230 fuselage after deglazing. Doors and vents cutout. Deglazing
was all completed using 400 and 600 grit wet/dry paper with a few drops of
liquid detergent in the water as a lubricant. To get to the stage in the
picture took 15 hours of steady sanding. Then it took 3 more hours to do
||Here we have most of the wood work with the
first coat of Sander Sealer applied. You can see the control arm for
the front retract, it's masked off for painting.
|To say that I'm impressed with the mechanics
would be an understatement they are built like a tank. I read
through the instructions, dug out the tools, and did the assembly in one
evening. I should say just enough of the assembly for me to start
lining everything up in the 230
|I spent the good
part of an evening lining everything up inside the fuse to insure that the
output shaft for the tail was a straight run through from the output
gear box to the tail rotor gear box. It was accomplished by making
sure that the workbench was level and that the fuse was level on the
bench. Than making sure that the wood support system in the fuse was
also level. The mechanics were then bolted into the fuse and by
using two metal rulers I created a site system so that when I looked
through the rear fuse opening I could line up center on the output shaft.
I then used a couple of small drops of CA to hold the wood frame in place
in the fuse. I will now remove the mechanics and epoxy the frame
into the fuse, attach the tail boom and the drive shaft should be in a
straight line from front to back. Patience is the key to this
|Here you can get
some idea of the size of this machine. Although the seams are a
great fit, you can see some filler applied to the join line, I like to be
sure that no pin holes show up later. Where the tail section
joins the body on the full size machine there's a panel line, you
could use the join line for this but I decided to fill it in now and
create the line later when I'm detailing the surface
number four I said I was ready to glass in the frame work well I
discovered that installing the front lower windows would be near
impossible once the flight deck floor was glassed in. I removed the
small drops of CA and went back to the drawing board. I did all the
painting inside the fuse, flat black on the floor back as far as the rear
door openings, than flat gray to the rear of the landing gear pods.
The flight deck floor was painted flat black on the bottom and flat gray
on top, this way when you look up through the lower windows the wood work should
be more or less invisible. I than installed the lower windows.
Than the fixed gear blocks just in case I should want to install that gear
later. Now I'm truly ready to glass in the flight deck
floor and the mechanics mounting system. The photo shows the works
taped up so I could verify all the clearances around the mechanics.
|The tail boom is now
attached to the main fuse, the system Vario provides insures that
everything will line up at 90 degrees to each other. As you can see
in the picture a pre drilled disk cut to size goes inside the fuse while
in the tail section you have a tab and blind nut. All you do is
drill a hole in the glass for the screw, run it into the blind nut and
tighten, presto it's all lined up. Following a dry fit and
double check I drilled some keying holes for the glue all around the
rear of the fuse and the front of the tail section, mixed up a batch
of epoxy and pulled it all together with the screw. The epoxy that
was forced out was cleaned up with a quick wipe with some rubbing
alcohol. Once the glue was set, I reinforced around the
fuse disk with glass cloth and epoxy resin.
|The retracts are
now installed, this is a long slow process one where an extra pair of
hands is helpful. The nose gear is actually installed with the
flight deck floor due to it's location in the nose there is no way to
reach up inside and install it later. The main gear is another
story, I did more dry fits and fine tuning than you can imagine but the
end result is that they are well installed and work great. I'm using
two servos one for the nose and one for the mains rather than engineer
a complex linkage, it can be done with one but I had the extra servo so
|The cooling duct
is installed this is fairly straight forward, just a matter of finding the
centre on the fan and working from that. The hole was cut by
drilling small holes around the circle than very carefully connecting all
the drill holes with a cut-off wheel. Final sanding was done with a drum
sander made to match the 4.75 inch diameter of the cooling duct. You
will note two things one is the strut for the main gear running across the
fuse, the other is that the duct is wider than the wood framing. I
had a number of options available to me but decided to cut away the wood
and reinforce it later.
|Here you can see the
start on the detailing, the process I use is to spray a very light coat of
primer sand this out than add my detailing. The build up areas
around the air intakes was done by masking off the area around where
I want the extra thickness to be than I spray a number of layers of
primer to create a built up or raised panel effect. The rivets
are than added using a medium size medical needle and carpenters glue,
once you get the feel of it you can lay down 60 or 70 per minute.
Once these have cured I add the final thin layer of primer to lock them in.
|This will somewhat
contradict what I said above no primer under these rivets, well the reason
is that I feel confident that the machine will come out tail heavy so
I decided to eliminate the first layer of primer aft of the main cabin
area. I will be adding the lock in layer of primer once the glue has
cured. Remember the rivets may look a bit large at first but when
you add the primer and the finish coat they will decrease in size and
should be just right
|The tail section
with rivets locked in with a light coat of primer. The efforts here
is really to keep that tail section as light as possible. Because of
its really long tail, the 230 needs to be kept light back there to prevent
the need to add nose weight later.
|The rear portion of
the top deck with exhaust glued in and rivets and panel lines detailing
details have been added and the last coat of primer applied, following a
few minor touch ups I'll be ready to spray the final color coats.
|The 230 will be put
aside now, I'm going to concentrate on getting the mechanics ready for the
test flights as a pod and boom. The next pictures will be of the
mechanics in a hover.....I hope!!!"
|Here it is, the
Modified Benzin Mechanics in flight. Yes, that's right we're
indoors, the temperature outside is -38.7C while inside it's +22C.
The radio is a Futaba 8 Ch.set-up as 4 point CCPM with 6
Hitec HS-925MJ servos, and a CSM 540 gyro. With the gear change the
rotor speed is 1200 rpm at the hover. The guy in the background is
my son Todd, he has much better reflexes than me for those first flights.
|For painting I use
the equipment shown here. The small airbrush com in handy for small
|This home made jig
is just a way of supporting the helicopter so that painting can be done
all around without touching the surface.
|The Bell 230 with
its epoxy base coat on. In this case I used Model epoxy paint.
This paint goes on easy and is fuel proof.
|Painting small parts
is done with the airbrush.