No Flying in February, but…

I’ve been playing catch-up in February.  The month started off with me and my wife visiting her native Costa Rica.  I came back from tropical jungles and beaches to 2 feet of snow on the ground.  And to top it off, this week, we had a swing of over 50 degrees between Thursday and Saturday – and we were still below freezing.  Yes, it was nearly 30 on Saturday…and according to my truck, it was -25 on Thursday morning.

Weather aside, I’ve been putting in extra effort trying to catch up on orders received while I was away.  I am pretty much caught up, excepting some items that I ran out of and am waiting on re-supply.

On the building front, I had a stretch of the doldrums – I hadn’t built in January or February until this week.  I had to practically force myself into building, but now I I’ve got the ball rolling.  Here is a new Embryo I built this week.  I call it the Bad Axe – it is a lengthened Tomahawk.  Bad Axe is a play on the Tomahawk name and a send-up to Michigan (and the Tomahawk’s Michigan origins), as there is a town here called Bad Axe.  I don’t have a weight yet, since I can’t spray it in this cold and it still needs a nose button and prop.


I have kinda spoiled myself as I don’t like to build any model without using laser cut parts.  That’s all good, except I have to spend a lot of time drawing parts if I want to build a new model.  So, I’ve been spending many hours redrawing one of my favorite models.  Here are pieces that I cut today for a 19″ span Keith Rider R-2 Bumblebee for the Greve Race.  I redesigned the fuselage to have a more accurate cross section and it will be built out of all 1/16″ sticks, so it should be fairly light, too.  That will be next on the building board – starting sometime this week.








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VPS Torque Meter

A fellow Cloudbuster asked me to make him a torque meter for Indoor use.  He wanted a maximum of 2 inch-ounces and deflection in a single direction.  We discussed and we thought a dual-use meter might work best.  I plan on designing a mount for this so he can clamp it to a table and wind motors externally.  As it is now, he can put this between the winder and the motor, like the larger Wilder and Tyson outdoor torque meters.

This is just under 3″ overall length, made with an 0.015″ wire, 2.06″ (approximately) under torque, and it weighs less than 2.5 grams.  The dimensions were generated from Herb Kothe’s formula that can be found online.  I will soon have a spreadsheet available in the How-To area to help others calculate what dimensions to use, if they want to make their own.

I might be convinced to make these for others…

That is a KP 10:1 hand held winder for size reference.



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WANTED – Photos of Your Models!

I rarely get to see what becomes of the kits that I send out.  That’s a shame, because I’d really like to see your builds.  I will post them online and give you proper credit.

Today, fellow Cloudbuster, John Jackson did just that – he sent me 3 photos of his current build.  He is building a Peanut Chambermaid from our Laser-Cut Short Kit.  It’s looking great so far and he says it was a snap to build.  I look forward to seeing it fly this summer.

Here is the link to the Short Kit:  VPS Peanut Chambermaid

CMpeanut-JohnJackson01 CMpeanut-JohnJackson02 CMpeanut-JohnJackson03

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Testing the Chambermaid NoCal

I drove up to Potterville, MI today for a short indoor testing session on my Chambermaid NoCal.  It was very stable.  I had this outside in December, but under very limited testing.  With light breezes and very low winds, I couldn’t really test it beyond knowing it would fly reliably.

Today was really limited testing also, but with more power and no wind.  I flew one flight with the 7″x7P prop and didn’t care for the way it zoomed up to the ceiling, so I swapped the prop for a 7″x10P prop, gave it some minor thrust adjustments and got some very stable flights

I put in about 1250 turns on the ~24″ loop of 1/8 rubber and watched it cruise around very smoothly.  Here are a couple photos followed by a video.

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2015 NEW PRODUCT #5 – 1/2″ Balsa Gussets

The last product for today is a continuation of my “gusset series”.  These are the largest ones to date: 1/2″ on the short side, made from 1/16″ sheet.  These join the 1/4″ and 3/8″ gussets.  Once again, this was a recommendation from a customer.

Since these are quick and easy and sometimes there might be a scorch or two (or maybe a line not cut through), I almost always double up your order!  You can’t go wrong for $1.50 a sheet for any of the three sizes.

Coming next – I’ve got TWO kits out there being proto-typed by friends.  Once they have verified that everything goes together well (or point out errors?), I will get them packaged and announced and available.  Stay tuned!

12 gussets

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2015 NEW PRODUCT #4 – KP Dual Ratio Winder

Here’s a BIG new product.  I decided to start carrying this winder, just in case some of you might want one.  KP dual ratio winder – Per KP themselves: “…suitable for larger models. Sturdy construction, smooth running and featuring an innovative dual ratio gearing system that combines 10:1 & 4:1 ratios in one winder.”  Switch the handle from side to side to change ratio.

I’m offering this 3 ways:  the Winder, the Winder with Counter, and the Counter separately.

Check them out in the basement under – you guessed it – Winders!


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2015 NEW PRODUCT #3 – 2″ Balsa Wheel Kit

Similarly, a customer wanted laser-cut wheels for his Jimmie Allen Skokie.  This is a set of 6 discs, laser-cut from 1/8″ balsa.  Laminate 3 together for a 3/8″ thick wheel.  Enough for 2 wheels (that balsa sheet is 12″ long!)

$3 – Find them in the Basement, under VPS Laser Cut Stuff, and then Accessories.


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2015 NEW PRODUCT #2 – 1/32″ Balsa Embryo Wheels

January will see several new products – and  they are coming in a hurry!  We already saw teh Chambermaid NoCal Short Kit – here is Product #2

By request from a customer who primarily flies Indoor – “could you cut your Embryo Wheel kit from 1/32″ Balsa instead of 1/64″ ply?”  Well, surely.  By the way, these are 3/4″ in diameter.

Since these are a bit fragile, you will get “this many” for one price (see picture).  I still recommend cross-laminating them for strength, but they are way lighter than the ply wheels.

$3 for this – find them in the Basement under VPS Laser Cut Stuff.

More to follow!


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New Year – New Kit: Chambermaid NoCal

Between Work, Holidays, and Inventory, I’ve been able to finish up the details on the latest kit:  a Chambermaid NoCal SHORT KIT for outdoor flying.  This was based on Bernard Guest’s Dime Scale (one of our best-selling kits) but required drawing a new plan and new laser-cut parts.

For $10 you get a 13″x19″ plan and two laser-cut sheets of 1/16″ balsa; you supply the stick wood, the prop, hardware, and rubber. Winn Moore and I have built four of these.  Mine have weighed 16 and 14 grams; at least one of Winn’s weighs 9 grams.  My prototype flew OOS on its third official flight (over 6 minutes up and away) and won the NoCal event this fall.

With about 67 square inches of wing area, this produces less than 0.25 grams per square inch wing loading – wonderfully light for Outdoor Flying.  You might even think about putting a DT on this one!

Click CHAMBERMAID NoCal to go to the item in the Basement.

Here are some images:

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Flying into 2015!

Well, I’m starting off 2015 in just the right way – with some outdoor Free Flight!  This year wasn’t snowy like last year, and it was cold, but not frigid.  Unfortunately, it was pretty windy.  Given that, I decided to get out my “Shaft”, a durable OT Stick from 1944 with a wing span of about 13″.  I popped in a short loop of 1/8, gave it about 600 or so winds and headed out to the back yard with my son Jack acting as videographer.  As you can see in the video, the plane got up, flew well in the wind and didn’t get stuck in a tree.  I call that a success!

Here is hoping that all of you have an equally successful 2015, with great models and great flights.  Don’t forget to stop by whenever you need to replenish your Free Flight supplies.  See you on the flying field!

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