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After sanding the convex curve into the cylinder bottoms (above left), Enrique marks out a magnetic building board for the positioning of the cylinders; magnets are then used to hold the pieces in place while the glue sets. The

still pours on the scale detail. Take a look at the main wheel fork, and the seven wing- mounted skids—each formed from a balsa- Tyvek-balsa sandwich.

If you want to play the blues, lads, you got to pay the dues. By the way, that sweet look- ing spoked wheel? Made once again by our lead-off man, Mr. Maltz. Tipping the scales at a mere .23 grams, the rim and tire are made mostly of foam. We’ll have a nifty little feature on his process for making these in the near future. Fortunately, Tom opted to model the wheel in the “down” position— yes, the Bleriot XXVI had a retracting main wheel—so we still get to see the handiwork when it’s all complete.

Cutting it fine

Tom Curphey is my hero. The deadline for this month’s column came right in the heat of the holidays, and close on the heels of the deadline for the previous month’s column. Something about getting us all back on schedule..... I dunno. Anyhow, right when I was starting to sweat about getting in my re- quired quota of words, Tom sent me this fine explanation for his method of making right angle cuts, which I am taking the liberty of dropping into this column pretty much unedited. Take me to 1500 words, Tom! “In connection with the need to make some modifications to a foam ARF, I recently de- veloped a cutting guide for making cuts per-

finished product, with various fiddly bits added, weighs in at a bare .5 gram. Note the effectiveness of the suggestionof cooling fins (above right); no need to go overboard!

pendicular to a foam or balsa sheet. The es- sential idea is to attach a strip of adhesive- backed magnetic tape to an aluminum angle and to use this as a guide for a steel cutting tool.

“Here are the details: The aluminum an- gle can be 1

⁄2 × 1 -inch or 1 ⁄2 ⁄2 × 1-inch. The lat-

ter can be made by cutting down one side of a 1 × 1-inch angle or can be purchased from McMaster-Carr (Item #8982K911). Be sure to check that the sides of the angle are 90 de- grees from each other, as some angles pur- chased from local hardware stores have been found to have sides several degrees off of perpendicular.

“The aluminum angle is cut to the desired length, and then one 1 to accept the 1

⁄2 ⁄2 -inch side is cleaned -inch wide magnetic tape pur-

chased from a local hardware store. The cleaning is done with steel wool, followed by a wipe with a paper towel wet with acetone. After peeling off the protective backing sheet, the magnetic tape is applied to the aluminum angle.

“To insure good adhesion, the assembly is clamped to another piece of angle, with the magnetic tape sandwiched between the two angles. The back of the angle carrying the tape is then heated with a heat gun to set the adhesive. If this operation is omitted, the ends of the tape will have a tendency to pull loose from the aluminum angle. As cut- ting tools I have used either a fine-toothed

Zona razor saw, or a double-sided razor blade CA’ed to a craft stick.

“The guide is placed over the piece to be cut, the tool adhered to the magnetic tape, and the cut made by making several light passes along the cut line. When done care- fully, the result should be a clean cut whose edge is precisely perpendicular to its sur- face. As an aid to holding the guide in place, I use push pins inserted into tight-fitting holes drilled at intervals along the guide.” Tom, that is slick as Grandma’s okra. Thanks for the tip!

Hero worship Would you like to be my hero? It’s easy! Send me pictures of your freeflight projects, or a verbal explanation of a neat idea, or both, to the address on the column head. Note that digital pictures need to be high-resolution— that will usually mean 1 MB minimum per picture. Believe it or not, most cell phone cameras will take perfectly usable, high-res- olution pictures. Just please, clean the cam- era lens first—amazing what a difference that can make, and hey, try your glasses too! And when you e-mail them to me send them at full size. Many e-mail programs au- tomatically downsize pictures to make them quicker to send. If you’re not sure how to do it, trade your grandson or granddaughter model building lessons for a bit of their com- puter know-how.


Tom Hallman’s wing-rib cutting method. Note the heavy card-stock backer (above left) between the balsa sheet and the cork cutting board. That’s Tom’s own take


on a dummy Gnome at the right. A bones shot (above right) of the ingredients for Tom Hallman’s Bleriot XXVI. Is it soup yet? Seems a shame to cover it!


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