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…
The 3D printing has had to move aside for a bit so I can focus on getting ahead on the 747 Fedex freighter. I’ve now got the wing box design sorted which includes a cavity for a light circuit and battery option to enable nav and landing lights. The wingbox and wings will be a solid unit which can be removed to replace the batteries for the lights etc. It will also make transportation and storage easier if required.
The fuselage is now ready for final sanding in preparation for priming. It’s great to see this project staring to look like a 747 with the wings attached. The challenge when attaching the wings to the wingbox is ensuring their correct alignment with the rest of the aircraft so the jig I mage up helps with that, but a few measurements also need to be taken to check the wing dihedral is the same on both sides as well as in alignment with the horizontal stabilisers.
This week I’ll be finishing off the wings, including engraving the flight surfaces, shaping the fairings and final sanding ready for priming. Then it will be onto the engines and starting the painting. Lots to do so I can deliver this Airliner to my client before the Year is out.
A freind of my has taken an interest in my Models and kindly offered to build a circuit with nav lights and electric motors to spin the low pressure fan. He is also a former Airbus Engineer and Avgeek like myself. So a side project has commenced and the SP will host the prototype lights and engines.
Now I am making good progress into the world of 3D printing and able to get decent quality prints, I’ve been able to move on and complete a prototype of my working mini jet engines that will be fitted to the SP.
To enable the low pressure fan to spin, I put my new 3D modelling and printing skills to good use, designing an insert to house the electric motor, and an exhaust nozzle to fit snug inside the engine. It’s important to mention that the nature of my work is about maintaing the hand made element and always will be, however, where precision is needed it doesn’t hurt to lean on modern technology from time to time.
There is also the challenge of concealing the wiring to drive the fan, as well as a small LED that will sit inside each engine, so I created a small test bed and ran the wires through the engine mount. They are protruding out of the top of the wing, but will have to be hidden inside the wing. I’ll save that for the next update…
Well, it has been a few weeks since I posted my last update on the Boeing 747SP, but for a few good reasons, one of those reasons is that I started the FedEx 747F for a client. This one will have removable wings and wing box. In the interest of continuous improvement, I took a different approach to the wing box from the 747SP, and I am pleased with the result. I also made some improvements to my jig so I could position the empennage (horizontal and vertical stabilisers) section. Now I’m nearly ready to shape the wing blanks I made a few weeks ago.
Another reason is that I decided to buy a 3D Printer to make more realistic turbine fan blades for my Airliner Models. Id been planning to do this for a while, then Aldi advertised one in their weekly buys for $300, so with a 60 day no questions asked return policy, I had nothing to loose, and everything to gain, which I did. After a lot of trial and error, and learning how to use a 3D modelling software package, I finally managed to print a decent quality turbine fan. The one shown below is magnified and still requires a bit more cleaning up to remove the remaining support structures built during printing.
I was ready to take the printer back after multiple attempts to print out a decent turbine fan, until I decided to try a new 3D slicer program (this converts a 3D object into printable layers). I initially installed the 3D Slicer software preloaded on the micro SD card that came with the printer, and proved this was the cause of the problem. So, the secret to a good 3D print is using good slicer software, and not necessarily the printer itself.
Another milestone reached today with the aircraft coming together with all its components assembled and fitted. Now it looks like 747SP. Earlier in the week I decided to go with the Qantas theme again, so I made the Rolls Royce RB211 style engines. It is very motivating seeing it come together.
I also finalised the wing position and alignment. Because I want these wings to be removable, I’ve used a different technique to make sure the wings are a snug fit up against the fuselage, so I applied some tape to the fuselage where the wings will butt up against, then applied flexible gap filler to the end of each wing before pushing them hard into position to form a seal. I’ll trim off the excess whet it’s dry. The flight surfaces have also been carved into the wings. So It’s nearly time for final sanding and preparation before undercoating. I also need to make the engine fans which will be fun as I will carve them as well. Stay tuned…
It’s been a week of multiple projects, with the continuation of the 747SP, plus, I have made a good start on my first client order for a 1:75 Scale FedEx Boeing 747. The SP had some refinement work done on the vertical stabiliser and a few other spots around the fuselage.
I’ve taken a slightly different approach to constructing the FedEx 747, deciding to reuse some pine sections from an old cabinet that we decided to dispose of, so this involved bonding flat sections together that I cut to size to form the fuselage block. I needed 6 pieces so I glued 2 each together to form 3 separate pieces which will bonded together later on, so for now I have screwed them together to make it easier to manipulate whilst shaping as I can separate them if need be. You can see the difference in length when compared to the SP. One other point to mention is that I am also adding the upper deck separately, again for easier shaping.
The engines have also been started, something I’ve been looking forward to, as It gives me a good reason to use my lathe again. I’ve began with the Pratt & Whitney JT9D version, which can be used on the SP and the FedEx 747. If I decide to do the SP in the Qantas livery, then I will have to make the Rolls Royce RB211 version.
As I progress with the FedEx 747, I will start posting separate updates, so stay tuned.
The first set of wings have been shaped, with a few refinements to be made. In order to ensure near to perfect symmetry, for the wing profile and their alignment with the horizontal and vertical stabilisers, I’ve added a jig to keep everything aligned whilst I complete the final shaping of the wings. My jigs are not quite as complex and perfect as those found in the Boeing factory, but they will be suffice to ensure the finished aircraft is aesthetically pleasing and symmetrical when viewed, especially now I have a couple more 747’s to make.
The wings will also be removable for this scale, so they must be fitted precisely to ensure there are no gaps where the wing butts up to the fuselage, and keep the right dihedral. Can’t wait to get started on the engines next, but its looking more like a 747SP now.