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MHester 12-11-2005 02:09 AM

Black Magic v2 builder's thread! *Updated*
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After a year of designing, testing, mid-airs, rebuilding and testing some more, I'm happy to announce that the Black Magic plans, templates and parts are here!

I've been asked by quite a few people to make this plane available, and after much head scratching I've finally reached a point where I can make it happen. I have quite a few pictures of the building process, so I'll be sharing those as we go. if you have any specific questions, email me at MikeHester@customairframes.com and I'll be glad to help you as much as I possibly can.

The version I'm offering is the V-2, a slightly refined form from the prototype. With the -07 FAI schedules in mind, a few changes were made to the prototype to make this plane capable at all levels of competition. The prototype flies P-07 as well or better than most "top end" planes out there, but it needed slightly more fuse and vertical stab area for the rollers and integrated "S" segments in the new pattern. So this was addressed.

The nice thing about this plane is the simplicity of the construction. It's basically sheeted foam and formed composites attached to a wood box, but when finished you'd never guess it's not a fully composite plane. This offers quite a few advantages, longevity and ease of maintenace and repair being foremost. With the belly pan being all composite and held on by 7 screws, and running from the chin all the way behind the wing, you can have one heck of a bad landing and not really damage the plane. Just replace and paint the belly pan, and voila, back in the air! (I've already done this twice now myself).

A few notes about the parts and prices: I've done the math and looked at saving pennies everywhere I can. These prices are in line with the classic Patriot 3D; the construction is similar in many ways...but easier. The composites are made to order by me personally. Don't expect european gelcoated TAVS stuff here, these are hand layed parts. They have a decent finish with not too many pinholes and defects, but there are still seams and imperfections to deal with. Such is the nature of composites.

Most parts are made from fiberglass, with carbon tow reinforcement in the corners. I will in the future make super light carbon canopies by special request, but realize that the material cost for this alone is about $40. The belly pans come from me with phenolic hard points already bonded. Note that all parts are untrimmed.

Specific information can be found at: [link=http://www.customairframes.com]www.customairframes.com[/link]

Specifications can be found [link=http://www.customairframes.com/v2.html]here[/link]

Pricing info can be found [link=http://www.customairframes.com/pricelist.html]here[/link]

Also realize I'm NOT a web designer; this is my first one and it's only 3 days old. I'll be adding a ton of stuff to it over time, so bookmark it and have a look from time to time.

For all of you I've spoken with, over the phone, PMs, Emails, etc, I haven't been ignoring you....I just haven't had an answer until now. Thank you for your patience and kind support from the bottom of my heart, I hope you enjoy this plane as much as I do.

So without further delay, let's get cracking, the 2006 season is right around the corner!


PS the 3rd picture shows what the new version is shaped like around the tail as opposed to the prototype.

Update: Cores are available, all prices are finalized. Now taking full orders!

MHester 12-11-2005 02:33 AM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Let's start with some general building notes.

Wood: This is one area you simply cannot compromise. Get the best 4-6lb hand picked balsa and the flattest ply you can find. Trust me, good wood makes building this beast a pleasure. Bad wood will turn it into a flying brick, and make your build that much harder. Don't skimp; get the best. You won't regret spending the money and effort.

Fuse jig: Gotta have one. They aren't expensive, but they are necessary. You can build one yourself if you have the patience, or gator RC sells one like I use. You'd need one set of rails and 2 sets of stations. I have made a couple of modifications to mine and I'll show those when I get to the fuse assembly.

Flat table: Gotta have one, unless you get someone else to do your sheeting.

Wing and stab tubes: PBG Carbon fiber, no question. They are the lightest and strongest, and the difference in cost from aluminum tubes is WAY more than worth it.

Landing gear: The prototype was built with retracts; but the 4 I'm building currently have ES fixed gear. Fixed gear is lighter and infinitely less trouble, but it DOES require more trimming and mixing on your part. Most people don't even bother, but it's definitely worth the effort. If you use fixed gear, put in the time to trim the plane correctly. But this plane can be built either way, and both are shown on the plans.

IC or electric: One nice thing about this plane is it's low weight for it's size. Of course this only applies if you listened to me about the wood. (hehe). I'm currently building 2 with OS 140s and Hyde mounts, and 2 with Plettenberg Xtra 30-10 outrunners. The difference in construction of the 2 planes is fairly small. But with the correct technique, making weight should be no problem with this plane. So electric is definitely a viable option.

It's 2:30am here, so I'll write more tomorrow.


DMichael 12-11-2005 02:14 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Great news, Mike. I look forward to seeing more.


troyhm 12-11-2005 06:32 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Yeah it is great news

I think everyone will be watching with keen interest.

Mike will be a very busy boy over the coming months lol


MHester 12-11-2005 08:32 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Yep. I'll start adding mega content to this thread as soon as I get this K-Factor edited.

So stay tuned [8D]


flyintexan 12-11-2005 08:44 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Waiting with anticipation.....


p.s. nice website.

stonyZ 12-11-2005 09:21 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Very nice site........top drawer............any photos of finished fixed gear version........price for parts etc?

MHester 12-11-2005 09:45 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!


Very nice site........top drawer............any photos of finished fixed gear version........price for parts etc?

Nope no pics of the fixed gear version yet, but very very soon. Electric and glow.

You can find details [link=http://www.customairframes.com/pricelist.html]here[/link] on parts etc.


troyhm 12-11-2005 11:20 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Hi Mike

When do we get more pics ??? LOL

Have you got a list of building materials etc yet ???

Gee anyone would think your real busy a6t the moment

troy :D

MHester 12-12-2005 11:42 AM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
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Materials list, approximate:

30-32pieces> 1/16x4x36
6-8pieces> 1/8x4x36
1pieces> 1/2x4x36
2pieces> 1x4x36
1pieces> 3/8x4x36
1pieces> 1/4x4x36

12pieces>14 1/4 square x 36

4pieces> 1/8 x 12 x 24 lite ply
1pieces> 1/8 x 12 x 6 A/C ply
1pieces> 1/4 x 12 x 6 A/C ply

4pieces> 1/8 x 3/8 x 36 spruce (spars)

strip of .007 carbon ribbon

7/8x30" PBG C/F wing tube and socket

7/16x12" PBG stab tube

Set of Gator (or equivalent) wing adjusters (4 total)

Set of Gator (or equivalent) stab adjusters

Landing gear of choice

Engine/motor mount
*NOTE* The cowl on this plane is made light. Do not mount a nose ring to this cowl unless you add a reinforcement strip of 4 oz glass or 2.5 oz carbon weave. ESPECIALLY if you intend on using a 4 stroke. I suggest using the Hyde ARAI(S) or a mount. You can use an ARA or Budd mount, but realize you will have to add some strength to the cowl to support it. An OS 140 for instance probably wouldn't give you any trouble, but if a DZ kicked back hard, it could turn your nose into confetti if you don't use reinforcement.

Set of large scale radio south hinges

Various hardware of your choice; keep it light.

Partial tooling list:

Flat table!!!!! I use various different tables, my favorite is a piece of 3/4" MDS board (flooring) with a frame built to bottom.

Fuse jig- I ue the gator jigs, but you can build your own if you wish. I installed it on a 90" length of MDS board and built a unique but simple attachment on each end. It consists of a "C" section of wood, approximately 14" tall with a piece of tubing, music wire, whatever drilled down through it so the wire stands exactly vertical on each end. This allows me to run a string top and bottom, so I can sight down the string and cut a prefect center plane down the fuse formers.

Sanding blocks- Man, can you get crazy here. A good builder has every kind of sanding tool you can imagine, and some he invents for special applications. I have long sanding blocks of various grit (80 is my favorite for general building), small hard squares of MDS board with stick on sandpaper (about hand sized, various lengths of brass tubing with sandpaper wrapped around the ends, and small sticks to use as files. Use your imagination here, you'll be happy you did.

Hole saws: These are the type with saw teeth encircling a 1/4" drill bit. Use a 7/8" bit for the wing tube holes, and then use a piece of wing tube with some standard 180 grit paper to open up the hole to a perfect fit. Otherwise I have quite a few sizes for lightening holes here and there.

Sharpened brass tubing: It's cheap, so get a lot. This is how I do a lot of perfectly round hole cutting, and I consider this essential.

Dremel: Need I say more?

Scroll saw: If you only have one power cutting tool in your shop, this is it. If you don't have one, put one on your Christmas list!

Drill press, band saw, power drills, hand tools, etc....

MHester 12-12-2005 01:27 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Prepping the cores

Foam cores by nature have a little bit of melted foam on the surface. Like long strings of hardened crap.

I have a special sanding block for this job. It's a piece of 3/4" MDS board (can you tell I like that stuff?) about 12"x5-6" wide.

Attach a piece of standard sandpaper to it, about 220 grit. Just use 3M 77 contact spray....spray the block and paper. Just mist it, it doesn't take much.

One thing to make sure of is that you don't have any ragged edges or you will gouge the foam.

Now just sand all the cores until they are nice and smooth, and all the gloss is removed.

You'll note in the fin and the turtle deck cores that because of the taper, there is a little burn out at the small ends. Don't stress over this, just block sand it smooth and all is well. Be careful you do not change the shape, just make it uniformly flat.

Do this to all of the cores and we'll start sheeting with the tail.

jetmech43 12-12-2005 05:02 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Hey Mike will the cores, have the holes cut, for the wing and stab sockets?

MHester 12-12-2005 06:27 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!


ORIGINAL: jetmech43

Hey Mike will the cores, have the holes cut, for the wing and stab sockets?


MHester 12-12-2005 07:04 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
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Sheeting the tail surfaces

After you have them nicely block sanded, you need to install the small former that holds the end of the stab tube.

Check the location on the plans, and mark this on the stab core. I make a little template for this out of poster board. It's just a piece of 1/8" lite ply, a square about 1 1/4".

Cut the slot with a sharp blade, then insert the square into the slot.

Stick a stab tube in the hole and press against the square and turn. When you remove the square it should have a faint outline of the circle.

Next I use a drill press and a piece of sharpened 15/32" brass tubing to cut the hole.

Slip the tube socket through teh hole and be sure it fits before glueing it in.

Now glue it in with polyurethane glue and let dry.

After drying, sand the edges of the square flush with the core. Run a piece of inner stab tube in the hole with a bit of sandpaper on it to remove any excess glue.

Now we're ready to make the sheeting.

MHester 12-12-2005 07:22 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
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The sheeting for the stabs and fin is nothing special. Use good 4-6 lb balsa, the lightest you can find for this step. 12 grams per sheet is about right.

There's a thousand ways you can do this, but what works best is just tape the pieces together, apply a bead of Elmer's white glue, wipe off and let dry for about 20-30 minutes. Then go over it and lightly sand with 220 grit. Don't try to get it flat now, the tape will make it uneven.

After about another hour, flip it over, remove the tape and sand lightly again. This fills the seam.

Allow to dry at least 8 more hours (or overnight) and then block sand flat on a smooth, flat surfae.

Using the core shucks as a guide, make the angle cuts that are necessary according to the drawings. Leave about 3/8" overhang on teh leading edge, the trailing edge should be flush. Leave a little bit over the root and tip as well.

Now use generic hair spray and spray down the skins to seal them. if you omit this step, the wood will soak up much more resin (and weight) than is necessary.

After letting this dry completely (like overnight) sand it lightly with at least 400 grit. I like 600 for this step, but 400 works.

For the fin, you need to glue many pieces edge to edge, and make a long angular cut following the angle of the fin leading edge.

Once again, trim using the core shuck until the trailing edge is flush, and the leading edge overlaps by about 3/8". Spray/seal and do the same as with the stab skins.

To bond the skins, use a good quality laminating resin. West system is pretty good and easy, although I prefer MGS. Any of the better laminating resins will work fine.

Lay down the skins and spread the mixed resin with a folded piece of poster board as a squeegee. It should be thin, and barely look wet. It shouldn't take very much resin at all, less than an ounce for both stabs. Much less if you can manage it. Just as long as the coverage is there, and you have no totally dry spots, you're ready to bond.

Place the bottom skin on the shuck with the TE flush. Lay the core on top of it, aligning the core to the shuck. Watch your corners here for visual cues.

Now add the top skin, press down, and add the top shuck. I have made some pieces of MGS board slightly larger than the sheeted surfaces, and I lay that on top and pile on the weight. It takes about 50-70 lbs for each surface to get a really good bond without a vacuum.

Now let them cure overnight.

grcourtney 12-13-2005 05:06 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!


MHester 12-13-2005 05:28 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Hi Gary [8D]
Getting much practice?


MHester 12-13-2005 05:40 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
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After the tail pieces cure, trim the edges of the sheeting to within 1/16". Sand them flush with the core with a long sanding block. Take extra care not to sand into the core itself, if you do you'll alter the shape prematurely.

Now mark 1/4" in from the trailing edges and cut away with a sharp x-acto knife (or band saw if you prefer). Trim outside of teh marked line, and sand to it.

Here is where I differ from a few people. In general, the stock you'd buy for leading edges and such are made from the heaviest wood they have. The stuff is like iron. Instead, I take a piece of 4-6 lb stock and make these pieces from them. You can save a few ounces on your plane if you do this. If you're a "tail stander" don't do this for the LEs of the stab. They will crush. But for TE, and wing and fin LEs it can save a lot of weight.

For the fin, glue a piece of 1/4" balsa to the TE, and a piece of 1/2" balsa to the LE. Use polyurethane glue spread really thin. Wipe up excess with a paper towel. Hold in place with masking tape.

For the stab, use 1/4" on the TEs and 3/8" on the LEs.

After they are dry, mark a center line down the LEs and sand a contour to this line. Sand the TEs flush and leave them. They should be at LEAST 1/8" thick, possibly more.

The tip for the fin/rudder is a piece of 4-6 lb 1" sheet. Glue this in place and then sand to a rough contour when finished.

The stab is the same, but make the block tapered: 3/8" at the LE, 1" at the TE. Again sand to rough shape.

Aruba_Maverick 12-13-2005 07:42 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
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Great work Mike !!!

I finally knows how it feels like when I finished building a my own plane with hands and sweat ( albeit ARC Brio and NOT an ARF plane)

Keep up the good work

C Lim

grcourtney 12-13-2005 07:52 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
very little but i can make it through the new pattern most of the time well some of the time, been helping the pres. w/ my new plane sil. IV ready to fly as soon as off days and weather collide . cool thread maybe i can finally learn how to build the neat stuff. like you and the pres. let your secrets out share with the world!! input i need input!!!!!!! cool stuff keep it going.


Scott Smith 12-13-2005 08:50 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
Hi Mike,

Hope you don't mind, but I'd like to suggest another option for those trailing edges...

Once sheeted, the trailing edge is basically the two 1/16" sheets coming together (or 1/8" thickness.) With a straight edge, trim say 1/4" off the TE. This should yield a TE that is about 3/16" thick. Trim more if you want a thicker TE. (You are reducing the cord so don't get too carried away...I go to 1/4" thick on the stabs and 5/16" on the wings and rudder.)

Then cap the TE with 1/64" ply. Cut slightly over sized strips and glue on with Elmer's white glue and sand flush to the sheeting once dry (use masking tape to protect the sheeting while sanding.) This will give you a nice square TE's that are for all practical purposes dent proof.

MHester 12-13-2005 11:37 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
That's actually a good idea Scott. Up until the Elmer's glue, I like it.

I don't like Elmer's or wood glue on a control surface facing because it's water based and tends to try and warp the surface. Polyurethane doesn't do this. Before poly I used epoxy, but now this poly glue is awsome for a lot of things!

And then again as soon as you apply monokote it's going to try and warp anyway. So pick your poison.


Scott Smith 12-14-2005 06:01 AM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!
I like Elmer's for the facing because it sands so easy and have not experienced any warping once dried. The poly can create some real work when it 'foams' out under the tape. (I imagine you're not misting it with water during these steps.)

Your preference for sheeting the cores appears to be epoxy over the poly, is that for weight?

8178 12-14-2005 03:27 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread!

Nice work on your design. I especially like the fact that you designed it to use retracts. A great way to clean up the ugly gear struts, wheels and bulbous wheel fairings that hang out on so many of the 2M ships. Maybe you’ll start a new trend for 2M gear. What brand and model of retracts are you using? How about posting some in-flight photos.

MHester 12-14-2005 04:20 PM

RE: Black Magic v2 builder's thread! *Updated*
I'm actually building the current ones with ugly bulbous fixed gear ;)

Although this thing is sweet with retracts. I'll try and get some in flight pics soon, right off the deck...


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