Morphine Bill of Materials, Equipment, and Instructions

Started by piker, October 21, 2014, 04:53:58 PM

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Here's the BOM for the Morphine build.

I'm including it here so you can get your materials together.  You can also use this thread for sharing arrangements, like to split up a sheet of ply, etc.

Note that I specify 4 different plywood thicknesses.  You COULD use two layers of 1/32 to make up 1/16 if you like, or two layers of 1/16 to make up 1/8.  However, I find it useful to have various thicknesses of ply around my shop anyway.  I always fine uses for it... even when building ARFs.

Morphine Bill of Materials

All balsa should be "medium" in weight.  Not too light, or not too heavy... unless specified otherwise
All ply should be proper "aircraft" ply

•   1/16 balsa sheeting  (enough to create the wing skins (2- 6"x38"))
•   ¼ x 3/8 x 36 balsa – 1 piece - LE stock
•   ½ x 3/8 x 8" balsa – soft - 1 piece - wing tips
•   1/8" x 3/16 x 48" Spruce or Basswood – 1 piece - or two 36" pieces - TE reinforcement
•   3/16" dowel (2 ½") – 1 piece
•   1/16 x 2" x 2" ply  (wing bolt hard point)

Fuselage and tail
•   3/32 x 4 x 36 balsa – 2 pieces – sides, top, bottom, tail surfaces
•   ¼ x ¼ x 36 balsa – 4 pieces – fuselage corner fills - can be cut from 1/4" sheet
•   1/64 ply – 1 ½" x 7 1/8" – motor tube
•   1/32 ply – 2" x 9" – 2 pieces – fuselage doublers
•   1/16 ply – 2" x 3" - formers 1 & 2
•   1/8 ply – 1 ¼" x 2" – wing mounting plates

•   Wing attachment bolt and captured nut, or preference
•   Three Micro Horns
•   Nyrod Micro pushrod system or preference

•   3M Spray Glue
•   CA or glue of choice
•   Knife for cutting balsa
•   Saw for cutting ply (scroll saw, dremel, etc.)
•   Drill (for motor mount and wing mount)
•   Sanding block with 100 grit sand paper
•   Fine sand paper
•   Covering material and iron
        Hinge tape


Here's a list of the equipment I use and recommend for the Morphine.  Of course, you can use what you like.


•   Motor 2200 to 2800 Kv
•   Graupner 30mm spinner and APC prop
•   Castle 18A esc
•   2x HS 55 servos for ailerons
•   1x HS 65 servo for elevator?
•   Rx
•   Plugs for attaching to battery
•   3 cell battery 1000mah to 1300mah


Here are the instructions for the Morphine build.  I'll hand out copies at the build session tonight.

Morphine Instructions

Core Gluing

•   Create two sheets of 1/16" balsa, 6" wide x 38" long (you may need to add 1" at each end of a 36" sheet... just butt glue it on)  Sand the sheets smooth while on a flat board
•   Cut the sheets to the wing plan form shape shown on the plans, not including the tips but leave an extra ¼" of material at the TE of the TOP SHEETING
•   Draw a centerline (wing root) on the inside of the sheeting for core alignment reference
•   Carefully sand a taper into the top of the TE of the bottom core, at a very shallow angle, to as thin as possible without sanding the edge away.  Even if the edge gets a little damaged, it's not a problems as the top sheeting will complete the TE
•   Lightly sand the fur off of the foam wing cores (also see addendums at,5000.0.html)
•   Use spray glue to lightly coat the inside surface of the bottom sheeting and the bottom of each wing core
•   Carefully place the cores onto the sheeting so the LE of the cores matches the LE of the sheeting and the cores meet snuggly at the root.
•   Use spray glue to lightly coat the inside of the top sheeting and the exposed surface of the cores
•   Carefully place the bottom sheeting onto the cores while the wing sits flat against the building board
•   Lay-out the bottom core beds on a flat bench, lay the wing into the core beds, add the upper core beds and align everything, lay a firm board onto the beds, the length of the wing, then add weight to the top of the board
•   Let this assembly set-up over night

Wing Construction

•   Using the bottom sheeting as reference, trim the TE of the top sheeting to match
•   Cut the swept wingtips
•   Sand all around the perimeter of the wing to square up the edges
•   Glue the LE stock onto the wing and sand flush at the wing tips
•   Glue the wing tip blocks onto the wing
•   Shape the LE and wing tips to final shape
•   Glue the 1/8" x 3/16" spruce TE stock onto the wing and extend to the ends of the wing tips
•   Sand the TE stock to a nice, thin TE and finish sand the entire wing
•   Give the wing an overall inspection and fill and sand as required
•   Carefully drill a 3/16" hole through the center of the LE at the root...about 2" deep
•   Round off one end of the 3/16" dowel, add 5 min. epoxy onto the first 2" of the dowel, then insert fully into the whole.  Wipe away the excess epoxy and let cure
•   Trim the excess dowel to leave approximately 3/8" protruding from the LE of the wing
•   Carefully cut the ailerons from the wing
•   Cut and additional 1/8" off of each end of the aileron
•   Cut an additional 1/8" off of the LE of the aileron, but angle the knife to approx. 30 deg. to create an undercut
•   Using scrap 1/16 balsa from the wing sheeting, cap off all exposed edges around the ailerons and aileron openings in the wing.  Sand flush and fine tune to leave a consistent gap at each end of the ailerons.  This gaps should be fairly small but make sure there's enough room for covering
•   Check the fit at the LE of the ailerons to ensure there's a nice fit to the wing, and the slope on the LE of the aileron allows approx. 20 deg. Downward deflection
•   Determine the location for the aileron servos, on the underside of the wing, and mark the perimeter of the servo on the wing.  The servos should be placed close to, or just inward of the center of the aileron. And at the thickest point of the airfoil.
•   Carefully cut through the lower skin of the wing, and through the foam, but be very careful not to cut the top sheeting.  Cut a ¼ slot from the servo pocket to the center of the wing and carefully remove the balsa.  Dig a channel out of the foam about ¼" deep.  Save all the balsa pieces that were removed for re-install after the servos are in.
•   Prepare the servos arms as required, ensure they are mounted on the servos as needed, and glue the servos into the wings with the wires in the channel to the root of the wing. 
•   Glue the balsa pieces back into position over the servos and wires, sand, fill, and fine tune the wing so it's ready for covering
•   Drill the wing bolt hole to the size required for you preferred bolting system

Fuselage Construction

•   For the fuselage sides, pick two pieces of wood that have similar hardness values, so they bend at the same rate.  This will help ensure a straight fuselage build
•   Cut out two identical fuselage sides form 3/32 balsa, two fuselage doublers from 1/32 ply, two wing saddles from 3/32 balsa, F1 & F2 from 1/16 ply, and the wing LE and TE mounting points from 1/8" ply (also see addendums at,5000.0.html)
•   Cut  ¼" stock to the length shown on the plans for the lower cross brace at Bulkhead 4, and the upper and lower at F5
•   Create a left and right side by gluing the 1/32 ply doublers to the insides of the fuselage sides
•   Glue ¼" square stock along the bottom of the fuselage sides, from the rear edge of the fuselage to the front edge.  Depending on the hardness of your ¼ pieces, you may need to slice halfway through the wood, on the inside of the bend, every 1/2" or so.
•   Glue ¼" square stock along the top of the fuselage sides from the rear edge of the fuselage to the wing TE position, and from the wing LE position to the front edge of the fuselage
•   Cut and glue, from ¼" stock, the side in fills at bulkhead 4 and F5.  Carefully sand these in fills flush with the rest of the ¼" square stock
•   Lay the right side of the fuselage on the board and glue the wing LE mounting plate, the lower cross brace at bulkhead 4, and the upper and lower cross braces at F5.  Ensure that these parts are square to the fuselage side in all directions
•   Glue the right side of the fuselage on top of the cross braces taking care that everything is square
•   Lift the fuselage off the table and pull the tail ends together.  The goal is to bring the 3/32 sides together at the very tail end of the fuselage.  The ¼" stock will need to be sanded away to allow this to happen. 
•   Before gluing the tail together and while holding the tail together, sight down the length of the fuselage to ensure that it's nice and straight, and there is no twist.  It also helps to place a straight edge across the wing saddle and another where the stab will sit, and ensure these are reasonably parallel.  Glue when satisfied
•   Wrap three (or use your judgment) layers of masking tape around your motor before gluing the motor tube.  This is to ensure the motor has some space within the tube after the tape is removed
•   Create the motor tube by wrapping it around the motor and gluing the overlap.  Ensure the glue stays clear of the motor.  Make sure the edges of the tube line up while gluing
•   Glue F1 into the end of the tube.  Glue F2 over the other end.  Make sure the motor still fits in the tube
•   To fit the motor tube into the fuselage, the ¼" stock will need to be cleared out.  Once satisfied with the fit and alignment, glue the assembly into the fuselage.  You may need to slot the ¼" stringers on the sides to allow the fuselage sides to bend easily.  Double check that the motor still fits into the tube.  Wraps the sides of the fuselage as tightly against the tube as possible
•   Glue the wing saddle doublers into place
•   Glue the wing rear mounting plate under the TE of the wing, centers fore and aft of the hole in the wing.  The plate tucks up under the wing saddle doublers
•   Adjust the hole in the LE mounting plate (bulkhead 4) to accept the wing dowel with the wing sitting nicely in the saddle
•   Measure from with tip to tail, and the same on the other side, and ensure that these two measurements are equal.  Once satisfied, mark on the wing TE and fuselage a reference
•   With the wing in the proper position, use the hole in the wing as a guide for drilling the wing TE mounting plate.  Drill out and tap, or add a blind nut as preferred
•   With the wing in place, cross sheet the top of the fuselage from the wing TE to the stab LE.  At this time you can sheet the top ahead of bulkhead 4, and the bottom from the nose to the wing TE.  Do not sheet the lower, rear fuselage yet
•   The elevator servo goes in the area right behind F5, mounted upside down to the top of the fuselage, off to one side with a Nyrod pushrod (or own preferred method) connected to the horn on the top of the elevator
•   Prepare the servo horn as needed to accept the pushrod wire
•   Glue the servo to the top, cross sheeting of the fuselage, up against the ¼" stock
•   Cut or drill a slot in the top sheeting, ahead of the LE of the stab, as an exit point for the Nyrod.  Position the Nyrod so the wire meets the elevator about ½ above the elevator
•   Glue the Nyrod outer housing into the fuselage with sufficient support along its length.  Ensure smooth operation
•   Cross sheet the rest of the bottom of the fuselage and cut an access hole for the elevator servo
•   Using the spinner as reference, sand off the corners of the fuselage and round to desired shape.  Leave the wing saddle and stab saddle with square edges.  The area above bulkhead 4 can be rounded as desired.  You can sand enough to exposed the ¼" stock, but don't go so far as to make the sheeting too thin beyond the edge of the ¼" stock
•   Inspect, fill and sand to finished shape ready for covering
•   From 3/32 balsa, cut the outline of the wing LE fairing and glue to the top of the wing.  Add additional layers until it matched the top of the fuselage above bulkhead 4.  Sand and shape to offer a nice fairing shape.

Tail Surfaces

•   Cut the stab and fin out of 3/32 balsa with the plans as reference
•   Sand both to a rounded LE and thinned TE section
•   Cut the elevator away and sand the LE of the elevator to an undercut as done with the ailerons
•   Check the fit of the stab on the fuselage and ensure the elevator will have room to travel down about 20 degrees.
•   Check the fit of the fin on the stab and along the top of the fuselage.  Trim to fit nicely


•   Cover and decorate your racer as desired.
•   Tape the elevator and ailerons onto the stab / wing
•   Trim the covering away from the center section of the stab then glue the stab on while ensuring the distance from wing tip to stab tip is equal on both sides and the stab and wings are parallel when sighting from the front of the plane
•   Trim a strip of covering from the top of the stab and fuselage where the fin will attach.  Glue the fin on ensuring that it's straight on the fuselage and square to the stab
•   Glue micro hinges to the sab and the ailerons, in the appropriate location and with the horn holes above the hinge line
•   Hook up the servos to the control surfaces and check for smooth travel.
•   Wire up the ESC to the motor and install the motor
•   The receiver can sit in the fuselage, just ahead of the wing TE.  Wire everything up and check for operation of the servos and the direction of the motor
•   The battery can sit on the fuselage floor under the wing.  Adjust the location to achieve the correct CG.  You may want to build up the fuselage floor to better attach the battery
•   Adjust the throws to:

Ailerons:  TBD
Elevator:  TBD

The Morphine launched easily, and flies as straight as an arrow.  Experiment with throws to get the desired flying style for racing.  When throttled back, the Morphine will hold its trim and slow down nicely for landing.


Based on your experience where is the best place to get all the ply wood (good quality) ? In all the thicknesses you list (1/64 to 1/8)



    Hi Simon,
   You should be able to get that wood at any Hobby shop. Pinnacle, A&J's, John's Photo and Hobby (on Danforth Ave).
  There is also a Hobby shop called Hornet Hobbies around the corner from where you work on O'Conner which may have some supplies.



Ya. as Glenn said...

I get all my building supplies from A&J's.  They always have a good stock

It's also the only hobby shop I can get to after work on week days. 


Thanks Guys.

I find the wood stock at Johns to be very limited and often with low inventory. Pinnacle I find hit and miss.  Hornet hobbies has been great for balsa because I can walk there at lunch, but I've not seen if they have ply.

I think A&J may be my favourite.


Great shopping trip to A&J for wood today but I accidentally bought 1/4 balsa for sides rather than 3/32. Huge problem?


Quote from: sihinch on November 15, 2014, 01:37:52 PM
Great shopping trip to A&J for wood today but I accidentally bought 1/4 balsa for sides rather than 3/32. Huge problem?

Your shopping trip to Hwy. 9/27 was even better, with your new E F1 ARF!!! Also I could have brought you the 3/32 balsa.
I have a good stock of balsa now, around 200sheets of 1/16,3/32 and 1/8. It will be at the Aurora swap meet in March.


Quote from: piker on October 27, 2014, 11:58:29 AM
•   Carefully sand a taper into the top of the TE of the bottom core, at a very shallow angle, to as thin as possible without sanding the edge away.  Even if the edge gets a little damaged, it's not a problems as the top sheeting will complete the TE

Can you explain this some more please? I don't really understand it.

Are we sanding the balsa or the core?

And the top of the bottom sheet or the bottom of the bottom sheet?

There is only a left and right core, not top and bottom.....



Well, this step is optional really.  I'm trying to help avoid the reflex in the airfoil that results from the two 1/16" sheets of balsa coming together at the TE.  If you picture the wing cores sitting in the bottom sheet without the top sheeting added yet, the back sedge of the sheet will be exposed beyond the foam.  The top sheet will lay over the foam cores and that exposed portion of the bottom sheeting.  If you can imaging the very shallow angle that the top sheeting will meet the bottom sheeting, it would be nice if the top sheeting can continue on that angle rather than getting push up by the bottom sheeting.  That way the TE of balsa ends up being 1/16" rather than 1/8" from the two sheets added together.  Then the thin, spruce TE hardener gets added.  That's why I suggested sanding that tepee into the bottom sheet (on the inside of the sheet) prior to gluing the sheeting to the cores.

The other option is to simply skip this step, let the two sheets of balsa meet at the TE, then sand them down with the spruce hardener strip when sanding the TE.  That's what I did with two of the three wings I build recently.

Does that make any sense at all?   :)


Hmmmmm.  Maybe we can do it together on Monday night, in class?  I kind of get it, but why not let Teacher show you!  ;)

Thank you.


Sure we can, but really what I was trying to say with all those words was...

Disregard that step in the instructions   ;D


I know this must seem so incredibly basic and simple to some, but how do you make your sanding blocks, Robert? What do you use as the core?



The patented Piker sanding block is a 1x4 piece of pine cut to 11" in length.  I round off the corners along the long edges so the sand paper wraps nicely and create a rounded edge to the sanding block.  I don't like sharp edges as they gouge the balsa when sanding.  That's why I don't use commercial sanding blocks or T's, with glued on sand paper, like you guys have.

You can buy the sand paper in sheets of 11"x about 8" in various grits.  I always use 100 grit.  I wrap a full sheet of paper around the block and staple the edge in three places near the middle of the top side of the block.  That's it.  When worn out, I usually just wrap another piece of sand paper over top of the first as it builds up to a nicely shaped (round corners that don't dig in) surface.  I don't generally layer past about four layers.

This is my primary sanding block that I use for most of my sanding.  I do also make sanding bars out of 1/8" ply with the sand paper glued onto the surfaces, for more detailed sanding, and I have a course Dura-grit bar that I use for hacking away at harder balsa or if I have to removed a large amount.  I also like the foam sanding pads that you can buy at Home Depot.  I always have a "fine" available for that final polish type sanding before covering.