Vario 1/3rd scale 300C Electric

After a long wait I received a call from Mr Fedex this morning telling me he had a package for me which needed a signature. This is what I call a helicopter kit.

I started opening boxes to check everything was safe and found this. Darrell is not going to be the only guy in town with a big electric heli. I wonder if it will fit in my Trex 500?

A new ESC and programmer which is very interesting. It's a Roxxy device now being marketed by Robbe.

Thats a mainshaft!

Here is is with all the parts needed on it, and bag #1 is empty, very satisfying for an hours work. I just don't understand why I have to machine a flat on it as there are several already. Surely they could have put one more?

One of the peculiarities of Vario's instructions is the total lack of words, which can get confusing. The drawing shows this collar in particular and draws attention to it with a triangle and an exclamation point. Then then part they supply is backwards and the screw is on the other side.

Thinking about it and studying the next few pages made me realize that the problem was not the screw, but the flange which needs to be on the bottom, not to make it run on a bearing, but to ensure the thrust bearing above it has a flat surface to run on.

The rest of this assembly is pure Vario gasser so I wont do a full build up until we get to the electrics bit.

Meanwhile, I have been assembling the rest of the model. The first part is the landing gear which is glued together from lots of parts. I used JB Weld as I wanted to powder coat it and JB Weld is the only epoxy i know of which will take high temperatures. As it happens, I had to assemble the frame with the aid of a 2 lb dead blow hammer.

These beams support the skids and are made of resin with an aluminum core. They are very brittle and I had to do some repairs to them with hysol and micro balloons. They are due for a coat of black paint and a clear coat

This is the final assembly after paint and powder. The beams are glued to the skids and the masking tape serves to stop the glue going onto the powder if it runs and also to hold the skids in place. Actually it was also a good marker for when I had to grind the powder away to get a good key for the glue.

Other glass fiber pieces have been sanded, filled and primed. These are the fuel and the drip trays

Fins, engine cover, airfoil and a metal bracket which was powder coated

I also powder coated all the struts white while I had the oven on and the machine set up.

Main tail boom support struts and the tail boom cover drying

And the tail boom assembly all finished

On to the main gear. When I pulled the old one out, I pulled the mainshaft out and took Sandy Jaffe's advice and machined a second flat on the other side of the mainshaft for the set screw to bite into. He said he had terrible trouble getting the auto hub off when he needed to as the set screw on the unmachined surface had marked it so badly it galled the aluminum auto hub and it had to be removed with a large hammer.

This is the new gear

And when I fitted it, it was just the same as the old one. I waited 2 weeks to get it and was no better off when it arrived. So I decided rather than wait more weeks to get another bad one I would fix the problem and the first thing I did was to machine the center hole out so it was now a sloppy fit. Then I drilled all the 3mm holes out to 3.125mm with my 1/8" drill. I reassembled it loosely and moved the gear around on the hub until I got it to run smoothly. Then I locked it down. Now it turned nicely but the bottom of the gear was rubbing on the side frames! I machined 1mm off this top hat spacer which let the main gear ride higher up the main mast.

Now it could turn easily, the mesh was still too tight so I opened these slots out even more by another 1mm

Now I had a free running transmission but I was not happy that the main gear would stay put with only 6 3mm bolts holding it in place. So I drilled the main gear through where Vario had drilled 3mm holes

And now I could fit some 3mm shank bolts......if I had any.

These would not allow the gear to move on the hub, but I only had a couple of old battered ones which were too long so I will have to order some more.

So that's the story of the main gear. Well nearly. To finish it off, here it is with the new bolts in place

Part 2 assembly