If this model was being built in the same way the real aircraft was constructed, it would now be in the final stage of the main assembly building at the Boeing facility in Everett, Seattle. This is where all the sections of the fuselage are joined, and a mass of complex wiring looms and connections are ran through to all extremities of the aircraft to support the avionics, engines, flight controls, cabin lighting etc..and the list goes on…and then the engines are fitted before the aircraft is towed to the painting facility.
Well, back to the reality of my mini Boeing facility, the production of my aircraft is taking longer than the time to produce several real Boeing 747SP’s which we’re being rolled out at a rate of at least one per week during their production. My SP is getting wired up to support the lights and small drone motors for the engines. Much simpler than the real deal, but probably just as tedious. The wiring has to be concealed in the wings, and ran through to the wing tips and through tiny holes in the engine pylons, as well as a few other locations in the fuselage including the flight deck. Just like the FedEx Boeing 747F I built, all the wiring will come together in the wingbox.
My buddy who is in charge of the “avionics” has been hard at work coming up with the right mix of electronic components to allow all 4 engines to spin whilst running the lights and without overloading the circuit. This has presented as quite a challenge, but the final circuit has been tested and ready to be fitted as part of final assembly, where the wiring will be checked before the tracks in the wings that conceal the wiring can be filled ready for final finishing.
Just like the real thing, the engines will be fitted with the drone motors and connected up, but there are a few internal components to be 3D printed to support the motors and to keep the fans perfectly central to ensure they spin freely. Then the model can be “towed” to the mini Boeing paint facility…my shed…or as I affectionately call it, “Hanger 96”….
Its about time…..that I post another update you might say….but I have been busy experimenting again with my 3D printer to produce a prototype engine pylon. I’ve managed to create a 3D model, but struggling to get a successful print. I’ve had much success with printing the jet engine fans, so am a bit perplexed as to why I’m having trouble again.
Anyway, I have made the engine pylons out of wood in the true spirit of my AeroArt and the engines themselves. As this model is for myself, I don’t mind experimenting with a few 3D printed short-cuts…🤓. You may question that my previous posts show the engines and pylons already made, this is true, but I used them on the FedEx 747F to save some time.
Ive also made the wingbox and carved out tracks to run the wiring for the lights and engines, as well as hole bored for the cockpit lights. Speaking of which my buddy has been busy working on the electronics to support the lights and engine micro-motors…yes, this model will have Jet fans that will spin… The wingbox will house all the electronics, and will be accessible by removing the wings/wingbox which is a single unit. I just need to blend in the wings and wing fairings into the wingbox. To do this I’m also experimenting using a flexible gap filler that can be hand shaped and painted.
On another note, my FedEx customer has commissioned and challenged me to build another model, but this time in a larger scale – 1:50 scale. The aircraft is the mighty C5A Galaxy. So this model will be about 1.4 metres long, the largest I have built to date. The first step for myself in this challenge is creating drawings and patterns, so stay tuned for another big project on all scales…
I have finally made a start back on the SP after a long break. First task was to cut out a section for the wingbox which is a change from my original plan to make the wings removeable (without the wingbox), however with the success of the FedEx Boeing 747 Freighter, which included lights, I will be doing the same to the SP, so will need a removeable wingbox to house the wiring and electronics etc. So the wings and wingbox will form one removeable piece…now I’ve taken the first step, I’m motivated to get this one finished…
Since completing the FedEx 747 Freighter, back during the Christmas break, the weather has been generally stinking hot so working in the workshop is not ideal, I might also mention It’s not air conditioned, not yet anyway…, and I have started a new job, so the Boeing 747SP completion has been slowed up a bit, but the weather is starting to change with Autumn on our doorstep, so I will be getting back to completing the SP very soon. With the Fedex coming up so well with the lighting, I will be including similar lighting on the SP and the spinning jet fan blades. My buddy who provided the electronics for the FedEx has also been working on some new and improved circuitry so we can run more lights etc. so stay tuned….
The final run towards my Christmas deadline was difficult, but I got there eventually, completing the model on Boxing Day ready to deliver to the customer. I am fairly pleased with the result. There was a lot of work involved with getting the lights working. The final lighting comfiguration included the two wing tip navigation lights, the strobe on the upper deck and the light in the cockpit.
The lights can be switched on and off via a tiny hole in the bottom of the fuselage using a piece of wire, like a reset button on some electronic devices.
The cockpit window was also another challenge as I had to make this from a piece of clear styrene, which was cut to the approximate shape, then heated in the oven before quickly lying it on the model where I had carved out the cockpit window and cavity to get the correct curve / profile. It was then a process of final shaping to get a near perfect fit into the cavity.
The model can be seen in its new home, in the customers man cave along with his collection of cars, motor bikes and other items. The plane can also be viewed through a window from the formal lounge room.
Its great to see this project finished, so now I have some time to complete the Boeing 747SP…
Its been a very busy few days since my last post, but im pleased to say that this project is well on track for my Christmas deadline. Well, Boxing Day to be exact. I’ve managed to juggle visits to the shops for some final Xmas shopping, including a visit to the man in the big red suit for my son, as well as a few other chores, but I am very pleased with the result so far.
Getting the wiring set up for the lighting was a little tricky, but I got there in the end before getting stuck into the final sanding, filling and undercoating with spray putty. This is a process that needs to be repeated several times to smooth out scratches and divots from shaping. The trick is to minimise these defects in the first place, but it is something I’m getting better at.
Fortunately it’s been very warm today, so I’ve literally been able to bake the paint to speed up the drying process. Because I need to mask parts of the fuselage and wings to prevent overspray with other colours, it’s critical that the paint is dry, so the finish doesn’t get effected by the masking tape. There is still a bit more painting to go, but this will be completed tomorrow (Christmas Eve).
I was also able to get some decals ready and 3D print the engine fans, so it’s really a matter of some minor detailin, final assembly and testing over the next few days before delivering the model to my customer. In the meantime, a very Merry Christmas to all, and to all, good night…
Time is of the essence with my Christmas deadline fast approaching to complete this project and still plenty to do. Fortunately, it’s my last day tomorrow before the holidays, so I can put some solid hours in to get it finished ready to ship to my client.
All components are complete, including engines and wing ‘canoes’ that cover the flap extension and retraction mechanisms.
Most of the remaining work is in completing the wiring for the lights, then filling in the wiring tracks on the underside of the wing leading to the LED lights on the wing tips. The landing lights proved to be a little tricky, and resulted in some unwanted damage on the leading edge which will need to be carefully filled and shaped around the LED lights. The flightdeck windows will also be illuminated with LEDs as well as upper and lower strobe lights on the fuselage.
Then there is the painting and detailing, but not before the final sanding. I have engraved most of the details including flight surfaces and landing gear doors. This will save a lot of time and looks more realistic. All this to do with about 5 days remaining. The pressure is on…