The Dr.1 kit is progressing at a steady pace. The CAD solid-model is about 85% complete as can be seen in the image. There are details left to add, but all the major structures are there. This virtual model serves to make drawings for make sample parts, suppliers to make final parts, and provides images for the final plans.
I have the first mockup of the fuselage as shown in the photo. You can compare it to the exploded view from the CAD system in the previous blog and see that it is coming together as planned. The model only has a couple of the bracing wires and the turnbuckles on those are too large. I am now making final parts to send to the casting company so they can make molds for the kit. They have already made some test parts so we know that the fuselage will look very realistic and true. These parts will be made of Britannia metal (similar to Pewter) or Zinc and assembled in a wooden jig to assure alignment.
On the engine, I am using the CAD solid-model to send files to companies that do 3-D printing. They take the solid-model and “print” the part with thin layers of plastic. The photo shows the plastic model of the carburetor. Actually, the part shown is wrong as the first couple of parts I sent to get 3-D printed were a factor of 2.54 too large – a mix-up in the program between inches and centimeters. I now have that under control. I will be using 3_D printing for the parts that are very detailed and hard to make. I will send the plastic parts to the casting company to make molds.
I have now built the first wing from sample laser cut parts. It is a lower wing. It goes together fairly easily and looks right. The sample shown in the picture only has one cap strip on it and is missing some other details, but is essentially all there. Don’t judge the workmanship, on the early models neatness does not count, just the fit and ease of assembly. I didn't even bother to clean the laser burn residue off the parts.
Finally, I have the plans partly written (13 pages). They will be rich in drawings and photographs. Over the summer I will complete the CAD model, and the first physical models of the fuselage, landing gear, engine and wings. This will leave the cockpit details, the tail feathers and the directions for the Fall and Winter. This kit is on schedule to be out next Spring.