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HelicopterScale Model RC Helicopters Docs  MD500 TOW Defender Logo 500/600 Build
01-07-2013 12:27 AM  5 years agoPost 1
Keygrigger

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Mississauga, Ont. Canada

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Hi all:

Since late November last year, I have been getting a Logo 500 ready for install in a Century MD500 TOW Defender. It is getting close to being ready for an actual test flight in the body. There is a lot of work to get to that stage, even, yet I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This should have been a build thread here from the start but there were posting problems for a while so I felt that I should wait until that settled down. I started getting the Logo ready by purchasing a 500SE boom and belt (extends it to a 600 size), along with a few other parts that I never made use of, save for one flight where I used the carbon fibre pushrod I ordered. Good use of that, lol.

Once that was done, I started to get other things ready, including a pair collector figures that are going to be used for the pilot and weapons officer. Once is a reproduction of Bruce Willis from one of his movies where he plays a Navy Seal (Tears of the Sun) but his outfit has been replaced with a desert camouflage pattern consistent with the period this heli is from. The other figure comes from a Delta Force Marksman set. His face has that “I’ve seen him before but where?” look to it. I have him as the pilot for now but I may change that as I get ready to fix them in the cockpit. I have ordered the TOW instrument panel and the TOW sight addition so sometime in the future, they will get installed.

On to the fuselage we go. It came in but had some damage in shipping. The canopy got two cracks and they are right out in the open so a new one has been ordered right from the factory to match. The landing gear are not really scale for the TOW Defender as they are mostly round skids with only a small portion having a fairing on it. The steps are also too high and the rear is not equipped with them in any configuration I can find. Wiring the skids was going to be a real challenge as the legs do not lend themselves to drilling so another method was found. I slotted the front of the rear legs and filled the grove with JB Weld. Also, the landing gear legs are way too high and needed to be trimmed. I started off by taking 20mm off the front legs and 25mm off the rear but the attitude was still not right. I took a further 9mm off the rear legs and it finally is starting to look like the low slung gutter snipe that it is.

The Logo chassis ended up being one of the toughest parts of the install so far. The 500 is setup to have the tail boom on an angle forward so that when sitting on the ground, the rotor is nearly 4 degrees (a guess as I never measured it yet) tipped forward. That gets the main gear low and also it does the same to the motor, lowering the COG from the rotor disk. It’s a very stable heli and the SK360/Spartan DS760 combo did a wonderful job in that department. Getting this to fit inside the MD500 is another story. Because the boom is so low, the usual job of shimming the chassis to get the rotor height right was not the requirement here but to get the boom high enough to go down the tail boom and exit in the centre of the opening without making contact. That in fact, raises the rotor but with the ease of making a shaft shorter (I don’t have the head yet), that will not be a problem. The issue is as you raise the boom to clear, the servos start to get really close and personal with the body at the junction of the doghouse and the very wide chassis needs some clearance work done to the former in the doghouse to even make it up that high.

This is multi-part so here are some of the pictures to this segment.

Next one, shortly.

Don

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01-07-2013 12:50 AM  5 years agoPost 2
Keygrigger

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Mississauga, Ont. Canada

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Next installment:

The chassis gets special attention to make it work with a fairly full cockpit as it sticks its nose right into the area where the collective stick would be. I pondered this for hours and worked out a way of using aluminium posts from a spare set of 600 chassis stiffeners I bought as a mounting bolt to tie the lower part of the chassis to the motor mount area as I am going to cut 4+inches off the front of the chassis. I made up a pair of braces from a tail fin I had laying around from the Align builds I have that are now in scale bodies. They solidly tie in the frame and are the only carbon fibre parts in the entire build as everything else is plastic, wood, or fibreglass. I also made up the spacer and mounting plate from plywood (easier than CF to work with but I am allergic to birch. Man, it stuffs me up) and shaved 1mm off the back posts that came with the fuselage which are normally used to mount the Century mechanics. I make a great scavenger, lol.

I decided to put the tail on the right side of this heli as doing it the other way did not set well with me when it was such a simple thing to do. I bought some 104mm KBDD black blades to replace the very orange blades that come with the Logo and cut them back to 91mm so they would have a scale shape to them. They are awaiting paint along with the housing. I have ordered a Century 5 blade head and a matched set of 600mm blades. I checked over and over with the actual manual about how big the blade diameter is and it still came out that with this head, the 600mm blades are pretty much spot on. 550’s may be a bit easier to spin but I am really after as scale a look as I can get, as the body is not very scale at all from a purists point of view. It will make a tremendous stand-off scale bird, trust me.

The motor in the Logo was a very powerful Neu 1050kv motor but from the beginning, it ran extremely hot so I decided to change to an 890kv Scorpion with a 13t pinion and 153t main gear. This was combined with a CC Phoenix HV85A ESC. Along with that there is a CC BEC Pro that feeds the two independent systems in this heli. First there is the Skookum SK720 gyro that is in charge of the flight servos, only. Second is the AR9020 and X-Plus 8 17 channel combination that covers the throttle, TOW sight, landing lights, and telemetry. I have motor/rotor rpm, engine temperature, and flight system voltage monitored there. The light controller is an RC Lights 14 light night system with switchable landing lights. The helicopter has two navigation lights in the skids, one white strobe on the “T” tail, one rotating beacon on the vertical tail, one rotating beacon on the underside of the nose, and one flashing light on the top of the boom. To that, I will add up to four orange lights to give the interior an overall light level and if it isn’t too difficult, lights in the instrument system.

The TOW sight deserves special mention as it was an amalgamation of information and tips from a number of different builders and wizards. The expression, all I wanted was a board and two ropes for a swing from a tree branch comes into play here, lol. The actual sight is nothing more than a part that is glued into position once you are ready to do so. I wanted to make it rotate and have a dummy camera inside. Simple wish, not a chance. The housing was easy to cut into to start the process but it took a lot of time with my hands on my head and leaning back in the chair, to come up with how I was going to mount the servo for the camera and the hinge pin system. Some have done it with just a top pin but I felt I needed a bottom pin to lock this in. The assembly order was something I should have written down first as I forgot what needed to go where as I go to it, lol.

I have a pin with a 90 degree bend that is pushed up through the housing and into the nose extension where it is grabbed by a landing gear arm. The lower pin is just a 90 degree bent wire the same size as the main pin but held in place with some glue so it can be removed with little resistance at a later date if I get really loco and put a real camera in there. I had to remove the cover window twice as I mucked up the assembly order but eventually got it right. The window housing was flush on the kit and the actual TOW camera cover on most seen, has a very unusual shape to the bottom as it is not square. It now is mounted out from the housing to match the sights that I have seen so far.

More pictures next to go with this.

Don

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01-07-2013 12:56 AM  5 years agoPost 3
Keygrigger

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Mississauga, Ont. Canada

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More pictures:

Here is a video of the sight once I had the sequence done with the random generator but not with the fully functioning three position switch that came many hours later, lol.

Watch at YouTube

More to come.

Don

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01-07-2013 01:01 AM  5 years agoPost 4
Keygrigger

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Last installment for now with pictures to date.

Now, here comes the fun. The DX18 has a built-in sequencer and I thought that it would be a simple thing to make a sequence to operate the sight and camera and have that repeat itself over and over. I phoned Horizon and got a tech to give me a call back but he could not work out how to do so. He did say he would try and get another tech to work on it and then get back to me if successful. That was early in the week. By the end of the week, the sight was finished and I had a simple sequence set to move the housing back and forth with a change in speed and the camera moving at a different rate so they never are in the same place at the same time. A very tech savvy poster on RC Groups bounced onto my thread and offered to help me work out a repeating controller for my sight with the DX18. He also told me about how to make the housing rotate randomly where ever it wants.

He had me when he said he could help with the repeating sequence.

The rest was a very thick icing on top of that piece of cake, lol. I now have it so that it has a three position switch to control its movement. Position “0” is off and the servos return to neutral when activated. Position “1” gives the random operation to the housing and the camera moving up and down with the two speed up and down motion. Position “2” is a random motion but return to neutral every so often, just for something different, as if the operator is looking through the sight from time to time and then scanning by eye, or resting. It is really cool to watch the entire operation in all modes.

I am at the stage of mounting the landing gear in and getting the ends of the navigation light wires prepared for install to the controller and the tip LEDs. I have used mostly 3mm LEDs this time out for the flight lights and the 5mm LEDs will mostly be used for lighting the interior and a couple of flashing lights. This thread should have been done a long time ago, but better late than never. The build continues….

Don

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01-08-2013 04:59 AM  5 years agoPost 5
Keygrigger

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I've got a bit more done. The wiring is now installed for the skid lights and run for the tail and boom lights. I never took any pictures of the legs when I had them grooved but I found the test piece and that should show how I did it. The wire was covered in with JB Weld, if I forgot to mention it. I also made up two door panels that cover half of the rear door, as the originals had. The only problem is that no two were exactly the same with some having double braces across at the top of the panel and some having a single brace. There is also a cover plate that some have a large one, some are small, and some are installed from the inside. I just chose something that looked ok out of the bunch of them, lol. I took some EPS foam and made up door liners for the rear doors so there would be some detail back there to look at. I am also going to make a back wall out of plywood for the frame and EPS foam for the cover to hide the wide open body behind the chassis. Take care.

Don

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01-08-2013 06:16 PM  5 years agoPost 6
Keygrigger

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I roughed in the rear wall on the left side to see how it would cover the rear of the body. I am sure that more will need to come off when the chassis is back in but at least there will be no big gapping hole with an empty engine compartment to look into, lol. I have also closed in the bottom air intake for the nitro engines and have the plug ready for the exhaust. I will not take the trouble to blend them to the body as they are out of sight and I will be the only one looking for it. They will not be seen when in the air. The starter hole is another story. Take care.

Don

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01-09-2013 04:43 AM  5 years agoPost 7
Keygrigger

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I've been busy today. Got a number of things done, once of which was the landing light housing change. Traxxas does have some stuff for helis, we just don't know it until we go looking for it, lol. I also got the chassis installed to look at the back wall in place. When I get at it tomorrow, I will try and make the plywood cutouts for both sides. There's so much to do....

Don

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01-10-2013 03:12 PM  5 years agoPost 8
Keygrigger

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Mississauga, Ont. Canada

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The wiring harness didn't work out as planned. The connector I thougt was "stand alone" was in fact meant to be mounted on a circuit board. Since there was no solid board that it was to be mounted on, the connector pins pushed out or pulled out through the back. I went back and found an HD connector kit which some of us remember as "Joystick" connectors (15 pin) so that became what I am using now. It will have one end planted on the main floor and the other will be part of an umbilical cord. Take care.

Don

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HelicopterScale Model RC Helicopters Docs  MD500 TOW Defender Logo 500/600 Build
01-11-2013 12:25 AM  5 years ago •• Post 9 ••
Keygrigger

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Back in the old days (early 60's to mid 70's), I was a fair plastic model builder and I did some really good stuff in the early 80's. I have called upon that experience a few times already with other builds but this one is on overload. Waiting for other bits and pieces to arrive gives me lots of time to look at pictures to find detail points to improve. One is the exhaust openings.

On the real TOW Defender, the exhaust is routed back up through beside the engine (there seems to be a lot of room back there) and out beside the boom near the front of the engine compartment. It has what appears to be a form of heat diffuser to reduce the heli's heat signature to incoming missiles. It works so well that the exhaust outlet is painted the colour of the body and in actual use does not peel off!! Century went through a bit of effort to make the exhaust look like it is in use but in the case of the TOW Defender, body colour on the outside and a slight rust colour (funny, it's close to the body colour, too) on the inside.

I spent most of the day puttering around making these up and now have to leave them for up to a couple of days for the glue to cure and allow the plastic to harden once again. I also made up a couple of tubes to use so that light cannot be seen in the interior coming directly from the exhaust tips and so that you cannot see the large number of lights on the back end of the chassis. After all, there are four satellites, two receivers, and other lighted electronics to be found. I am also practicing up for when the instrument panels come in. Take care.

Don

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01-11-2013 05:19 AM  5 years agoPost 10
Keygrigger

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More pictures of the ongoing exhaust (ing) work.

Don

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01-11-2013 11:49 PM  5 years agoPost 11
Keygrigger

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I've been at it today and this time, I can feel it getting close. I got the shoulder wall underway and that is the main piece that the interior is build out from. It got so far along that I placed a temporary bench in and put my two pilot figures in for a trial fit. Bruce likes the view....

Don

OHHHHHHH, I can feel the first flight............

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01-12-2013 12:04 AM  5 years agoPost 12
tintmaster

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Wichita, Ks. U.S.A.

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MD500 Tow Defender
Wow Don, simply amazing!!!

Just call me Farmer Brown. 'Cause I know how to really plant 'em

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01-12-2013 12:12 AM  5 years agoPost 13
SSMKN2

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Greensboro NC

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Bada$$ to say the least...pretty sweet Defender

Joel
MD 500D
Bell 206

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01-12-2013 02:00 AM  5 years agoPost 14
Mojave

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Palos Verdes, Ca. USA

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This build is looking great!! I really like the fabbed exhaust outlets, super cool.
Barry

All helis and planes have an expiration date stamped on them...you only find it after you crash!!

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01-12-2013 06:00 AM  5 years agoPost 15
Keygrigger

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Thanks to all of you. I am having the time of my life building this one. Love it.

Don

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01-12-2013 11:47 PM  5 years agoPost 16
Keygrigger

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I covered in the chassis today and picked up the rotor, swashplate, and driver, at the Post Office. I now need to remove the chassis to complete that installation and I will use the time the body is lightened to get more of the interior done. I'm dying to get the instrument panels.......

Don

PS: The blades would be nice, too.

The fit was that close that the motor just touched. I gave it a bit of clearance

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01-13-2013 02:56 AM  5 years agoPost 17
Keygrigger

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Tonight, I got re-acquainted with an old friend who has suddenly become my new best friend. I was going through my little precision tool box and ran across a 3/32" carbide burr that has sat unused for about 4 years. I needed to find a better way to open up holes in sheets of ply and does it ever make short (rather dust-free) work of it (sanding drums kick up the most dust of everything I use). I chewed through the holes in the shoulder wall so fast, it was not funny. It took longer to make sure I wasn't cutting too much as the shavings covered up the lines rapidly. The sanding didn't take too long as the cutting was much closer to the line than I have been in the past. I wished I had found this now before I took on cutting out the chassis mount. That took way too long. I am also including a shot of the head components for you to drool over, lol. Take care.

Don

My new best friend, lol

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01-13-2013 03:50 AM  5 years agoPost 18
tintmaster

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Wichita, Ks. U.S.A.

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MD500 Tow Defender
Great craftsmanship Don!!! Your woodwork is superb!!

Just call me Farmer Brown. 'Cause I know how to really plant 'em

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01-13-2013 05:03 AM  5 years agoPost 19
Keygrigger

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Thanks. I added a couple of pieces to the wall that will take the shoulder straps when finished. I forgot that the extension that comes into the front has some depth to it so I trimmed the wall opening and installed the shelf. When I get it in the front canopy, I will be adding some thin ply to cover a whole host of evils. Take care.

Don

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01-14-2013 08:43 AM  5 years agoPost 20
Keygrigger

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Mississauga, Ont. Canada

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Today, I was very busy at building and installations. I got the head installed which was a pleasant but very proceedural job. The hole needed to be altered in size to fit the larger 4mm jesus bolt of the 5 blade head. The links I had expected to go out tomorrow and buy three sets of 700 pitch rods but lo and behold, it took the links used on a stock 550!! I had lots of those, lol (don't use them in my Jet Ranger). The balls were a combination of short and slightly longer 700 balls for the swashplate and grips. Again, I had all in stock here, no trip needed. I did, however, run out of 1/8th ply and had to go out for a sheet of that.

I removed the doors and had expected the fit of the shoulder wall would intrude in the opening but I have got a way to make it better. I made up a light cover based on what i have seen in a couple of TOW Defenders as there are as many ways to install that light as there are customers for the helicopter. The floor was also on the agenda tonight and it is getting close to being able to be installed. The last thing I will do tonight is mix up a small batch of Hysol and install the landing light, permanently.

I repainted the entire interior of the back of the heli so that I have the complete colour control rather than hope that I could match the FunKey paint. I did leave the logo exposed in its original colour. I even painted the inside of the doghouse. It was time to install a few other items like the exhausts and the weapons booms. The "To Do" list is a bit smaller tonight but there are lots of pictures with some from late Saturday night/Sunday morning. Take care.

Don

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HelicopterScale Model RC Helicopters Docs  MD500 TOW Defender Logo 500/600 Build
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