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Fusca 40 conversion.

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Old 07-03-2012, 05:47 AM
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Marcio Senger
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Default Fusca 40 conversion.

At first, I would ask my sincere apologies about my english. As a portuguese speaking Brazilian, I don't like reading poor written text and I'm sure my words in english are far from the best I could choose but I'll take this thread as a step further in my english trials.

The Fusca 40 is one of those planes that deserve a special place in your memories, being always remebered as "my first and only trainer" or "the best trainer that I have ever flown". It's a 100% balsa classic built, designed by Asao Takeno who despite the name (Japanese Inmigrant) is a Brazilian old style RC model airplane designer. By the way, Fusca is the brazilian name for the volkswagen car named as Beetle in the USA.


I'm not sure about the release date, but the original design was made somewhere between 1980 and 1990, maybe in the end of the 70's. Several kit companies sold the basic kit to build the Fusca, and there was a load of ways to get plans of this plane, in 1992 the HobbyLink magazine published the original plans from Takeno, and Takeno himself also used to sell the plans. The kit also contained a detailed two sheet plan and it was possible to buy it as a part of the model. The plans spread in such a way that was easier to find models built from the plans than from a Kit. This model was never released in ARF or RTF variants.


The flight characteristics are those you expect from a good trainer PLUS a decent sports flying behavior. Generally this model is very light built and for those who doesn't choose the conservative power to weight ratio and use a engine (or motor) a little on the overpowered side, it's possible to have a lot of fun flying this guy from weekend to weekend for a long time.

The model I have I bought from a friend in 2002. At first his plane was covered by a orange/red Monokote scheme and by the time he decided to sell it, the covering was ruined by two or three years of bad habits on maintenance and after flight cleaning so he decided to strip everything out, dry the balsa, sand and re-cover with Oracover. I received the plane covered with a full white scheme, in order to apply "decoration" as I would like to.

What happened next is that I joined highschool on a very demanding course, than I engaged, graduated, started to work, and had a daugther, what a combo huh? Now TEN years later I got back to hobby.

I decided to convert it to electrics because this was why I got back to RC model flying. Nowadays I live on a apartment, with little space to maintain my fleet, and the flying fields are like 20 miles away from my home, so it was tempting to buy one of this little depron stick stile 4 channel electric and fly every time I could on the park next to my home. I learned "all" about electric setups and realized that the performance os electric fly is superb. Well, this "blablabla" is needless to say here, but that was why I choose to do the conversion.

From now on, the process will be much more like a picture comented album than a text supported subject. The modification was really easy, and I believe every one in this hobby should be able to do such kind of re-design.
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:30 AM
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Default RE: Fusca 40 conversion.


This is the model, wich sat for 10 years awayiting to be flown. The structure and finish look very good after all this time.



The original wood engine mount isn't wide enough to take the electric motor so it must be removed.



A front view of the original engine mount.



This is the motor I choose to do the swap. It's the Turnigy G32 770kV from the wonderland of RC flying HobbyKing.



The engine bay after removing the engine mount. I used a standard metal saw to do the cut.







The scar left by the removed wood engine mount.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:20 AM
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Default RE: Fusca 40 conversion.


I used a piece of paper card to do a mock-up of a new firewall.



Than the shape of the paper mock-up was transfered to a sheet of 1,5mm lite ply. I made it double and glued using epoxi and a lot of weight to press it as tight as possible.





My "workbench", the only table available in the house was the dinner table, so...
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:23 AM
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Default RE: Fusca 40 conversion.


The firewall glued to the front end of the fuse. I used 10min epoxi.


Another look.




The steering arm and control rod are now tight located between the old and the new firewalls. This later prooved to be a pain in the back to adjust everything, but at the end it was ok.


Finishing the modification with black paint.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:14 AM
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Default RE: Fusca 40 conversion.


Preparing the motor installation.


By this time I got a third hand from a little assistant. My daughter Catarina showed up to help.


If chinese QC were as focused as she is in what they are doing we would not buy so much faulty products from them...


Mechanical motor installation done.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:51 AM
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Default RE: Fusca 40 conversion.


I removed old radio gear.




And started the soldering and wiring process.


I found that using this outrageous powerfull soldering iron is very helpfull while soldering XT60 connectors. Usinh 30W 50W and 80W the connector melted. This unit is a 300W fast iron.


Bullet 3,5mm connectors on the motor and esc output.


XT60 on the esc input. The two connectors aside in this image melted during the soldering process... my fault.


This little guy is very helpfull while soldering.
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:24 AM
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Default RE: Fusca 40 conversion.

I decided to install in this plane the APM (ardu pilot mega), it will be usefull in the future, when I plan to setup a FPV gear. Basically this is a IMU unit that is conected between the servos and receiver, and you can program it im many ways, making your RC model a complete and operational DRONE (UAV), or it can simply provide OSD data to the video signal and help you with navigation and orientation.


Labeling the wires.


Testing the connection and controls.


Done with the APM, receiver and servos installation.


The original two little holes that made the path trough the firewall to the fuel lines in the original GLOW setup were connected together to make room for the electric wires.


This is the radio TX and RX. I forgot to mention that I'm also using a FrSky Rx/Tx due to it's awesome failsafe features. It will help a lot in the future FPV flights.
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Old 10-13-2012, 04:08 PM
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Default RE: Fusca 40 conversion.

Hello Marcos

Thanks for share your work and pics. I kept a 1:1 original TASMOD plans from a magazine I don´t recall the name. Could please tell me more about the electronics: motor, batteries and ESC. Also inform how is flying.

Thanks and happy landings

Jose Carlos
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