyone their finishing techniques are wrong.  If something works for you, keep doing it!

Friday, April 26, 2013

My Finishing Schedule Tips Part 1

On a forum thread there was talk about what goes into a good finish.
Some will use three or four coats of sanding sealer, sanding between coats. Followed by three coats of grey primer sanding between coats.
Then thin coats of paint, sanding between coats.
Then, polishing compound and wax. Decals are applied followed by a Future clear coat.

In posted pictures I've seen great results. This obviously works well for many.
If I had to go through this many steps, I'd probably never get a model done!

Here's my abbreviated steps to fill and finish:
1. I usually fill the wood grain and tube seams before the fins and launch lug are glued onto the model. You'll never be able to effectively fill and sand balsa grain near the root edge over a glue fillet.
CWF is water based and does not seal the wood. White glues will soak in and hold just as well on fins filled with CWF.
Brush the thinned CWF with the wood grain, then against the grain. This forces the filler into the grain pores.
Sand smooth with 400 grit. If you use sanding sealer it will quickly load up sandpaper. CWF doesn't clog up sandpaper.
If done properly you should only need one coat of CWF to fill the wood grain.
Any grain that remains will be filled with the grey filler primer.

2. I only use one thick coat of grey primer. Note I wrote one thick coat. First, lightly sand with 220 grit to remove most of the primer coat. Follow with 400 grit to smooth it out. I sand the grey primer until the tube color starts to show through.
Grey primer will also fill any body tube seams that remain after the sanded CWF. Note that CWF can be used on body tube seams. To fill body tube seams, mix the CWF thicker than what is used in balsa filling. Thicker CWF will adhere better and not be knocked out as easily when sanding the tubes.

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Finished

The finished model is larger than you might think.
When Quest introduced this model in 1994 it was a level 4 "Expert" build. I didn't find it that hard to build, just time consuming.
Not a perfect kit, the air scoop paper stock was too thin and the intake fins weren't long enough.
The rear bulkhead required too much trimming for the internal tube to even fit close.
Still an interesting build. I look forward to seeing how well it flys with a C6-3.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 20, Inlet Fin Trim Fix

On TRF, JeffyJeep posted pictures of his X-30 Aerospace Plane build.
He covered up the exposed white areas behind the intake fins.

On the left is the model before covering the white areas. On the right is the fix.
I used small strips of the Contact paper Blackboard Covering. To make the transition a little smoother, the strips were cut long and actually roll from the white areas up and over the trailing edge of the fins.

Thanks Jeff, a good solution! 

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 19, Nose Cone Trim

The face card picture shows black windows on the canopy.
No decals are included in the kit. Time to pull out the Contact paper blackboard cover sheet.

Two small squares were cut.
The recesses in the canopy show rounded corners on the windows.

To imply the boxes are rounded it's easier to cut off small corners off the squares.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 18, Horizontal Descent

I used one of the bulkhead center disks for a reinforced tied down point.
This disk will spread out the line tension and prevent it from pulling through when the ejection charge is activated.

A hole was punched in the center and a length of heavy carpet and button thread tied on.

A small hole was punched in the shroud body between the rudders.

Before the line was run through the top two layers of Scotch tape were stuck down to strengthen the top.

It's hard to see the lines in the picture, but here's how the model should fall during recovery.
Two 12" parachutes are tied above the nose cone.

There could easily be tangles at ejection.

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 17, What!!??

The face card shows the model hanging horizontally under dual parachutes.
The instructions mention it but are a little vague about how to tie it all up! There is nowhere to tie on the rear line. Even if you tied it to the engine hook the line would probably tear through the top of the body shroud at ejection.
The next blog post will give one solution.

Check out the "Estimated Maximum Altitude".
700 feet with the recommended C6-3 engine.
The instructions say it only reaches 275 feet with a C6-3!
I don't think I'd fly it with a B6-2 if the altitude is only 150 feet!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 16, Air Scoop Fit

The inlet fins weren't long enough to cover the white areas on the shroud.
Oh well!

The two sides of the air scoop didn't to stay together.

I waited for the glue to set up a bit and held the two sides together with long smooth tweezers.

Big Girtha Recovered!

Two emails told me my Big Girtha model had been recovered after being lost in February at the Tampa TTRA field. One email said to expect water damage. The tube was swelled a bit, but it wasn't terrible.

There was some talk on TRF about why models are sealed and painted. After a month of exposure to sun and rain, the fins weren't warped. The tape trim and paint were still in good shape.

Who knows what I'll recycle. The nose cone and nylon parachute are in great shape! I have three of the four fins, they might end up on a new Girtha! I just need some new 40mm Quest tubing.

Where's the video camera? That's really what I wanted to get back.
Brian Urban took it off the model and has it at home until the next Tampa launch. He was concerned (as I was) that it might "disappear".
Even if the camera doesn't work now, the video card might still have a recording on it! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Launch Tampa TTRA April 20, 2013

I almost didn't go to the Tampa TTRA launch today. There was a 40% chance of rain in the forecast.
Driving out of Orlando the cloud cover was low and thick.
I was told my Big Girtha model (lost two months back) had been found and was in the TTRA equipment trailer.
When I arrived at the Plant City field, the clouds had cleared and a 5 - 10 mph wind was blowing.
Plenty of Scouts were there and I knew the LPR pads would be full. The new flyers had great Scoutmasters who kept everyone in line until their turn was up.

First up was the Quest X-30 AEROSPACE PLANE with a Estes C6-3 engine.
(This is the same model being built on this blog.)
Wile the inset picture shows it going up at an angle, it was a vertical flight with little rotation, very stable.
I rigged the model so it would land horizontally. The single shroud line held at the rear and it recovered flat. Only one of the the two parachutes opened fully with no damage on recovery.

Lawrence Brown had his own version of the Ballistic Chicken.
He used the entire plastic Easter candy dispenser to top his model.
The "Cluck You!" model flew very well, better than a chicken.

I haven't flown my MPC style NIKE SMOKE in a while.
Flight was stable with an Estes C6-5.
Perfect flight and no damage under a 12" garbage bag parachute.

Dave Anderson hadn't built or flown a rocket since he was 13 years old! Today he made a BIG return to the hobby.

After his first flight of a Big Betty with a C6 engine, he flew this beautiful Semroc Cherokee D with a D12-5.

Finishing the day the Mercury Engineering Hijacker with a composite G!

My also flowns:
Estes 260 BOOSTER with a Estes B6-4. Textbook flight  to an estimated 375'. No broken clear fins this time!
Quest AEROSPACE ONE with an Estes D12-5. Best flight of the day for me.

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 15, Air Scoop

The belly air scoop pieces are cut from the printed sheets.

Use a razor blade and straightedge for the straight edges and sharp scissors for the curves.

I felt the belly scoop stock was a little thin so I laminated some 110 lb. card stock to the underside. It's much stronger now.

Just like any other shroud, pre-curl the card stock by pressing a dowel over the shroud in the heel of your hand.

The fins were glued on earlier using the Aileen's Super thick Tacky Glue.
The root edges needed a slight angle sanded in them for a better fit against the curved body shroud.

Glue the right side of the air scoop on first. It is slightly wider than the left side and allows for a glue overlap tab..

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 14, Fins Cover and Nose Fit

This is the rudder fin before the second side of the covering was trimmed off. The wings and fins edges were sprayed white.
The small interior tube is lightly glued into the nose cone bulkhead.
Before the glue sets up, check the fit against the body bulkhead.

After you are sure of the fit, add a small fillet at the tube bulkhead joint.
Keep the fillet small so it won't interfere with the fit against the main body.

The nose and canopy were sprayed gloss white.

Both were taped to a cardboard flat for painting.

One ounce of clay weight is supplied.

As directed in the instructions I pressed as much as I could into the nose cone tube. About .40 oz. of clay was left over.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 13, Covering Inlet Fins

The inlet fin overlay paper is black so the leading and trailing edges were blackened with a permanent marker.

The printed cover pieces are over sized and trimmed after gluing.
A glue stick works very well to apply the card stock.

Apply one side and trim the excess with a sharp knife.
Then apply the other side and trim.

After trimming the card stock overlay edges will be white.
Hit the edges again with the marker.

Polish the edges by rubbing with a paper towel.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 12, Fillet, Fit and Edge Paint

The instructions recommend Aileen's Super Tacky Glue for the shroud.
I've heard that Aileen's glue was G. Harry Stine's favorite for rocket building. The instructions state: "White glue will cause the paper shroud to wrinkle."
I could only find Aileen's Super Thick Tacky Glue. It worked fine without any wrinkles.

Here I'm applying a fillet on the rear bulkhead joint with a rounded dowel and a Q-Tip to pick up any excess.
The bulkhead is recessed too far in to smooth the fillet with a fingertip.

This is the nose cone fit as best I could get it.
You can see the soft molded corner at the nose cone base starting to flare out.
The fin edges were filled earlier.

A glove kept the paint off my hand while the primer filler was sprayed.
I aimed directly at the edge and no primer got on the flat surfaces.

The inset picture shows the launch lug ready for primer.
Two toothpicks gave me a short handle to hold while spraying.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 11, Bulkhead & Shroud Adjustments

Only the rear bulkhead was sanded to allow the central motor mount tube to move forward in the shroud.

While sanding the bulkhead edge is "crushed" and is now wider. This is okay, it gives a wider gluing surface and spreads the edge out inside the shroud. The wider bulkhead edge won't show through from the outside.

The smaller forward bulkhead isn't sanded. The size of the forward bulkhead is the same size as the nose cone base bulkhead. I want both the same size when the nose cone is slid in place.

After an hour of sand and fit the forward bulkhead has moved much closer to the front of the shroud edge. I've gone about as far forward as I'm going to get.

It's a compromise in the build, but this edge will be trimmed off even with the bulkhead making the model about 1/8" shorter.

When the trimmed shroud got close to the bulkhead, the edge was sanded off with 400 grit on a block.

While sanding everything even you could see how the bulkhead was bent back on the sides. This happened when the tube was pressed forward and the edges were pulled back against the end of the shroud.

Medium CA was applied with a toothpick and was sanded smooth. This hardened the rough end surface and removed any "fuzzies".

Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane Part 10, Bulkhead & Shroud Adjustments

Sand the bulkhead edge to the angle of the shroud walls.
You don't want the bulkhead edges visible from the outside of the shroud walls.

From the rear, this is the rear bulkhead pressed forward as far as it could go without deforming the shroud.
The instructions say the smaller forward bulkhead should now be even with the front of the shroud.

Here's the front bulkhead, obviously not even with the front edge of the shroud.
Careful rear bulkhead adjustments will have to be made.