I redid this thread because the title on the previous one became illegible for some reason.
Welcome to my Ritewing Zephyr 1.5 “Hardcore 44” build thread. This is a build and info thread. Chris Klick, owner of Ritewing, has recently started cutting the iconic Zephyr in 44” and 63” wingspans, and with new build techniques, tagged it as the version 1.5. The pricing on these is very sweet, coming in at much less than similar sized epp kits, and the craftsmanship that is put into these, from pre-cut spar slots to bays to even the cuts for the recessing of the bay lids – things that I am used to fabricating myself on more expensive epp kits, is outstanding.
I have never seen, nor did I know that it was possible to get as intricate with hot wire as has been done on these wings. When you look at the cuts - from pre-cut spar slotting to bays to recession for the lids and such, it's almost something I wanted to hang on my wall rather than build... It seemed like building it would've made it less beautiful... but we all know that's not true But, for the time and effort that goes into each one of these things, the pricing that they're going for is almost guilt producing... I honestly never thought epp could be crafted as much as has been done on these, and was very pleasantly surprised upon unpacking.
These pictures honestly don't do it justice - it's tough to capture all the intricacy.
As everyone knows from the original Zephyr and some of the famous and first FPV videos that were made using them, performance is top notch. The 44”, built using Chris’s techniques and with the recommended power setup is a + 100 mph aircraft, and with the new stabilizers and sparring method, even better performing than the original.
You might remember this iconic Zephyr 1 and some of the first popular FPV videos created with it. Ritewing has been killing it since long before this, but FPV was really kicked off around this time and began to get away from hacked security systems to actual manufactured FPV specific gear. That wing is back and better.
If you want to pick one up for yourself, Chris is cutting and selling direct – you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 44” version is $130 – yes, crazy.
The 63” version is 175
EPP Wing with spar slots, equipment and battery bays, servo bays and recesses already cut, inside of the EPP block it was cut from to use for upper and lower wing beds during assembly
Vertical Stabilizers, wing fences and skids
Bay Lids – top
Bay floor – bottom
This picture shows the bay blocks removed and spars and motor mount already installed, because I forgot to take a picture beforehand
And if you want additionally, you can pick up:
Laminate - $25
Carbon fiber covered control rods and Horns - $25
Servos - $55
You start by removing the wings from the block that they come in. Don’t throw away the block – you’re going to want to cut the block along the leading edge section to separate the top and the bottom halves, then glue them together to give yourself a working bed for the top and bottom of the wing, to hold it perfectly straight when sparring.
Glue the halves for the bottom together, as well has the halves for the top so you have 2 beds:
Then you can lay your wing in there for gluing the wing sections together and to hold it straight for sparring.
The method that Chris has come up with involves the steps that I will list below, with a couple of things that I do as well. My build will follow with pictures along the way and may differ slightly from the technique listed below, but is structurally the same – I just may have used different materials or not done certain steps because I am not fully painting etc. The build technique is as follows:
- While wing halves are apart, mark out and cut in the motor mount to each side. The mount meets the trailing edge flush, so a significant portion of it will be buried in the foam, making it very strong. Do not glue yet, just fit in. If you use a fine toothed open ended type hacksaw, it will remove material as it cuts and make it so you don’t have a bulge in that area after sliding in the mounting plate. I can be somewhat of a samurai with a razor, so I removed a thin slice and it fit in nicely.
- Glue wing halves together in the lower wing bed by (correctly) using a contact adhesive like Welders (coat, let sit for 15 minutes, then join halves and set in wing bed, lightly weighting just to keep it from separating at all)
- Insert the spars, wings first, then center spars over top, and use thick CA to soak them in to the beds. Weight down the wing from half way back to the trailing edge while the spars dry. Do not go past the center towards the leading edge with weight, otherwise you will end up with unintentional twist in your wing. I used beacon foam tac and or Goop in the spar slots, then inserted the spars and pressed down, then did an additional sealing layer over the top rather than use CA, but for speed, Chris recommends CA as it dries quickly.
- Sand the wing using a palm sander until fuzzy. If using CA, do this after sparring so you can knock down any hard dried areas. If using Beacon or Goop, sand before you spar so you’re not chewing up the rubbery glue and making it look terrible. If you plan to leave any part of your wing unpainted, do not use Welders adhesive to seal in the spars. It dries with a yellow tinge and looks terrible against white EPP. It is a great contact adhesive and perfect for attaching EPP sections, but you don’t want to use it anywhere exposed unless you’re painting it. You can see the center line throughout my pictures where I used welders as opposed to the spars where I used Beacon or Goop. Beacon and Goop dry crystal clear – Welders dries nicotine stain / dirty diaper yellow J
- Use Goop to seal the spars in
- Chris then recommends spraying down the wing with 3M 90 Spray Adhesive before painting. I didn’t paint other than a small section, so I did not coat with adhesive.
- Add the servo’s and run wiring through foam
- Run any other wiring that will be permanent in the wing. GPS, Control Antenna (if going to be outside of the bay), Video Antenna (If going to be outside of the bay), camera wiring etc. Anything that you don’t want to have to cut into the laminate after you cover it…
- Add the bay floor using 2 of the spars through the flutes on both sides (you’ll see it when I get there below)
- Add the equipment bay and battery bay lids
- Set up your gear and fly