Jump to content

Blue Blasters F/A-18 Hornet


tower59
 Share

Recommended Posts

My son & I have started an attempt to build our version of the CAG bird from VFA-34. The plan is to make it realistic, but since we'll use VR we won't make cockpit switches and such operational.

 

We're starting with a challenge- building a windshield. We've put together a working drawing that might be of use to others (attached). The measurements are harvested from open source plans, contributions from forum members (Baldrick & Garep), and most importantly, actual measurements we took ourselves. Thanks to Mr. Jim Hodgson of the Ft. Worth Aviation Museum, we actually got to measure a Blue Angels F/A-18A that they have on display!

 

The windshield construction plan is to create a wooden jig on which we will form 1 1/2" wide aluminum strips into the windshield frame. Then, we'll (hopefully) be able to bend a large acrylic sheet over the canopy bow to form the curve of the windshield, and then epoxy the acrylic to the aluminum. Appreciate any comments and suggestions you may have as we try to fabricate our sim!

-Skip

180118-N-CG677-0205.thumb.JPG.def2c49b293e7bb60bfc27c4813d6ce3.JPG

F-18 Windshield SC19.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mate I used to buy the windscreen and canopy for the EFA Typhoon and whilst I admire your drive, it will not be easy if possible. The professionals scrapped a lot and were using laminated plastic designed for the job.

 

 

 

Honestly you would be better looking for one on Ebay or something. You will need to heat the acrylic uniformly but bending it through such angles is almost impossible as the outside of the acrylic will stretch and the inside will need to compress hence the real canopies are laminated.

 

 

I wish you luck and look forward to seeing how you go, its always worth giving a go!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Canopy Bow

 

My son & I have been working on the canopy bow. First, we glued together some cabinet grade 3/4" plywood and let it cure. Then, we used a trammel to draw an arc at 16" and 14", to form a portion of a circle. Note that the center point of the trammel was placed 6" above the base of the plywood, allowing for slightly more than a half circle. This is consistent with the actual shape of the canopy bow as best we could determine from photos, plans, and various measurements. The bow was rough cut with a saber saw, then shaped with a belt sander, then smoothed with a palm sander. A few coats of black paint and we're done. The trickiest part was getting the slight angle on the bow feet correct, since it is angled forward by about 12 degrees or so. Hope this might be useful to someone building their canopy bow! Next step is shaping the windshield frame from aluminum, which we'll then epoxy to the canopy bow.

-Skip

IMG_2225.thumb.jpg.d2d2d23a02a13f10923f74de8c649e0b.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Windshield fairing

 

My son and I initially attempted to bend a 1 1/2" aluminum strip into the shape of the windshield fairing. We soon realized that the complex curves involved made this approach impossible. Then, we figured out that instead of working with straight strips of aluminum, we could cut curved pieces. This allowed us to make the complicated curves and angles work. After cutting out several pieces, we fitted them together with epoxy. Sanded, polished, degreased, and painted with official Blue Blasters paint (also known as Rustoleum Midnight Blue).

 

Then, the next step was to precisely position the aluminum fairing on a wooden plywood jig to get the shape just right. We made a couple of extra arches to help lock down the position of the acrylic windshield. Next, we'll use poster board to make a template from which we'll cut the shape of the acrylic. We'll use the base template we made ourselves when we traced a real F/A-18 Blue Angel bird. We hope to use a heat gun to carefully bend a single sheet of acrylic over the canopy bow and then bond it to the interior of the aluminum fairing with E6000.

 

Open to any suggestions!!!

-Skip

IMG_2231.thumb.jpg.30ecc793ce13ea6dadd9eb020ef4d352.jpg

IMG_2310.thumb.jpg.e017b70cb2070caf17cd5ef8359aff32.jpg

IMG_2361.thumb.jpg.9c219973199522b682a024927aab67c7.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Windshield

 

Hornet Update: After getting the aluminum fairing in place on our jig, we placed a series of poster boards inside the jig to precisely determine the multi-curved windshield shape. We then used that as a template to mark a large sheet of acrylic which we cut out using a saber saw. Next, we positioned the acrylic on the canopy bow and heated it. Gradually, we added clamps to the edges of the acrylic to act as weights and over time the acrylic bent into shape. Eventually, we were able to bond the acrylic to the canopy bow and aluminum fairing using E6000 adhesive. We're making progress!!!

 

-Skip

IMG_2408.jpeg.0a5d4d4f52e9b5432cbd1c9abcc581d4.jpeg

IMG_2411.jpeg.960e3a1de1ec0466e0875d28212fc4c4.jpeg

IMG_2472.jpeg.50ac02cb0a96d8513c1e502ceaa7454a.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hadn't considered heat changing the acrylic, but once we get it done the sim will be housed inside air conditioned house, of course. It got crazy hot with the heat of the Texas summer and the heat guns when we shaped the acrylic, but thank goodness it's starting to cool off with Fall!

 

Next steps are to finish up the canopy bow interior details. Anyone have a source for the small mirrors? Every one I find is too big- I think they are only about 6" or so in length. Ideas?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hadn't considered heat changing the acrylic, but once we get it done the sim will be housed inside air conditioned house, of course. It got crazy hot with the heat of the Texas summer and the heat guns when we shaped the acrylic, but thank goodness it's starting to cool off with Fall!

 

Next steps are to finish up the canopy bow interior details. Anyone have a source for the small mirrors? Every one I find is too big- I think they are only about 6" or so in length. Ideas?

 

 

The only thing I thought was maybe (and it probably shouldnt) but perhaps dont screw it into the frame because if its too tight and it shrinks it might crack and that would be a shame.

 

 

Regarding mirrors can you cut them like glass?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...

Pit Update

 

We've completed the Hornet windshield by heat forming the acrylic and it has turned out great, and even survived a move to a new house! It won't handle enemy bullets, but it looks pretty close to the real deal. We bought a large, thin mirror from Lowe's and were able to cut it to shape and coat the edges in PlastiDip to make the dogfighting mirrors.

 

My son & I have all but finished the NACES ejection seat, and now are starting our design of the tub. Our plan is to make the tub 8 feet long (to correspond to the length of a sheet of plywood) and about 3 feet wide or so, excluding the width of the LEX. In real life, the actual Hornet is about 4.5 feet above the ground at the nose wheel. In the middle of the cockpit, the height of the Hornet is about 6 feet from the base of the fuselage to the top of the ejection seat headrest. The Hornet is tall! My son's room has a tall ceiling, so we are considering building the tub from the bottom of the actual fuselage- not from the bottom of the ejection seat. This would mean the simpit would be about 6 feet tall from the floor! Have any of you done this? Stability will be a bit of an issue, but I think a couple of bags of concrete in the subfloor of the pit will provide adequate ballast, and the starboard side of the pit will abut a wall, into which we could drop a few anchors. Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks!!! -Skip

-FLY NAVY-

IMG_4931.thumb.jpg.10496d5faff2f5ad84bd1d2c7e711171.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, we'll probably go with a Thrustmaster Hornet stick and get an extension to make the stick the right height. Not yet sure on the throttle, there are a few cool options out there. No idea at all yet on pedals, because we'll have to be able to slide them fore and aft to adjust for big difference in my son's height vs my height. Open to suggestions for sure!

 

Next step is working on the base of the sim. Will build the bottom portion of the fuselage and once complete then start on the upper half which will be from the cockpit floor and base of the NACES on up. At some point we will make a ladder that pops out of the LEX for ingress/egress. If we can pull this off, you'll have to climb up a ladder to get into the simpit- just like on the flight line (or so I imagine)!

-Skip

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This weekend we made great progress on the base level of the Hornet. Our plan is to build an 8 foot section of the fuselage- including the fuselage below the level of the pilot's seat. We're building a base section about 27" tall or so to get up to the ejection seat base. We ripped a piece of 3/4" plywood for the bottom of the base, and then cut it into four pieces so that the simpit will be movable. (We'll build this in our shop, then break it down, go through the narrow indoor hall, and then reassemble.) Then, we cut vertical support posts, cut a curve into them for the bottom of the fuselage, and then installed them on one of our four panels. (See pic.) Eventually we will attach aluminum panels to the ribs. Here you can see a small aluminum test piece that demonstrates the bottom curve of the fuselage. When complete, the simpit will be SIX feet to the top of the the seat. We'll have to climb up the LEX ladder to get in! Appreciate any suggestions from you experts out there- there is our first simulator!

IMG_4960med.thumb.jpg.3e88a6e04882b1e3a2b3a9ef643a14a8.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My son & I made progress this weekend on the base layer of the Hornet. Once this level is complete, we'll start on the upper level which includes the cockpit floor and the base of the ejection seat.It's 8' long and divided into quarters, secured to each other by carriage bolts. We'll have to disassemble this beast to get it into the house!

421517441_HornetSub-assembly.thumb.jpg.a1fe3b819caa26152aa53b202fdc66fa.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

We've made some more progress: we've completed the aluminum skin on the lower level, added ribs and frames for the upper level, installed the windshield, and installed the LEX. Upper level skin and cockpit interior are next! 

 

 

IMG_0628.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

We are getting closer! We've completed the aluminum skin, installed the windshield, and attached the LEX! We're working on designing a ladder and work platform that will allow us to climb up into the aircraft, following the same route the pilots do up and over the LEX. This simpit is massive now and boy is it heavy. It's 8 feet long, and a little over 6 feet tall. We were worried about stability initially, but this thing is rock solid and has not even a wiggle in it. We have a few more minor details to add (like bird slicers & HUD), but we are seriously close and will soon disassemble and move inside to my son's room. (If he had 4 more feet in his room, we could add an extra seat and pilot station and make this thing a two seater -D version!) We're  getting ready to order a PC and would welcome any suggestions on a computer that will drive VR smoothly. See thread here: 

 

IMG_0978.jpg

IMG_0972.jpg

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...