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Project Firebolt

..is a flying surfboard. An airplane controlled like a surfboard. Call it a circus apparatus, extreme sport, or theme park attraction.

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Just what I said above. Would you have the guts to fly such a thing? I've been to circus school, I think it should be trivial. I think it's incredibly exciting, and have to believe that others out there will think the same thing. I've found some of them. Can you imagine what would be required to make this work? I'd like to give it flapping wings and fire breating eventually, have a flock of them in the sky doing various aerobatics. Let's do it!

yo ho ho and three bottles of rum.  we have problems with soldering.  using  weller 140/100 soldering guns, supposed to heat up and melt  solder in 6 seconds.  when the tips are fresh, this happens.  later, the tips start to turn black, and it no longer works.  this may be because we aren't leaving solder on the tips after the work is done.  is this true?  is there a reliable way of fixing a tip that has gone black?  thanks!  wiring is proceeding nicely, regularly replacing tips, but  that is obviously not a good solution..

IMG_20180518_144127.jpg

A recent picture of the new fuselage! Not such a beautiful shape, but simple, and strong!

JPEG Image - 4.57 MB - 05/28/2018 at 09:59

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tooth_pick_34_2.jpg

Top-down view. ...And that's it for the historical pictures, at least for now. The next version after this one is the one chosen as the mascot for the project.. the one that begins to convince people it might actually work..

JPEG Image - 220.61 kB - 04/04/2018 at 02:21

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tooth_pick_34_1.png

Tired of making scale models, I go back to full-scale. Another terminated project. The thing shakes like jello. I actually present this at a maker fair. During the brief time when I'm proud of it, as opposed to embarrassed.

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 726.12 kB - 04/04/2018 at 02:18

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canard.jpg

I get super fancy. For the first time, the plane doesn't crash, because I provide it with a launch system such that it can't get seriously damaged. The final flight is actually successful, within a limited definition. Unfortunately, it's too dark to see anything in the video. I think the frame of this has finally been thrown out, the wings survive. An aeronautical engineer convinces me to go back to aft-tail designs for stability reasons.

JPEG Image - 24.32 kB - 04/04/2018 at 02:15

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after_aerodynamics_class.jpg

Now, I have. I went the full 9-yards, and figured out a way to taper my wings. Am I still using magazine pages for the wing surfacing material? Yes I am. Did I actually do tests to find out if these would be strong enough to support my weight in the air? yes I did. Are the ribs made of card-board? yes they are. I was confident enough at this point that I did actually invite a local aviator over.

JPEG Image - 52.52 kB - 04/04/2018 at 02:11

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  • Move to Batiment 7..

    mikethe1wheelnut05/29/2018 at 21:05 0 comments

    Hi.. First entry of project log..

    In the process of moving into a new makerspace.  Batiment 7.  I'ts a cross between helios, espace fabrique, and an art galery.   Lots  of space, very nice, just about perfect for assembling a large structure like an airplane.  Now  we just have to fill it with the airplane, and people working on the airplane ;-)

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RandyKC wrote 05/26/2018 at 23:09 point

Buy solder-tip cleaner and tinning. 

Blackened soldering iron tips are usually caused by running the iron too hot and the solder boiling off the more volatile components of the solder. Not good to solder using a black tip either.

Periodically clean the tip using a tip cleaner,(those bronze colored scrub pad looking things) then re-tin the tip(usually a white looking compound in a small round tin). Turn it off when it isn’t being used.

Weller  soldering guns and stations are great, but everything needs maintenance.

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 05/27/2018 at 02:41 point

thanks!  prior to this message, I concluded two things:  1) acid core solder containing lead was working fine even if it wasn't as pretty as what I've been using that has been giving me this recent problem.  I was scared away from it because somebody warned me of the health risk of breathing in lead fumes.  2) the problem seems to be recent and date to when I started using pluming flux, which one post on a question site said wrecks the surface treatment of the soldering gun tip, which seems to be born out by my experiments.  so I conclude that the pluming flux is meant to be used with a propane torch, not a soldering gun.  so solutions are:  1) get a fan to solve the health hazard, 2) use the torch (inefficient for this application), or 3) your method, which I will have to test.  yay, more testing! ;-)

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RandyKC wrote 05/28/2018 at 05:28 point

Plumbing solder on electronics?

https://blackdiamondtoday.com/blog/can-plumbing-solder-used-electronics

I should have asked what you are using the solder for. Electronics?

The difference is acid vs Rosen core flux. Can’t use plumbing on electronics and can’t use electrical solder on plumbing ( unless you want a wet basement). And you shouldn’t use either for mechanical connections.

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 05/28/2018 at 09:58 point

to answer your second question which doesn't have an option to reply to it, I'm using the soldering for structural purposes.  I've decided to build the fuselage as a framework of pine braced with birch at the intersections, with piano wire reinforcing all diagonals.  I'm using the soldering to attach the piano wire to itself.

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 05/27/2018 at 10:57 point

"running the  iron too hot"...  how do you avoid this?  I -have-  noticed, with fresh tips, that if I put it on the high setting first, the surface of the tip starts to bubble.  I presume now that this is  the obvious warning that it's too hot, and I should now squeeze further to go to the second setting for the remainder of the job?  I'll have to experiment.

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 05/28/2018 at 09:57 point

to answer your second question which doesn't have an option to reply to it, I'm using the soldering for structural purposes.  I've decided to build the fuselage as a framework of pine braced with birch at the intersections, with piano wire reinforcing all diagonals.  I'm using the soldering to attach the piano wire to itself.

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RandyKC wrote 05/28/2018 at 14:33 point

Bad, bad thing.

There is a whole science around airplane cables(like biplanes) and guy wires used for structural support. All use multi-strand wire and crimped connectors.  Those lessons were learned the hard way over the past hundred years.

https://www.griplocksystems.com/product/aircraft-cable-fittings

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 05/28/2018 at 15:04 point

thank you very much for the  feedback, and the link.  do you know of any documentation that is easily accessible that presents those lessons that were learned?  I am of course aware that google can help me out a great deal, but you might be able to put me onto a great reference even faster.. :-)


I  can tell  you that I've statically tested the strength of the soldered connections with my method, and found them to be at least 5 times stronger than they need to be.  I've recently started investigating shock-loading, and have been considering ways of mitigating the extra danger.  As for why I'm not already well versed in the established construction methods, it's easiest to say that I just preferred to experiment first, for curiosity's sake, then accept peoples feedback in order to improve the design.  So I thank you for your contribution!

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RandyKC wrote 05/28/2018 at 16:04 point

The Wordpress settings for this site limit reply levels.

Your “lessons learned” question is a real rabbit hole. The original Wright bros plane used distortable wings. Amazing isn’t it? I would suggest blogs/forums for those questions. Don’t force yourself to start at ground zero. We all stand on the shoulders of those before us.

http://aerospaceengineeringblog.com/aircraft-structures/

https://www.biplaneforum.com/

http://ultralight-airplanes.info/Here-Are-Some-Of-The-Best-Discussion-Forums-About-Ultralight-Airplanes.html   (Commercial?)

http://eaaforums.org/showthread.php?3593-Non-pilot-getting-started-in-ultralights

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Dr. Cockroach wrote 04/04/2018 at 09:32 point

Looks like a interesting design, takes me back to the 80's when I was flying my ultralight every weekend. Mine had a 32 ft w/s and I weighed 190 lbs back then. Flew it up to 11,000 ft on fine afternoon :-)

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 04/04/2018 at 04:01 point

So waxing paper is easy:  http://www.auntannie.com/CraftRecipes/WaxingPaper/  "easy".

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 04/04/2018 at 15:24 point

Ok, went to  canadian  tire, tested some spray liquid  waxes on  some paper.  No  dice.  Like putting water on  paper, structural properties destroyed.


I suppose the  next thing to try  is to iron wax onto paper.  any suggestions as to where to get bulk wax?  I could probably get an iron at the dollar store.. they probably have wax candles as well.  darn, I was just downtown..

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 04/04/2018 at 03:47 point

The current million dollar question:  what should the wing surfacing be?  I'm actually currently trying to make the entire thing both super cheep, and bio-degradable.  I'd like there  to be no plastic.  Except for electronics.  Maybe later we can invent plastic-less electronics.  Create  something  fantastic, and save  the  world at  the  same  time!   I'm currently considering wax paper, but haven't done any testing yet.  Apparently such paper can be attached to itself by heating it up with an iron.  Melting the wax, using it as an adhesive.  with enough ribs, therefore limiting the extensional force on the wax, maybe this would work?

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 04/04/2018 at 02:44 point

vr has been a candidate for flight training.  Following the  kiss principle, we'll go with the minimalist solution we can  get away with.  I'm very tempted to go with manual controls with flight over water.  But I know  that  isn't realistic.  Even my most  liberal friends  aren't going  to allow that.  Radio control first.

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ActualDragon wrote 04/04/2018 at 00:48 point

geez, the plane is a project in itself, are you building a full size one? it's be easier to make it small, then do a vr like experience. even that would be crazy impressive.

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mikethe1wheelnut wrote 04/04/2018 at 01:43 point

Full  size is a question of interpretation.  the one I'm building is designed to take a kid into the air, 75 lbs or so.  I'm building  it so that it can lift me, 150 lbs, with a safety factor of like 4. It'll just have to fly faster.  In my mind, the full scale vehicle will be 4/3 the size.  So current wingspan is 24 ft, full-scale  wingspan 32 ft.  I grew up in north america, so we're stuck with feet and inches for discussion, convert to metric for calculations ;-)   I've built several smaller planes.  learned a ton from each one, even if they saw minimal time in the air.  The objective has always been full-scale.  -I- want to be in the air!  I've never been sold on vr, not for this.  I want the real thing.. :-(  Thank's for saying it's impressive!  I'll upload some other pictures of the  project from years past.. :-)

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