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Build a zeppelin (read all 4 entries…)

I’ve built two ribs, so my hands are now thoroughly covered in superglue. I laminated three layers of 3/32” x 3/8” balsa in a spiral. Each rib is about 20” in diameter.

While building the spiral I used pins to hold the balsa in place while the glue set. The first rib was a bit more difficult as I pinned down the strips in too many places. The second I only pinned the ends down and glued longer sections. This gave fewer voids in the lamination, too.



Hey, it looks like you and I are following some of the same basic principles for building our zeppelins. I thought I might add a little bit of my thoughts here.

In my reasurch I decided to make a model based off of the LZ129 and LZ130 “super-zeppelins” referancing back to some earlier models esspecially regarding the nosecone assembly and tail assembly because of the complexities of the desings of the head and aft sections of the LZ129 and LZ130. I decided to go with this model because it was the closest design avalible to me to match my intended materials.

Now I came across some wooden designs used by the Royal Navy that used a crossed design rather than a ring design that resembled a woven basket with large holes in it. I was intrigued with this idea for a bit, but it did not fit my materials. I would suggest looking at the designs for the Vickers No. 1, LZ59, and Admiralty R33. Now that being said both designs present positives and negitives, In smaller models I found the cross hatch to sustain impacts against objects well where the ring design would fracture under the pressure because the design incorporates pressure points that focus the forces applied to it, while the cross hatch is more flexible and spreads the pressure out more evenly.

Your probibly to far along to change design plans now, but it is an interesting case study in the development of airships.

OH! I used a laminating Glue assembly as well, I have found since building my first model that putting pressure on the sheets and slowing the drying time of super glue helps increase the strength of the sheets and joints of the craft.

Now, I am in the planning stages for my next model which will be much larger and be made out of fiberglass tubing. But this is a project that I may be in the long run for because I plan on building one that would be 4m in diameter and 20-25m Long. Cost is actually not my biggest inhibitor it is time, the project would currently cost me about $13,000 and take a year and a half working about 20hours a week on it. This compared to my last model costing $125.87 and taking about 87 hours.

One last thing, Wind is a BI$x%x! I ran mine into a tree down here in tacoma when a gust of wind came and lasted longer than my power did. I ended up finding it 3 miles away in a tree. Always remember that the first flight of the LZ1 crashed into a tree durring takeoff.

And anouther… do you find it odd we are both from the northwest?


Anouther tid bit…

Start figguring out the gas bags now, It took me several months to even find stuff that was acceptible, and in the end I swiched from hilium to hydrogen(actually safer than it sounds) and put extreamly large static free bags from computer stores in. The gas bag weight was more than expected but the hydrogen made up for it, plus you can get hydrogen for nearly free if you really want to.

Also balast controls are important, both for being able to let off weight and to be able to let off some gas from the middle gas bag. Try to remember to incoporate 10% of the weight to ballast and 10% of the gas in the middle bag so you can either take off or land in an emergancy.

Eric Hodel has gotten 1 cheer on this entry.


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