Slow, but constant progress, has been the mantra with the Juliet3 in the last weeks. It’s sometimes surprising how fast a model can take shape, from a bag of laser cut pieces of wood to a fully built up structure looking like a plane. And still, the number of big or little operations needed to make it flyable is huge.
The Juliet3 shortly before being covered with film
As you probably know, the construction of the first Juliet3 has taken a considerable amount of time. We worked on it on and off for a couple of years, between some of the best, and worst, moments of our lives. As frustrating as it can be, there are certainly a few bright sides to the situation. For example, it gave me the opportunity to look at many little design choices with new eyes. Before covering the airframe, I took the time to add a few parts to the design to improve strength and easy of use. Some parts were also partially rebuilt to get closer to a final version Juliet3 (more about this in the following weeks).
Fighting the desire to covering it and move forward, I also verified once again the weight distribution and decided to retrofit the parts needed to install the tail servos in the back. These were supposed to be optional parts, but since we are installing pretty much the heaviest motor/esc combination in the front, it made sense to move a few grams in the back to balance it all.
Finally, we started to cover the plane with plastic film. The livery I chose inherits some traits of the Juliet2’s one, with the addition of the green color. This gives the model a very “patriotic” look, with the green, white and red of the Italian flag flowing on both the fuselage and the wings. It’s a little tribute to the though period we all went through recently, and after all… they look good!
The Juliet3 will have the stickers applied after the first flights, just in case I will want to change anything (or make repairs 🙂 ). I will use the same method as the Juliet and juliet2, printing the shapes inverted on the back of a sheet of adhesive paper and then cutting them by hand.
For the same reasons the motor cowling will wait to be painted until after I’ll be satisfied that the cooling is sufficient, and no further modifications are needed.
One of the very last items on my pre-maiden checklist, the final installation of the electronics, and controls setup, was very uneventful. I only made a little plate for the frSky receiver, to make it easily removable and help my big hands work on it if needed. It’s probably just extra weight, but with this being still a prototype, I found convenient access to the connectors to be worth a few grams. Although not necessary, and made specifically for the frSky Rx6r I’m using, it will be an optional part in the upcoming short kit.
Setting up the control links was also straightforward. In this configuration all the links are external, made from short 2mm metal rods, with ball joints on all ends for precision and adjustability.
The radio setup on my taranis was largely copied from the Juliet2, using the pc companion software. There are of course different rates, and a few more functions related to the telemetry handling, but this is not a complicated model to set up at all.
With everything secured and connected, I moved to the ground test/motor run up phase. I went through a couple of lipos trying different power setting, looking for vibrations, abnormal behaviors etc. Finding none, I finally admitted to myself the plane was rady for the maiden flight!
Some of the proposed color combinations
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