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D-12 Etrich Taube Construction Notes
ETRICH TAUBE 1913 Construction Notes
Note :I would revise the plans to show a straight
wing root frame and use the technique described below of adding
a balsa block to be shaped to fit the resulting fuselage contour.
Measure and cut all ribs. Keep them in order as
they are cut. (A simple way is to set them into pre-made rows of
holes in a piece of plastic foam.)
Cover plan with wax paper or plastic wrap. Note:
Do not use super glue with wax paper as it will soak through. It
will also penetrate around pins to the plans even when using plastic
Place and pin the two 1/8 x 1/16 bottom spars to
the plan per the Typical Wing Rib sketch (front spar is set on edge.)
Note: Rear spar is shown as 1/16 wide instead
of 1/8 wide on plans. I set it with rear edge of spar and plan in
Wet the center of a length of 1/6 x 1/16 for the
leading edge in warm water to facilitate bending and pin to plan,
noting that it goes on top of the front spar. Cut and pin the other
two perimeter pieces. (Crack the inboard piece behind the rear spar
to facilitate alignment.)
Glue these 3 pieces together and to the spars.
Starting at the outer edge of the wing, place a
rib so that it rests on the front spar and glue to the leading edge.
Make sure it is aligned with the rib position on the plan and tight
against the leading edge. Continue down the wing until all ribs
are glued to the leading edge only.
After thorough drying, lightly score the top of
each rib at the front of the front spar. Barely crack the rib by
lifting it off the spar with tweezers forward of the score and bending
the rear half down.
Put a drop of glue on the front and rear spars at
the rib position and press the rear of the rib down in place. Hold,
pin or weight down until dry.
When the ribs are thoroughly dry, place weights
on the ribs (or pin) near the aft ends to assure that all are tight
against the plan. Put a drop of glue on the end of each rib and
attach a continuous length of heavy button thread the full length
of the trailing edge. Make sure that there is no slack in the thread
and that it is pushed down to the bottom of each rib.
When dry, (BEFORE REMOVING FROM THE PLANS), use
a small sanding block to taper the aft tip of each rib down to the
thickness of the thread.
Remove wing from plan. Round leading edge and taper end of front
spar as shown. (Don’t taper to a point – leave a flat
for the rigging to glue to.) Run a small bead of glue over the thread
on the trailing edge to stiffen it. When dry, turn the wing over
and align with plan for opposite wing. Mark the location of the
line where the covering will end on the bottom side. Glue a piece
of 1/32 x 1/16 to the underside of the ribs (3rd spar), following
this line. (The 1/16 face is glued down and the strip extends forward
from the line.) Trim excess glue on the entire wing when dry.
Make a jig by contouring the end of a piece of 1x6
pine about 2” long to the shape of the wing root contour drawn
on the fuselage side view. Soak the wing in water for at least 15
minutes and put a shallow notch with your finger nail at 3 or 4
places on the bottom of the first 6 ribs between the leading edge
and the spar. Pin the trailing edge of the wing root to the trailing
edge of the jig and ease the leading edge down to conform with the
jig. Pin in place and dry over night. Remove from the jig.
Cut a piece of balsa approximately ½”
x 3/8” and glue the ½” face to the wing root
as an extension. Sand to the shape of the wing cord contour both
top and bottom. The end will be contoured to fit the fuselage when
the wings are installed. See photo.
The wing is now ready for covering.
The top of the wing is completely covered, the bottom
back only as far as the rear edge of the 3rd spar. However, for
ease of covering, the bottom may be completely covered. If a rigid
covering is used (tissue with several layers of enamel) it is OK
to attach the covering to just the perimeter of the wing. If a flexible
covering will be used (unpainted or lightly painted tissue), attach
covering to all ribs and spars to provide a more rigid structure
for rigging attachment. If light covering is attached to just the
perimeter, it will be necessary to penetrate the covering to secure
When working on the rigging and the gear, it is
helpful to rest the model on a piece of “egg crate”
foam to help prevent damage to the rudders, rigging posts, etc and
to keep it from moving around.
I just cut 6 pieces of 1/4" dowel, glued them
together, sanded one end flush and the other to match the cowl.
Then I drilled holes in the tops of the cylinders and inserted pre-cut
and pre-bent lengths of #8 copper wire for the exhaust stacks. The
intake and manifold are pieces of my old standby, heat shrink tubing.
Build per plan except leave out the skid member
on the lower rudder. Fabricate a skid
from a piece of 1/8” x 1/16” balsa. Carefully file a
1/16” notch down the center of one end far enough to slide
the skid over the bottom of the lower rudder to the fuselage after
the rudder is assembled to the fuselage. Trim the length so that
it fits against the bottom of the vertical strut on the rudder.
Cut a piece of thin aluminum or brass 1/8” wide and ¾”
long. Bend a curve as shown about ¼” from the end and
glue to the lower side of the skid strut. Install the skid after
the rudder is installed.
Cover both rudders.
Build per plans but leave the rigging extensions
off the rear spar. (They are fragile and interfere with covering
and assembly.) Taper the extensions and glue on after stabilizer
installation and covering.
Follow the wing instructions for adding thread to
the trailing edge, tapering the ribs and stiffening the thread with
glue. Do not cover the stabilizer before installing on the fuselage.
It is important that the two sides be identical.
To aide in this, place a row of pins on the outside edges of the
top and bottom black lines of the fuselage sides close to each vertical
brace. Use these to position the top and bottom balsa and insert
and glue the vertical pieces, cutting them long enough to force
the sides against the pins. Add a second piece of 1/16 x 1/16 to
the bottom of the top rail between the verticals starting at the
front and ending at Station “G”. These provide a surface
to attach the covering to. See drawing below.
DO NOT REMOVE THE OUTSIDE PINS TO REMOVE THE FIRST SIDE FROM THE
PLANS. Build the second side the same way against the same pins.
When both sides are dry, pin them sitting upright
to the top view of the fuselage and glue them together at the aft
end. Using the lengths on the plans as guides, cut the top cross
braces a little long and individually trim them to fit between the
two halves. Glue as they are installed. Cut the bottom cross braces
to the exact lengths shown on the plans and install and glue each
Cut each of the formers at least 1/16” larger
than the printed outline all the way around. Sand each down to properly
fit between the fuselage halves at the indicated locations. Add
stringers as indicated.
Cover the top of the fuselage with 1/16 balsa as
far as the rear of the rear cockpit. Make a paper template for the
cockpit openings and cut them exactly the same on both sides so
that the wings can be installed at the same place on both sides.
Note: The balsa covering can be carried back
to F9 but only after the stabilizer has been installed. In this
case, eliminate F10, and terminate the top stringer at F9. After
adding the balsa covering, carve a tapered balsa cap to finish off
behind F9. It is also then necessary to add a piece to the bottom
of the top rudder to raise it to the original top stringer location.
1/16” filler strips for the tissue to attach to have to be
added to the spaces where the top of the stabilizer contacts the
Do not install the rigging post to the fuselage (1 on top, 2 on
bottom) until ready to install the rigging.
Glue the stabilizer to the fuselage.
FIT THE WINGS TO THE FUSELAGE (BUT DO NOT INSTALL)
BEFORE COVERING THE FUSELAGE
FITTING THE WINGS
Using a paper template, draw a line indicating the
position of the top of the wing on each side of the fuselage. (The
front spars line up with F4). Make sure the positions are identical.
Securely tape and/or pin the fuselage down to a flat surface covered
with a writing surface. Draw straight lines out from the fuselage
representing the positions of the front spars (not the leading edges.)
Make sure they are square with the fuselage and form a straight
line. Set an 1-1/2” high block at the end of each line approximately
where the tips of the spar extensions will fall. (With the wings
properly installed, the tips of the extension will be 1-1/2”
above the bottom of the fuselage.) Using the lines on the fuselage
to position the wing root and the drawn lines and blocks to position
the tips, carefully carve and sand the wing root balsa extensions
to conform to the fuselage. Constantly check the alignment as you
FINISHING THE FUSELAGE
Once the wings are fit, the fuselage/stabilizer
assembly can be covered. After covering the fuselage, add and shape
the nose block.
Install the upper rudder (only).
(I suggest that the wings and fuselage/stabilizer/rudder
be painted before the wings are installed.)
Securely reposition the fuselage to the surface
used to fit the wings. Stick small pieces of clay on the fuselage
at the positions of the forward and aft lower wing surfaces. Adjust
until the wing is in the proper position when resting on the clay
and on the block at the tip of the spar extension. Lift wing off,
coat the mating surface with glue and put back in place. Remove
the clay after the glue has dried.
DO NOT DISTURB THE ASSEMBLY UNTIL THE WING BRACING
HAS BEEN INSTALLED.
INSTALLING WING BRACING
The vertical braces attach to the bottom of the
front spar under the indicated ribs.
Cut the horizontal brace a little longer than shown
on the plans. Cut the 3 verticals per the plan. Attach the horizontal
to the lower edge of the fuselage below F4 (Position not now indicated)
with glue and prop into approximate position until the glue is dry
enough to keep it from falling off. Put glue on both ends of the
outer vertical and attach it to the spar at the appropriate rib.
Bring the horizontal brace into contact with it and adjust the point
of contact so that the vertical brace is square with the wing. Allow
this assembly to thoroughly dry then add the two other verticals.
Trim the outboard end of the horizontal if necessary. Repeat on
the other wing.
Remove assembly from the board and turn upside down. Add rigging
wires as shown across the two inboard vertical braces on each wing
to stabilize the wings. Attach the rigging at the rear spar, stretch
across the brace and attach at the front spar. When the glue is
dry, make sure the bracing is square with the fuselage and glue
the rigging to it.
Install lower rudder, skid, rigging posts on stabilizer,
rigging posts on wings and rigging posts on fuselage as shown.
Make two identical wire wheel mounts as shown. Each wire is a single
piece with the open ends at the top. Trim the open ends to a gap
of 1/16.” Install the wheels to the axle using the spacing
shown. Support the axle at the middle with the wheels off the bench
and hang the wire mounts upside down over the wheels and axle. Glue
Make pieces A and B per the drawing and make up
the Gear Assembly shown. Add strut C between the pieces A.
Turn the model upside down and glue Points 1 of
the Gear Assembly to the leading edge of the wings. Support the
assembly so that strut A is close to square with the fuselage. Before
the glue completely dries, cut struts E to a length which will provide
the slightly forward angle of A shown on the plan side view and
glue in place.
Fit and install struts E and F.
Install all rigging as shown on plans. (Show extra
line from post under fuselage forward to stabilize it.) Not
all rigging points are marked on plans.
Note: Instead of using fine thread and pulling
through with a needle (hard to go through the ribs safely), I used
heavy thread surface mounted. I put a drop of glue on the surface,
stuck the thread into it, dried it with the heat gun, then pulled
it over the post, added a little glue and held it taunt while I
dried it with the gun. I actually attached one end of many lines,
then pulled them and attached the other end in a sequence that tended
to keep the tensions balanced so that I didn’t slacken them
once installed. I didn’t use the branching shown on the wings
and tail – all lines were run to the posts so that I could
control the tension.
Fabricate and install the motor and prop.
Balsa Model Airplane Kit.