Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wig-Wag Monocopter

Ascent position

Descent position [almost]

The Wig-Wag is yet another monocopter with an adjustable pitch wing. Like the two Campitch MC's the wing automatically adjusts from ascent pitch to descending autorotative pitch.

The Wig-Wag employs a weighted arm mounted to the hub and a wire loop mounted to the underside of the wing leading edge which goes around the weightbar. Before ignition, the weightbar dangles down holding the wing down with it. As rpm increases centrifigal force swings the weightbar outward, thus upward, until it's horizontal, pulling the wing up to ascent angle. After motor burn out, as rpm decreases, the weightbar sags downward again, bringing the wing down into autorotation mode. Unlike the Campitch MC's, this pitch control system is more responsive in flight and doubtless more tunable on the ground since it's controlled by the mass [and length] of the weightbar alone rather than the interaction of wing weight and spring strength. This actually works like the weight ball governor on old steam engines [and some early petrol engines], particularly stationary units. So like them, at peak performance, the Wig-wag monocopter is literally running ball[s]-out.

While the Campitch MC's would've been difficult to design without serious drafting, preferably CAD, the Wig-Wag was cobbed together a part at a time with no drafting of any sort. It aint perfect, but it's a good first attempt and entirely functional from first flight on.
The wing and hub are used parts resurrected from the remains of the CP-1. This makes for a wing that is too small and heavy but it does turn in fair flights on C motors. The weightbar is made from an RC pushrod clevis and a piece of 2-56 all-thread with a lead fishing weight nutted on. My biggest conceptual stumbling block was coming up with a suitable weightbar pivot mount on the hub. Installation of an upright piece of G10 fiberglass was easy enough with my bandsaw followed by grinding access for the flybar with a moto-tool. What was actually more difficult was bending a suitable wire loop for the wing and then mounting it in the best spot. I bent two loops and then punched three pairs of holes in the wing before I was reasonably satisfied. I was glad to be utilizing used parts as I had no concern for cosmetic issues.

So far the Wig-Wag has made three flights. First on a C6, then on a D5, followed by a D12. While the two Estes motors were fine, the Quest D5 suffered a case burnthrough. While this is no big surprise anytime you spin one, that recycled undersized wing makes matters worse. This led to replacement of the motor mount tube.

After puzzling for quite a while over a name, I settled on Wig-Wag due to the resemblance between the weightbar and a wig-wag railroad crossing signal

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