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Author Topic: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras  (Read 2330 times)

Offline Jim Carter

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 ;D Greetings!  I figured I'd take a few minutes to see if anyone has the patience to explain, share and discuss the construction and fabrication of the fuel tanks we use on some of the models we love to build and fly.  Okay, what am I talking about?  Well, there are those of you who have vast amounts of knowledge and information from experiments and experience that can help me and folks like me from having to reinvent the wheel, so to speak ;D.  For example, there are those of you who have tried your hands at Team Race, like the "Master", Bill Bishoff.  Well I looked at some of his photos and for the life of me I can't figure out how he made those tanks!  How does he plumb them?  Why that configuration rather than a Perfect rectangle or wedge?  Are they uniflow, pressure, standard vent??  How about those of you who have experience with A, B, C and D Speed, how big should the tank be, its shape, and even F2C Racing?  I read where the diesels have a 7cc fuel limit, so what would be the dimensions of such a tank??  What about one with a glow engine .... what dimensions would the tank need to be to fit the rules?  Why is the tank shaped that way?  Is the fuel pickup ahead of or just behind the wedge?  Why is there a wedge?  Wouldn't a straight tank be sufficient?  When it comes to scale and or stunt there are "Masters" like Fred C. and  Leroy Heikes and Ty Marcucci  who have the knowledge as to which are better, metal, plastic?  How about how to calculate the size of a tank to carry a predetermined amount (maximum) of fuel??  Then, best of all, what are the techniques for soldering?  Which is better solder, acid core, 60-40, 50-50, silver solder .... ??  What is the better metal to use, brass, aluminum, or even just cutting up and converting a tin can??  There's so much to learn and so many choices, some better than others.  Is anyone willing to share their experiences or should I just shut up and go away?   ???  ;D

I hope my questions will be taken in the spirit in which they are intended .... simply to teach and guide the newbie's who don't know but are willing to try .... not to start arguments or discord.


Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2017, 12:21:33 PM »
I've never been able to make a metal tank work for stunt unless it has a clunk inside, so all I'm going to offer is this:

There's 1.8 cubic inches in an ounce, so if you know how to calculate the volume of a rectangle, you know how to calculate the volume of a rectangular tank.  If you know how to calculate the area of a triangle, then you can be taught how to calculate the volume of a tank with wedges.

I can even go into how to place a uniflow.  But as for shaping the tank so that it'll run to the last lap of a stunt run and then cut off with minimal brrp-brrp-brrp -- I'm a complete failure.
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Offline Paul Smith

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2017, 01:02:26 PM »
Make a wood form that fits the model.

Set up an Excel spreadsheet to compute capacity.

Wrap it in brass.

Make end caps.

Add vents.

Water test.

Plug leaks.

The subject is a 4-vent tank: feed, uniflow and two filler vents that are capped with a single piece of tubing.

The wedge is needed to ensure that the pickup is submerged until the last drop of fuel for a clean shutoff.

If your event has a fuel shutoff or a throttle a square box will work OK.
Paul Smith

Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2017, 02:14:43 PM »
What Paul said except that I use tin plate (K&S has it, eBay has it, etc.) and if you get a cheap bending brake (MicroMark has 'em) then you don't need a form.  It depends on whether you prefer drawing things to figure out the shape, or carving out a form.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline Paul Smith

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2017, 03:00:30 PM »
Empty cans work OK.  I've done that.  McMasterCarr will deliver whatever gauge of brass you want in 2.5 days.  I prefer .010" as a starter.  Maybe order some .005" and .007" to be on the safe side.  Smaller tanks work OK with thinner brass.  It's easier to work with the thin stuff.

I like the wide jab ViseGrips for tin bending.
Paul Smith

Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2017, 08:17:22 AM »
 :)  To Paul and Tim, thanks!  I don't remember hearing or seeing the wooden mold idea before but I'll be giving that a try fairly soon  ;).  Thanks for the info about the types and sources for the metal  :).  I took a quick run to our local Ace Hardware and picked up some 1/8" brass tubing and they had some .010" brass sheet.  I tried my hand at fabricating a tank from .010 brass, as you mentioned, but I didn't know about the wooden pattern before I started .... doggonit !! ;D  At this point, I have no idea what the true volume is, but so be it  :-\.  Anyway, here's what I was able to come up with  :'(.  Now, about the plumbing  ???.  Should the fuel pickup be in position 1, 2 or 3??  I eagerly await your responses and suggestions  ;D.

Offline Avaiojet

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2017, 09:41:41 AM »
Brodak sells tank material.

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Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2017, 10:08:54 AM »
It looks like the pickup position is detailed in the drawing.  I only just now realized this is the Speed forum, so I probably shouldn't say anything more than that.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline Motorman

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2017, 10:09:51 AM »
Jim, put the fuel pick up in the lowest most outboard spot on the tank. If there's no coffin corner as in a rectangular tank add most rearward location to the other two requirements.

Where you put the vent tube depends on a great number of things. Tell us more about your application.


MM
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Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2017, 10:38:10 AM »
"... put the fuel pick up in the lowest most outboard spot on the tank. If there's no coffin corner as in a rectangular tank add most rearward location to the other two requirements.

Where you put the vent tube depends on a great number of things. Tell us more about your application.


MM
:) Thanks Motorman!  Your comment was most helpful.  Although I'm not "completely" blind, often one may see something but not fully comprehend or correctly interpret what is being looked at.  Thank you  :).  It appears I may have been mistaken to ask such questions in what I though was the appropriate forum ... the Speed Forum.  Maybe there was a better choice I should have posted on, yes??  no??  As for my application, I'm trying to make a tank to fit on my first ( and maybe only) attempt to scratch build an F2C racer called Da'Blob.  I got the plans for it from the AeroFred site.  Why  ?????  I dunno' .... it just seemed like the thing to do  ;D

Offline Paul Smith

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2017, 10:46:11 AM »
From what I see advertised, they now sell European assemblies for F2C that include the fuel tank, shutoff, needle valve and refueling system, all in one.
Just connect the fuel lines and trigger wire.  The smaller tanks get even harder to make well.

When I make tiny tanks I go to .005" or .007" brass.  The thick stuff is tough to deal will in the smaller sizes.
Paul Smith

Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2017, 11:40:12 AM »
From what I see advertised, they now sell European assemblies for F2C that include the fuel tank, shutoff, needle valve and refueling system, all in one.
Just connect the fuel lines and trigger wire.  The smaller tanks get even harder to make well.

When I make tiny tanks I go to .005" or .007" brass.  The thick stuff is tough to deal will in the smaller sizes.
Hi Paul, where did you see them, please?

Offline bob whitney

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2017, 12:12:04 PM »

  the F2C tank is not made for a side mount set up and is too small  plus expensive for just playing
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Offline Ken Burdick

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2017, 02:44:41 PM »
For D speed, I use a McGee .65 and it's fuel hoggish. I have gone to a full 2 0unce tank so I have some fuel for heating it up and flor the other Louie to get into the pylon. The tank is a coffin style like you made. I like a bit more as it takes a lot to get the sweet runs that make a difference and it can be deflating when you coast the last half lap.

Ken aka Louie-Louie speed team

Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2017, 02:47:20 PM »
It appears I may have been mistaken to ask such questions in what I though was the appropriate forum ... the Speed Forum.

If you got that from my comment, I was saying that I shouldn't be pretending to know jack about speed, not that you shouldn't ask questions about tanks for speed planes here.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline Paul Smith

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2017, 07:49:59 PM »
http://yuvenko-f2d.com/index.php/engines-and-engine-parts.html?p=3

Here is one of several sites with good stuff, including ready-to-run F2C modules.
Paul Smith

Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2017, 12:42:29 PM »
If you got that from my comment, I was saying that I shouldn't be pretending to know jack about speed, not that you shouldn't ask questions about tanks for speed planes here.
:)  Oh!  My bad  :-\!  I misunderstood! All's well  :)

Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2017, 12:49:49 PM »
  the F2C tank is not made for a side mount set up and is too small  plus expensive for just playing
Oh!  Looks like I'm messing up already!  I thought the one I'm struggling with was for the side mounts "birds" like what I built.  What style would you recommend for my new "play toy" ;D?  (I can say that because I just found out the owner of the local Ace Hardware has a supply of .010 brass just waitin' for me to screw up  LL~ LL~)

Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2017, 12:55:12 PM »
For D speed, I use a McGee .65 and it's fuel hoggish. I have gone to a full 2 0unce tank so I have some fuel for heating it up and flor the other Louie to get into the pylon. The tank is a coffin style like you made. I like a bit more as it takes a lot to get the sweet runs that make a difference and it can be deflating when you coast the last half lap.

Ken aka Louie-Louie speed team
Man!  That's awesome!  I can only imagine what it's like to hold one of those babies!  It had got to be an adrenaline rush like none other!!  Do you fly it on monoline?  That too is something I can only imagine!  Sir, I tip my hat to you  H^^ H^^.

Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2017, 01:10:04 PM »
http://yuvenko-f2d.com/index.php/engines-and-engine-parts.html?p=3

Here is one of several sites with good stuff, including ready-to-run F2C modules.
Thanks Paul!  I've bookmarked this site.  Man, I checked out some of their videos .... they are serious about their F2D combat, aren't they!!  WOW!! %^@  LL~ LL~

Offline Motorman

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2017, 10:35:37 AM »
For a profile I would make it shorter in length and taller (for volume) and put more angle for the fuel pick up corner. Try to keep it 3/4" at the widest part. For a diesel fun plane I would think 3/4 ounce would get you about 80 laps.

Brodak sells brass tabs you can solder on to mount it.

MM
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Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2017, 02:49:49 PM »
For a profile I would make it shorter in length and taller (for volume) and put more angle for the fuel pick up corner. Try to keep it 3/4" at the widest part. For a diesel fun plane I would think 3/4 ounce would get you about 80 laps.

Brodak sells brass tabs you can solder on to mount it.

MM
Howdy!  Well with the guidance from Paul and a couple of fellows from overseas, I managed to fabricate a tank and thankfully it doesn't leak  ;D!  As for the tabs, I just cut and fabricated some from the same .010 brass that I made the tank from.  We'll see if everything comes together for a top shelf performance one day soon, God Willing!!  ;D

Offline Motorman

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2017, 08:12:57 PM »
I don't see a vent. Also, does that Rossi have a suction venturi? Should be 5/32" or less to draw fuel.

MM
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 05:41:46 PM by Motorman »
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Offline john e. holliday

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2017, 09:01:28 PM »
If you are talking fuel tank, look at first picture.  Hopefully he does have a small venturi for suction.
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Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2017, 07:51:32 AM »
I don't see a vent. Also, does that Rossi have a suction venturi? Should be 3/16ths or less to draw fuel.

MM
Yes, there are two 1/8" pieces of brass tubing, positioned side-by-side, soldered into the top forward portion of the tank.  Both have 60 degree slant cuts and are positioned in the bottom of the tank.  Hopefully, once it fills and overflows, I'll cap the one closest to the outboard side with one of the little yellow Brodak caps.  I'm not sure what type venturi is in it, as I bought it from a fellow on EBay.  It seems to be smooth with pretty good compression but I have no frame of reference to judge what is or is not optimum.  I ordered and just received a couple of Rossi button head plugs from RSM Distribution in California in case I burn one out.  Honestly, I just hope it works well for a couple of flights after which I'll probably just hang it on the rack with all the others ;D ;D

Offline Motorman

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2017, 08:47:02 AM »
That little Rossi Mk2 would be nice in a Perky, is it ABC?

MM
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Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2017, 02:36:01 PM »
That little Rossi Mk2 would be nice in a Perky, is it ABC?

MM
??? I know this is gonna' sound bad but .... I dunno!!  ;D  Actually, I bought it originally to do just that, mount it in a Perky but other than me .... ain't no Perky Racers around here!  :-\ 

Offline Motorman

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2017, 07:51:00 AM »
My advise would be to set it very rich on the first flight. Some tanks run leaner in the air some richer some go from rich to lean some from lean to rich. Until you know what it does protect the piston.

MM
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Offline C.T. Schaefer

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2017, 02:13:21 PM »
Jim, I built my Perky 3 or so years ago because I have a few old Rossi .15 motors that I wanted to fly again. Got some of my sport/stunt pals to help start and launch. Currently there are about 6 of them around here. Guys thought it was cool and built them! Depending on the motor they can really jump on release. So far mine has gone 105 proto. The Ferraro/Vigani 'Ross Special' around 112! Since you get recognition for having the 'closest to average speed' there are many options for power. Fox 15x, LA, FP, ST, K&B  etc......   TS

Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2017, 03:08:50 PM »
Jim, I built my Perky 3 or so years ago because I have a few old Rossi .15 motors that I wanted to fly again. Got some of my sport/stunt pals to help start and launch. Currently there are about 6 of them around here. Guys thought it was cool and built them! Depending on the motor they can really jump on release. So far mine has gone 105 proto. The Ferraro/Vigani 'Ross Special' around 112! Since you get recognition for having the 'closest to average speed' there are many options for power. Fox 15x, LA, FP, ST, K&B  etc......   TS
Thanks!  I wish I could say the same about the guys around here.  Most of us have stunt ships, Ringmasters and such, but generally speaking age won't allow us to turn left much faster than stunt speeds on a regular basis!!  %^@  %^@ %^@

Offline Paul Smith

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2017, 04:35:46 PM »
45 seconds with a one pound model vs seven minutes with a three pound model. 
Perky isn't so tough.
Paul Smith

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2017, 09:49:45 AM »
Paul, its not the length of time, its the rotational speed.   I flew a plane that was way faster than I had flown in years and by lap 15 I was staggering until I started doing loops an 8's.  Some of us don't get out as often as we would like. H^^
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Today I broke my personal record for most consecutive days lived.
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Offline Jim Carter

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2017, 11:48:34 AM »
 ;D  Oh, and just for sharing with you guys, I took the plane to the field with me yesterday morning to show it to a couple of my flying buddies  :). Well, they said they were impressed  ;). After a few minutes of chatting, one of my friends and I got down on the ground and he held it while I fueled it up then fired up the engine. OMG :o!!   Gentlemen, none of us were ready for what happened  :o .... the sound  :o!! .... the rpm  :o!! .... the power  ;D!! .... the dirt, grass and sand that it blew all over my buddy  :o!! It was incredible  :o!! I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about moving my hand back to needle the engine  :-[ but thankfully after about 20 seconds, we think it may have blown the plug  :-\. After that, all I did was defuel, wipe it down and put it back in the van  :-\. None of us had the "nerves" left to try again, besides, I had forgotten to bring the spare glow plugs with me  :(. Hopefully, we will have our "hearts" back and be ready for a crazy adrenaline rush the next time I bring it to the field   %^@  ;D

Offline Motorman

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2017, 05:40:38 PM »
Those Rossi plugs had way too much compression and made for FAI fuel. Put 5 gaskets on the new plug. Were you able to get the needle to richen up? Like I said if the venturi is much bigger than 5/32" it'll never run right. It'll just scream out, burn the plug up and maybe burn down the piston.
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Offline john e. holliday

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Re: How to make fuel tanks: plans, formula's, plumbing etceteras
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2017, 10:08:19 AM »
Boy Jim tht sounds like the first Fox Combat Special I fired up in the back yard many, many years ago.   Did not think of ear muffs back then and it shook Mother up, shec was in the house with closed doors and windows. H^^
I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.
Today I broke my personal record for most consecutive days lived.
John E. "DOC" Holliday
10421 West 56th Terrace
Shawnee, KANSAS  66203
AMA 23530


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