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Picture of Electric S.P.A.D. Drone 0.1
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I've always wanted to build one of them R/C Aircraft but never knew how to start off. Then I heard of this great website called spadtothebone.com which for some reason has been closed down, over there they had this lovely little plan for a Glow engine plane called the GNAT. I loved the plan but it was a Glow plane so I decided to convert it to an Electric. Despite no previous experience in Aero-modelling, I embarked on a quest that took me back and forth to a few places, hunting for parts that are no so readily available in the state of Qatar and Voila! I did the unimaginable.

NOTE: Unfortunately I finished my aircraft shortly before beginning this instructable so I decided to make Diagrams of the steps involved. also this is my first instructable so guys, please be polite in the comments section. Thanks in advance.

This is what I consider to be an Easy-Intermediate build on account of the Aluminium parts involved so I would recommend this build to somewhat experienced aero-modellers. Hope you guys enjoy building this wonderful aircraft like I did. The original plans to the S.P.A.D. GNAT are available here (http://spadtothebone.net/freeplans.htm) and I take no credit for the original plans. What I have here is a heavily spliced and somewhat simplified version of the GNAT. Also the plane's dimensions have been altered along with some building steps. It is built for power and is more heavier than conventional foam or balsa planes. I take no responsibility for any damages or injuries resulting from attempting to build this plane due to carelessness, negligence or otherwise. Have fun building this Plane but also do keep safety in mind, especially when using drills, saws and blades. Let's get started then, shall we?

UPDATE:  I just went to my local Hobby Club and they told me that there were a couple of problems with MY plane... Here's what the upgraded SPAD looks like... I've lso rechristened this instructable based on the color scheme of the plane. A drone is a male bee and bees are yellow and black. Also, being my first plane I decided to make it an 'experimental' aircraft so voila! The Drone 0.1
 
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Step 1: What you need...

Here are a list of parts you might need. All are fairly easily obtainable.

General:

-Corrugated Plastic, aka COROPLAST sheets, width 2-3mm length: Greater than 32", Width: Greater than 20".
-Aluminium 'U'-Channel of dimensions 3/4"x1/2"x1/2"x24".
-Small section of aluminium 'V'-Channel of dimensions 1 1/2"x1 1/2"x1 1/2". Cut it as shown in the diagram.
-Carbon fibre dowel 32" long and thin enough to insert into the coroplast sheet.
-Control horns, Pushrods, Clevies (for flight control).
-2mm width screws with (Optional) corresponding bolts and washers.
-Small 1mm by 10mm-thick strip of aluminium no shorter than 12".
-(Optional) Hinge tape for aircraft control surfaces or hinges.
-An old wire hanger. Not a rusted one mind you.
-Lots of zip-ties.

Electronics:

-Transmitter and bound receiver at least 4-channels.(In some countries like Qatar, you may require a licence to operate a Radio Transmitter. please check your local radio guidelines and laws).
-4 Servos between 15g and 20g.
-50g OUTRUNNER motor with a kV rating of 1000 or above.
-Corresponding Electronic Speed Controller or ESC as they are better known.
-Lithium Polymer or LiPo Battery, 11.1V, Greater than or equal to 100mah(refer to motor requirements)
-8" to 10" Propeller with all necessary attachments to fix it to your motor.
-Electrical tape and preferably Heat shrink tubing.

And here are the tools required

Tools:

-Hobby knife.
-2mm Drill bit. With a drill of course.
-Screwdrivers. Duh.
-Hacksaw.
-Not a Tool but also required: CA Glue or more commonly known as Super Glue.

Step 2: Note: Working with Coroplast

Picture of Note: Working with Coroplast
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Working with Coroplast is fairly simple stuff.

What is Coroplast?

Coroplast aka Coroflute or Corrugated Plastic is a material similar in structure to corrugated Cardboard. Made out of Plastic of course.

Terminology:

Flute: The long tubes that seemingly seem to run down the length of the Coroplast sheet.
Opening a Flute: (Observe the diagram).

Oh and while cutting the sheets of coroplast, please DO use a Ruler.

Step 3: The Wing

Picture of The Wing
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Diagram 1: Cut a sheet of coroplast to the above dimensions. Open flutes as shown. Insert Carbon Fibre rods as shown for wingspan strength.
Diagram 2: Open flutes as shown. make the shown cuts to give shape to your ailerons.
Diagram 3: Give shape to the wing as shown. Insert Hanger wires bent to a linear 'U' shape with the base being flat.

Step 4: Tail and Horizontal Stabilizer

Picture of Tail and Horizontal Stabilizer
Simply cut the remaining Coroplast Sheet to the given shapes and dimensions. Observe the alternate opening of flutes in the tail.

Step 5: Another Note: Different coloured flaps and fins

Picture of Another Note: Different coloured flaps and fins
If you should decide to use different coloured flaps and fins like I did, then here's where the hinge tape or hinges come into play.
Only tape ONE side of the wing to avoid aileron stiffness.

Step 6: But what about that Aluminium?

Picture of But what about that Aluminium?
Drill according to the diagrams as shown.
The U-Channel becomes the Fuselage while the V-Channel becomes the motor Firewall. the two holes drilled in the motor mount's backside should correspond to the two holes drilled on the aluminium channels's front.

Step 7: Assembly

Picture of Assembly
Assemble the various parts according to the holes you had drilled earlier.

Step 8: Electronics incoming!

Unfortunately I cannot tell you the EXACT locations to insert the electronics because of the difference between the size and weight of the electronics you may have used. However, you may insert the aileron servos under the wing by making cavities and screw them in place. the aileron horns must be around 2 1/2" away from the inside edge.

The remaining control horns must be as close to the aluminium fuselage as possible.

Once everything has been installed such that the aircraft is perfectly balanced and it's centre of gravity is exactly 3" behind the leading edge of the wing.

Step 9: Landing Gear

Picture of Landing Gear
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You may use the Aluminium plate bent to an inverted V shape with the wheels bolted at the tips as a main Landing gear. this however may add weight to the front so I built an Alternate main landing gear. The rear landing Gear instructions were found on spadtothebone.com. Credit for it's design go to the original authors.

Step 10: Oh No! Another Note: Safety with Lithium Polymer Batteries

Picture of Oh No! Another Note: Safety with Lithium Polymer Batteries
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LiPo Batteries are fragile things and when treated with recklessness, can be deadly. at the least you may get a smouldering battery. Do familiarize yourself with these safety instructions and guidelines before using one.

Step 11: Done! Now yet another Note on Safety...

This plane is not a trainer an hence not suitable for inexperienced flyers. Fly it only in areas that are remote and where you cannot possibly injure bystanders. Once again, I take no responsibility for lack of care and compliance with safety codes of R/C Flight in your area. Fly Safe and have fun.

And now... to TESTING!

Step 12: *Gasp... "IT'S ALIVE!"

Picture of *Gasp...
While testing the control surfaces indoors, it is imperial that you do NOT mount a propeller on the model for risk of damaging it or injuring yourself or others around you. These propellers have the ability to SHRED your fingers if they hit them. also, there is the fact that the force of the wind generated can send papers flying in every possible direction...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcxLSOttcHg&feature=youtu.be

Step 13: Maiden flight

Well, I haven't got a chance yet... will update soon!

manstrom2 months ago

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/index.asp

For those asking about sourcing R/C parts. They have two US warehouses and one international warehouse. Shipping can sometimes take a bit (time and financially) but might be an option for those that don't have local sources.

profpat3 years ago
nice project!
erwxyz (author)  profpat3 years ago
Thanks!
CameronG21 month ago

cool r.c. airplane

stevenzhang3 years ago
Can you email me the plans plsplsplsplsplsplsplspls
i am building a uav, and i am stuck with the desigh, so i was thinking if u could help me with the design.

btw, i voted for you
erwxyz (author)  stevenzhang3 years ago
Well actually I personally don't recommend this plane for aerial photography and UAVing because it is too unstable for such purposes. I recommend you try out the plans at This site. This plane is very stable and suitable for the above applications.

If you still insist then temmie if you want the Gnat plans or the Electric Drone plans.
To make it more stable, you could try reworking the wings to have more dihedral. I'm not sure if its possible to rework the wing after its already finished, but it would greatly increase the stability. From what I can tell from the pictures, it looks like your wings are even bent down a little, this leads to unstability...
erwxyz (author)  Jedrokivich1 month ago

That's an optical illusion lol. Wings are straight.

maboy2 years ago
what's the range? the battery life?
maboy maboy2 years ago
how much can it carry? payload?
erwxyz (author)  maboy1 month ago

Approximately 100g but the plane is meant for acrobatics not for cargo.

erwxyz (author)  maboy2 years ago
battery life is 6-10 mins on full throttle. Range, it is not possible to tell.
BhashitheA made it!9 months ago

Thanks mate, I am trying out this for the first time. This was a project in our university for device interfaces.

I am still configuring the plane. I have used Arduino platform to make the receiver and the transmitter. I still have a long way to go. Wanted to thank you :)
Your guide helped me a lot.

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erwxyz (author)  BhashitheA1 month ago

You're very welcome.
Using Arduino is a difficult approach as the weight of the board and cables makes for a tough and unnecessarily expensive build. Using XBee may present problems due to the lack of range.
Using ready-made parts is the way to go right now since they are cheaper, easier, more robust and smaller. It also saves you days of time and lets you focus on the building aspect. It will take you several top several hundred hours(at times) to build a plane but only a second to crash it should things go wrong.

mkhurram1 year ago
Did you buy all the components online??
mkhurram1 year ago
Hi erwxyz, nice instructable...I livein qatar too....where did you get all the components??
erwxyz (author)  mkhurram1 year ago
Thanks mate. Pro Hobbies
JimRD2 years ago
So how did the maiden flight go?
yanadica3 years ago
superb instructable!!!!!!!!!!!it is very deatailed .....pls make more instructables
RCFORALL made in India ! im from India
erwxyz (author)  Avadhut.Deshmukh3 years ago
Haha, some of the parts in there are from RC4ALL only!
=P
nmoraga3 years ago
still planning to do this proj, but the way the peoples reacted made me feel that i should do this :D nice project bro
jason10kv3 years ago
I made it and it just flyed like hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
superb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
erwxyz (author)  jason10kv3 years ago
Thanks man! Could you post pics of it? We'd love to see it!
scoochmaroo3 years ago
Brilliant! You should consider entering this in the Father's Day Challenge!
erwxyz (author)  scoochmaroo3 years ago
I did! Thanks for the heads-up!
deathwisher3 years ago
please make more ins
erwxyz (author)  deathwisher3 years ago
Sure will Mayur!
dchall83 years ago
I kinda like the idea of the rubber band holding the prop on. If the prop hits something, maybe the rubber band will let go before the prop gets damaged???
erwxyz (author)  dchall83 years ago
Thanks, yeah, that's the point. My Prop comes with a built-in prop saver. The original rubber washer to hold the prop DISINTEGRATED. That was sad. So I used Rubber bands simply twisted back on themselves. The Idea is that if the Propeller collides with the ground, it either bends back to it's position, or saves itself thus destroying the easily-replaceable rubber bands or destroying the propeller without damaging the rubber band.