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RA-5C Vigilante - scratchprinted


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As some of you may know, the RA-5C is not only one of my favourite aircraft, I had also started building a 32nd scale one from scratch some 10 years ago. Whilst the shape didn't look too bad, my choice of material was not ideal for scribing and I didn't have a propre solution for the wings. It has never been out of sight and I worked on in from time to time, but the more time I spent on it, the more clear it became that my old scratchbuilt fuselage was not the right base for what I wanted to do. 

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Despite all the other ongoing projects, the Vigi was always on my mind. @Dandiego was kind enough to share some excellent works drawings he had gotten from user TomcatKirby with me. They were so detailed and looked so accurate that I decided to start working with Fusion 360 right away - I needed to learn surface modelling for which Fusion is an excellent tool. After watching a few tutorials I gave it a go.

 

The early drawing looked good enough to convince me this was doable. Here is a look at the early drawings with the surfaces being very basic:

 

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As already mentioned, these shapes are very basic - the surfaces are not tangent causing the curves not being smooth. This required a lot of tweaking and threedimensional thinking. The learning curve is very steep and it is huge fun - this is how it looks after two weeks of intensive work with surface detail added to the forward fuselage:

 

screenshot2022-02-021m8jij.jpg

 

The tail fairing is a very complex area. Drawing this was a real mindf*ck to say the least. Adding material thickness to this part is very difficult and I haven't found a solution for this yet - but I am working on it. 

 

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When designing an entire aircraft, one has to bear in mind how to build and paint it later on, so a bit of engineering is required. I decided to combine the intake trunks and main landing gear wells with structural elements to ensure the very large fuselage will not deform over time once assembled.

 

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Details will of course be added before  printing the parts.

 

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The intakes with the variable ramps are pretty much ready. The forward one is part of the intake, the rear one will be installed after painting. 

 

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Of course I couldn't resist and ran a test print of the forward fuselage to check the shapes and surface detail. img_3290iajlr.jpeg

 

I am pretty happy with the result; the groove lines are 0,3mm wide but look a tad wide in my opinion. I sadly cannot modify them anymore at this point. They will become finer after a coat of primer anyway and I hope they won't be too dominant on the finished model. I'll reduce their width to 0,2mm on the next model I do for sure. 

 

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I hope I can finish the CAD files in the foreseeable future - I will update the thread as I progress. 

 

Just one remark right at the beginning of the project - there are NO plans to sell either printed parts nor STLs at this point.

 

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Ooooohh... my... god... that looks so great !!! Not generally a jet guy, but the Vigilante is soo beautiful - have a soft spot for that one. Surprised that it's not that much bigger than the Viking...

 

If I understand you correctly you are a beginner on Fusion 360 - me too... can you point me to some good tutorials or something to help me along ?

 

 

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Thank you guys! 

 

Geedubelyer, I don't have invented the term "scratchprinting" - it's a thing on Facebook and is the best way to describe printing parts you have designed your self IMO. 

 

Thomas, I am clearly a beginner wirth Fusion but I would not consider myself a beginner with CAD in general. I did similar things in the past with Inventor but never used the surfacing option as I did on this project. Anyway, there is a very good tutorial which has taught me most of what was needed for this project - it's a tutorial how to design an R/C plane but describes pretty much all needed basics to design an aircraft (except surface detail). Check out this channel: 

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/RCCAD2VR

 

Last time I told you I wasn't able to modify the groove lines which were too wide to my liking. I decided I couldn't live with them as they were so I decided to redo them entirely; they are now 0,2mm wide. The IFR probe door was pretty tricky but worked out rather nicely. I just need to add two more subdivisions. 

 

Here's a quick comparison between the fuselage with 0,2mm and 0,3mm groove lines:

 

0,2mm (IFR probe still missing)

 

screenshot2022-02-031v8jof.jpg

 

0,3mm 

 

screenshot2022-02-031awkey.jpg

 

Not super obvious on screen but I am pretty sure the difference will be significant on the printed parts. 

 

Quick look at the intake and main gear wells. The gap between the forward intake portion and the intake trunk is part of the fuselage. 

 

screenshot2022-02-0313zj7u.jpg

 

Forward fuselage with new groove lines as it looks now. 

 

screenshot2022-02-031m6kp4.jpg

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