Paper Clip Leadouts (Picture 2)
We used paper clips for the lead out guides. We cut the loops off the paper clip, bent them at a 45 degree angle, poked them into the foamcore at the right spot, and held them in place with a little 5 minute epoxy. It is very fast and easy and we have never had one come out (Picture #2).
Probably the biggest modification is the engine mount (Picture #4). We made a double mount -- one on the engine and one on the plane (Picture #5). Both are 1/8" plywood -- with the one on the plane epoxied to another piece of plywood that runs perpendicular and is slotted to go over the foamcore. We braced it with additional pieces of balsa on all sides. The plywood mounts are slotted so they can be rubberbanded together to hold the engine on (Picture #3).
This system of rubberbanding the engines on has worked pretty well. It has saved the plane from breaking countless times in crashes. Just replace the rubberbands and you are back up in the air! It also makes the engines easy to swap around. We have some other planes with exactly the same mounts. The whole powerplant can be moved from one plane to another in a "snap" and without turning a single screw! When we have an engine that isn't running well we simply exchange it with another one that is already mounted on an identical firewall. Of course, sometimes firewalls themselves break in time and have to be replaced. If a rubber band breaks in flight you get a nasty cut as is visible in picture #1 (but it still flies!).
Probably our most radical modification is with our second platter. Our first plane was a trainer and we were looking for something with more spirit. Not only did we build the shorter "stunt" version, but we decided to try to lighten it up. I took a 2" holesaw (like you would use for making a hole in a door for a doorknob) and made 14 holes in the platter (7 on each side of the strip of plywood). I then carefully covered it with some shrinkable plastic covering. It was impossible to do this without a little warpage, but it wasn't too bad. We flew it recently and it was very responsive. It could loop with a circle not much bigger than the plane itself! We often lost count of the number of loops we could do in a flight -- at least 8 or 9, I would suppose. It tended to quickly fly up and almost had to be forced down (good for a beginner friend of ours successfully flew it). The plane managed to survive several crashes, but is considerably more fragile than a standard platter.
Thanks again for the idea and plans. Maybe this will help some others and inspire more flying and experimentation!
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