Ranger, open source ultralight (I hope)

HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
There's some recent discussion and details about the airplane on the Ranger Thread

The idea for this one started a few years ago. Back then it was the Columbus Explorer (named after the town in New Mexico, not Christopher) but the name was too awkward. It started out sheetmetal, then foam and glass, then two different wood ideas, then wood with an aluminum tail boom and finally back to wood.

The design is optimized for quick build, CNC "tab and slot" construction. The idea is, if it turns out to be a good airplane, to release the CAM files so anyone can build one. Hopefully the idea will catch on and there will end up being lot's of designs floating around the internet with free CAM files. ...it's not for people trying to make a fortune in aviation, it's for people who play with airplanes as a hobby and just want to have fun.

R2 2.JPG
It'll look something like this.

R2 9 small.jpg
There's a prototype of the wing here

Ranger 2 Geo 3V.png
Version number 174,873 has a geodetic rear fuselage and will have a cut case 1/2 VW (sadly, not the Verner shown in the drawing).
 
Last edited:

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
Finally got started on the Ranger yesterday, ...a whole 15 minutes of real building.

Ranger 2 Assem DAY 1.jpg
These are the parts that got glued (not obvious in the pictures below)

Ranger day1 1.jpeg
I won't mention what kind of glue this is, that way I won't have to climb through my ethernet cable and choke some internet expert who doesn't know what he's talking about ;)

Ranger day1 2.jpeg
Goes together really fast. Blue tape is a reminder of which side gets the glue.

Ranger day1 4.jpeg
Clecos are a much easier and faster than clamps and nails. I wish I'd followed through with the idea of using them for all the glue joints. (a tiny dab of Boelube on the clecos makes them glue proof)

Ranger day1 7.jpeg
The outside came out great, I'll fill the holes before the fabric goes on)

Ranger day1 8.jpeg
Two of the clecos had some sort of gunk on them that surface stained the inside. It's no biggy but I'll rinse all the clecos in MEK or Acetone before I use them again. (some of these clecos date back to Icarus and Daedalus)

Progress won't be as fast as I'd like because of other projects but it'll get there.
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
I got a little work done today...

20190726_114506_resized.jpg Glued up some sticks to get pieces big enough for the lower (belly) longerons.

20190726_172421_resized.jpg Easy way to cut scarfs (the ones on the back are pretty steep)

20190726_174344_resized.jpg

20190726_202353_resized.jpg Simple jig to cut all the sticks.

20190726_202904_resized.jpg The four pylon 'sticks' and the belly longerons.
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
My decision to save an hour or two by not pre-drilling (CNC) cleco holes in the ply and longerons is going to cost me a hundred hours of measuring, aligning and clamping. I spent most of the day figuring out to fix that bad decision. I think I've got it figured out and it'll be a pretty easy fix.

20190731_104231_resized.jpg
After messing with getting this piece aligned by hand I realize I have to back track and go back to the self-aligning, self-clamping, jig-less roots of this design.


20190731_104742_resized.jpg
I was able to sneak a few clecos in to keep the belly longeron aligned just right (back drilled through the machine mounting holes). No parts are "cut to fit", they're all CNC'd so all the parts have to go in exactly the right spot or it's a mess.


20190731_200752_resized.jpg
Side note: I also printed some <test> rudder tube bushings and dug a piece of VP-1 rudder tube out of the scrap pile. The plan is to come up with some sort test method for 3D printed rudder bushings. ...these bushings are just to setup the test fixture, they were printed on the coarsest (and fastest) setting I could use. The Ranger bushing will be a little different but the tests will be similar.
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
I spent the afternoon redoing the cutting files to add all the cleco holes. ...I got lazy and left them off the first set figuring it would be easy enough to just align the sticks by eye and clamp them. Big mistake.

I cut the left side fuselage ply with the new files and I'll use this side as a drilling guide to drill the right side that's already glued together. ...lesson learned: Stick to the Plan

20190802_220932_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
Yesterday: I stacked the fuselage halves together (outside faces together) and used the CNC drilled half as a drill guide to hand drill the other side.


The splice and doubler on both sides were already drilled so I clecoed through all four plies and everything lined up perfectly. Drilling out the rest of the holes went pretty quick. 20190803_114438_resized.jpg

20190803_114407_resized.jpg

Today: I cut out a bunch of the "sticks" for the front half of the fuselage. If all goes well I'll have most of them glued in tomorrow.
20190804_183859_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
This "cleco'd wood" method is really turning out to be the bee's knees. Right now I'm limited by our chapters humble clamp collection (a situation that's easily fixed with a giant Bucket-O-Clamps from harbor Freight). And I need some 2x4's to raise the cleco's off the table.


No muus, no fuss, no tape measure, no pencil marks, the clamps are just there as a precaution (I'm still building trust with cleco clamping pressure, I may need to put them closer together on the next one). Today I had to hang the glue job off the end of the table to make room for the clecos, I'll fix that with some 2x4 stand off's, that way I can do a whole fuselage side in about an hour.

20190805_114948_resized.jpg
20190805_115015_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
The last few days have kinda been "ground hog day": glue, cleco, clamp and repeat. But it's still a lot of fun.

The next step is to put some temporary extensions on the table so we can put the back end of the fuselage sides on. It's going to be interesting to see how the geodetic "lattice" goes. I'm betting it's going to be crazy simple and fast, we'll see.

20190805_115042_resized_1.jpg
20190809_112507_resized.jpg
20190807_114555_resized.jpg
20190810_120157_resized.jpg
20190812_101329_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
More ground hog day... Cut a few parts at night when the garage cools down, glue them in in the morning before the hangar gets too hot. I want to glue in the rear longerons next week so I need to get the little stuff wrapped up this weekend.

I cut a pretty good stash of parts tonight that I need to glue in tomorrow. Saturday is our EAA meeting and the hangar will be a mad house.

20190815_205200_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
Work on the Ranger has been pretty constant (a little bit every day) but *we can only work about 30 minutes at a time because of the heat. It's just enough time to glue in a stick or two then it's time to find an air conditioner.

*there's a handful of us that are out at the airport every day any time there's an airplane to tinker with.

I'd post more pictures but they all look the same...

The right front side (hanging on the wall) is almost done, the left front (on the table) went together today.

20190824_113713_resized.jpg


The splice plate and a handful of clecos makes joining the top and bottom skins a snap.
20190824_113702_resized.jpg


I clamped a few of the middle pieces on to just to remind me that it's going to be more fun once the boring prep-work is done and it starts to be 3D ;)
20190824_103833_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
I started on the back of the fuselage sides today. The build table looks a little crude but it'll work fine. It only has to hold the longerons up while I tack the lattice strips down. To true up the longerons before I commit them with the lattice I'll trammel from a few known points on the front of the fuselage and maybe cut an alignment template out of foam.

Lattice isn't glued in yet, just checking them for length.
20190909_113016_resized.jpg
20190909_113133_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
It's not much to look at but at least it's progress (I'm only getting a few minutes at a time to work on it, that'll change soon when I clear up a few other projects) .

I got the top longeron glued in today. It was kinda a fiddly PITA to get just right but it's the 'keystone" for the rest of the back end. Everything else is pretty much tab and slot and can only go in one way. The other side of the fuselage will be built on top of this one "model airplane style", so it'll be pretty simple.


The Ranger goes together so fast I need to keep a fire extinguisher near by ;)
20190928_120112_resized.jpg


High tech aerospace clamping devices (coffee cans full of bolts and old spring clamps ...and a couple of 3D printed clamps to set the offset for the top skin) I'm learning a bunch of stuff I'll do different on the next one, I need to update the CAD files!
20190928_120101_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
We got one side pretty much finished today. There are still a few pieces of the lattice that need to go on but some other parts need to go in first.

I think this geodetic/lattice type of construction might be my new favorite way to build airplanes. It's easy, cheap and goes together really fast. (I built a set of wings for a Fisher Youngster but I don't remember it being this fun)
20191003_115726_resized.jpg


I'll trim off the overhangs with a palm router when everything's done. We laid it on the floor to set the build table up for the next operation.
20191005_115606_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
Both sides are pretty much finished. Once I trim the edges off the lattice it'll be time to start putting it all together. ...time to start thinking about wings (I need to rebuild my plywood stash).

20191021_113712_resized.jpg


I hate not having my own tools handy. The bit was dull and making a mess so triming will have to wait until next time.
20191021_113652_resized.jpg

...just because I like playing with stereo images (picture from a few days ago)
283326113_Screenshot_20191021-175704_3DSteroid_2250996_resized.jpg
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,893
Location
Las Cruces, NM
Routering off the excess stick material went great as soon as I picked up a fresh bit (still have one side to do but it goes quick).

I stacked up the sides, wrong sides together, one last time and glued in the last piece of ply. The right side ply is clamped to the left side so everything lines up just right. These have to be right or the stabilator mount could go wonky.

I have to order a couple of hundred bucks worth of ply for the wings and the rest of the fuselage. ...that'll have to wait until the wife goes to sleep and leaves the check book laying around ;)

20191026_113658_resized.jpg
 
Top