Author Topic: Shoestring Racer  (Read 3997 times)

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4682
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
Shoestring Racer
« on: November 17, 2013, 09:23:49 PM »

I've been building a small scratch built model of the Shoestring racer out of  a piece of insulation foam this last couple of weeks, using very basic tools (featuring especially a used hacksaw blade  :) ). Mainly as an exercise in doing it as simply as possible, just for fun. Not quite done yet.

I've done a more detailed build log here:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2025928











I love it when a Plan B comes together.

Offline dsquire

  • In Memoriam
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2280
  • Country: ca
  • Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 11:32:07 PM »
VT

I slipped over to the RC forum and read up on your thread. You certainly have a way of turning a bit of foam into an aircraft without any fancy tools. Goes to show what can be done if one wants to do it. I'll be fallowing along as you complete it.  :thumbup:

Cheers  :beer:

Don

Good, better, best.
Never let it rest,
'til your good is better,
and your better best

Offline Stilldrillin

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4819
  • Country: gb
  • Staveley, Derbyshire. England.
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2013, 02:10:53 AM »
What Don said!

Steve. You certainly have a good "engineer's eye", and can work magic with foam offcuts!  :clap: :clap:

Watching quietly.  :thumbup:

David D
Still drilling holes... Sometimes, in the right place!

Still modifying bits of metal... Occasionally, making an improvement!

Offline awemawson

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4922
  • Country: gb
  • East Sussex, UK
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2013, 04:08:47 AM »
Steve, looks very good  :thumbup:

I'm looking forward to the vacuum forming of the cowl - very innovative approach .

Andrew
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4682
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 09:13:32 AM »
Thanks Don, David, and Andrew!  :beer:

I don't actually have a vacuum forming machine. I do have as you guys know tools and materials to make one easily in steel or aluminum, or whatever.

But in that thread my real hope is to get people who have very little in the way of resources to try to make something, using easily available materials, and as few tools and measurements as possible. Kind of the opposite approach to what we usually value here in our machine shops.

I just visited our local elementary school Friday all day long and sat in on classes as a member of the school board of directors. What I saw dismays me.  I feel there is a great lack of manual skill development in our school systems. When I was a kid, probably 90 percent of boys I knew at least were building model airplanes. They could wield a hammer and hand saw, build a tree house or a skooter out of an orange crate and some wheels, etc. Now, children have almost no idea that they can use tools. Everything is a purchase. And I go to a place like Walmart and see no kits of planes or much else that you can build and paint. I see only shiny plastic gadgets.

Manual skill development has been relegated in high school to the lowest levels of education. Actually, it has been entirely eliminated. To me, manual skill development is one of the highest forms of education, and it is a great mistake to treat it as less important than other forms of learning. I think our culture is really making itself dependent in ways that are unsupportable, long term.

Anyway, off the soapbox, my desire in that airplane building thread was to try to illustrate building something sophisticated in shape and function in as rudimentary way as possible, to show people that you need very little beyond the desire and understanding of basic marking and cutting principles to succeed. Maybe kids will see that it can be done, or adults, too, and think, gee, maybe I'll give that a try. It doesn't cost anything to carve out a piece of foam.

So, the vacuum forming "machine" will, like the rest of it be something as small and simple and rudimentary as I can think up, rather than something welded or machined, etc. That doesn't mean I wouldn't greatly admire a true home-built vacuum former -- and there are already many of these illustrated throughout RCGroups Forum -- a search will bring many references up. Gingery has a book on one. And I may even secretly build a "real" one for my shop at some point. Seems like it would be handy to have, and my spot welder would make quick work of some angle iron, hinges and a latch in a one afternoon project in metal.

But for this Simple Shoestring thread, it's going to be something as minimal and rudimentary as possible. So I hope it doesn't disappoint here! I'll be thinking about it today. And trying it out, I hope...... :zap:
I love it when a Plan B comes together.

Offline Brass_Machine

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5132
  • Country: us
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 10:12:03 AM »
...
I just visited our local elementary school Friday all day long and sat in on classes as a member of the school board of directors. What I saw dismays me.  I feel there is a great lack of manual skill development in our school systems. When I was a kid, probably 90 percent of boys I knew at least were building model airplanes. They could wield a hammer and hand saw, build a tree house or a skooter out of an orange crate and some wheels, etc. Now, children have almost no idea that they can use tools. Everything is a purchase. And I go to a place like Walmart and see no kits of planes or much else that you can build and paint. I see only shiny plastic gadgets.
...

I share your dismay Steve. My plan is to instill as much as I can into my son. I am trying to involve him as much as I can right now (he is only 5) and want to get him doing more. His big passion is robots, I hope to get him to the point of where he is building everything he possible can for them...
Science is fun.

We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.

Offline awemawson

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4922
  • Country: gb
  • East Sussex, UK
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2013, 10:39:54 AM »
Steve,

Hair dryer and your domestic vacuum cleaner will do the job with the thin plastic that I expect you'll want to use.

Manual skills: It started by manual skills being looked down upon - our children were all encouraged to do 'better than that' and get 'proper qualifications'. At this stage school workshops stopped being properly used and gathered dust. Then along came the Health and Safety brigade, who were horrified that poor little children would be exposed to nasty >>machines<<. Then computers came to the fore - everything had to be on the PC. At this stage school workshops were cleared of all the decent British - German or US machine tools and converted to 'PC Labs' - or even 'PC Workshops' (groan). OK we who appreciated the machinery were very glad of it on the second hand market but it meant that no one was being given a chance to learn practical skills. Now there is a very slight turn around, just a few schools are re-equipping, but of course it is all Chinese machinery - ironic that the original British stuff would still have been sound a decade or two after people lost direction  :bang:

Andrew
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline John Rudd

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2089
  • Country: gb
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2013, 02:30:21 PM »
Nice work vt, can't wait to see it fly....  :bow:
eccentric millionaire financed by 'er indoors
Location:  near Hull

Skype: chippiejnr

Offline millwright

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 227
  • Country: gb
  • Leeds West Yorshire
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2013, 04:54:34 PM »
Enjoying the build forum Steve, never got round to foam for planes all mine were balsa. dabbled with planes contol line and RC then ended up with RC cars in the early 70s racing them then running the car club for 11 yrs. still have Great Planes flight sim 3.5 on the PC just to keep the brain and fingers working. As to Andrews comment about schools over here i spent the last 10 yrs working in schools all over Yorkshire servicing their woodworking and metalworking machinery, lathes and millers very rarely used the majority of teachers had no idea how to use them and i was often asked what they were and what could you do with them some didnt even know what they were called. !!! British Education Once we led the World with our Engineering hmmm. The new Machinery coming into schools is ony to replace the"Old" stuff thats been there years, hence the harrison and boxford lathes and millers are being sold by schools to dealers at rockbottom prices machinery that has hardly been used or ever seen a decent cut being made. then being replaced by Chinese equipment. I know of a least one school where the new lathes have still never been used after 4 yrs the only person to turn them on was me.
Well sorry about that rant and hijacking the thread i got a bit carried away there but it really Pi***s me off.
 John

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4682
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2013, 11:08:28 PM »
No problem gentlemen with your thoughts on education, as far as I'm concerned. I like model planes, but I truly intended this one to try to get people interested in making things. Maybe some kid somewhere will say, I'm going to try that.

But I am going to try to locally get interest up in making things. Not just online in a forum, but here in my town. I'm not sure how to do that, but I will figure out a way. I would like it to evolve upwards towards machining, but start at the simple manual level. Could be a model plane, could be anything.

The amazing thing about those schools getting rid of the machinery, which was hardly used, is that people, when you show them how to use it and let them try something, naturally gravitate towards it. There is usually great interest in making things, whenever you bring someone into it. Crowds gather to watch a person on a wood lathe, or blowing glass, or wielding a blacksmith hammer, if set up where it can be seen outdoors.

It's like we're completely disconnected at school from what people actually like, and find valuable, once they are involved in it.

But they don't know it. They get trapped in thinking they don't know how to make things. That they're all thumbs. Or that only manufacturing plants can make things. Regular people can't make things. That's the thinking.

But they can. We know that. It isn't magic what we do. Just belief that things are do-able. Somewhere along the line in our lives (and many of us are old now) somebody told us we could make things. And showed us how. And let us try. And that started us off.

Well if the conventional schools can't do that, then maybe it's time to form our own schools. To try to pass on what we learned. Which was that we are capable.


I love it when a Plan B comes together.

Offline Stilldrillin

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4819
  • Country: gb
  • Staveley, Derbyshire. England.
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2013, 02:09:50 AM »
How school life has changed.......

We were told to always carry a penknife. For sharpening chisel points on pencils etc.

Break time, many of us whittled propeller shapes from a stick of firewood.
Balanced across a finger, to find centre. Then drill a prop shaft (pencil) hole, with the blade point. Many lads had bloody fingers from the blade folding, at the wrong moment.

String wrapped around the shaft had the prop lifting off, several feet into the air. Lots of them, every playtime.......

All our practical skills developed from our school years.

David D



Still drilling holes... Sometimes, in the right place!

Still modifying bits of metal... Occasionally, making an improvement!

Offline S. Heslop

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 915
  • Country: gb
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2013, 02:07:59 AM »
I just visited our local elementary school Friday all day long and sat in on classes as a member of the school board of directors. What I saw dismays me.  I feel there is a great lack of manual skill development in our school systems. When I was a kid, probably 90 percent of boys I knew at least were building model airplanes. They could wield a hammer and hand saw, build a tree house or a skooter out of an orange crate and some wheels, etc. Now, children have almost no idea that they can use tools. Everything is a purchase. And I go to a place like Walmart and see no kits of planes or much else that you can build and paint. I see only shiny plastic gadgets.

Manual skill development has been relegated in high school to the lowest levels of education. Actually, it has been entirely eliminated. To me, manual skill development is one of the highest forms of education, and it is a great mistake to treat it as less important than other forms of learning. I think our culture is really making itself dependent in ways that are unsupportable, long term.

It wasn't that long ago that I was still in school, and as a mechanically minded kid it was real despairing. I went into secondary school with a keen interest in making things, having already made RC boats, tree houses, rafts, and all the other stuff kids make. They really sucked the enjoyment and satisfaction out of making things, and it didn't take long for me to lose enthusiasm for making things in general. Spending months designing a thing in cad programs, learning about various wood joint types from diagrams but never seeing a real example of one (let alone cut one out!). The big project was making a thing in software and getting to watch the technician set up the cnc router. By the end of it I probably forgot more than I'd learned.

It wasn't just technology though. We had a cookery class for a year and we got to bake a single pizza. The rest of it was about designing product packaging. We then got robbed out of the A level geography field trip (the weekend away getting drunk then trudging around muddy fields collecting data with a hangover) when the exam board decided to get rid of the coursework and make the subject 100% exams. So instead of going on a field trip we had to sit an exam about what we would have done had we gone on a field trip.

The conspiracy theorist in me wants to imagine it's all designed to squash any ambition in people. But it's probably just a mix of health and safety concerns and exams being easier to mark.


Offline S. Heslop

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 915
  • Country: gb
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2013, 02:52:54 AM »
But they don't know it. They get trapped in thinking they don't know how to make things. That they're all thumbs. Or that only manufacturing plants can make things. Regular people can't make things. That's the thinking.

Something I found really difficult when I started getting interested in really making things again is just not knowing where to go to learn. One of the most valuable skills i've learned is how to spot bullcrap advise and information.

On alot of forums if you go in and say 'I want to learn woodworking!' everyone will come out of the woodwork and tell you that you desperately need to spend at least 200 on a Japanese pullsaw (how else are you going to cut all those essential hand dovetails!), get the entire stanley hand plane range, and my personal favourite "you should buy the most expensive tools right away because they'll last you a lifetime".

Then there's just plain mean spirited obfuscation to keep otherwise simple skills exclusive, which I feel Dave Gingery put best:

'This simple process has been referred to as the "Art of Hand scraping". It is well to remember that knowledge is generally passed on reluctantly. Those who know how want to maintain their superior position so they always try to make it as difficult as possible. It's up to you to discover the secret and avoid the diversions that such people want to set in your way.

The skill is so easy to acquire that it can hardly be called an "Art".'


There's a large community of people that 'make' stuff that call themselves Hackers or Makers. They're the same crowd of people that are going wild about 3d printers. They're in it for the self-image of being a smart person who makes cool gadgets, but don't really want to make stuff for its own sake. Naturally that involves not revealing too much about how a thing was actually made or how to learn what they know, as it might make them feel less special.

Not to insult the whole community, I know there's alot of canny people involved, but it caused me no end of frustration back when I was trying to actually learn how things are made. I really believed the crap and assumed I wasn't as smart as these people, or I needed a university education to make LEDs flash.

I stumbled on the model engineering community by chance when looking up how to rebore sprockets. It really amazed me just how honest and open everyone was about the stuff they made. Everything was presented clearly and in plain English.


I'm writing my lifes story! But I do feel it's tragic for anyone that wants to actually make stuff to get started when there's such a minefield of misinformation out there.

Offline Meldonmech

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 892
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2013, 05:54:17 AM »

   What a great build log, really interesting, I have not been involved in aircraft modelling since my early teans, when I was    carving balsa wood aircraft.  Was unaware they could be carved from foam, feel like having a go. Can't wait for the next episode.

                                                                   Well Done  David

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4682
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2013, 05:53:13 PM »
Sorry to have slowed down a little here -- the school board and school supervisory union budget (I'm on the finance committee for the district) and a multitude of meetings are just sapping time away from enjoyable stuff, but I'm hoping to move ahead with my model on the weekend. Sheesh, I'm supposed to be retired! The school stuff is all volunteer work.

Steve, sorry your manual skills and interest weren't encouraged back in school. That's really a shame, because I'm sure you weren't the only one who was discouraged. Some people thrive on CNC, CAD, etc. and that's great for them. Some want to build skills with a set of tools and with a hunk of materials in front of them, and that is very different. It's a different mindset, and often a different personality. Both are good. But they are not the same.

I believe both should be taught separately, and our educational system should recognize that different people have different orientations and so encourage those two kinds of people in appropriate ways. There is no one size fits all in education, though we seem to try to enforce it. A poor fit makes for frustration and discouragement. Both in machining and people.

Madmodders forum is a good example of the diversity of interest that can happen and yet combine into a community of creative work without the need to prove that one type of work, or tool, or material is better than another. It cuts across boundaries. People can appreciate work by others that they aren't actually interested in doing themselves. That's rare. I wish school systems could work on a similar principle of diversity and communal encouragement. I think people learn much more that way, not less. And more quickly.

I personally am oriented like you, Steve, not too interested in the Maker movement, or 3D printers, etc. I do own 2 CNC machines, one I built, including soldering up the circuit boards. But the interest was far more in making the tools than actually using them -- I'll spend hours on my manual lathe and mill, but get impatient doing CAD and the G-code for the router. That isn't my "fun" time.

But for others, it's great and inspiring to be able to produce a part automatically from a CAD rendering. We're all different. I like strawberry ice cream better than chocolate. I'm still friends with chocolate lovers.

Glad you found what you like, Steve! And why.

Meldonmech, John R, thank you guys! Promise to get back on it. I've got to make a better vacuum former for the cowl. First mistakes were: wrong material, wrong thickness, too small a margin around the part, too restricted vacuum entry, attachment staples placed inside the seal instead of outside, too small a total surface, part not spaced upwards enough.

In other words, almost every possible thing wrong, but improvable. The best kind of learning experience!
I love it when a Plan B comes together.

Offline TLGriff

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 89
  • Country: us
Re: Shoestring Racer
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2013, 10:24:58 PM »
Nice job on the Shoestring. That was the first plane that I ever built, a Carl Goldberg U-control With a McCoy .35 engine.  :dremel:

I do a lot of electric flying now and use a foam building technique for semi-scale models that is a lot like building with balsa. The fuselage is built using formers and sheeted with 1/4" fan-fold foam insulation. I've found that it can be coaxed over a form by heating it with a hair dryer and rubbing it with a stick. The wings are just one layer of the fan fold stuff formed into an airfoil. The last plane I built using this technique was a Gee Bee Model D Sportster.  I haven't flown it yet, but it looks pretty good. Maybe I'll snap some pics and start a thread on it.

What did you use to fill and paint the foam? I was thinking trying that light weight spackling like Red Devil makes. I need something to fill the leading and trailing edges of the wing and tail surfaces and fillet around the struts.

Tom