Winter Blues

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As a kid I found joy in every season.  Winter was a time to build snow forts, go sledding and skiing with my friends and come in to enjoy hot chocolate and cookies when we were done. As an adult however I find winter more and more depressing and annoying as I get older.  Vehicles tend to have more issues in the cold, snow only falls when your late for work and have to clear it out of the way and the sun is never up long enough when you work later into the day.

So as we find ourselves in the middle of another winter I have realized how easy it is to fall into a slump and become demotivated to get things done.  It’s east to push stuff off and wait for a warmer day.  But this thinking only puts your further into a depressed state and it’s harder to get yourself back going on all the projects you have to complete to have fun on the warm summer days. So how do we get that motivation back during the grey cold days of winter?  Well we can move south to a warmer climate but for most of us that wont work.

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T-Plug Caps


I love playing around with CNC based machines so it was only logical that I pick up a 3D printer. They have been around for a while and are starting to go mainstream as the technology is becoming more popular.  You can purchase a preassembled and tested machine for under $500 now and be printing free files shared on the internet from places like without any knowledge of 3D modeling.  I recently picked up a PrintrBot Simple Maker kit to build with my sons.  It went together in about 5 hours over two evenings.  It was a great project to share with them as they learned about how CNC machines work.

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Great Planes M-12s


I just love big round cowls on airplanes and what better to have it on then on a biplane!  This is what makes the Pitts M12 a favorite of mine.  Great Planes has released their latest version with the M-12s.  This plane is designed to be ready for your favorite 50-65cc gas engine or a Rimfire .65 Brushless motor setup with 160amp esc and 12s 5000mah lipos.  Either setup should make this bird a powerhouse in the air.

Expect to see this plane in stores and online in January of 2015

  • Wingspan: 68.5 in (1,740 mm)
  • Wing Area: 1,545 in² (99.7 dm²)
  • Weight: 19-20 lb (8,620-9,070 g)
  • Wing Loading: 28-30 oz/ft² (85-92 g/dm²)
  • Length: 80.5 in (2,045 mm)
  • Requirements:Radio system with a minimum of 7 channels, 8 servos, 50-65 cc gasoline engine or 80-85-160kV outrunner brushless motor, 160A brushless ESC (min.), (2) 22.2V 5000mAh LiPo batteries & 6V 2000mAh (min.) Rx battery





Purchase this online at Tower Hobbies!

Attend Hobbico E-Fest 2015

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The 2015 RC event season is kicking off early with E-Fest in January this year!  I have been attending this event for the past 3 years and it’s always a good time and a nice break from the winter for anyone in the northern states.  Frank Noll and the team from Hobbico pack a lot into this event but there is plenty of time for flying.  Spectators can enjoy the day with plenty of vendors, seminars, food, a kids “Make it Take it” airplane table and plenty of seating to enjoy the planes in the air.  Saturday evening brings the special events with 3D demonstrations from some of the best team pilots, a scale competition, the Gauntlet race and night flying.

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Tactic RC’s New TTX850

tacj2850_660-300x300A radio transmitter really is a personal thing.  Every pilot is different in what they want.  Radio size, types and sizes of switches, sliders or knobs gimbal tensions and control stick size all matter and everyone seems to have a different preference about all of the above.  It’s best to shop around and maybe test drive others radios before buying one and I always tell people buy the best radio you can afford.  However it is also nice to save some cash and still get the features you want.

When the Tactic TTX650 radio came out a couple years ago I was intrigued and was happy to test one out.  The price was great at $149 considering all the features you have in that radio. It was something that could grow with a new pilot and not be limited to just flying the trainer they just bought. However as time goes on you might out grow the 20 model memory or the 6 channel control of the TTX650.  Tactic RC has given us a path to upgrade while still not breaking the bank.

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E-Flite UMX B-17G Flying Fortress


Screen-Shot-2014-10-03-at-12.49.13-PM-300x225I don’t publish many product releases but when something really catches my eye I like to spread the news.  With cooler weather coming and more of us looking at indoor flying we start looking at our micro airplanes and see what is ready to fly.  Scale airplanes always catch my eye and even more so I love to see aircraft from WW2 reproduced in RC formats.  Perhaps one of the most famous airplanes from that era is the B-17 bomber.  RC modelers love to see one in the air but few model it due to the complexity of 4 engines and getting that large plane balanced out well.

E-Flite has taken all that trouble away with the new UMX B-17G Flying Fortress.  Now any RC pilot can enjoy the nostalgia of flying the B-17 around in their backyard, indoor gym or any other area they prefer to fly micro airplanes.  It’s BNF ready with any DSM2 or DSMX radio, has removable landing gear and a clever hatch for accessing the battery bay. Continue reading E-Flite UMX B-17G Flying Fortress

Sketchup for RC Part 4 – Tracing the side view

Sketchup Title part 5

Continuing on our Sketchup Tutorial we are finally going to start drawing in some lines.  We’ll start with the side view in this case as it has the easier outlines with no duplicated parts.  In the next section we’ll cover the top view which will involve duplicating parts.  If you have missed the first few sections it would be good to go back and review them before moving forward with this tutorial.

Part 1 – Intro to Sketchup

Part 2 – Customizing Sketchup

Part 3 – Importing Reference Drawings

Continue reading Sketchup for RC Part 4 – Tracing the side view

Sketchup for RC Part 3 – Importing Reference Drawings

Sketchup Title reference drawings

Now that we have Sketchup configured we can start working on our design.  Many people like to work on a scale design and use reference drawings or 3 views to start with.  Sketchup allows us to import a drawing that we can trace over to get a scale outline of our design.  So to start off we need to go find some reference drawings!  Just keep in mid the complexity of the aircraft you are drawing.  If this is your first design it’s best to srat with something simple such as a single wing single engine airplane with fairly straight lines.

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Sketchup for RC Part 2 – Customizing Sketchup

Sketchup Title part 2

Continuing my tutorial on using Sketchup to design RC aircraft we will look at how I customize Sketchup with the Toolbars and Plugins to be able to draw and work with our designs.  There are many options to customize Sketchup so I am going to just cover a few to get started and as we go down the road I will add others and will cover them at that time.

If you are new to Sketchup and missed the first section on Sketchup basics you may want to read that first before moving on.  You can find that article here:  Introduction to Sketchup

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Sketchup for RC – Introduction to Sketchup


Sketchup Title Finished

I have been working with Sketchup for a few years and have enjoyed creating my own designs and then cutting them out on my CNC machines.   There is something really exciting about seeing your own design take flight and then have others build your airplane as well.  Since then I have had a number of people ask me how to use Sketchup in creating plans for model aircraft.  So I have decided to make a bit of a tutorial on what I have done in the hopes that it can help others play with designing aircraft as well.

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