Category Archives: TF Cessna 182

TF Cessna 182 – Stab Work Continues

I finally got a chance to get back into my workshop for a few hours this weekend and made a bit more progress on the stab. The stab sheeting is done, trimmed, and rough sanded.


I also sorted out the elevator parts and begun shaping the elevator LEs and made up the skins for the elevators. I tried to select the hardest pieces of balsa from my kit for the elevator skins, saving the softer pieces for the fuselage (which will require some tight bends). Unfortunately, the harder pieces were a bit warped, so I may have some trouble with these skins. I will see how they look after cutting to shape, but I may need to dig into my stash of 1/16 balsa and scrap the warped kit supplied pieces.


As an experiment, I tried using Titebond as an alternative to Ambroid for joining the sheeting. While it worked well enough, I found it a bit messy to clean up the excess that squeezes out of the joint. This time, I tried using Super ‘Phatic from Deluxe materials. As Super ‘Phatic is much thinner than Titebond, it is easier to get a thin bead along the joint, and the excess cleans up quickly with one quick wipe with a paper towel. The resulting joint was invisible and strong, so I now have a new favorite adhesive for edge joining. I do miss that Ambroid smell though! :)

Total build hours to date: 24 hours

TF Cessna 182–Stab Construction Continued

Since I will be using Robart hinge points instead of CA hinges, the next step in the stab construction was to locate and drill the holes for the hinge points in both the stab TE and the elevator LE. I started by marking a centerline down the stab LE and the holes based on the location of balsa blocks installed when assembling the stab.


Looks good, but there were two problems; 1) I did not notice that the ribs in the elevator are offset from the ribs in the stab, so the center hole ended up right on a rib. 2) I used an older twist drill and despite best efforts, I did end up with a small bit of drill wander and some of the holes were not aligned with the center-line. So, plugged up the holes with some scrap balsa glued in with Titebond, and started again, this time with using a sharp spade-point bit.


After getting a good set of (near) perfectly aligned holes in the elevator LE, I clamped them LE to the stab and transferred the holes to the stab TE.


Although holes are lined up perfectly in the TE, when drilling through the balsa blocks, I got a bit of drill wander again (ugh), with on hole exiting above center and another exiting below. It should be good enough though as the LE moves freely when mocked up with the hinges.


Next up is the cross grain reinforcement between the center ribs, and finally the sheeting.



After removing the pins, I added an extra fillet of Titebond around all the ribs, the LE, and the TE.


I will be traveling a bit for work, so it will be a while before I will be able to get to the bottom sheeting. At least it will give the glue plenty of time to dry!

Total build hours to date: 19.5

TF Cessna 182–Construction Begins

After sorting out the problems with my building board, I am ready to begin building! As is typical, construction begins with the tail feathers. The dies must have been new and sharp when this kit was punched out, all the parts have very clean crisp edges with no sign of “crushing”.


The die cut lines are so crisp, that it is hard to tell the rib bottom from the building tab, so I flipped over each rib and used it to mark out the rib profile on its mate.


Then I used my angle sander to bevel the edge of each rib to fit tightly against the leading edge.


The rear trailing edge is made up of three pieces. The instructions call for them to be positioned on the plans for marking, then removed and glued together. I was afraid that it would be too hard to keep the assembly aligned and straight doing that, so I started by gluing the center section of the TE to ribs S3 to establish a horizontal datum.


Next, I glued the outer sections with Titebond while aligning to the outer ribs and using my laser to ensure all was straight and true before the glue set. I’ll confess that it took me two tries to get it right.


After that, it was straightforward construction. I did deviate from the plans slightly to add balsa blocks for hinge points.

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Here is the stab ready for sheeting.


And finally, I have prepared the sheeting using a few drops of my last precious tube of Ambroid.


Note: I am keeping a log of my build time and will be recoding it with each post.

Total build hours to date: 13.5 (no one ever accused me of being a fast builder)

New Build Project–Top Flite Cessna 182

The building bug bit me again, and I decided to start on a new project. I know that I should finish one project before starting another, but I get bored easy and like to mix things up.

The woodworking phase is my favorite part of building, so I wanted a large(ish) project that involved a lot of wood. After looking at my stockpile of kits, I opted for the Top Flite Cessna 182, which I picked up for a very attractive price several years ago.

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While I will be no-where near Top Gun level, I will try to keep this as close to scale as possible. My plan is to ‘glass and paint this plane (as opposed covering with film). As of right now, I am leaning towards finishing this off in a Civil Air Patrol scheme, similar to the photo below.


Of course, I will convert it to electric power. Other plans include the installation of the Top Flite interior kit, lights, and replacing the static front strut with the Robart articulated one.

After unpacking the box, I discovered that the front windscreen, although still in its factory wrapping, was damaged. Its a bit hard to see in the photos, but there was a crease on both sides of the windscreen. Perhaps with a bit of coaxing, it could be salvaged, but I didn’t want to start a new project with a major component like this in question.

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These units are out of production, but I placed a “wanted” ad on couple of RC boards and was able to find someone with a “new old stock” canopy set from Top Flite that he was willing to sell. The seller only charged the me original price of the set plus his shipping cost, but that still added up to $53 (which is just bit less than 1/4 of what I paid for the original kit INCLUDING the interior set)!

Next up will be start of construction.