Sunbird Update

The continuation of my HobbyKing SunBird build…

Building the Wings

Without having any plans this build is a bit harder than it should be.

I ended up not using the joiner between the center panel and wing tip. After reading more on this and re-reading the instructions like 10 times I know this was a mistake, but the horrible instructions provided by HobbyKing made this impossible to understand.

Wing Tip Before Shaping

Wing Tip Before Shaping

After getting the outer tips finished I trimmed off the excess spar material. I’m not sure if I was supposed to do this, but it seems like it needed to be done in order to get the correct tip shape. First I glued two of the four tip pieces together. After letting them sit for a few minutes I took my leading edge sanding tool and put a nice edge on them. I then used my sanding block to make the leading edge match up to the carbon rod. At this point I glued the tip to the outer panel. The last part was to use my sanding block to make the tip fit the shape of the outer rib.

Wing Halves Glued Together

Wing Halves Glued Together

This was my first build ever so things didn’t match up when putting the two halves together. I ended up dumping in a bunch of epoxy to fill gaps. I’m going to have to sand the center section again. All I have to do is put the sheeting on the top and bottom of the center section. Again, since the instructions weren’t clear I’m going to have to figure out a way to do this and not mess up the airfoil. I set the ribs to be flush on the bottom and not in the middle for this section. This was a bad idea. Now parts of the sheeting would be below the rest of the wing if I just glued right to the top. Oh, well. It’s a Mike custom I suppose.

Reference for Future Builds (and Builders)

I’ve been poking around on RCGroups and have been following the SunBird discussion thread and another user’s build thread. Ripacheco, the user which has the build thread that I’ve been following, posted that he got HobbyKing to post the plans for the site. I went over to the international warehouse listing for the SunBird and looked at the files. I found two files that would be of interest for future builds and those who are going to build for the first time.

SunBird Rib Identification

SunBird Rib Identification

This image showing the rib identification will be very helpful. The instructions make mention of their IDs but there is little to go on which rib is which. This alone will take a lot of guesswork out of the wing build.

The other find was the file that Ripacheco mentioned. The Sunbird Plans contain a complete wing half and tail feathers. As Ripacheco suggested in his build thread, you should go down to your local print shop (Kinkos) and get two of these printed so that you have something to go by when assembling. He did point out that the pieces didn’t tend to match up too well to the plans. In any case having the plans along with the aforementioned rib identification image will help you figure out how to build a much better wing than I.

Tail Feathers

In hindsight I wish I would have started with the tail feathers. These went together very easy. It would have been a great confidence boost to tackle these before the wings. All I have left to do with them is to put the leading edges on. Hopefully my covering will get here soon so I can start that part of the build.

About Mike

I'm a software engineer. Look into the about page for more information about me.
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