"Cloudster" Construction Project Session #3
On Tuesday I received a one line e-mail from Jack
Hiner that said:
"Tandy, 1/8 inch
square spruce or hard balsa will work for longerons on a model this
After I received his message, I picked out some
1/8" square hard balsa strips to make new Cloudster sides with.
However, about 15 years ago Dick Huang and I went over to MAL's hobby shop
in Irving, Texas and had Edcor Sea cut us a hundred 5/32" square balsa
strips each and I still have a supply. A size comparison between 3/16",
5/32", and 1/8" square strips is shown below.
As it turns out the 1/8" square hard balsa
strips weigh about the same as the 5/32" square medium balsa strips, but the
5/32" square strips have a little more mass to them. Several years ago I
built up the cabin Playboy fuselage frame shown below out of a set of the
5/32" square medium balsa strips. This structure is about the size of the
Cloudster and it weighs 21 grams or about 3/4 of an ounce.
After some discussion with Jack Hiner,
collectively we decided that since the Cloudster does not have a real long
tail like the Baby Playboy and does have short nose, the 5/32 is better
choice. Besides, the 5/32 square will give more joint gluing area.
So last evening I laid up the first Cloudster
fuselage side using 5/32" square balsa strips as shown below.
In the picture below, the 3/16" square two
sides are at the top of the picture and the 5/32" square side is at the
I weighed the 3/16" square side on the
AccuLab scale and it weighed 7 grams as shown below.
Then I weighed the 5/32" square side and it weighed 6 grams as shown
I was very surprised to find that there was
only one-gram weight savings by using the smaller 5/32" square balsa
strips! I guess part of the reason there is so little difference is the
reduction from 3/16" square down to 1/8" X 3/16" for the vertical
members in the aft portion of the fuselage. Considering the framing of
both sides and the cross member on top and bottom, 5/32" square balsa
strips will save less than 4 grams all total.
I have wasted some time and materials going
through this exercise, but at least now I know. Therefore, I am going to
proceed with the Cloudster construction using the two sides I have
already built out of 3/16" square
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