Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Very recently I decided to buy an AR15 upper kit from weaponsworld. Along with that I bought the Aero Precision stripped lower from Brownells.
The upper kit did not come with any instructions at all. When I contacted Weaponsworld, they pointed me to youtube for instructional videos.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Over the summer, we were looking to buy a kayak. On one of our several trips to the San Juan Islands, we spotted one of the travellers with two wooden Pygmy kayaks and we fell in love with the fine wooden finish and its looks. About 3 weeks ago, we traveled to Port Townsend to visit Pygmy Boats.

Jim at pygmy was most helpful. He listened to our needs and gauged our experience level and suggested that we get the Pinguino for our skill level. My son tried out the demo Pinguino and he absolutely loved it and the Pinguino it was for us. We came back home with the kit. My son named it "The Ripper"

Pinguino 145 wooden recreational kayak kit

The specs to the kayak may be found at http://www.pygmyboats.com/boats/pinguino-145-kayak-kit.html

Here is a picture of my son taking the pinguino for a spin. Jim is in the one who is holding the kayak.

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Here is another with my son in it, going round the dock in front of the pygmy boat store 

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  • Open the Package and take inventory

    Checked the contents of the two packages and the kit appears to be complete. Pulled out all of the parts of the boat, lined them up and they all were correct. Spend a little time and understand how the various pieces of the boat are numbered

  • Get a working surface ready (Prior to 9/30/2012)


    I decided to build in the garage and move the cars out for that period.

    For the surface I bought interior cabinet grade plywood (8ft x 4ft) 3/4"thick, 4 wood saw horses, an 8ft C aluminium window track from Home Depot. Sliced (with a hacksaw)  the window track into two pieces (4ft each) and drilled holes every 6 incles and deburred the holes. I also asked Home Depot to cut the 8x4 into two pieces so I could make a 16x2 ft working surface. I used the aluminium C track to join the two ends to make a 16x2 table. Use a few screws to attach the C track to the side of the working surface and to keep the two 8x2 sheets together. This design lets me take it apart and store the two 8x2 sections for use later.

  • Start to glue the pieces together (9/30/2012)

    First and foremost, pick one side panels to glue i.e. pick the L or the R labled panels.Each panel is numbered 1B(L) 1S(L) ... 5B(L) to 5S(L). Keep the R side panels aside. Look at the diagram in the instruction booklet and layout the pieces. Follow the instructions in the Instruction booklet and the video to glue the panels. When doing so, keep in mind that the glue will harden so you will have to work quickly. Also, decide how many panels you will be able to work on at a time since that will depend upon how much Epoxy/Hardener you will mix. Do not assume that you will be able to glue all the panels at the same time. We chose to do 2 panels at a time as this allowed us to clamp the panels to the working surface edge, one panel at each edge. Butt the panels against each other, ensure almost no gap, using 250 grit sand paper, deburr the seam and ends, clamp it down and then proceed to glue as in the instructions.

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  • It was a family affair

    Since I had worked with Resin/Hardener before, I bought a roll of wax paper from Costco since Resin/Hardener does not stick to this waxed paper. I placed one small sheet under the panel. I also placed one sheet over the mylar and then placed the wood block with the weight. This ensured that the wood block did not bond with the panel due to some stray glue.

    I kept the Resin and hardener bottles inside the house to keep them at room temperature. I pumped out some of the Resin and hardener into separate small plastic cups that came with the kit, marked them, covered them with saran wrap and placed them in the oven with the light turned on. Of course you should not mix them at this point else they will harden soon. The idea was to keep these two warm until use.

    I measured out 1 tablespoon of the resin to 1 teaspoon of the hardner. This is all you really need to glue one side of the panel for upto four panels and there will be some left over.

    Wait patiently for the Resin/Hardener to cure. This may take 12-16hrs depending upon the temperature. At about 12hrs, you may take off the weights and then check if the glue is still sticky. Let the Resin/Hardener completely dry out/cure. Once dry the mylar just peels off easy.

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    Some of the Panels curing.

  • The kayak in the background is an Osprey Std that we bought off of CraigsList

  •  Completed the Left side panels : 10/3/2012

    Epoxy cured. Started the first two panels of the RHS. With the experience of the RHS, the LHS went thru smoothly.

  • Started to reinforce the deck : 10/5/2012

    While the LHS was being almost completed we decided to start the reinforcing of the deck on panels that were just sitting around. Here are some pictures.
       
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  •  Beveling of panels done - 10/6/2012

    To bevel the required sides, I used a handheld sander with 60 grit. As always, try it out first on a scrap piece of plywood and check how much you are taking off. While sanding, check often else you would have taken off a bit too much

    Used the following sander and it worked well. Initially I tried using a manual sander and it was going too slow for me.


       
  • Drilling of the required set of 1st holes done - 10/7/2012

    Finished drilling the holes to take the staples. The jig was made off 1/2" x 1/4" dowel that I got for less than two bucks at Home Depot.
     One more thing to note is that you will be better off keeping about 2-4 1/16" drill bits as spare. I did snap off 2 and it was useful to have extra lying around.

  • Assembly of Panel #1 done 10/7/2012

  • Assembly of Panel #2 and mid temporary section done 10/8/2012

    Here are some pictures of the assembly. Initially I had attempted the complete #1 and #2 on the same day. Since I was tired, I managed to misalign the but seams of #2 to #1. So on 10/8/2012, after I got back from work, took off all the staples that held #2 to #1 and redid it. Make sure to first loosely tie the staples AND then come back to tighten them and while tightening make sure you did not loose alighment.

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  •  Assembly of Panel #3 done 10/9/2012

    It started to look more like a boat now and my son is quite excited. Adding the 3rd panel took me about 1hr. I have snow decided to limit the amount of work I can do in an evening. Quality vs. Quantity.


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  • 4th Panel Almost done (10/10/2012)

    Need to tighten the staples between the 3rd and 4th panels and I will be done done.

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    Our friends visit us to checkout the boat.






  • All Center temporary panels inserted (10/13/2012)

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  •  Checking of the keel lines - Done 10/14/2012

    This is the stage right before we start to glue the seams. There is no going back so we have to check if all the keel lines are straight, the boat is not twisted etc etc. I took these pictures and sent them over to Pygmy for review and they gave it a clean chit.

    The boat is flipped over and all seams that are at the top are glued.


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  • The Gluing begins 10/15/2012


    Just before gluing, we checked the alignment one more time and then started to glue. It is helpful if there are two people with the glue/cleanup as it goes much faster. Also remember to mix and 1-2 tablespoons of epoxy ( + corresponding amounts of hardener) at a time. Clean the syringes well.




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    Propped it up to get a horizontal edge to pour the glue in. Do not overglue and remember to wipe off any leaks else you will have to sand them down before glassing.





    The shop vac in the picture was donated to me by my co-worker Steve.



  •  The Staples start to come off (10/20/2012)

    We did end up overgluing the panels of the boat and there were many many locations where the glue filled the holes of the staples. The tip here is to use a soldering iron, heat one end and pull from the other. Works very well and it works even better if you get help with this step. Much easier when one more person is able to hold the boat at some angle so you can get at the staple at a convenient angle. My oldest son helped a lot with heating the other end of the staple while I pulled from the opposite end.

    I will strongly suggest you wear safety glasses when removing the staples since at times they tend to fly off into the floor. Also strict instructions to wear footwear for anyone comming to see you do this is also advisable.

    All of the staples came off 10/24/2012
  •  The sanding of the outside of the hull begins (10/25/2012)

    We overglued the panels and when this hapens, there is extra dollups of glue that will get in your way when you are ready to glass it over. To get rid of these hills and valleys, I used a sander with 60 grit paper. Be careful when you do this as you do not want to take out the wood. So basically, take your time. Once you have "ground" down then hills, switch to maybe 220 grit paper to smoothen out the boat.

    Also added the Stem bead and sanded it down. Make sure to add enough of the wood pulp so it thickens just so the form does not fall off. You will have to add this bead and let it harden and then sand it down.

    After a night of hardening, I sanded down the bead with 60grit paper and rounded it with some elbow grease (80 grit).

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  • The initial coat of epoxy primer is applied (10/27/2012)

    The initial coat of epoxy was simple enough. We kept the epoxy warm, mixed up the required 6 ounces and applied it using a roller. Make sure to lay out a drop cloth under the boat as some of the epoxy will drip.

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    Since my son wanted to name this Kayak, I binged the web for any hints on how to go about this process and yes I did find one. Click on this link for the original page.

    I visited Ben Franklins in Redmond (a craft store) and picked up three sheets of light Vellum paper. I then used Microsoft Publisher to design the signage and printed it off.

    When the primer coat was still wet, I applied the sinage to the Kayak to the bow/starboard side of the boat and onto the sheer panel. Since the boat was inverted, the sign was placed inverted too. Also, do not place the sign too close to the bow end as you will need some place to work when glassing.





  • The glassing begins (10/28/2012)

    Took about 2.5hrs to lay down the fiberglass and roll the epoxy over it. It helps if the epoxy/hardener is warm as it is a little easy to roll it over. We decided to go with the limit of 6oz of epoxy per mix. My wife and son also helped in rolling it and squeeging it. At the 3hr mark, I went back to check and it was a little too wet so waited one more hour and at that point used a box cutter with a fresh blade to remove the overhang of the fiberglass cloth.

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  • The first overcoat of epoxy applied along with an extra strip of fiberglass for the keel seam (10/29/2012)

    This went over easy and quick and after that a day of curing.
  • The second overcoat of epoxy applied all over hull (10/30/2012)

    After the epoxy cured, I flipped the hull over and then sanded off any drips along the edge. These drips are a result of using too much epoxy.
  • Deck Assembly begins (11/2/2012) Bow deck

    Started to assemble the deck over the hull. First it was the bow. The bow panels blended well into the chine so not that big a problem. Went ahead and tighthed all of the bow wires.
  • Stern Deck Assembly begins (11/5/2012)

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  • Gluing the Inside Deck Panels (11/8/2012)




  • Taping of the Inside Seams of the Deck Panels (11/11/2012)

    Taping of the Inside seams of the deck panels went thru easily. Once we taped it, we then reinforced the back of stern. Since we did not have one piece of 9" x25" we used two pieces with an overlap. We completed the step with brusing the inside of the deck panels with epoxy. Really not sure why Pygmy did not want the inside deck to be covered with fiberglass.


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  •  Temporary Hull Frames come off (11/12/2012)

    In our case, the soldering iron was our friend. The whole job took about 1hr. We had extra glue all over and that held the temporary frame well in place. Eventually they all came off. This of course destroyed the bit of the soldering iron.
      


       
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  • The ends were filled with thickened epoxy (11/13/2012)

    This went through easy. While this was being done, we added the second coat of epoxy to the deck interior.
  • The Inside Butt Seams are reinforced (11/15/2012)

    The interior was sanded down and any roughedges removed. Used a combination of 60 and 80 grit paper. The inside of the butt seams were reinforced from scrap pieces of fiberglass. It was a slightly painful to take these uneven pieces and then cut them into 2", 3" and 4" widths, saturate them with epoxy and draw out the excess. In anycase we completed the job along with covering the entire interior with epoxy.
       

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  • Inside of Hull Fiberglassed (11/17/2012)

    On the day prior to fiberglassing, the inside of the hull was taped 3/4" above the 3rd/4th panel seam. We used a very wide masking tape (and you should too). Once this was done, laid out the fiberglass on one half of the hull. One side of the cloth was 1/2 way on the LHS tape and to hold it there we taped it with masking tape. After smoothining it out, we cut it so that the other end laid out 1/2 onto the other side of the hull on the tape. Cut it with a new exacto blade. The remaining piece fit very well on the other end of the boat.

    Glassing the inside of the hull was a little painful due to the concave nature. Eventually it did finish. The excess was removed using the tape as the measure after about 3-4 hrs.

    The following day, added a second coat around the area where one sits and where we rest the legs.

  • Deck Glued onto Hull (11/23/2012)

    This required a little bit of tweaking to get the deck and hull to meet. Most of it was ok except in the stern side. We did bring the hull and deck together with some wires and that got the job done. Glued the hull to the deck, came back and filled it with some thick putty.

    The next day we removed the wires and the hull stayed in place.

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  • Deck sanded in preparation for the deck glassing (11/25/2012)


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    Sanded the deck to remove any bumps and make the edges round. Use a Stihl Random orbital sander and it did the job well.

  • Deck base coat of Epoxy (11/29/2012)

    Prior to the deck being glassed, you have to apply a base coat of Epoxy. This was simple enough and done with a roller. Took a day to cure.

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  • Deck Glassed (12/1/2012)

    First and foremost, mark of the edge with masking tape. This is where you will fill the cloth with epoxy and also use the edge of the masking tape as the marker to cut off the excess cloth.

    The pieces of leftover cloth was more than sufficient to cover the deck.

     

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It took about 4 hrs before we could remove the excess overhang cloth. Curing was slow due to the temperature in the garage. We kept checking every 1hr before we decided to cut the excess.

  • Inner Combing Measured/Cut and epoxy'ed (12/23/2012)

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  • Inner Combing Installed (12/25/2012)









  • Outer Combing glassed and Installed (12/29/2012)

    Basically this process was spread over 4 days. First you glass the outer combings inside and out and this will take you about 2 days atleast. If necessary sand the outer combing if there are any drips. Once done, measure, cut and apply the epoxy to glue it down. Use lots of clamps and believe me you will need atleast 10 for each side. Since we did not have that many, we did one side at a time.

    For clamps I found these to be more than adequate http://www.harborfreight.com/6-inch-bar-clamp-96210.html
     
  • Hip Brace Glassed (1/1/2013)

    While glassing the hip brace, we decided to sand the boad down and also apply a very thin layer of epoxy. There were a few drips that were annoying us.

  • Hip Brace Installed (1/6/2013)

    It was pretty simple to install the hip brace.

  • Hatches Cut (1/13/2013


  • Inside seam filled with Epoxy (1/14/2013)
  • Hatch Lip Glassed (1/17/2013)
  • Hatch Inside spaces installed (1/20/2013)
  • Hatch Lip Installed
      



Thursday, February 02, 2012

Miss 2 All Wood ARF Airplane

My next plane is the Hobby Lobby Miss 2. I have seen it fly and have test flown it. It is super easy to fly, very stable and pretty much glides when you cut off power.

 

 

It was super easy to build and put together.

Electronic Specs are

Turnigy Park480 Brushless Outrunner 1320kv from Hobby King

8x6 prop

HXT Metal Gear Servo from Hobby King

OrangeRx Spektrum Receiver with Satellite Receiver from Hobby King

 

Now waiting for the sky's to clear in the Seatte Area.

 

 

 

Friday, June 10, 2011

 

 

Stevens Aero was at the NW Hobby Expo in 2011 and were selling this kit. The demo looked pretty cool. I have had experience with their kits before and they are very easy to work with so I decided to get it and check it out. The build was quite simple and for the most part it went thru quite easily. I would say take your time and do not rush it.

 

RC groups has a build thread and I followed the instructions that came with the kit and also referred to the build thread.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1108225

I used the following components

1. Motor : TowerPro Brushless Outrunner TP2409_12D : Just had this lying in my "motor" collection so used it.

2. ESC : Turnigy 19A plush ESC

3. Turnigy Servo

4. Orange Spektrum receiver

 

 This is a fun boat to play with and I highly recommend the kit.


 

 

Monday, December 27, 2010

E-flite Nieuport 17 250 ARF

 

I bought this ARF kit at the the NW Model Hobby Expo in early February 2010 and it has been sitting in the garage since then. It has been raining quite a bit and so decided to complete this kit and get it ready for one of those clear days.

The kit itself is good and the instructions are very very good. This is one for no wind conditions. the wings are thin depron and will not hold up if any wind comes along.

My electronics for it are

Putting it together was quite simple and went quickly. The last part was stringing it together and for it I used Kevlar thread that I bought off of Amazon. Stringing it was a little bit of a pain but it all worked out when I used a thin needle. the pain point was shoving the needle thru the bottom two thin long tubes and what I did was pushed the needle into the tube and then pushed it thru to the end using a straight piece of stiff wire that one can buy at HomeDepot.

Still waiting for a clear day and will get it airborne ASAP and update you all.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It has been a while since hobbyking stocked Spektrum DSM2 compatible receivers but I did not venture that side of town. I see all the feedback and it has been good. Being a little conservative, I wait a while until I see it in action before me i.e. someone in my club uses it to fly his/her planes.

Here are the ones that I am talking about

 

OrangeRx Spektrum DSM2 Compatible 4Ch 2.4Ghz Receiver

DSM2 Compatible Parkflyer 2.4Ghz Receiver

OrangeRx Spektrum DSM2 Compatible 6Ch 2.4Ghz Receiver

 The demo's given to me by my club buddies have been impressive. They just seemed to work. For 1/5th the cost of the original Spektrum receivers these are a steal.

Two days ago, I put in my order of these receivers and they are on their way to me. Please stay tuned and I will give my feedback on them.

24/Dec/2010

Received the receivers two days ago and promptly tried the Orange one in the Nieuport 17 250 ARF that I was completing. The binding works like a charm and it responed to all the controls. I have yet to complete the Nieuport 17 and waiting for the rain to cease to try it out. Of course, others in the club are already using it so I am expecting it to work.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I just wanted to advance to something a little faster and decided on the AT6 Warbird from HobbyKing. The reviews for this were good and people also mentioned that one can slow this plane down.

AT6 Warbird 97% Plug-n-Fly w/ BL Motor/Servo/ESC 

 

This was my first plane purchase from hobbyking and the plane arrived in mint condition. It was double packed in foam and came with no damage.

Putting the plane together was quite simple. I just followed the instruction booklet.

  1. Dry fit the elevator and rudder onto the plane.
  2. Dry fit the controls for the elevator and rudder.
  3. Glue the controls for the elevator and rudder.
  4. Glue the elevator onto the tail.
  5. Glue the rudder onto the elevator.
  6. Glue the tail wheel brace onto the tail.
  7. Insert the wheels into the wing and screw them in.
  8. Add the receiver, hookup all to the receiver.
  9. Screw the wing into the fuse.
  10. All done

Now I just need to get someone to give it a test run.

 4/Dec/2010

I have been flying the AT6 quite regularly and it is fun. these days I just use a 3S 1300mah Lipo instead of the 2s 1300mah and it is quite snippy. I have not changed the motor yet and do not plan to do so.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

 

 

 Turnigy 1450mAh 3S 11.1v Transmitter Lipoly PackJust wanted to confirm to you all that I now use the Turnigy 1450 3S LiPO in my HK-T6A TX. The fit is perfect.

For the connectors, I had some JST male and female pigtails lying around so I used them instead of the existing connectors. 

I soldered a female pigtail to the transmitter battery ends (I am sure you can figure out which one goes where) and a male pig tail to the battery i.e. snipped off one of the existing Futaba or JR plugs and then soldered the JST male pigtail to it.

Female JST battery pigtail 12cm length (10pcs/bag)

When cutting off the existing JR or Futaba connector, make sure to cut off only one wire at a time else you will short circuit the battery. Always cut lead, strip it, solder the appropriate color JST pigtail end and shrink tape it. Continue to do the same to the next one.

 

 

 

Male JST battery pigtail 10cm length (10pcs/bag)

 Since switching to a LIPO in the transmitter, I have had three visits to the field and the green led is still going strong.

 

 

Let us see how long this runs. First impressions are good.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

 

A few weeks ago, my 6yr old son dropped the transmitter while he was flying the Vapor. It was my mistake to not use the neck strap. Long story short, I just decided to live with it until I decided to build and test out the BP Hobbies Fiesler which requires flap control, which is tied to the Gear switch on the DX6i, which of course was broken.

I poked around the internet and got some hints on a replacement switch. First and foremost, I called horizon hobby and asked them about the repair and they said $15 + shipping which would be about a total of $35.

Today, I opened the box (of course I might have voided the warranty, but what the heck). I am an electronics engineer and comfortable with terminology, components and soldering. The switch was a simple Miniature Toggle Switch, Single Pole Dual Throw (SPDT). Look at the picture below for more details.

 

 

There are many such switches available at online stores like mouser.com or digikey.com but then decided to first try my luck at Radio Shack and found one was a close fit : SPDT Flatted Metal Lever Toggle Switch, Model: 275-635 | Catalog #: 275-635. I say close as the length of the lip is a tad short but enough if you remove all of the unnecessary washers and just use one nut to fix the switch to the case.

SPDT Flatted Metal Lever Toggle Switch

I opened the case and carefully removed the six xcrews. Next I carefully unscrewed the ring around the switch to remove it from the dx6i case, desoldered the wires from the broken switch and soldered them to the new switch. Note that the center lead is the ground and you can chose any one of the outer leads to be the signal. Push the switch thru the hole and tighten the nut. Take your time doing this and do not rush it. Replace all the 6 screws. And you are done.

Drop me a line with details of the switch you used for the repair and I will be more than happy to document it here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

After using three transmitters that work just fine, I finally received a dud transmitter. Basically the transmitter just does not bind to the receiver.

I tried various options i.e.

  • Bind the faulty transmitter to existing working receivers. No luck. It binds and after a few seconds the bind drops.
  • Bind a good transmitter to an existing working bound receivers. No problems.

I am at a loss for words. If anybody has a clue, just drop me a line.

Totally bummed out. I wish it was cheap to get a replacement.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Here is a video of the maiden by me of LeadFeather's Yak 55 on May 07, 2010. This is my first aileron plane so I was still trying to get used to it. Basically I was just plain flying it and absolutely no stunts : rool's, loops etc. etc.

Designs at http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=964237

The original and 1st maiden was by Rick at Barnowls on May 06, 2010

Absolutely loved it.

Many have suggested that I set it up for more elevator throws but heck, this is good for me. Thanks Leadfeather. I now have three LeadFeather designs (FireFly, Yak 55, PbF)

 

 

 

 Components:

  • 9mm EPP
  • Blue Wonder Motor
  • Volcano ESC
  • one 9gm HXT servo from HobbyKing
  • two 5gm HXT servo from Hobbyking
  • I have tried all kinds of batteries : 3060mah -- 750mah 2S/3S lipos. Bigger ones for outdoor in slight windy conditions. smaller ones indoors.
  • Hobby King Transmitter and receiver.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

 

 

 A few days ago, my son dropped the DX6i and broke the antenna (not the inside wire). There is no real replacement available for the antenna so I went digging and found this site http://chucknori.com/changing%20antenna%20dx6i.html.

I went to the local hobby store and checked with them and they were convinced that Eflite part EFLH1058 would fit it perfectly.

  

I followed the instructions from http://chucknori.com/changing%20antenna%20dx6i.html and was able to successfully replace the antenna an Eflite EFLH1058 replacement antenna.

Changing the antenna was quite simple but just take your time.

When you first look at the back of the DX6i, you will see 7 screws. 6 are for the transmitter and one on the antenna. You do not have to remove the one on the antenna. Once you take out the 6 screws, pry the back off slowly. It should come out easily.

Note how the antenna wire is threaded thru as you will have to do the same with the new antenna.

Using nose pliers, hold the gold connector and slowly pull it off. Be very careful here. The antenna is attached to the case by a screw around a metal plate. You have to remove that screw on the metal place to completely remove the antenna from the transmitter. Not the way the metal plane sits in its bracket.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Exceed 6 Channel 2.4ghz transmitter from hobbypartz.com. The bundle came with a transmitter, 1 receiver and the USB cable.

I already own three Hobby King 2.4ghz 6 channel Transmitters (HK-T6A) and several airplanes with theHobby king 6ch receivers (HK-TR6A)

 

Test : binding of HobbyKing Receiver with Exceed Transmitter

As a first test, I took an existing already working plane setup with the hobbyKing 6CH receiver and bound it to the Exceed RC transmitter. The binding process worked like a charm and I was able to get the throttle going.

Test : Using hobbyKing USB cable with Exceed Transmitter

Next I used the existing Hobbyking USB cable and hooked up the Exceed RC transmitter to the PC which already had the drivers setup for programming the HobbyKing HK-T6A transmitter. Turborix recognized the Exceed transmitter and I was able to load the existing programs, that I had earlier saved for the plane, into the Exceed Transmitter. The plane controls worked like a charm.

Test: Use the Exceed Receiver with a HobbyKing Transmitter

I have yet to perform this test.

Conclusion

The two transmitters are one and the same and can be used interchangebly. On comparing the prices

Exceed RC : $45 + 4.50 (S&H) = $50 (Includes Transmitter + receiver + usb cable)
HobbyKing : $33 (Includes Transmitter + receiver) + Shipping + $4 (USB Cable) == $37 + Shipping

I feel the for the cost difference of $10 it is worth getting the Exceed RC transmitter since,it is shipped within the USA.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The local hobby store sells prop saver rubber bands 3 for a $1.60 which turns out to be expensive.

Rick, a local club member, advised me to use surgical tubing. I then went to the local Rite Aid to ask about it and they pointed me in the directon of Rxtra Care Pharmacy in Bellevue, WA (http://rxtracare.net/id3.html).

This pharmacy had several sizes (diameter) of the tubing and they sold it by the foot. the one I wanted (3/8") was $0.68/ft.

Use a good sharp pair of scissors to chop off the correct size for the rubber band. I tried a sharp exacto but scissors worked better. A foot of the surgical tubing will give you tons that will last you a long long time and they are pretty strong.

I am sure every big city will have these stores, so make sure to ask around. If one pharmacy does not know then ask at another.

You may buy it online at http://wmparkflyers.com/propsaverbands.aspx but remember to add it as a filler else the shipping will not be worth it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Built a BackYard Outdoor Biplane (BYOB) and its maiden was yesterday at 60 acres park in Redmond.

Components

  • 6mm Depron for fuselage and 3mm for wings (rcfoam.com)
  • 9gm Motor from rchotdeals.com
  • 10A ESC from rchotdeals.com
  • 450mah 2S Hyperion Lipo
  • HXT 500 servos from hobbyking
  • Prop : 6x5

The maiden was by JimNik, a pro who can fly a plane in any condition. The plane was a bit tail heavy and needed some more down thrust but Jim did keep it in the air.

The second flight was with some serious downthrust. The plane flew even better but was still a little tail heavy.

The third and final flight was with a borrowed 3S 610mah Rhino Lipo from Lon and this time around the CG was quite perfect and it flew slow and steady.

 19/Mar/2010

The BYOB died a horrible death. It was a bit too gusty to fly but I tried to do it anyway. It basically exploded in mid air. Was a great sight though. Quite a few people were watching it.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A few weeks ago, I went remote control flying for the first time at an indoor location in the Seattle area. It is a Naval Base hangar on Sand Point Way that is being used for indoor flying for a few hours every alternate wednesday. The club calls itself the Barnowls

It was a great experience to be flying remote control planes indoors and it is completely different than flying in a park. E.g. I found the Micro J3 Cub to be too fast for indoor flying. There are others who fly the micro P-51. Or maybe my skill level has to go up.

We (my son and I) generally go fly the Vapor and the Pizza Box Flyer (PbF) and sometimes the mCX or the mSR helicoptors. My PbF skills are getting better and better flying indoors.

If you are in the Seattle area, do stop by and join the gang. The URL for the website is http://barnowlsnw.org/

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I quote from the Sci-Tech Encyclopedia

The hinged rear portion of an aircraft wing, moved differentially on each side of the aircraft to obtain lateral or roll control moments. The angular settings of the ailerons are controlled by the human or automatic pilot through the flight control system. Typical flap- and spoiler-type ailerons are shown in the illustration.

Flap- and spoiler-type ailerons on jet transport airplane.
Flap- and spoiler-type ailerons on jet transport airplane.

The operating principles of ailerons are the same as for all trailing-edge hinged control devices. Deflection of an aileron changes the effective camber, or airfoil curvature relative to the wing chord, of the entire wing forward of the aileron. With the trailing edge deflected upward, reduced local flow velocities are produced on the upper wing surface, and increased local flow velocities are produced on the lower wing surface. By Bernoulli's law, this results in a reduction of lift over the portion of the wing forward of the aileron, and on the aileron itself. Conversely, trailing-edge down deflection of a flap-type aileron increases the lift in the same areas. Ailerons are located as close as possible to the wing tips, to maximize rolling moment by increasing the moment arm of the force due to the change in wing lift. In the case of flap-type ailerons, when the trailing edge is raised on one wing, say the left, the trailing edge of the aileron on the opposite or right wing is lowered by about the same amount. The decrease in lift on the left wing is accompanied by a lift increase on the right wing. While the net wing lift remains about the same, a rolling moment or torque about the aircraft's fore-and-aft axis develops in a left, or counterclockwise, direction as seen by the pilot.

Flap-type ailerons are replaced or supplemented by spoiler-type ailerons for a variety of reasons. Spoiler ailerons are usually installed forward of the landing flaps on commercial jet transports, in order to supplement aileron effectiveness during landing approaches, when the landing flaps are extended. Greatly reduced takeoff and landing speeds can be obtained by devoting the trailing edge of the entire wing to high-lift flaps. This is made possible by substituting spoilers for flap-type ailerons.

Using the above definition, the elevons on the RC plane should be configured as follows, typically these will be channels 1 & 2

 

 

  Left Aileron Right Aileron Description
Stick down      
Stick up      
Stick right Down Up Right wing dips, Left wing elevates, Roll to right
Stick Left Up Down Left wing dips, right wing elevates, Roll to left
RC Plane Aileron Movement

If the RC Plane has a rudder then this is on channel 4 and set the usual way i.e. rudder turns right when stick is pushed to right for a right roll and vice versa. If the plane has a rudder then you put that on channel 4.

 

 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

 I quote from answers.com

Ruddervators are the control surfaces on an airplane with a V-tail configuration. They are located at the trailing edge of each of the two airfoils making up the tail of the plane. As part of initial V-tail development Polish engineer Jerzy Rudlicki designed the first ruddervators in 1930. They were first tested on a modified Hanriot H-28 trainer in 1931.

The name derives from a combination of the word rudder and elevator. In a conventional aircraft tail configuration, the rudder provides yaw (horizontal) control and the elevator provides pitch (vertical) control.

Ruddevators provide the same control effect as conventional control surfaces, but through a more complex control system that actuates the control surfaces in unison. Yaw moving the nose to the the left is produced on an upright V tail by moving the pedals left which deflects the left-hand ruddervator down and left and the right-hand ruddervator up and left. The opposite produces yaw to the right. Pitch nose up is produced by moving the control column or stick back which deflects the left-hand ruddervator up and right and the right-hand ruddervator up and left. Pitch nose down is produced by moving the control column or stick forward which induces the opposite ruddervator movements.

In simpler terms, when you pull the stick, both the tails move up (aka the plane's nose pitches up) and vice versa when you move the stick up (aka plane's nose pitchesdown). When you flick the stick to the right, the right tail goes down and the left tail goes up (causing the left wing to elevate and the right wing to lower causing the plane to yaw right) and vice versa when you flick the stick to the left.

Typically, you will configure Channels 1 & 2 for V-Tail, assuming you do not have ailerons.

RC Plane V-Tail Movement
  Behavior of Left Tail Behavior of Right Tail
Stick down (pull the nose up) up up
Stick Up (push the nose down) down down
Stick Left (turn left) down up
Stick right (turn right) up down
 

 

Examples of V-Tails are :Park zone Slo-V, Gene Bond's Dome Blu.

 

From Sci-Tech Encyclopedia ... I quote

A movable surface at the trailing edge of a tailless airplane that provides pitch and roll control. Elevons hinged on each side of the rear wing surface (see illustration) nose the airplane up or down, and roll one wing up and the other down. The term elevon is derived from elevator and aileron, and, in effect, elevons provide the same control as conventional elevators and ailerons. An example of an airplane employing elevons is the orbiter vehicle for the space shuttle.

Elevons on the trailing edge of a delta wing.
Elevons on the trailing edge of a delta wing.

When the elevons on both sides of the wing are deflected upward, they combine to produce a nose-up pitching moment on the wing and, hence, on the tailless airplane. If the elevon on the right wing is deflected upward and the one on the left wing downward, the differential movement does not result in any pitching moment, since the nose-up and nose-down pitching moments produced by the two elevons cancel each other. However, the lift on the right wing decreases, and that on the left wing increases; the combined effect produces a moment on the airplane tending to roll it to the right. Deflecting the elevons in the opposite directions causes the wing to roll to the left, and deflecting both elevons downward produces a nose-down moment

Using the above definition, the elevons on the RC plane should be configured as follows, typically these will be channels 1 & 2

 

  Left Elevon Right Elevon Description
Stick down Up Up Nose to pitch up
Stick up Down Down Nose to pitch down
Stick right Down Up Roll to right
Stick Left Up Down Roll to left
RC Plane Elevon Movement

If the RC Plane has a rudder then this is on channel 4 and set the usual way i.e. rudder turns right when stick is pushed to right for a right roll and vice versa.

 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lead (Pb) Feather (F) == Pizza Box Flyer (got it?)

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=981793

Two weeks ago, I saw the Pizza Box Flyer (google LeadFeather PBF to get the plans) at our local indoor meet. It flew pretty well and this is going to be my next build.

01/Feb/2010

Printed the tiled plans off and taped them together. The plans call for a 18" x 36" 6mm foam piece and my 6pmm depron was just short of it. So I ordered one off at rcfoam.com. To save on shipping charges, I ordered 10 sheets of 6mmEPP, 10 sheets of 6mm depron, 10 sheets of 3mm depron and the carbon rods (and a few extra for the future). The carbon rods are cheap vs. the LHS.

02/Feb/2010

The foam was shipped today.

06/Feb/2010

The foam arrived today by FedEx. Quick shipping by rcfoam.com

07/Feb/2010

Today is Superbowl Sunday. I laid out the tiled plans on the table and taped them together. Let us see how much I can get done between now and Superbowl and my son's homework. The day looks good too so I might just go flying and start cutting later in the night after the game.
Plans laid out on the table
Went out flying for about two hours before the game. 60 acres was wet and muddy. My sons had a great time wallowing in the dirt. It was just a mess but beautiful though. Had one eye on the plane and the other on the sons. My six year old took a shot at flying Gene Bond's dome Blu and he did a great job. The plane is still a little tail heavy. Have to put a bigger battery to balance it. He also took a shot at flying the GWS piper cub which is a great plane anyway. He did his first take off today and it was good. No crash.

08/Feb/2010 (total time spent was 2.5hrs on all three cuts)

Lon Stumf, our local club president wanted to build a PbF too so he came by. Finally decided to cut three of them. One for my son, one for Lon and the third for my nephew in New Jersey. We have enough 6mm EPP from rcfoam.com
Cut up the plans using an exacto knife. It was nice to have the 3ft metal ruler from Harbor Freight. Take your time doing so i.e. measure twice, think three times, cut once and always have a sharp new blade.
Place the cutouts on the EPP and cut the EPP with a sharp new exacto knife.
For today, we just managed to cut out three top and lower panels. We then beveled the elevons and used welder's glue (available at Lowes) to hinge it. Bing/Goolge for youtube videos on how to hing with welders glue. It is pretty simple. When beveling, make sure to check which side you will be cutting. Not that it matters but it looks neat.
We then sprayed the lower KF panel with some 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Adhesive (available at most hardware stores in the US), aligned and placed it on the top panel and left it overnight with some light weights on it.

That was it for today.

09/Feb/2010 (total time spent 1hr includes managing the kids)

 Kids wanted to paint the wing panels

This one was painted by my two year old with some final touchup by me. Ok, he insisted to paint it while his older sibling was at his paint job. This PbF will go to my nephew in New Jersey.

 This one was painted by my 6 year old and will stay with us.

 I also managed to cut up all the other pieces.

10/Feb/2010 (total time spent on all three 1hr)

 Finished beviling the tail and the corresponding fuselage section. Screwed up one i.e. beveled the wrong side so had to cut up one more tail section from the scrap that was lying around. Used Welders Glue to create a hinge. Watch the following video.

  

I bought the Welder's glue at Lowes Hardware Store and it works very well. The hingle is pretty strong in about 1hr after which I went ahead and glued the fuselage to the body. If you look at the plan for the wing, it has markings for where the fuselage will sit. I traced that onto the wing, applied welders glue to the fuselage and slid it onto the wing. Make sure that the fuselage sits exactly in the center of the wing within the marked lines and it is at 90 degrees to the wing. Do whatever it takes to make it 90 degrees. In about 15 minutes it will harden and after that just leave it alone for the night.

 

While this was drying, I finished glue'ing the outer and inner skids using 3M 77. When doing so, make sure to keep track of the orientation of which side goes where. Place some weight on this so as to allow them to come in contact and dry straight and well.

12/Feb/2010 13/Feb/2010 (10 mins each)

Decided to glue in the skids. Used two reams of paper on either side to prop up the plane on its back (since the fuse was now glued in). Carefully aligned the skids and used welders glue to glue it down. Propped up the skids with whatever that had square edges on the table.

 

Next will to be complete all three. Since I do not have too many reams of paper, this process will have to be single threaded.

Next up will be to glue in the carbon fibre rod in the front.

Have been a little busy visiting the North West Hobby Expo in Monroe. It was a tame show but came out with some good deals on motors. In fact I bought a motor ESC combo from them for about $30 which is a little more than the price with Hobby King but I hope to complete atleast one of them this week4end.

 

 

 

 

14/Feb/2010

Woke up with the mood to finish atleast one of the PbF's. Took me about 3 hrs of interrupted time to

  • Add the servos (used 3 HXT 500's)

  • Fashion a special mount for the motor. Used 3/8" poplar square dowel from Home Depot. Cut off the required amount and inserted it into the space between the nose and the wing and glued it using foam safe CA. I then cut off a square piece of aircraft ply, rounded the edges and glued that to the front and it became the firewall on which I will mount the motor.





  • Add the motor and ESC

  • Add the Receiver. I used the HobbyKing receiver.

The layout was all around the CG point. I did not have much of a problem with the CG. I just have one 450mah 2S Lipo and that too was just ahead of the CG point to bring the place correctly to the CG.

The elevons in the PbF were configured using http://blogs.hari.us/archive/2010/02/16/setting-up-elevons-for-an-rc-plane.aspx . Give the plane maximum throws on the ailerons and rudder.

 15/Feb/2010

The PbF is now complete. Maiden went off well. I did not have much in the way of throws so that was one thing that needed fixing. Here is the video.

 

other than the control throws, everything was perfect.

28/Feb/2010

Completed the second PbF and this time around decided to do the maiden myself at 60 acres park in Redmond. Had ample space for mistakes and a lush lawn for landing. Took off smooth and handled beautifully. Next I let my 6 year old try the take off and he made no mistake. In fact he was bolder than me and took it for rolls and spins and it just worked like a charm. Finally ran out of juice and had to go home.

 

 

Currently Flying

Fiesler Storch

  • Motor:
  • Servos:
  • ESC:
  • Battery:
  • Prop:
  • Receiver:  

 

 

GWS Slow Stick

StevensAero - 1919 White Sport Monoplane Electric RC Airplane

GWS J3 Cub  

I had to build a firewall out of aircraft ply to mount the motor. Used 3 washers to give it the appropriate right and down thrust. A clumzy job but works and a super slow reliable flier. Takeoff is at 60% throttle.

BYOB (BackYard Outdoor Biplane)

RIP (Rest In Piece)

GWS Tiger Moth 400

Died a horrible death on landing. Flew the plane about 4 times.

 

 

Plane   motor  Servos  ESC Battery  Prop  Receiver  Comments  Photo/Video 
 GWS Slow Stick  AX 2308N 1100kv brushless Micro Motor  
HS-55 (local Hobby Shop)
x2
 TURNIGY Basic 18A v3.1 Speed Controller  Turnigy 1300mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack Get about 25 minutes of flying at about 50% throttle  10x6 Hobby King 2.4Ghz Receiver

6Ch Hobby King 2.4Ghz 6Ch Tx & Rx (Mode 2)
 Motor comes with a stick mount that fits well on the supplied stick.  
 GWS J3 Cub  TowerPro Brushless Outrunner 2410-08T 890kv  
x2
 TURNIGY Basic 18A v3.1 Speed Controller  
Get about 25 minutes of slow flying at 50% throttle.
   Spektrum AR6110  I had to build a firewall out of aircraft ply to mount the motor. Used 3 washers to give it the thrust. A clumzy job but works and a super slow reliable flier. Takeoff is at 60% throttle.  
 GWS Tiger Moth 400  
Takeoff at 75%
 
x3
 TURNIGY Sentry 25amp Speed Controller  
Get atleast 25 minutes at about 60% throttle. May get more.
 8x4  Spektrum AR6110  RIP. Died in a horrible landing. Totally flew the plane about 4 times. Apparently single aileron biplanes are not that great.  
Fiesler Storch                
 Dare Hobbies Fokker D-VIII                
 StevensAero - 1919 White Sport Monoplane Electric RC Airplane  GWS - Micro Indoor Power System LPS B2C-CS, Includes Spinner [GW/LPS-B2C-CS]  
x2
     GWS - 7 x 6 SF Propeller [GW/EP7060]  Spektrum AR6110    
 StevensAero - Lil'SQuiRT V2 Electric RC Airplane    
x2
     GWS - 7 x 6 SF Propeller [GW/EP7060]  Spektrum AR6110    
 
Used 6mm depron from RCfoam.com
 TowerPro Brushless Outrunner 2410-08T 890kv  
I would not recommend the Turnigy Servo after loosing a few. I now prefer the more popular and reliable
 TURNIGY Basic 18A v3.1 Speed Controller  Turnigy 1300mAh 2S 20C, 1300mAh 3S20C, 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack or 2S 20C Lipo Pack  10x4.7      
 Parkzone SloV  
I was very unhappy with the stock built motor etc. Spent a lot of money rebuilding it. finally ripped up the whole electronics away and replaced it with mine.
AX 2308N 1100kv brushless Micro Motor Motor comes with a stick mount that fits well on the supplied stick. The original SloV stick is a bit narro. Had to shimmy in some pieces of aircraft ply to get the motor to hold
Flies beautifully now.
 HXT900 9g / 1.6kg / .12sec Micro Servo x2  TURNIGY Basic 18A v3.1 Speed Controller  Turnigy 1300mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack Get about 25 minutes of flying at about 50% throttle  10x6  Hobby King 2.4Ghz Receiver

6Ch Hobby King 2.4Ghz 6Ch Tx & Rx (Mode 2)

   
 
Dome Blu
Scratch Built from plans with 6mm depron.
See thread at rcgroups.
 
Floats at 1/4 throttle.
 HXT900 9g / 1.6kg / .12sec Micro Servo x2  TURNIGY Basic 18A v3.1 Speed Controller  
Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack
No idea of the flight time yet as today (31/Jan/2010) was the maiden flight. I used a larger battery just to compensate for the tail heavy weight.
 10x6

 Hobby King 2.4Ghz Receiver

6Ch Hobby King 2.4Ghz 6Ch Tx & Rx (Mode 2)

 Get the CG right and ensure that the wing is supported such that it does not slip off. flies great. Slooooow.  
 Leadfeather's Pizza Box Flyer  1400KV Outrunner Brushless Motor  A2204-19T

 HXT500 5g / .8kg / .10sec Micro Servo

x3

 10A Brushless Motor Speed Controller ESC
 Hyperion 450mah 2s 25C  APC 8x3.7  Hobby King 2.4Ghz Receiver

6Ch Hobby King 2.4Ghz 6Ch Tx & Rx (Mode 2)

   
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
 

Just wanted to write a quick one about my local club NWEF.ORG. I am glad I was introduced to this club. Made many friends and I don't feel like the stranger any more. As the name suggests, the club is exclusively electric.

If you are from the north west, please stop by nwef.org and register. It is free. We fly at 60 acres in Redmond and share the field with the local soccer association.

Lon Stumf is our president and quite a character. You must meet him sometime and say hello.

Watch the following two videos and you will see him in it.

 

 

There are quite a few hobby stores that I patronize regularly. Some of them are local and others are online. Here are the details of these stores

Remote Control Hobbies in Woodinville, WA is where I go most. Dave, the owner, is a pretty cool guy. Always a smile on his face and very helpful. Be sure to ask him your questions. Thursday and friday are his off days so visit him over the weekend and he will sure help you out.

Another store that I visit is Hobby Town USA in Redmond, WA. This is on my way home from work and convenient.

I have been to Galaxy Hobby in Lynnwood, WA a few times. They have an excellent selection of "toys" and always a fun place to visit.

I have also bought from toddsmodels in North Bend, WA. Todd is a colorful character. The store is a little too out of the way for me but located in beautiful North Bend.

I shop online too and here are some of my favorite stores.

bphobbies in New Jersey. I bought my Fiesler Storch and BP Cub Park Flyer (YELLOW) ARF kits from them. Good customer service and fast shipping.

stevensaero in Colorodo. Excellent customer service and fast cheap shipping. They have some excellent beginner balsa kits with very detailed instructions. I successfully built the Lil Squirt and the sport mono plane from instructions. Don't be afraid to shoot Bill an email and he will answer promptly. They have a good page on how to choose a motor for your plane.

myatomic.com in Indiana. Free shipping on orders over $25. How can you beat that. I have bought my GWS J3 Cub, GWS Tiger Moth 400 from them. They have tons of stuff but their website is hard to navigate.

hobbyking.com in Hong Kong. Tons of stuff and extremely good prices. Takes about 2 weeks for stuff to show up at your door. Poor website but once you find your way around it then you are good to go. Good prices on LiPo batteries. Do not ever order a few items as you will end up paying a lot on shipping. Always fill the basket up to the weight limit so you spread the shipping cost over many items. Support on products is terrible. As long as stuff works you are golden.

 

Running a hobby store in these tough economic times is a hard thing. Online stores are a better deal and it is your money after all. I have bought from my local hobby store and online. Just spread the cheer.

 
I have had a pretty interesting experience since the day I jumped right into RC Planes, be it flying or building. Some of it was sheer stupidity on my part and some of it was sheer arrogance and some of it was pure shyness. Anyway, here goes

Do Not Be Shy

RC plane flying is very unlike RC car driving. With RC cars, one can just stop and at least the car will not be destroyed. With RC planes, once you get the plane up, you have to get it down else keep a good big garbage bag to carry the plane bits home.
I credit my nephew for going forward and actually asking one of the hobbyists on the field for help and sure believe me, that was when I got hooked onto this hobby. From that day on, I had a mentor who taught me to keep the plane in the air, take off and land and have not looked back since. Many of you in Redmond will know Jim Nikitouplus who has helped me all the way. Not to mention Lon Stumpf, our club's president, who gives good advice and have given me his planes to fly.
Ask the local hobby store for any info about RC clubs in your area. Shoot them and email and I am pretty sure they will help you out. Although I am only 6 months into really being able to fly these planes, I have shown enough progress that many of the local club members let me fly their high wing planes now.

First Time Buy vs. Build

I would say buy your first plane vs. Building one. Building one's own plane is very satisfying but it takes time and patience and there is a lot to learn. Also buy a foam electric plane as they are quite forgiving and can be fixed easily with glue. My recommended plane is the Parkzone Super Cub .
I would also like to add that you should stay away from the micro planes for your first buy. These micro planes are fun to fly and on the face of it, they might look easy but keep one thing in mind, flying a plane close to the ground requires some skill. I would rather you get the plane way high with your mentor and allow yourself enough room to make mistakes. My Lon Stumpf calls it having three lives. I persisted and in about two weeks, I was able to take the plane off the ground. Landing a plane is a whole different matter and requires practice. I am still learning.
These days I am teaching my 6 year old to fly the GWS J3 cub and all I do is put it up about 500ft and let him get the hang of it and play with it. If he starts to get the plane too close to the ground then I take over. Bottom line, this is an expensive hobby so please learn the skills before you spend.

First Time Build

If you do want to build, I would stick to foam Almost Read to Fly (ARF) kits.
Try the GWS J3 Cub. Pretty much any local hobby store (LHS) will have it. Preferably, work with someone to build it. I would call the instructions to be OK (not good) so it requires reading between the lines. Once you build your first ARF kit, you would understand what they are "really" trying to tell you. Although you get a brushed motor with the kit, I chose to go brushless. Here is what I used for the mechanics.
Another good plane to build is the GWS stick. Again, any local hobby store (LHS) will have the kit. This is a good plane to learn your skills
  • Motor : AX 2308N 1100kv brushless Micro Motor
  • ESC : TURNIGY Sentry 18amp Speed Controller
  • Servos (you will require 2 of these) : HXT900 9g / 1.6kg / .12sec Micro Serv
  • Battery:Turnigy 1300mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack  gives me about 25 minutes of flight time.
  • Prop : 10x6. I think even a 9x6 or a 9x4 will work.
Shoot me an email if you have any questions about these builds. I will be more than happy to guide you along.

First Time build from Balsa

I bought a Dare Fokker DVIII kit from the local hobby store as a first time Balsa kit build and completely regret it. The plane is supposed to fly beautifully, but the kit is still sitting in the box. Bottom line, the instructions assume you are an experienced builder, which I am not.
My local club recommended the kits from StevensAero and MountainModels. I have yet to try the Mountain models kits but I had an excellent experience with the StevensAero kits. I ended up building the Squirt and the Sport Mono plane. Instructions with each kit were awesome.
I would highly recommend that you read the full instructions before you start to put the kit together. There is still some thinking to do but take your time in building it and the end product will be quite satisfying. I managed to build the Squirt in one sitting in about 5 hrs. The second build was the Sport Monoplane which I built in 3 sessions of about 2hrs each.

What glue to use

Initially I started off using CA. Bad choice as it sets quick and you have to think quick. I was then advised to use either 5 minute epoxy or TiteBond (from Home Depot / Sears). TiteBond (use the original) is much easier to work with over 5 minute epoxy. TiteBond is also cheap. Use glue sparingly. I typically use a toothpick to apply the glue and use acetone to wipe off any excess.

Cleanup

Always keep Acetone and alcohol handy for cleanup of epoxy. Get it from the local hardware store like HomeDepot or Lowes. Acetone evoporates quickly and is a pain to get it out of the can so I use a pump dispenser like this one Solvent Pump Dispensers or Liquid Push Down Alcohol Dispenser Labeled 

Propeller

Which Way Does A Propeller Go on the shaft.

A propeller has a right and wrong side and there is only one way it will go onto the shaft. I learnt this the hard way after I burning out two speed 400 motors as I had incorrectly placed the propeller.
Each propeller has a right side and a wrong side. What you need to do is feel one of the propeller blade. One side will be convex and the other side will be concave. The concave side of the propeller will be on the inner side i.e. facing the motor or will be opposite to the direction of travel. The convex side will be on the outside facing the direction of travel.

What size propeller to use?

Honestly, I am a little lost on this. I ask around and start stuggestions given to me. I am sure there is a science to it but I don't have the tools to measure it so ....

Motors

Picking the right size motor

Stevens aero has a good article on how to find the right motor for the plane. Here is the link  to it. The math is simple and has helped me find an appropriate motor for my planes.

Which way should the motor turn

The rule of thumb is that if standing and facing the same direction of travel (if the plane will be moving north and you face north) of the plane the motor connections should be such that the shaft should revolve clockwise.
Brushed motors have only two connections, so reverse the connections with the ESC if the motor is going the other way.
Brushless motors have three connections. To reverse, all you do is chose any two connections, unplug and reverse plug them again.
I always use 2mm bullet connectors to connect the ESC to the motor. Much easier to flip the connections.

Account for down and right thrust

All motors should be mounted such that they are at a 2 degree down and right thrust i.e. The motor is angled down and to the right. Many mounts come with the right amount of thrust automatically builtin. Others do not and you have to add it. Generally Stick planes do not require the thrust.

Checking if the thrust is correct

I don't have much experience with right thrust as I did not have to adjust it much. I had decided to switch the J3 Cub to a brushless motor and had to create my own firewall. In doing so, I had to add the down and right thrust to the motor. I used washers to add the thrust. The maiden flight required me to keep the nose of the plane down all the time at 1/2 throttle just to get it to fly level. Folks on the field suggested that it did not have enough down thrust. I added 2 more washers and that kind of fixed it. The plane now flies level at 1/2 throttle.
 

On an impulse, in the summer of 2008, I went to the local hobby store in Redmond, WA and got the Parkzone SloV. I always had the fascination for flying and had seen people fly airplanes in the local 60 acre park in Redmond.

I brought the plane home, assembled it and thought it would be simple enough to fly. Wrong. Distaster struck and I pretty much trashed it on day one. Had to change the motor, prop, main wing etc. I then shelved the plane for nearly one year and pretty much lost interest.

In the summer of 2009, I decided to rebuild the plane and then ask for help in learning to fly. They managed to take it up with a lot of difficulty but I managed to fly it. The motor was just not powerful enough.

I then decided to experiment with changing the motor, esc, servos and receiver. I had to throw all away as I the Parkzone electronics was pretty much non standard stuff.

The first problem you will hit is changing the motor. The SloV has a stick that is non-standard too. The standard motors with a stick mount are just too big. I picked a motor for a standard stick mount and used 1/16 aircraft plwood to fill in the gaps. The servos were easy to change and of course I had to change the receiver to a Specktrum and later on I switched it to one from HobbyKing

Here is the spec for my Parkzone SloV. Works great. With a 3S 1300mh Lipo, I get about 25 minutes. Takeoff is at about 60% throttle. Cruising is about 40%.

Servos
I would not recommend these servos as I already lost two of them trying to adjust them. I found these to be better
Brushless Motor AX 2308N 1100kv brushless Micro Motor (AX-2308N1100)
Brushless ESC TURNIGY Sentry 18amp Speed Controller (TR_S18A)
Transmitter + Receiver Hobby King Mode 2 Transmitter + Receiver
Battery
Since then, I have switched my GWS Slow Stick to use same motor, ESC as listed above.