First a little background. I saw this guy on SRCH building an MI-8 from scratch. His bio said he was in Nigeria so I simply watched as he progressed. Then the thread stopped. I liked his work so much I wanted one, but Nigeria? No way. <p></p>Fast forward a couple of months to December when I was at OHB. I saw a gorgeous 5 blade head on Esprit model stand and took some photos. Someone on SRCH asked about rotor heads and I mentioned these and put up the pictures. Well, they wanted o know where they were from and who made them. I was using a very high resolution camera and was able to expand the picture out so the manufacturers logo was visible and I posted that. Off they went searching for it and found a web site with the head on it. So I went and looked and sure enough, there was the head, and to my amazement, there was the MI-8 in kit form for sale. So I ordered one!
In January a box arrived with this in it, among other things
The level of detail molded in was astonishing, especially after just finishing a Vario EC135
I had to hide it until I had the 135 finished and flying, but a couple of days ago, I dug it out of the trailer and started looking at it. I had some very detailed instructions which even had words in English on them which explained to me the assembly of the woodwork jigsaw puzzle. A little more background here. The manufacturer, Michael, designed this model around the Goblin mechanics. He was having his own version of the shaft drive conversion made, similar in design to mine. The main difference was in that he was modifying the Goblin and getting the conversion to be as wide as the Goblin chassis. My conversion bolted on to the side of the chassis and was therefore wider at the back end. Back to the woodwork.
I had to widen the gap at the back so my mechanics would fit. I did fit another brace underneath to add support. The woodwork itself was amazing. All cut out for me, fitted exactly with no sanding and it clicked together like an erector set. Note the two pieces of aluminum bolted top and bottom of the rear bulkhead. They fitted through pre cut square holes and perfectly lined up the rear bulk head. They are for mounting the rear landing gear. More on that later.
The other piece of woodwork is to mount the front landing gear to. It is pre drilled and the two almost cut out squares are for making the front gear steerable. Finish cutting them out and add a servo. The arms are already machined into the landing gear. So. last night, I got the epoxy and wood glue out and glued it all together. One thing it does say in the instructions was to glue the round windows in before gluing in the woodwork. I did not do this cos I am a rebel, and I could not figure out how to guarantee not to get paint on the windows when painting the model. I'll struggle after paint is done. The other thing I did not do is to epoxy the wood together. Wood glue is just as good as epoxy and sets faster. Wood glue, wood to wood. Epoxy, wood to fiberglass
This morning I checked everything was set and then I had to mount the landing gear. I did the front first. 4 3mm cap heads through the pre drilled holes and then I had to drill 2mm holes though the V arms under the fuselage to brace it. 10 minutes work
Then I had to fit the rear landing gear. A single 3mm bolt goes through the top mounts, which is pre drilled and threaded. Then I had to drill 4 3mm holes through the bottom. The holes were already drilled through the fiberglass, I just had to open them out through the wood braces I had glued in last night.
The mechanics I am going to use are from my long deceased EC145 which I dumb thumbed into the ground. There is no wear on the gears in the shaft drive conversion and when I set them into the woodwork, the shaft output sits exactly in the middle of the tail boom. Those mechanics flew 4 800mm blades quite happily so I have no worries about using them on 5 700 blades. Michaels mechanics use the wide belt conversion which I cannot do as my shaft drive conversion is too short. He has also prototyped a beautiful CNC side mount for his mechanics, while I will be using some pieces of angle aluminum. Michaels mechanics, intermediate gearbox and tail rotor gearbox are all in the design stage at the moment. he awaits some good weather to do some flying tests to prove their reliability before putting them on the market. I have dug deep in my junk box and found everything I need to get this bird in the air, but I have ordered a bigger motor as my little AXI that was in the 145 tended to run hot so I bought something with more power. So today, I get to strip the mechanics, replace anything worn and clean everything out ready to install the new motor and mount it in the fuselage.