RCU Review: Lanier RC Razor 3-D ARF Electric Conversion

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: February 2004 | Views: 45772 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Razor 3-D

    Review by: Greg Covey

    Lanier RC
    P.O. box 458
    Oakwood GA 30566
    (770) 532-6401

    Ease of Assembly
    Aerobatic ability

    • Excellent Flight Stability
    • Suburb Covering Scheme
    • Quality Strong gear mains and tailwheel
    • Excellent custom plastics and fiberglass parts

    • Some minor hardware issues
    • Several manual errors
    • Complex elevator bellcrank

    The new Razor 3-D ARF is an amazing aircraft that will enable you to experience the thrill of super 3-D flying! You can easily perform 4-Point Rolls, loops, harriers, waterfalls, blenders, and flat spins. The Razor 3-D does it all magnificently. The all wood, jig-built airframe allows for easy and accurate construction. The fiberglass cowl, painted fiberglass wheel pants, and swept aluminum landing gear, adds style and strength to the design. The Razor 3D features oversize control surfaces, an airfoiled tail group, and split elevator bell-crank system for maximum flight performance.

    Although the Lanier Razor 3D is .30-size plane that normally uses a .40 to .50 size glow engine, my review will also be a conversion to quiet and clean electric power.

    Available from:
    Tower Hobbies
    Street Price:

    52" (1321mm)
    Wing Area: 560 sq in (36.18 sq dm)
    Weight: 4.5 - 5 lb (2041-2268 g)
    Length: 54" (1372mm)
    Fuselage Length: 42" (1067mm)
    Airfoil: Fully-symmetrical low-wing
    Center of Gravity: 5-1/2" (140mm) Back from the wing's leading edge
    Control Throws- Low Rate High Rate Elevator:
    Up & Down 1/2" (13mm) All you can get Rudder: Right to Left 1-1/2" (38mm) All you can get Ailerons: Up & Down 3/8" (10mm) All you can get
    Radio Channels: 4
    Servos: 5 for glow-powered, 4 for electric power

    My "Stars and Stripes" edition Razor 3D has a factory-applied adhesive-backed color scheme that consists of red, white, and blue American flag pattern. The red and white top-side stripes contrast with a blue background and white stars on underside of the wing and tail section for excellent flight orientation.

    Included in the kit are pre-built and covered wings, fuselage and tail assemblies, pushrods, pre-bent main landing gear, steerable tailwheel wire, two main wheels with pants, one tail wheel, nylon adjustable engine mount, fuel tank, hardware package, decals, and photo-illustrated instructions.

    The parts are built strong and very light! I was pleased that the finish turned out so well with the complex three color scheme. The single-piece wing, fuselage, and tail came pre-covered in 3 layers and the wheel pants and cowl are pre-painted fiberglass. Note how the horizontal stabilizer matches the wing pattern. The kit also contains custom plastic parts and plenty of hardware.

    The single-piece wing, fuselage, and tail came pre-covered in a 3 layer scheme

    Required for completion are a .40-.50 glow engine (or equivalent electric power system), a 4-Channel radio, 5-Standard size servos (2-Aileron, 1-Elevator, 1-Throttle, 1-Rudder) one Y-Harness for aileron servos and some miscilaneous items like 1/4" foam rubber padding, medium fuel tubing, fuel filter, propeller, building and field equipment. For my electric conversion, the throttle servo was replaced with an Electronic Speed Control (ESC).

    To keep my Razor 3D light, I used some Hitec components that I bought from Hobby Lobby. My four HS-85 "Mighty Micro" metal gear, ball-bearing servos provide 49oz/in torque and weigh only .77oz or 1/2 the weight of a standard size Futaba S148 servo.

    My Hitec "Electron" 6 channel receiver is a "full-strength" dual-conversion design that weighs only .66oz compared to my Futaba R127DF that weighs 1.5oz.

    That's a 4oz or 1/4 pound drop in weight! Not a bad start.

    Hitec HS-85 servos weigh only 1/2 a standard servo

    Hitec Electron 6-channel receiver weighs only 1/2 the weight of a standard receiver
    Williams brothers makes a 1/8 scale Racing Pilot Bust that fits nicely inside the canopy WBRQ2479

    The Power System:

    The Aveox 2700 motors have replaced the older 1400 series brushed motors. The difference is the new improved magnet design, and a much lower price. The motors use a metric numbering system. The case diameter is 27mm, the rotor length is 39mm, and the winding is 1.5 turns. The motor weighs only 6oz.

    The Maxon 4.4:1 in-line planetary gearbox has 4mm output shaft (5/32") with flat, 1/8" motor pinion that optionally comes pre-attached to the motor with Loctite 638. The gearbox is all metal construction and weighs 2.1 oz (including adapter plate). The mounting bolt pattern is 3 screws on 16mm centers. The combined motor and gearbox weigh 8.0oz.

    The SL-48 Sensorless Controller offers a BEC up to 10 cells or non-BEC up to 16 cells. The 60Amp speed controller has easy programming with dip switches. The SL-48 features a 60,000 rpm limit (4 pole motor), fully Opto-Coupled, brake, hard/soft Start, hard/soft Timing, FAI Competition mode, Thermal protection, and UnderVoltage Cutoff.

    My initial starting point will be as shown below. The power system may not produce a real hover machine but it will at least be a light and strong vertical pattern flyer that suits the needs of most pilots. Optionally, a larger Aveox 36/24 series motor could be used for even greater thrust.

    Aveox 27/39/1.5 motor
    Planetary gearbox 4.4:1
    APC 13x8 prop
    16 cells of 1950FAUP NiMH
    10,000 RPMs at 42amps
    80oz thrust, 57mph pitch speed,
    600 watts
    Motor, Gearbox, and ESC cost
    is about $400
    Aveox 27/39/1.5 motor
    SL-48 ESC and Maxon 4.4:1 gearbox

    Wing Assembly:

    The single-piece wing required little work to complete. The servo bays were slightly adapted for my smaller sized HS-85MG servos. The aileron control rods installed easily and the control linkage was very solid. I connected the aileron servos together with a "Y" adapter cable for an easy sing-channel plug-in assembly.

    The aileron servos are connected togetherwith a "Y" adapter cable
    The open servo bay area was re-covered to fill in the star pattern

    Elevator Bellcrank System:

    A 5/64" drill bit is needed to open the holes in the tiller arm before installing the two cable ends. For my bellcrank shaft, I used a washer on only one end instead of both ends because the assembly was too tight. I also replaced the set screw with a machine screw to mount the tiller arm onto the shaft. This bellcrank system appears to work just fine but seemed overly complex to me.

    The supplied "Pull-Pull System" diagram was a valuable
    assembly aid
    Elevator Bellcrank hardware is included in the kit

    I left off the bellcrank access hatch cover to use the opening as an air exit path for one of the cooling systems. Although complex, the bellcrank system assembled well. This is detailed below.

    Custom housing caps fit into pre-drilled holes in the fuselage

    The bellcrank system connected to the elevator with metal control rods and to the servo arm with steel cables

    Care must be taken not to overly tighten the cable runs or excessive force is
    placed upon the servo

    Elevator Control Horn:

    There were, however, some errors in part lengths and measurements that i'll document along the way.

    The 2mm by 20mm screws were too short for the elevator halves so I simply glued them in place. A 24mm length would work fine.

    The control horn parts are
    solid and consistent for all
    the control surfaces.
    The supplied 2mm by 20mm screws were too short for the elevator halves so I simply glued them in place
    The control surfaces installed easily by soaking the
    hinges with thin CA
    Rudder Assembly:

    The rudder assembly was a great fit! I did not agree with the manual recommendation for locating the rudder horn 5" from the bottom edge of the rudder. A 4" offset would have provided a straighter run to the rudder servo and still not interfere with the elevator swing. Remember to glue the tailwheel wire in place while mounting the rudder to the vertical stabilizer.

    Four hinges provided a strong rudder connection to the stabilizer

    Assembled Tail Section:

    The covering is removed on the top and bottom sections of the horzontal stabilizer to create a stronger glue joint with the fuselage. The manual called for using 30-minute epoxy when mounting the tail stabilizers but I used 5-minute epoxy and had no problems after first testing the fit. The steerable tailwheel was good quality and made for a solid assembly.

    The assembled tail looked spectacular!

    When I finished the assembly of my tail section, I began to realize just how impressive the finished Razor 3D would look. The tail covering pattern matched the single piece wing.

    The steerable tailwheel assembly was top notch.

    Landing Gear and Pants:

    The Razor 3D wheels and pants look spectacular but the stock mounting scheme was not up to my standards. I decided to use a combination of Dubro and Sullivan parts so I ditched the stock mounting parts and used the following items below.

    • Sullivan Wheel Pant Brackets for 5/32"
    • Du-Bro 2" long x 5/32" dia. Spring Steel Axle Shafts (#248)
    • Du-Bro 5/32" Plated Brass Dura-Collars (#140)
    The landing gear was solid and assembled well.

    I drilled a hole on both sides of the wheel pant for the axle shaft to go through. This helps maintain the pant even over rough terrain. The Sullivan wheel brackets allow you to tighten them as much as you want for either a super firm hold or just enough hold to move the pant in case it gets bumped on the ground. The bracket can either be mounted by screws onto the pant or by using a little fiberglass mesh and epoxy.

    The wheel pant mounting scheme was re-designed using Sullivan Pant Brackets.

    Motor Mounting and Wiring:

    The B40-size CB Motor
    Mount from Esprit Model
    To mount my Aveox motor, I decided to use the stock glow mount and a CB (circuit board) motor mount from Esprit Models. The B40 size CB motor mount fits the footprint for the Maxim gearbox faceplate. This is because the Hacker B40 series motors also use the same Maxon gearbox in many applications.

    The metric screws that came with the Aveox motor were too long so I used shorter ones from my Kyosho car hardware kit. You need to take care that the mounting screws do not go into the gearbox faceplate beyond what is needed for a good hold. This is typically about 3mm.

    The stock glow engine mounts were used with a scrap piece of hardwood and hose clamp

    I sanded a round channel into a 3/16" thick piece of hardwood and secured the motor into the stock mount with just a hose clamp. The result is a very simple and secure mount.

    When the motor is in place, the CB mount is centered flush behind the cowl. I then glued it in place using epoxy. After the glue dried, I removed the cowl by unscrewing the plate from the gearbox.

    I reinforced the CB motor mount plate on the inside of the cowl with a little fiberglass sheeting and epoxy. I then screwed the cowl assembly onto the gearbox faceplate. The cowl was additionally held to the fuselage with two screws on each side.

    The SL-48 ESC is wired with Trinity R/C car battery terminals

    My ESC didn't come with any motor wires so I soldered on some Trinity (5021 R-MINUS) R/C car battery connectors that I bought at my local hobby shop. This provided a removable connection that could handle up to 60amps.

    SL-48 DIP Switch Settings:

    • SW-1 OFF = Brake Off
    • SW-2 ON = Air Mode
    • SW-3 OFF = Normal Mode
    • SW-4 ON = Normal Mode

    The UBEC weighs only 1oz compared to a 3.2oz
    receiver battery

    The Aveox SL-48 only has BEC up to 10 cells and I am using 16 cells so I needed to purchase an Ultimate BEC from Hobby Lobby. The UBEC weighs less than an ounce and powers the receiver and servos right from the main flight pack...up to 29 or 37 cells depending upon the version.

    The UBEC is a state of the art switching regulator designed to convert an input voltage from 5.5v to 35v DC into a regulated output voltage of 5v to power your receiver and servos. The UBEC can deliver a continuous current of 3amps and a peak short term output up to 5amps. This is meant to handle power for up to 8 servos.

    A typical 4-cell receiver battery pack weighs 3.2oz so I saved 2.2oz along with the added convienience of not having to worry about re-charging another battery pack.

    One of two 8-cell, 1950mAh NiMH packs used in my power system

    Flight Pack:

    To power my Aveox motor, i'm using two 8-cell packs (16 cells) of 1950mAh 4/5 FAUP NiMH from Diversity Model Aircraft. They sell both the packs and the Aveox motor that I decided to use on the Razor 3D. The 1950mAh NiMH cells can easily deliver a 40amp current draw. The 16 cells in my two packs weigh about 25oz with connectors.

    Two Kokam 2-cell 2AH packs
    are wired in series

    Alternate Flight Pack:

    Optionally, i'll be testing a 4s4p configuration of the new Kokam 2AH cells. I create these from 2-cell (or 2s) packs and then parallel 4 of them together. The total 4s4p configuration weighs 30oz and has a total capacity of 8000mAh (8AH). It can deliver and impressive 64amps continuous current.

    So, for some additional cost, you can quadruple the flight time with an extra 5oz in weight over the 1950mAh NiMH packs. While this is a more expensive alternative to the NiMH packs, it shows the continuous evolution that electric power systems are moving forward with.

    Final Assembly:

    When I tested the wing fit for the first time, the two wing bolts did not line up with the pre-mounted nuts so I needed to drill the through-hole a bit larger. The wing fit was perfect and I could now thread the screws on properly. I was glad to see that Lanier used two metal screws to secure the wing.

    A clean electric-powered plane can be assembled right on your kitchen table!
    My Razor 3D is almost complete.

    The black receiver On/Off switch is hidden in the "R" lettering

    My AeroNaut CAM folding prop assembly from Hobby Lobby was a great fit for the 4mm gearbox shaft. The 13x8 prop still has good ground clearance. Here are the parts I used:

    AeroNaut Prop Components Used:

    • HLAN3457 13x8 CAM Folding prop blades
    • HLAN4224 Midpart 52mm 0 deg
    • HLAN5150 Spinner 50mm (2")
    • HLAN2411 Freudn. Prop Adapter 4mm
    The AeroNaut folding prop and spinner package was a good fit for the Razor 3D

    At first glance, the recommended setting for CG seemed too far aft. This was due to the swept back wing leading edge. My Razor 3D had no problem balancing at the recommended 5.5" initial CG setting using my 16-cell 1950FAUP NiMH pack. The two 8-cell packs will fit in the area originally meant for the glow fuel tank. There is plenty of space for the 25oz pack combination.

    My Razor 3D had no problem balancing at the recommended 5.5" initial CG
    setting using my 16-cell 1950FAUP NiMH pack.

    Cooling Systems:

    The TempGun (from TempGun.com) will be used to test the motor temperature.comes complete with case and a spare battery. You simply point the device near an object and press the button. The TempGun will capture, hold, and display the highest temperature measured. I'll use my TempGun to help maintain my expensive brushless motor by monitoring temperatures after each flight.

    Just point the gun near a line-of-sight to measure the motor temperature

    There are two separate cooling systems on my Razor 3D. The front motor cooling system uses two intake openings shown in the photos and a single large exit opening that is part of the stock fiberglass design on the bottom. The exit opening is about three times the size of the intake opening.

    I added an extra air intake hole on top of the cowl.
    There is a large opening in the back of the cowl designed for the air to exit.
    This should provide excellent motor cooling for 3D maneuvers.

    There are two separate cooling systems on my Razor 3D. The front motor cooling system uses two intake openings shown in the photos and a single large exit opening that is part of the stock fiberglass design on the bottom. The exit opening is about three times the size of the intake opening.

    A separate cooling system exists for the battery and ESC since the firewall has no throughput opening other than what is blocked by the Aveox motor. I added 2 of the HLH550 air scoops from Hobby Lobby for my air intake holes and left the bellcrank access hatch off the back of the fuselage bottom for my output hole. Everything should run very cool.

    Cooling vents can be made from many items. Some examples here from left to right are:

    • 1" and 2" Master Flow Circular Louvers (RLSC1, RLSC2) from Home Depot
    • HLH550 Air Scoops from Hobby Lobby
    • Plastic spoon from picnic supplies

    My 16-cell 1950mAh NiMH pack measured only 30amps (450 watts) at full throttle. I thought something might be wrong since this was 10amps less than expected but I verified the same numbers using the 4s4p Kokam 8AH pack. The discrepancy from my expected 40amps in my initial setup calculations was likely due to the AeroNaut folding prop that I used. Although it felt like I had sufficient power to fly my model, I decided to hold off and order some larger blades.

    Note that I have often found descrepancies between actual measurements and the manufacturers calculated numbers. This is an important reason to either follow a pre-tested setup from a review or obtain your own measurement tools like an Astro Flight Super Whattmeter.

    13x8 prop blades measured 30amps (450 watts)
    13.5x7 prop blades measured 32amps (480 watts)
    14x10 CAM prop blades drew 51amps (765 watts)

    The 14x10 CAM prop blades drew 51amps compared to the 30amps seen with the 13x8 blades. That's 765 watts or about 133 w/lb. This should provide my Razor 3D with a very strong aerobatic performance.