Willow 1 Build notes

  I've built quite a few Willows now and so I thought that it might be useful to post something on my builds and the feedback I've had from other people's builds.  I do not claim to be a great builder but I thought that this may help as a guide- even if only as a ‘what not to do’.  My thanks to Pierre Rondal and Adam Richardson for being much better with a camera than I am.
  First things first and it’s time to get the Wiring loom made up.  This is very very standard stuff, 4 * 1m servo extensions and a couple of 6 pin multiplex connectors do the job nicely.  SlopeRacer now has a purpose built Willow loom available.

Slots are already cut in the fuselage and wing to mount the connectors.  My preference is to open the hole up in the wing a little and leave the connector there loose.  I also tend to leave just 2-3mm of the connector poking out of the fuselage.  This is for no better reason than in case it comes loose while connecting things I have a better chance of rescuing the connector from being lost inside the fuselage
  One thing to remember is that when you are assembling your Willow your servo tray will likely push the leads back, so they won’t have a direct route to the receiver- a little extra length solves this one.
Servo Tray
Here you can see a quick shot of the main nose parts for the Willow.  The servo trays are made here in the UK and included with all the models from Sloperacer but some dealers have chossen to make their own arrangements.

As well as Holding the radio gear in place, the servo tray is an integral part of the fuselage's structure.  Fixing it in properly is a key part in the model assembly.

  The Willow’s servo tray being loose makes fitting out the radio parts in the fuselage a real doddle.  The ballast tube has to be fixed to the servo tray and so 5 mins of measuring is needed to make sure that it’s fixed in the right position relative to the CG.  My ballast set is 350mm long and is centred at 102mm from the leading edge. 

  The servo tray is mounted 7-8mm below the lip of the inner nose.  You will notice that the servo tray gets wider before the end of the inner nose.  Cut 2 slots in the back of the inner nose and this will line the servo tray in place- as well as increase the strength on the bond between the inner and outer nose.

  It's time to mark and cut the servo tray for your radio gear.  A neat hole can be made for each part- even the battery pack.

  You will notice below that I've cut the end off the servo tray.  The reciever pack is still held in place but fitting the nose weight will be eaier later.

My Nose ready for fitting- with the switch installed and ballast tube mid point showing. 
   The ballast tubes are supplied in slightly over sized lengths to help with this.  Once marked and then fixed in place I fit the 3mm ballast retaining lock nut in place.  This gives me a good idea how the ballast can get in and out as I position the servos.  The slot cut in the servo tray can be lengthened by 15mm if you want to keep the ballast tube flat- or you can sit the ballast tube on this to make fixing the ballast tube locking nut easier.

   On my latest build I have started fitting Savox 255 servos in the fuselage.  These have given excellent performance but I've used everything from 3155s to Hitech 065s.  Receiver, switch (fitted before you glue the tray in) and battery marked on the servo tray it’s time to get the dremmel going.  It’s a simple job to get everything fitted into place and ready to slide into the inner nose.
  Fitting the Wiring loom after the servo tray is in place is a dam tricky job- so don’t.  If you put the loom in before the nose cone is fitted, slide them down and through the servo hole cut.  There should be enough wire for you to control them through.  Make sure the snake outers are lined up properly on each side of the ballast tube as you slide the tray in place.  It's a simple job to look down the fuselage and see this.
  Before the final assembly oof the fuselage parts I tend to use a small amount of 5 min epoxy to ‘tack’ the servo tray in place in the inner nose.  This makes sure that once everything is fitted the nose cone still fits nicely and everything slides inside the fuselage easily.

  After a little bit of lining things up it’s time to glue the inner nose in place.  I don’t go made with the resin to start with, just a little 5 minute epoxy around the collar of the main fuselage to hold the hole thing solidly in place.  A 10ml syringe from Tesco and using the off cut from a snake outer makes the perfect tool for applying epoxy to the servo tray, both inside the mmain fuselage and in the inner nose.  Doing this after the inner nose is held by the collar gives you the peace of mind that everything is lined up whilst the ressin goes off.

2 piece tail

  We now only produce the 2 piece tail Willow- I think it's better.  Spares will be available for the 1 piece version for some time to come.  The 2 piece tail is a very simple process to put together.  The high mounted tail gives you plenty of room to get your fingers in and ensure that the snakes can get past the joiners.  We have left the tail skid on the bottom of the fuselage to protect those ball links on landing.

  First job is to cut the joiners to length and glue them into the fuselage. The Joiners need cutting to an angle in order to fit smoothly to the side of the fuselage.

The tails will slide on very easily and butt up to the fuselage.

Rather than fitting through the bottom of the tail (as with the 1 piece tail) the horns fit into the ends of the elevators. 
The easiest way I have found of doing this is to glue the ball link into a brass tube with a 2mm internal diameter, I find pieces of 45-50mm long are about right.  Put the tube in a vice and bend it at the correct angle (15mm from the ball link).  The tail is set at 105deg so around 35 to 40 dedgree bend works well.  A couple of trial fits will show you if you have enough elevator movement.

  If you leave 30-40mm of brass tube after the bend you have made this can be pushed inside the elevator and checked for angle/length/fit etc.  This can then be marked and glued into place. One tip is that if you squeeze the brass tube a little tat's going to be inside the elevator you get a good mechanical hold when the glue sets.  With horns attached the tail pannels are weighing around 50g each.

 Once set the tails can be fitted onto the fuselage and the ball links connected.

  An example of a nicely finished fuselage by Adam Richardson-

  This last bit is certainly the easiest part of the build.  With horns fitted it really is a just a case of gluing/fitting in the wing servos.

  My photography isn't up to showing this but I have now started to bridge the top and bottom skins with blue foam blocks at the side of the servo hatch.  This is very easy to do and reduces any wing skin flex in high winds- so I tell myself any way.

  Although you can use HS85’s or a whole range of other servos, I’ve decided to splash out on the servos for my latest model so I’ve fitted KST wing servos in the ailerons and used a set of SlopeRacer bearing kits.  The extra speed these servos promise has got to be worth looking at.

  I used Sanwa/airtonics servos for the flaps.  I’ve got nothing against the KST or other thinner servos in terms of strength but I’ve just happier with a chunkier servo on the flaps.  The fit out is very straight forward again.  The Willow’s wing makes achieving a slop-free set up very simple.

Ballast and flying

  Ballasting a model is largely dependent on the conditions and typ of flying you do.  I have 350mm of ballast cut into 10 equal pieces.  The ballast is made from 19mm B&Q crome shower rail, cut up with a plumber's cutter.

  After sitting the sections of tube on a tile/heat proof surface, I fill the pieces with lead.  Usually twice to fill the bit of reduction from the lead cooling.  This is an easy job but it's probably best not to let the missus see you doing it on the new Hob or letting your 4 year old pour the lead (trust me I know).

  I have a page of example settings as a start point but please contact me with yours.  The Willow's settings can be changed around to experiment with little fear of being 'bitten'.  Have a go and get a set up you like.