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Old 01-06-2013, 08:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default MD500 TOW Defender Logo 500 Build

Since late November last year, I have been getting a Logo 500 ready for install in a Century MD500 TOW Defender. It is getting close to being ready for an actual test flight in the body. There is a lot of work to get to that stage, even, yet I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This should have been a build thread here from the start but I got lazy and did post other places but not here for some unknown reason. I started getting the Logo ready by purchasing a 500SE boom and belt (extends it to a 600 size), along with a few other parts that I never made use of, save for one flight where I used the carbon fibre pushrod I ordered. Good use of that, lol.

Once that was done, I started to get other things ready, including a pair collector figures that are going to be used for the pilot and weapons officer. Once is a reproduction of Bruce Willis from one of his movies where he plays a Navy Seal (Tears of the Sun) but his outfit has been replaced with a desert camouflage pattern consistent with the period this heli is from. The other figure comes from a Delta Force Marksman set. His face has that “I’ve seen him before but where?” look to it. I have him as the pilot for now but I may change that as I get ready to fix them in the cockpit. I have ordered the TOW instrument panel and the TOW sight addition so sometime in the future, they will get installed.

On to the fuselage we go. It came in but had some damage in shipping. The canopy got two cracks and they are right out in the open so a new one has been ordered right from the factory to match. The landing gear are not really scale for the TOW Defender as they are mostly round skids with only a small portion having a fairing on it. The steps are also too high and the rear is not equipped with them in any configuration I can find. Wiring the skids was going to be a real challenge as the legs do not lend themselves to drilling so another method was found. I slotted the front of the rear legs and filled the grove with JB Weld. Also, the landing gear legs are way too high and needed to be trimmed. I started off by taking 20mm off the front legs and 25mm off the rear but the attitude was still not right. I took a further 9mm off the rear legs and it finally is starting to look like the low slung gutter snipe that it is.

The Logo chassis ended up being one of the toughest parts of the install so far. The 500 is setup to have the tail boom on an angle forward so that when sitting on the ground, the rotor is nearly 4 degrees (a guess as I never measured it yet) tipped forward. That gets the main gear low and also it does the same to the motor, lowering the COG from the rotor disk. It’s a very stable heli and the SK360/Spartan DS760 combo did a wonderful job in that department. Getting this to fit inside the MD500 is another story. Because the boom is so low, the usual job of shimming the chassis to get the rotor height right was not the requirement here but to get the boom high enough to go down the tail boom and exit in the centre of the opening without making contact. That in fact, raises the rotor but with the ease of making a shaft shorter (I don’t have the head yet), that will not be a problem. The issue is as you raise the boom to clear, the servos start to get really close an personal with the body at the junction of the doghouse and the very wide chassis needs some clearance work done to the former in the doghouse to even make it up that high.Next one, shortly.

Don
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Last edited by Keyrigger; 01-20-2020 at 08:50 PM.. Reason: Title change
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Next installment
The chassis gets special attention to make it work with a fairly full cockpit as it sticks its nose right into the area where the collective stick would be. I pondered this for hours and worked out a way of using aluminium posts from a spare set of 600 chassis stiffeners I bought as a mounting bolt to tie the lower part of the chassis to the motor mount area as I am going to cut 4+inches off the front of the chassis. I made up a pair of braces from a tail fin I had laying around from the Align builds I have that are now in scale bodies. They solidly tie in the frame and are the only carbon fibre parts in the entire build as everything else is plastic, wood, or fibreglass. I also made up the spacer and mounting plate from plywood (easier than CF to work with but I am allergic to birch. Man, it stuffs me up) and shaved 1mm off the back posts that came with the fuselage which are normally used to mount the Century mechanics. I make a great scavenger, lol.

I decided to put the tail on the right side of this heli as doing it the other way did not set well with me when it was such a simple thing to do. I bought some 104mm KBDD black blades to replace the very orange blades that come with the Logo and cut them back to 91mm so they would have a scale shape to them. They are awaiting paint along with the housing. I have ordered a Century 5 blade head and a matched set of 600mm blades. I checked over and over with the actual manual about how big the blade diameter is and it still came out that with this head, the 600mm blades are pretty much spot on. 550’s may be a bit easier to spin but I am really after as scale a look as I can get, as the body is not very scale at all from a purists point of view. It will make a tremendous stand-off scale bird, trust me.

The motor in the Logo was a very powerful Neu 1050kv motor but from the beginning, it ran extremely hot so I decided to change to an 890kv Scorpion with a 13t pinion and 153t main gear. This was combined with a CC Phoenix HV85A ESC. Along with that there is a CC BEC Pro that feeds the two independent systems in this heli. First there is the Skookum SK720 gyro that is in charge of the flight servos, only. Second is the AR9020 and X-Plus 8 17 channel combination that covers the throttle, TOW sight, landing lights, and telemetry. I have motor/rotor rpm, engine temperature, and flight system voltage monitored there. The light controller is an RC Lights 14 light night system with switchable landing lights. The helicopter has two navigation lights in the skids, one white strobe on the “T” tail, one rotating beacon on the vertical tail, one rotating beacon on the underside of the nose, and one flashing light on the top of the boom. To that, I will add up to four orange lights to give the interior an overall light level and if it isn’t too difficult, lights in the instrument system.

The TOW sight deserves special mention as it was an amalgamation of information and tips from a number of different builders and wizards. The expression, all I wanted was a board and two ropes for a swing from a tree branch comes into play here, lol. The actual sight is nothing more than a part that is glued into position once you are ready to do so. I wanted to make it rotate and have a dummy camera inside. Simple wish, not a chance. The housing was easy to cut into to start the process but it took a lot of time with my hands on my head and leaning back in the chair, to come up with how I was going to mount the servo for the camera and the hinge pin system. Some have done it with just a top pin but I felt I needed a bottom pin to lock this in. The assembly order was something I should have written down first as I forgot what needed to go where as I go to it, lol.

I have a pin with a 90 degree bend that is pushed up through the housing and into the nose extension where it is grabbed by a landing gear arm. The lower pin is just a 90 degree bent wire the same size as the main pin but held in place with some glue so it can be removed with little resistance at a later date if I get really loco and put a real camera in there. I had to remove the cover window twice as I mucked up the assembly order but eventually got it right. The window housing was flush on the kit and the actual TOW camera cover on most seen, has a very unusual shape to the bottom as it is not square. It now is mounted out from the housing to match the sights that I have seen so far.More pictures next to go with this.

Don
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Last edited by Keyrigger; 01-21-2020 at 01:19 PM..
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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More pictures plus here is a video of the sight once I had the sequence done with the random generator but not with the fully functioning three position switch that came many hours later, lol.

Finished TOW Sight Sequence with On Off Switch (1 min 48 sec)


More to come.

Don
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Up to date with this post.

Now, here comes the fun. The DX18 has a built-in sequencer and I thought that it would be a simple thing to make a sequence to operate the sight and camera and have that repeat itself over and over. I phoned Horizon and got a tech to give me a call back but he could not work out how to do so. He did say he would try and get another tech to work on it and then get back to me if successful. That was early in the week. By the end of the week, the sight was finished and I had a simple sequence set to move the housing back and forth with a change in speed and the camera moving at a different rate so they never are in the same place at the same time. A very tech savvy poster on RC Groups bounced onto my thread and offered to help me work out a repeating controller for my sight with the DX18. He also told me about how to make the housing rotate randomly where ever it wants.

He had me when he said he could help with the repeating sequence.

The rest was a very thick icing on top of that piece of cake, lol. I now have it so that it has a three position switch to control its movement. Position “0” is off and the servos return to neutral when activated. Position “1” gives the random operation to the housing and the camera moving up and down with the two speed up and down motion. Position “2” is a random motion but return to neutral every so often, just for something different, as if the operator is looking through the sight from time to time and then scanning by eye, or resting. It is really cool to watch the entire operation in all modes.

I am at the stage of mounting the landing gear in and getting the ends of the navigation light wires prepared for install to the controller and the tip LEDs. I have used mostly 3mm LEDs this time out for the flight lights and the 5mm LEDs will mostly be used for lighting the interior and a couple of flashing lights. This thread should have been done a long time ago, but better late than never. The build continues….

Don
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I got the wires run for the tail and boom lights this morning. I then sat down, sweated a bit as I drilled the holes in the skids for the tip navigation lights. You really get one chance to get it perfect, especially when you don't have spare skids lying around like I have for 3D landing gear, lol. They turned out fine and the ends that plug into the controller are finished as well. I am getting closer to installing the mechanics and a bit later, I will get some paint for the rear interior and maybe for the cockpit as they are two different colours. Whew.

Don
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I made up a wall plug to start the blocking off of the rear body area. There will be a ply former made up and the foam will cover the opening. Both sides will have a lot of trimming needed but you will not easily see past the chassis or wall plugs. I am also closing off the bottom air intake and exhaust and also the starter hole. Take care.



Don
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There's not much left of the pattern and even less on the right side. I had that feeling but you should have seen the size of the piece of EPS I started with, lol. The battery for the electronics will not be able to live on the left side of the frame but will need to be mounted right in front so it is out of the way of everything. Take care.

Don
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is a great build Don. You've got an ingenious mind!! Loads of ideas for my build, lol
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you. I really appreciate the compliments.

Don
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I got the landing light underway. It will be finalized when I get the floor in (waiting on instrument panet for that) but it will be functional soon. Take care.

Don
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The wiring harness was a bit of a bust. The connector was the wrong type and was meant to be solid mounted on a circuit board. Oh well, better now than in the air. I ended up with an HD connector (old school days it was called a Joystick connector, lol) with 15 pins available. I am using 8 and have ten prepped on the power side. The head group is on its way and could be in tomorrow. Take care.

Don
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Back in the old days (early 60's to mid 70's), I was a fair plastic model builder and I did some really good stuff in the early 80's. I have called upon that experience a few times already with other builds but this one is on overload. Waiting for other bits and pieces to arrive gives me lots of time to look at pictures to find detail points to improve. One is the exhaust openings.

On the real TOW Defender, the exhaust is routed back up through beside the engine (there seems to be a lot of room back there) and out beside the boom near the front of the engine compartment. It has what appears to be a form of heat diffuser to reduce the heli's heat signature to incoming missiles. It works so well that the exhaust outlet is painted the colour of the body and in actual use does not peel off!! Century went through a bit of effort to make the exhaust look like it is in use but in the case of the TOW Defender, body colour on the outside and a slight rust colour (funny, it's close to the body colour, too) on the inside.

I spent most of the day puttering around making these up and now have to leave them for up to a couple of days for the glue to cure and allow the plastic to harden once again. I also made up a couple of tubes to use so that light cannot be seen in the interior coming directly from the exhaust tips and so that you cannot see the large number of lights on the back end of the chassis. After all, there are four satellites, two receivers, and other lighted electronics to be found. I am also practicing up for when the instrument panels come in. Take care.

Don
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:28 AM   #13 (permalink)
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More pictures of the ongoing exhaust (ing) work.

Don
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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This winter, I have been very busy with building for a change. I got at the shoulder wall in the cockpit so the end is in sight. I got enough roughed in that I could make up a temporary bench and introduced the pilots to the last place they will ever need to live it. The clearance is tight but just as I have seen with many Little Bird pictures. This is going to be tough waiting for the interior pieces to arrive as I can see the entire picture will be a definate Kodachrome moment (Jpeg just doesn't do it). Take care.

Don

OHHHHHHH, I can feel the first flight............
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Today was the time to finish off the shoulder wall and prep the wall for installation. I did it the old fashion way with 1/8" ply and carpenter's glue. You know, the stuff before 3D printers came on the scene (Just poking you guys. Some of that printed stuff is so good, you want to try turning the knobs on the instrument panel to see if they actually work). I picked up the main rotor, swashplate, and driver, at the Post Office so that means it is time to remove the chassis. It will make the body lighter to work on (whew, it's getting to be like swinging a sledge in here) as I get further along with the interior details. I will install the exhausts and it maybe time to screw the weapons mounts in place. I'm dying to get the instrument panels in here. I can feel it getting closer to being in the air. Take care.

Don

PS: The fit was that close that the motor just touched. I gave it a bit of clearance.
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Last edited by Keyrigger; 01-21-2020 at 12:03 AM..
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Tonight, I got re-acquainted with an old friend who has suddenly become my new best friend. I was going through my little precision tool box and ran across a 3/32" carbide burr that has sat unused for about 4 years. I needed to find a better way to open up holes in sheets of ply and does it ever make short (rather dust-free) work of it (sanding drums kick up the most dust of everything I use). I chewed through the holes in the shoulder wall so fast, it was not funny. It took longer to make sure I wasn't cutting too much as the shavings covered up the lines rapidly. The sanding didn't take too long as the cutting was much closer to the line than I have been in the past. I wished I had found this now before I took on cutting out the chassis mount. That took way too long. I am also including a shot of the head components for you to drool over, lol. Take care.

Don

My long lost best friend
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Last edited by Keyrigger; 01-21-2020 at 12:08 AM..
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:32 PM   #17 (permalink)
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WOW I have along ways to go... looks great

I think that motor may get a bit warm, better get a fan in there LOL ...
Hey let me know if you ever need anything wood made as I have a full woodworking shop here
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:15 AM   #18 (permalink)
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There should be lots of air flow as the front doors will be wide open. I do have the motor hooked up to a telemetry monitor so if the temp gets out of hand, I will have a warning from the TX. I added some more details to the wall but forgot that the shelf (no better way to describe it) that is in the opening with the harness retractor on it has some depth and it is part of the position of the opening I have cut already. Fortunately, I can cut this twice and it will be right on, not short. I am now thinking "Can I put the wall in tonight?". This is getting done a lot faster than I had ever thought and it is not as difficult as I had imagined. I fretted hours on how this wall was going to go in, get made, would it cover, is too much going to be gone to make it worth the effort to make it? I have now found out that it was better than I could have hoped for. Take care.

Don
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:49 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Today, I was very busy at building and installations. I got the head installed which was a pleasant but very proceedural job. The hole needed to be altered in size to fit the larger 4mm jesus bolt of the 5 blade head. The links I had expected to go out tomorrow and buy three sets of 700 pitch rods but lo and behold, it took the links used on a stock 550!! I had lots of those, lol (don't use them in my Jet Ranger). The balls were a combination of short and slightly longer 700 balls for the swashplate and grips. Again, I had all in stock here, no trip needed. I did, however, run out of 1/8th ply and had to go out for a sheet of that.

I removed the doors and had expected the fit of the shoulder wall would intrude in the opening but I have got a way to make it better. I made up a light cover based on what i have seen in a couple of TOW Defenders as there are as many ways to install that light as there are customers for the helicopter. The floor was also on the agenda tonight and it is getting close to being able to be installed. The last thing I will do tonight is mix up a small batch of Hysol and install the landing light, permanently.
I repainted the entire interior of the back of the heli so that I have the complete colour control rather than hope that I could match the FunKey paint. I did leave the logo exposed in its original colour. I even painted the inside of the doghouse. It was time to install a few other items like the exhausts and the weapons booms. The "To Do" list is a bit smaller tonight but there are lots of pictures with some from late Saturday night/Sunday morning. Take care.

Don
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Last edited by Keyrigger; 01-21-2020 at 12:15 AM..
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:35 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I got more work done on finishing up parts for the main body interior. The walls are now in place and so are the side door panels. I will have to keep myself occupied so I am not tempted to poke at the setting glue to see if it is ready, lol. I should get the cockpit floor and light housing in tonight, if I can keep my hands out of the main body. My list of things to do got a whole lot smaller this afternoon. Take care.

Don
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Last edited by Keyrigger; 01-21-2020 at 12:19 AM..
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