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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

3DHS 44" Slick 580__More Pocket Sized Fun

Park size planes are always an almost obscene amount of fun. Outside of a bit of preventative maintenance they are usually totally carefree, take up very little space in the house or garage, and fit in the car fully assembled and ready to rock. This, coupled with the ability to use smaller and cheaper batteries, makes park planes very affordable fun. Smaller planes usually take a nasty hit better because they are so light that they just bounce, so you can get pretty crazy flying one without a lot of crash anxiety. Overall,  inexpensive park planes are something different from the expensive 60" firebreathing monsters, and as such, you can just let go and enjoy them. This only gets better when you step up to an elite brand and an elite airframe like the 3DHS Slicks.

I had several of the original 42" Slicks and they served me really well. They were crazy fun to just throw in the back seat or trunk and take out ready to rumble. There was usually no set up, assembly or maintenance. They were just 100% fun. Along with the Extra SHP, this was one plane I was very anxious to get back to. Of course, the 42" Slick is now out of production, but the good news is that the new 44" Slick 580 is an even better airplane.

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When the new Slick broke cover I was initially skeptical that they could do much to improve the plane, but here it is. The most obvious change is the new technology used in the covering material. The graphics are now printed onto the Ulrakote covering, and like this it is easier for the factory to apply even more intricate covering schemes with patterns we could only imagine before. The schemes you see on the new Slick (especially the blue version) remind me very much of some of the schemes you used to see at the big shows that won "best of show" and "best covering" awards. These planes are visually stunning. As usual, there are two color schemes, though now the blue is as wild as could possibly be made, while the red is closer to a traditional kind of color scheme. Both look really good, but I went with the blue simply because it is the more striking of the pair. I like the red too and will probably go with one of those next.

I have not had a mini Slick in over five years, so it is hard for me to compare the new one to the old one. Obviously there is more wingspan, but it also seems to me like the fuselage is bigger, along with a bigger canopy, cowling, and also the addition of huge Side Force Generators (SFGs).

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I don't have an original Slick to take measurements from, but from memory the new Slick looks like it has more wing cord at the tip. This will go even further toward making the Slick more stable in a harrier (which it was already damm good at) and eliminate wing rock (which was already minimal). With the new SFGs, the slick will now have even more stability in high rotation maneuvers and be even less prone to tip stalling, though again, the old was already excellent in this respect. In the time since I have owned a mini Slick, I think I have improved the knife edge (KE) aspect of my flying, and it will be interesting to fly the slick with big SFGs and improved KE performance.

Also new is that this Slick is designed to use a 103 gram motor. While I found the 72 gram motor to be enough power in the 42" Slicks, some people wanted more, and the new Slick can deliver it. Some people will use the Omega 103, which is a fine motor, but the awesomely smooth Torque 2818 bolts right in too. To me, the Omega is a nice little motor that is affordably priced, and the Torque is very refined, and nothing runs smoother or sounds better.

So, the new Slick seems a little bigger all the way around, comes in two devastatingly cool color schemes, and flies better with more power. As usual, the flying is the most important part of any report, so let's get right to it and after that we can talk about the build and set up. We will also have control set up and power system installation photos.

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We could only get one short video before the bad weather moved in, so we have a little change of plan. We're going to fly and video some more and come back with a full tilt flying report.

3DHS 44 Slick First Flight from Doc Austin on Vimeo.

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Set Up

Power System Set Up
I've used the Torque 2818 in a lot of different airplanes including my original 3DHS Extra SHPs, Edges, Yaks, Katanas, and even put one in a 42" Slick. It is a smooth running, sweet sounding motor that simply bolts right on.


Another plug and play item is the Airboss ESC. This speed controller gives the 2818 smooth, linear power delivery that you need for good 3D. This time I decided to put it on the bottom of the motorbox just behind the chin opening on the Slick's cowling, right were it will be directly in the cooling airflow. The Airboss always runs cool anyway, but in the Florida heat you want every advantage you can get.

A nice bonus for me with this plane is that it can use the same Thunder Power 3s 2250 55C Lightning packs that I have been flying in my 3DHS 47" SHP. I like this battery for a lot of reasons, and I've have several reports on this blog about testing them in the SHP.
The short report on this pack is that at 55C it packs a great punch and at $36.99 it is very competitively priced even before you figure in thunder Power's excellent 2 year warranty and 30% (50% on other packs) off crash replacement policy.

This is where the pack ended up to balance the plane on the wing tube. I can go back a little more or forward plenty. I just picked it up by the trailing edge of the leading edge wing sheeting because that's right were the tube sits, but the finger method is not micrometer perfect. This is just a starting point and I can move the battery once I fly it.

As you will see in the next section, I am using Hitec HS65MG servos on all surfaces. For a 44" plane these are very serious. I would not want to use a lesser servo because I would be afraid of a failure, and I wouldn't use a more expensive servo because a park size plane is supposed to be cheap. I'll spend the money for the gold plated wunder servos on my 60"planes.

We flew HS65MHs in the 42" Slicks for years and they were more than enough servo. I am confident they will be just about perfect for the 44" Slick.

Control Linkages

A nice touch on this plane is the addition of double ball link hardware. Ball links give you tight, smooth operating linkages with no binding or drag. This is essential for good control surface deflection and centering.

I much prefer this to the old pushrod swivel keepers and I hope 3DHS will continue with this hardware on the rest of their planes. There was really nothing to it other that following the manual.

Also notice in this close up photo how intricate the scheme and color serrations are. This is some badass bling here.

Using the servo arm suggested in the manual I am getting 55 degrees of elevator which is about what the manual calls for. If I remember correctly, my 44" Slicks got a little less and they still; had great pitch authority.

Again, full ball link hardware. is the premium set up. I use a drill to spin the pushrod all the way into the ball link that I bolt to the control horn, and then make any adjustments by turning the servo arm. there are plenty of threads on both ends. 
Rudder Set Up
Setting up the rudder is a little trickier because it is pull/pull cables. Once you learn a few tricks it is actually pretty easy, and a nicely set up cable system will require very little, if any maintenance. Usually the cables with stretch out after a few weeks. Once you tighten then back up that's usually the end of it for a long time.
Here are the cables at the control surface. You can see I shrink wrapped them simply because I wanted it to look neater than crimp pieces and looped wires.

Inside the plane I tried to leave myself some adjustment both directions, as well as more heat shrinking.I have a friend hold the rudder centered while I tightened the cables and crimped the crimp pieces and that helped a lot. I just get the real snug and then I can loosen them up a little when I am finished.

Generally you want to have your cables tight, but not like a guitar string or anything. You want them to be as loose as you can get them without having them sag. If you get them too loose or too tight the rudder will center poorly, but once you learn how tight to make them it's not hard to get it right.
Murphy And Such
Coming from a racing background I am very familiar with Murphy's law.  Little known legend is that Murphy came up with this law when  he was racing, where everything that can go wrong will and does. Doc's law of racing is that everything that can't go wrong will still find a way to go wrong. If you race long enough you get paranoid about everything failing, including things like paper weights and concrete blocks.
As such, I want to be extra sure that my pushrods and ball links don't fall off the airplane. To address this I have been using lock nuts for awhile, though the newest EXPs and 3DHS planes have been coming with them. From there I go a step further and add a regular hex nut on top of that and turn the two nuts into each other. This technique is called "jam nutting," and I believe that was probably one of Murphy's inventions too.
From there I put a drop of medium Zap CA on the exposed threads and now it would take a nuclear holocaust to make it come apart. If you every do need to gwet it apart, you can spin the outer nut off and it will shatter the CA. It won't come apart in the air, but you can get it apart on the bench. Perfect.
Stab Braces
One of the things I used to do to my 41" Edges and 42" Slicks was to brace the horizontal stabilizers with 0.50 diameter carbon rods. This is not strictly necessary, but it is a cheap and easy way to go into massive overkill, which is not a bad thing to have on the piece your elevator attaches to.
I use a T pin to poke a hole about halfway through in the stab, and on an angle that roughly matches where I want the rod to stick into the fuselage. Then I line it up with the fuse and poke another hole. I make the rod about 1/4 too long so that I can slide it into the fuse a little too far, and then line it up with the hole in the stab and slid it back into that. I apply a couple of drops of thin CA to each joint and now the stabilizer is just about bomb proof for anything outside of a big  crash.


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