Introduction: Complete Guide to Building Your First RC Foamboard Plane
The third video I have of the plane flying was a very old video I took with my really bad camera. As soon as my new camera comes in the mail I will make a better video of the plane fly. Also the complete video instructions will be out in within another month or so! So stay subscribed!
Now I'm sure the main question you have right now is why would I make your plane over somebody else's? Well let me explain why I feel my plane is the right one for you, a beginner.
"When I began to get land sick and wanted to get up in the air I was all pumped and excited about RC flying! So I saved up about 100 bucks and I went to my local hobby store but was sadly disappointed when I noticed that all the decent sized planes were $200+. So I spent some time researching RC planes, and decided to make one myself. But what material should I use? I need something easily available and pretty cheap. After seeing guys like Experiment Airlines and Flight Test I decided upon using foamboard. It cost a dollar a sheet and was at my local Dollar Tree. I had my material, and they suggested using HobbyKing.com to purchase products from. Although HK is cheaper quality stuff I knew that spending 10$ on a battery was definitely better then spending 60$ for a name brand battery at a hobby store. So far all my of my HK parts have been working fine, especially the motors! I've had this same motor for a year now, and I've crashed it so many times and that thing just keeps on working!"
Finding material and electronics for a plane is just half the story. You need to have a design! After browsing on Experimental Airline's page I absolutely loved his Armin Wing and his tape-covering technique. But I wasn't to happy with the method he used for making his fuselages. So I looked over at Flight Test, and I really liked their foam-folding technique, so I decided it was time to mix and match and to design my own plane. Combining techniques from FT and EA, as well as using my own head, I made my own foamboard RC plane.
Here is a list of the many advantages of my particular plane.
- Step-by-step instructions with video (coming soon!)
- Very inexpensive
- Easy to build
- Not very time-consuming
- Sturdy and durable
- Easy to repair
- Simple design
- Fully modifiable
- Fairly large
- Easy flying for beginners
Step 1: Ingredients:
So you've decided upon making an awesome foamboard RC plane, but it's time to do a little e-shopping! Now all of the parts listed below are from HobbyKing.com, the cheapest website to get RC equipment. If you go to the hobby store (like HobbyTown USA) for a 3S 2200 mAh 20c battery you would pay $60 and up. On HobbyKing you only pay around or less then $10. So far all the pieces I've gotten from them have worked very well, and none of them were cheap or nonfunctional.
All the parts below are from the global warehouse, which takes 20-30 days to ship. They also offer most of the same parts from the US warehouse, but they might be out of stock. To find a piece in the US warehouse set your location at the very top bar of the website to US. Look at image 1
Oh and by the way I will be explaining use of all the electronics later in this i'ble. Just click on the description of the part and it will open a new tab to where you can buy it on HobbyKing.
Now before I give you the list of items I need to tell you something. I am going to give you two lists, the first list, the Premium package, has a better battery charger (Turnigy Accucel-6) and the OrangeRX Trasmitter and reciever. Both of these items are highly recommend. The Premium Package also includes a handy tool, wheels, and some coloring equipment (not crayons :).
However, if you are short on money like me you can go with the Money Saver Package, which includes a HobbyKing brand 2.4 Ghz radio and a 5 dollar Turnigy battery charger. Now I have both these cheaper items myself, and they work great! What they lack in features, the make up in price! I will explain more about these items later.
Note: The packages only include the items that you need to order (except the foamboard). The rest of the pieces can be found at local hardware and grocery stores. For the list of these items please look under "Additional Items"
• Adam's Foam board. This can be found at Dollar Tree or Dollar General for a dollar per sheet. It must be Adams Foam Board because it is very cheap and the paper can be removed. It is also lighter than other foamboard companies.
Transmitter and Receiver ------------------------------------------------ $59.99
• 160 watt 1450 KV Outrunner Brushless Motor ------------------------$8.95
• 3s 2200 mAh 20c Li Poly Battery ---------------------------------------$8.50
• Turnigy Accucel-6 Battery Charger --------------------------------------$22.99
• 20 Amp ESC (electronic speed controller) -----------------------------$6.70
• Propellers (9x5) (5ps) --------------------------------------------------------$2.38
• 4pcs Servos (9-gram) -------------------------------------------------------$8.36
• Control Horns (10pcs)--------------------------------------------------------$0.97
• 2 mm Gold Connectors (10 pairs) ---------------------------------------$2.85
• XT60 Male/Female battery connectors (5 pairs) ---------------------$3.99
• 2mm Heat Shrink Tubing ---------------------------------------------------$0.25
• 11-inch Servo Lead Extension ------------------------------------------- $3.24
• 11-inch Servo Lead Splitter (Y servo lead) *2 -------------------------$4.52
• Z-Bend Pliers ------------------------------------------------------------------$6.49
• Wheels (5pcs) -----------------------------------------------------------------$1.50
• Colored Packing Tape
• Push Rods (Music Wire size 0.047" (1.19 mm)
Grand Total ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ≈ $180
Money Saver Package:
• Adam's Foam board. This can be found at Dollar Tree or Dollar General for
a dollar per sheet. It must be Adams Foam Board because it is very cheap and the paper can be removed. It is also lighter than other foamboard companies.
• 160 watt 1450 KV Outrunner Brushless Motor ------------------------$8.95
• 3s 2200 mAh 20c Li Poly Battery ---------------------------------------$8.50
• Battery Balancer Charger --------------------------------------------------$4.49
• 20 Amp ESC (electronic speed controller) -----------------------------$6.70
• 6 Channel Transmitter and Receiver ------------------------------------$25.10
• Transmitter Programming Cable ------------------------------------------$2.99
• Propellers (9x5) (5ps) ---------------------------------------------------------$2.66
• 4pcs Servos (9-gram) --------------------------------------------------------$8.36
• 11-inch Servo Lead Extension -------------------------------------------- $3.24
• 11-inch Servo Lead Splitter (Y servo lead) *2 --------------------------$4.52
• Control Horns (10pcs)---------------------------------------------------------$0.97
• 2mm Gold Connectors (10 pairs) ---------------------------------------$1.83
• XT60 Male/Female battery connectors (5 pairs) ----------------------$3.99
• 2mm Heat Shrink Tubing **--------------------------------------------------$0.25
• Push Rods (Music Wire size 0.047" (1.19 mm)
** You will also need a few inches of a larger size of heat shrink tube. Buy a variety pack.
Lovely Total of ---------------------------------------------------------------- ≈ $85
- 1/2" sheet of balsa or 1/4" sheet of basswood (for 2" x 2" motor-mounting squares)
- MiniWax Polyurethane Oil-Based Semi-Gloss -----------------------$6.47
. . . or. . .
CampDry (water proofing spray)
. . . or. . .
Clear packing tape
- Multi-colored spray paint.
- Paint Brush
- Spray Paint
- Kabob Skewers
- Rubber Bands
- Duct Tape
- Clear Packaging Tape
- Old Bonus Card or Credit Card
- 6-12 inches Velcro! (awe, he got da velcro!)
• Box Cutter (more on this in step X)
• Metal 3-foot ruler
• Metal 1-foot ruler
• Metal Square
• Hot Glue Gun
• 3/16th and 1/16th inch Drill Bit
• Little Clips or Clamps (more on this in step X)
• Wire Strippers/Cutters
• Soldering Iron
• Various Sizes of Heat Shrink Tubing
• Electrical, Packing, and Duct tape.
• Paper Towel, (napkin, or a few tissues)
*For the music wire it is kinda hard to order the correct type unless you've seen it before and used it, so hit up your local hobby store and check out their collection of music wire. The guage wire I found to work great is (size X).
Step 2: Getting Started With the Electronics
Instead of showing you how to make the plane first I will show you how to connect all the electronics and what they do. This is so that you can order your electronics, know what they do, connect them all, make sure that they work, then build your plane. If you wish to go to the build skip to step 11.
If this is your first plane you will need to gather all your electronics and begin to solder on all the connectors and jacks. Below is the list of electronics:
- ESC (electronic speed controller)
- Brushless Motor
- LiPo battery
- Servo extenders and spitters
- 2mm gold bullet connectors
- XT60 battery connectors
Tools and equipment needed:
- Soldering gun and solder
- 2mm and 4mm heatshrink and heat gun
- Wire cutter/strippers
- Helping Hands (You WILL want these!)
- Small screwdriver
In my previous instructable I explained a little bit about what each electronic part does but I'm not going to make you go there. In the following steps I am going to give you an explanation of what each part does. I will not go in depth, but you are just that awesome and want to know more than you can Google each part and find great articles.
Step 3: Transmitter
A transmitter is a handheld device that transmits a signal that is picked up by a receiver. Most RC transmitters nowadays work on the 2.4 Ghz frequency. RC transmitters can be classified according to how many channels they have. Channels are the amount of things you can control. For instance a 3 channel transmitter means you can only control 3 motors/servos/accessories. For your typical RC plane it has a rudder, elevator, ailerons, and a motor: 4 channels. In this case, a 3 channel transmitter wouldn't work for us. Most transmitters are 6 channels, which includes the rudder, elevator, ailerons, motor, and 2 AUX channels. Auxiliary channels can be connected to additional servos to control various things, such as bomb drops or air brakes.
Transmitter can either be computer programmable, in-radio programming, or non-programmable. Computer programmable transmitters are connected to a computer via a USB cable and software on the computer can program the transmitter. In-radio programmable transmitters have a a small LCD screen on the front with several buttons for control. Instead of having to connect the radio to a computer you can change all the settings from the handy little screen installed right in the transmitter.
Why would you need to program the radio? Well programming a radio allows you to change most settings, such as reversing the direction a servo goes, changing the functions of the AUX switches, and setting in and out points for the servo.
Step 4: Receiver
The RC receiver is what picks up the signal sent from the transmitter and converts the signal into commands via PWM (pulse width modulation) for servos and ESCs (electronic speed controller). Oftentimes the more expensive receivers are equipped with gyros for flight stabilization, and even GPSs!
Random receivers cannot just be controlled by random transmitters. You must have a specific transmitter(s) for a receiver, and they must be wirelessly bound together using a process called, you guessed it, binding!
The receiver doesn't to get power directly from the battery, rather it gets the power it needs to run from the ESC, which converts the 7.4 or 11.1 volts down to a save 5v for the receiver.
Range all depends on the receiver! With my TX/RX system I can fly so far away that I cannot even see my plane anymore, and yes, I was sooo close to losing my plane!
Step 5: ESC (Electronic Speed Controller)
The ESC (electronic speed controller) does three main things. First, it converts the 7.4v ~ 11.1v of the battery to a safe 5v for the receiver to run on. This capability is not offered on all ESCs. You can know that it will lower the voltage to 5v if it has BEC or UBEC printed on the side. This stands for Battery Elimination Circuit and Universal Battery Elimination Circuit. Second, the ESC controls the motor based off of a PWM signal sent from the receiver. Third, it converts the the battery's direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) that is required by the brushless motor.
ESC's have different max amperage ratings. So say if I have a motor that pulls 50 amps and my ESC is only rated for 20 amps then we have a huge problem! My ESC will catch on fire and my plane will come crashing down in flames!
ESCs will also show whether they are for brushed motors or brushless motors. All the RC motors that we use now in our RC planes are brushless.
ESCs are programmable too, but that are a bit harder to program! Things you might want to program on an ESC include things like how fast the motor starts off, helicopter mode, timing and many other things. Take a look at the second picture to see all the different types of programmable features there are.
Step 6: LiPo Battery
Before I even get started with this LiPo (lithium polymer) batteries are very dangerous when used incorrectly, so be sure to read all the safety information before using one!
LiPo batteries are standard for the RC hobby mainly because of their light weight and high power. Unlike alkaline batteries (AA, AAA), LiPo batteries are composed of multiple cells that each measure 3.7 volts. For instance the battery shown above is a 3 cell battery, so 3 cells @ 3.7v is 11.1v (3.7v x 3).
Next there is the Amp capacity, the amount of energy stored in the battery pack. The battery shown above is a 5000 mAh battery. This means the battery can supply 5000 milliamps over a 1-hour period. Milliamps are 1000th of an amp, so 5000 mAh = 5A.
Then there is the C rating, which in the battery above it has a C rating of 20. The C rating is how much power you can pull from the battery at any given time.
The way Painless360 explained it was like this, "Think of the amp capacity as how much the tank of water holds (pic 2). Think of the C rating as the size of the hose is and how fast water can flow out of the, and think of the voltage as how much pressure the water in the thank is under."
If you click on the link above it will take you right to the part of the video where begins explaining this analogy.
Thanks Painless360 that really helped me understand it all!
Step 7: Brushless Motor
The motor is the power plant of your plane. The motor will turn your propeller at a high speed to propel it through the air!
In RC planes there are two main types of motors, brushed, and brushless. Brushless motors are more common, more efficient, have faster rpms, have more torque, but a little bit more difficult to control. Brushed motors run on DC power, and brushless motors run off of AC power. As brushed motors are mostly not used in RC hobbies I will not talk about then.
We have a little problem. If we use brushless motors that are powered by AC power, then how do we get them to spin from our battery, which supplies DC? That is what the ESC does, it converts the DC power of the battery to AC.
Brushless motors' speed are measured by a unit of measurement called KV-- RPMs per volt. Even though you think this might mean Kilivolts per volt it doesn't. It means revolutions per volt. So if I have a 1500kv motor then it will spin at 1500 rpm when supplied 1 volt, 3000 rpm when supplied by 3 volts, and so on.
Step 8: Servos
Although servos and brushless motors are both types of RC motors, they are drastically different. Servos are meant for moving a surface, such as the ailerons or elevator. Inside the servo is a little DC motor that is controlled by the receiver. The DC motor is geared so that when it turns, the speed is lowered by a huge percent but the torque is increased. A servo arm gets attached to the gears and can move has a 180˚ rotation. They cannot spin all the way around though, they come to a stop.
Step 9: Propeller
The propeller is what provides thrust for the plane. The thrust must be greater than the drag to get the plane moving forward. There are two basic things that you need to know about the propeller. If you look on the front or back of the blade it should have two numbers, like this- 9x5. On my plane I used 9x5 propellers. The first number is the length of the propeller in inches, so a 9x5 propeller is 9 inches long. The second number is how many inches it will go forward in one revolution, under perfect conditions. So for a 9x5 propeller, under perfect conditions, for every revolution, will travel 5 inches forwards.
The propellers never come with the correct hole, so you will have to drill it out. Unscrew the motor shaft and eyeball what drill bit you will need. Depending on the colet you get you may either need to use a 3/16 inch drill bit or a 7/32. Eyeball. Try as hard as you can to get the hole centered. The more off-centered it is, the worse the vibrations will be. When you have a lot of vibrations, your motor mount screws come loose and your motor falls off while you are flying over a lake, and your plane smacks the water and slowly, slowly, sinks below the surface as you. . . :D, just kidding! Well, not really! If you don't tight all the motor mounts down enough they may come loose/out!
Step 10: Which Connectors Go Where?
Step 11: Soldering Time!
Now that we know what are electronics are and what they do we need to do a little bit of soldering work before we continue. Each electronic component needs a special connector, and this step will show you how to do all that.
I'm not going to show you how to do all the plugs but I'll show you how to do them for the ESC, and you can just copy that for the motor and if need be the battery. The step number below corresponds with the photo above- step one matches with pic 1 etc.
- Fill the XT60 gold plug with solder.
- Strip the ends of the two big red and black wires coming out of the ESC.
- Slide heat shrink tubing over each wire. Don't mix up the colors!
- Solder the red and black wires from the ESC to the connections on the XT60 plug. On the sides of the plug it will have a + or a -. DO NOT MIX THESE UP! So be super careful when dealing with this. One the plug the tapered side is the negative side.
- Slide the heat shrink over ALL exposed wires and shrink it!
- The battery connections are finished.
- Fill the end of a 2mm female bullet connector with solder. The end that you need to solder to will have a little hole on the side of the tube.
- Slide heat shrink over all the tubes before you begin. Place your soldering iron the the bullet connector to heat it up and push the wire into it.
- Slide the heat shrink up and shrink it!
- All done!
Step 12: Preparation
This plane requires of lot of measuring and cutting, but if you don't want to have to do any measuring, you can just print out this PDF! In there I have all the lines and guides that you need. Here are the steps:
1. Print out the designs on a large printer. Make sure the printer is not resizing the image. It must be printed at 100%. If you were thinking about tiling the print, it's not worth it! You'd get better results if you measured everything with a ruler. You need a printer that can print at least 3x3 feet if you were to print out the designs. Oh no! I don't have that big of a printer! No worries, an office supply store like Staples or Office Depot will have these large printers. You can get several plans printed off for a small fee.
2. Cut along the dashed orange lines. These lines form a 20"x30" box, which is the same size as Adams FoamBoard.
3. Tape the 20" x 30" square to the foamboard.
4. BEFORE you start cutting see the video attached to this step explaining the different types of cuts. Cut out the designs following the guide provided on page one. Make sure you are certain what type of cut you are going to make before you cut! As they say, "Measure once cut twice-- wait, that doesn't sound right-- Measure once, cut twice" While cutting you may find it easier to align a ruler up with the lines so that you can rest the edge of the razor blade on it. This will ensure that you get straight cuts. This is especially important for the fuselage. Take your time when cutting!
If you are not using a template and you'd rather do it the old fashioned way and measure everything out with ruler well then lets get started!
Step 13: How to Make Push Rods
Sorry for my dead voice! When I did this it was 3 AM because I needed to get it done for the contest!
Step 14: How to Make Hinges on Foamboard
Above is a small video explaining how to make hinges.
Step 15: Different Types of Foamboard Cuts
Above is a small video explaining the main 3 cuts I will use during the build.
Step 16: Building the Fuselage P.1
1. Begin with a full sheet of foamboard that should be 30" long. Make markings that are parallel with the length of the board at these: 1 13/16"-- 2"-- 3 13/16"-- 4"-- 5 13/16"-- 6"-- 7 13/16". Refer to Exhibit 1 & pictures 2A, 2B. (no clue why I used the word exhibit when I drew these plans :D) Repeat on the other side of the foamboard.
2. Draw lines running parallel to the length of the board (30") across all the little markings you made. When you are done it should look like the blue section "Fuselage" in picture 4.
3. Cutting time! Now make sure you watch the video in step 13 on the different cuts before you get to hackin away! On all the lines you drew except for the last one (the line that was 7 13/16" in) will be cut through the first layer paper and foam, just leaving the last piece of paper uncut. In the video I call it a 90% cut.
On the 7 13/16" line just cut that all the way through. Try to use a ruler as a cutting guide so that the line is as perfectly straight as possible. Do not try to cut it without a guide.
Step 17: Building the Fuselage P.2
1. After you are done scoring the foamboard, break the foamboard on all the lines. This adds bends to the board. See picture 1. You should be left with four panels that are 1 13/15" wide and three smaller strips that are 3/16" wide.
2. It's time for those little 3/16" strips to go! You should be able to push them out with your thumb. See the video if you need help. When you are done peeling out the strips, your piece of foamboard should look identical to the one in pic 4.
Step 18: How to Fold the Fuselage
When I say 90˚ cut I mean 90˚ angle.
Step 19: Building the Fuselage P.3
Now the way I designed this is quite simple! After you cut out the gaps, all you have to do is to fill them with glue, and fold them over. Click on the first picture. It is a GIF so it will show you how to fold the board.
Fill each crack with glue then fold it over on top of the previous piece of foamboard. See images 4A, 4B, & 4C for reference. It is easier if you use a square to make sure that each piece is level. The more level you make it, the better quality your tube will be.
After you have glued this all together you should wind up with a really strong 2x2x30" tube!
If you are still clueless see the video! The should help out!
Step 20: Finishing the Fuselage
We will begin working on the back of the fuselage, and taper it a bit. Since the back won't get banged around too much we can cut off some unneeded foam to lighten up the back, because we want the tail (the back) to be as light as possible.
Start by making a mark 6 inches from the back and 3/16" from the bottom on two sides of the foamboard. These sides must be opposite each other. Then draw a line on underside of the tube. What I mean by this is when you folded the tube over, you ended up with the end of the foamboard on one side, so the foam inside is exposed and the cut isn't very nice. You want this side down.
On the same sides as your first markings draw a mark 3/16" from the top and 0" from the back. Make a mark on either side draw a line that extends from the line you made to the very edge of the top corner. See picture 2. You will repeat this on the opposite side of the tube.
Time to cut the foam along these lines! When you are done it should look like pictures 3A and 3B.
Step 21: Making the Rudder
Now this step is super hard, and requires many hours of experience. . . just kidding! This step only takes a few minutes to finish. Here are the steps:
- Make a 6" x 6" square on the foamboard.
- Look are picture 1 to see where marks should be made.
- Connect the lines like pic 2
- Cut out!
Step 22: Making the Horizontal Elevator
Here is one part of the video!!!
Step 23: Making the Horizontal Stabilizer P.1
Now you can either print out the designs provided in the beginning, or you can get out your ruler and begin measuring!
- Start from a corner of a sheet of foamboard and measure 12" to the left/right.
- Draw a line straight up that is 4" inches tall. Make a mark at 2" on the 4" line.
- In the center draw a line that is 6" tall.
- Connect all the lines. It should look like picture 2.
- Draw a 1" line from either side of the center line at the top of the 6" line. See pic 3, 4.
- Draw a line from the 1" mark line at the top of the 6" line to the 4" mark on the far left/right side of the design, and repeat on the other side.
- From the 2" line to the 6" line draw two lines that are 3/16" on either side of the middle line, running up and down (parallel) to the middle line. It should look like picture 5.
- Cut around the perimeter! Pic 6.
- On the two parallel lines from the center make a 10% cut (just the paper) along these lines. Then you should be able to peel that middle piece of paper out just like you see in pic 8. When you are finished it will look like picture 9.
Step 24: Making the Horizontal Stabilizer P.2
Flip the horizontal stabilizer(elevator) upside down so that we are looking at the bottom. Make two markings running lengthwise, one at 2" and the other one at 2 3/16". On the line at 2" will be a 90% cut, (first layer of paper, foam, but not the the last layer of paper), and the line at 2 3/16 will be a 10% cut, which is just the first layer of paper, so basically, a score. Then peel out that little 3/16" strip of paper. Bend the the 2" flap of foamboard back, just like in picture 3. Now take a sanding block like the one in picture 4 and begin to sand away at all the foam in that 3/16" strip. When you are done it should be sanded just like in picture 5.
The goal of all this is to make a hinge for the 2" control surface, which will control the up and down movement of the plane. If you are confused as to how to make a hinge watch the video in step 12.
Step 25: Making the Horizontal Stabilizer P.3
BEFORE YOU CONTINUE: At this point you will want to paint and coat the horizontal and the vertical stabilizers. Once you tape them you will be unable to get a good coat of paint on them.
Since the horizontal stabilizer is likely to get beat up and tossed around it would be a good idea for us if we added some reinforcements to the edges of it. Clear packing tape will do just the job, but knowing a few tricks before you get started would be helpful.
Start by centering the tape over the front edge of the horizontal stabilizer as shown in picture 1. Then, on the bends of the stabilizer, make small slits with a razor blade upwards and downwards, just like in picture 2. Next push the top sides and the bottom sides of the tape down onto the foam. Use a flat object to help you. On the bends the tape should overlap. Finally, at the ends use a razor knife to trim off the excess tape. See picture 3.
Put a piece of tape across the back edge of the stabilizer, and fold it over the back. Cover the sides with tape as well. See pictures 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8.
Step 26: Connecting the Vertical and the Horizontal Stabilizers
This part is quite simple but it's important that you get the vertical stabilizer (rudder) as straight as possible. In order to do this you will find a speed square quite handy. Place the horizontal stabilizer (elevator) on a table. The hinge should be on the bottom, leaving the peeled strip on top. Down the area of removed paper in the center squirt a large strip of glue down it. Don't get any glue onto the 2" control surface. Place the vertical stabilizer down on the glue just like shown in picture 1. Use a speed square to make sure that it is standing up perfectly straight, and check to see if the is pointing straight, and not pointing slightly right/left. Pictures on and 1 and 2 should help you understand.
Step 27: Gluing the Stabilizers to the Fuselage
Still with me? Well good! Lets hurry up and finish the back end of the plane! From the very rear of the fuselage (the side with the taper) draw a line that is 3 13/16" from the end. Fill the area with hot glue then press on the horizontal onto the fuselage. Once again, check all the alignment and that everything is straight. Look at all the pictures they will help to explain this!
Step 28: Installing the Rear Servo
This servo controls the elevator, which controls the plane around the lateral axis. This makes the plane either go up or down.
- Trace the shape of the servo onto the fuselage and cut the rectangle out.
- Depending on which side your servo arm is sticking out, glue a control horn onto the elevator, pic 3.
- Create your pushrod. If you need help watch the video or go to step 12.
- On the servo drill out the whole farthest from the screw with a 1/16" drill bit so that the music wire will fit through it.
- Attach the linkage arm (push rod) from the control horn first then to the servo arm. It's much easier if you remove the servo arm, attaching the rod to it, then re-attaching the servo arm. Make sure the servos are in the middle. You can do this by quickly plugging in your battery. The servo will automatically go to the middle.
Step 29: Making the Wing
Finally! The new wing I promised! I will make picture instructions soon. Enjoy the new wing!
Step 30: Making the Ailerons
When you folded the wing over on the underside you should have had a lot of over hang. Well this is going to make our ailerons. Our ailerons will be 1 1/2" long, so cut off any excess.
- Place a straight edge or ruler up against the overhang on the underside of the wing and make a 90% cut.
- Place the a ruler or straight edge 3/16" away from the 90% cut you made and make a 10% score.
- Peel the paper off the small 3/16" strip. You should have a small piece of foam showing.
- Lay the wing on a desk and fold the aileron back as far as it will go. It should be able to rotate all the way on top of the wing. See picture 5.
- Using a sanding block sand away at the 3/16" strip of foam until you have a nice 45˚ angle with the foam. See picture 5. Once you have sanded away at this foam you should be able to move the aileron both forwards and backwards pretty easily.
But we need separate ailerons so lets get to cutting them apart!
- On the aileron make a line that is 1 1/2" away from the middle on either side.
- Cut it out. Now you should have a 3" gap between either aileron. See pictures 7, 8, & 9.
Step 31: Spray Painting and Coating
Now that you have all the foam pieces cut out this is the time to spray paint them, if you were wanting to do that.
1. Cover all the foam pieces in a light coat of the semi-gloss polyurethane. This will water-proof the foam and keep it from falling apart when exposed to water. Try not to get big spots of polyurethane in one spot. Create and even coat. The picture above shoes which polyurethane to get.
2. When spray painting you will get better results if you hold the can 12" away from the foam and make big sweeping motions with your hand. Don't hold the spray paint up close to the foam. If you do then you will get too much paint in one area and it will begin to eat away at the foam if too much is on the foam.
Step 32: Installing Wing's Servos and Control Horns
Note: For all these lines you will want to use a pencil so that you can erase them. I just used a red marker so that you can see the lines well. Otherwise you will have big lines on the bottom of your wing.
In the middle of wing (15" inches from either side) draw a line straight up and down. Then draw a line that is 5" from the bottom of the wing (the thin part). Next draw a line that extends the 8 1/2" on either side of the middle on top of the 5" line, outwards, just like picture 1.
When you are done making reference lines place a servo on the ends of the 8.5" lines, and trace around it. See picture 2. Repeat on the other side and cut out the rectangles. Also, in the middle, cut out a small square, no bigger than 1" x 1". After that your wing should look like picture 3.
Feed the wire into the wing from the servo hole then push the servo down into the wing. The after shaking the wires you should be able to get them to fall out the center hole. Install both servos with the head facing the ailerons (the side of the servo with the circular gear column should be closest to the ailerons). Put servo arms on both the servos and face them inwards towards the center of the wing but don't screw them down yet. See picture 5.
Attach both the servo leads to the servo splitter, and check to make sure the positive and the negative leads are matched up. See picture 6.
Glue both the control horns onto the ailerons. They should butt up against the hinge but not into it, and they should be straight behind the servo. This way you can put a straight wire going from the servo arm to the control horn. See pictures 7 & 8.
Step 33: Attaching the Pushrods
The tools that you will need for this step are two pairs of pliers and a pair of wire cutters. Now all the bends we will be making should either be at 45˚ or 90˚. All of the 90˚ bends should be made as small as possible. Pictures 2 and 3 show you how the ends of the music wire should look like. In the middle I make a little V. Now the reason for this is so that you can easily adjust the length of the push rod.
So make a end bend like the one show in picture 3, then put it into the servo arm. Make a V bend, and lay the wire down. Make a mark where it hits the control horn, and make a 90˚ angle at the bend. Make the bend so that the wire sticking out is facing the control horn. Then make another 90˚ bend and cut the wire off 1/4" from the last bend.
Step 34: Mounting the Motor
Ok! Now that you are done cutting and making all the pieces it's to put them together! Let's start by putting the motor on.
- I designed the tube so that the outside of the tube is 2" x 2". This is easy enough! So on your 1/8", 1/4", or 1/2" piece of balsa/bass wood all you have to do is to cut out a 2" x 2" square. Draw lines that cross the middle like picture 1. This will come in handy when trying to center the motor.
- Hold the fuselage up and down with the tail near the ground. Squirt hot glue over the rim of the open end, then press the balsa wood onto the end. Wipe away any glue that squeezes out. Your finished product should look like pictures 2 & 3.
- In picture 4 are all the parts that come with the motor, except for the bullet connectors. You need to have these on the motor's wires before you mount it.
The screws shown in picture 5 will be the screws that I use to mount my motor. These are the screws that came with the servos. If you servos didn't come with any screws then pretty much any small screw will do the trick.
- Screw the mounting plate to the motor using the screws provided. It is important to get these very tight because vibrations from the motor can cause loose screws to jingle out. See picture 6.
- In order to mount the motor to the plane simple center it on the firewall (the piece of wood in front) and screw it down! Check all the screws to see that they aren't stripped or loose. You don't want your motor flying off mid flight!
Step 35: Colet Adapeter Assembly
Your motor came with a bunch of weird-looking hardware so what do you do with it? Read the steps below then scroll the the pictures to help you.
- Collect the shaft, head nut, and the pressure ring.
- Slide the open end of the pressure ring over the shaft.
- Slide the propeller onto the shaft above the pressure ring.
- Screw on the head nut very loosely. If you make it really tight, we won't be able to get it on the motor shaft.
- Push the propeller with the colet adapter onto the motor shaft.
- Tighten the head nut. You don't want to go too hard and crack the propeller but you don't want you propeller coming off mid flight.
Step 36: Access Hatches
Even though we have a nice solid tube for a fuselage we must cut into it so that we can get our electronics into it! In my plane I made two hatches, one for the battery/ESC and one for the receiver. Lets start with the first one.
I'm sorry please ignore the red lines. When I was doing this I kinda messed up, so the correct lines are the black ones.
- From the front of the fuselage makes lines at 3" and 6".
Draw the edges 1/2" from the ends of the fuselage, and create a rectangle. Look at pictures 1 and 2.
- Cut three edges of the box, leaving the edge closest to the front of the fuselage uncut. (pic 3).
- Stuff a small wad of paper towels/ napkins in the front. 2 napkins or a 1 half-piece of a paper towel will do.
- Draw two more lines further down the fuselage at 3" and 5" from the 6" line you first made. Again, draw lines 1/2" from the edges of the fuselage, and make another rectangle. See pictures 6-9.
- Cut the second hatch completely out. I didn't in the pictures but go ahead and do it.
Now would be a good time to put your receiver and your ESC in. If you forgot how to plug the ESC into the receiver go back to step(X).
Step 37: Adding the Electronics
The wires from the motor should be off to one side. Wrap them around the edge of the fuselage just like in picture 1. Cut a small hole on the side of the fuselage for the wires coming from the ESC. Connect the wires from the ESC and the motor together. Don't tape the wires down just yet. We need to make sure that the motor is spinning the correct way first. We'll do this a little bit later.
The ESC should slip right into the tube, and push it up against the side of the inside of the fuselage. The battery can slide alongside it like shown in picture 3. Push the battery as far up in the nose as it can go. It should slightly compact the paper towel you placed inside earlier.
In the second hatch further down the body put the receiver in. Using a servo extender on the servo lead from the tail, connect it into slot 2 on the receiver (elevator). Consult with your receiver's manual to see which side the positive and negative wires go. Also plug the servo lead from the ESC into slot 3. (pic 4).
Plug the servo splitter into slot 1 on the receiver(aileron). Again, consult with your receiver's manual to see which side the positive and negative wires go. (pic 5).
Here is the order in which the Hobbyking Receiver from the money saver package is in:
The ESC lead goes into whatever channel you have mapped for the
throttle. For instance, the receiver you got should be ordered like this. . .
Channel 1: Aileron
Channel 2: Elevator
Channel 3: Throttle
Channel 4: Rudder
Channel 5: Aux1
Channel 6: Aux2
NOTE:The ESC lead DOES NOT go into the battery slot unless attempting to bind to the transmitter. The receiver will be powered through channel 3, which is the throttle channel. Since the ESC is what controls the speed of the motor, we need it plugged into channel 3, which is our throttle channel.
Put a piece of duct tape on the hatch door so that you can tape it down for flight! (pic 6).
Step 38: Finding the Center of Gravity
Now that you have put in all the electronics, including the motor, propeller, battery, ESC and the receiver, it is time to see where the center of gravity for your particular aircraft is. This step has to be done after ALL pieces have been loaded into the plane. If you forget something then you will have to re calculate the CG.
- Lay down two rolls of tape (pic 1).
- Balance the wing on top of the tape (pics 2 & 3).
- Place the fully loaded fuselage on top of the wing and drag it forward or backwards until it balances perfectly on wing (pic 4). After it balances move it forward just a tiny bit until the nose it a bit lower than the tail.
- The CG will be a 1/3 the way back from the front of the wing, or where the airfoil is at it's highest. Our wing is 7 inches wide, so 1/3 the way is about 2.3" back from the front. Make a small mark on the wing 2.3" back from the front of the wing. Lay your ruler along the wing and measure from the very front of the fuselage to the mark you made. As you can see in picture 5 my CG is around 8.5" back from the center.
- Keeping the plane balanced measure how far back the front of the wing is from the front of the fuselage (pic 6). You can see that mine was 6" back from the front. Here you can draw an line and now you know how far up to place your wing! Your CG and this second measurement should be similar.
Step 39: Adding Wing Mounts
For my plane I decided to use the quick and easy connecting way of rubber bands and skewers. I like this because for one it makes wing remove quick and easy and two when in a crash the wings will harmlessly pop off the plane.
First find the center of gravity. Then with that knowledge in mind, make a small mark just in front of the mark you made showing where the wing should be in the front and just past the mark were the wing ends.
For the first skewer poke it through the foam right at your mark. All you need to do is to poke the sharp end of the skewer through the foam and trim it with scissors or wire cutters.
Place the wing on the plane and butt the front of the wing up to the very back of the first hatch. Poke the second skewer in the fuselage right behind the wing. See picture 4 to see where it should go.
Find an unused credit card and cut it into 4 small squares that about about 1" x 1". Drill hold at the very top that are the same size as the skewers. See picture 7. Slide these over the skewers while they are on the plane, and glue them to the fuselage. This will take strain from the wings off the foam. See pictures 8 and 9.
In picture 10 you can see that I covered the credit cards in some white duct tape to make it look better. If you wanted to you could find your white spray paint and give those cards a coat or two.
In pictures 11 and 12 I show how to correctly attach the wing to to the skewers using rubber bands.
Step 40: 41 Steps Later, Finish!
Yeah! You are so close to being done! Strap the wings down to the skewers with rubber bands taking care to stuff the servo splitter down into the smaller hole in the fuselage. Test the CG one last time by putting your fingers 1/3 the way back of the wing and seeing if it balances slightly nose heavy. Picture 2 will show you were to put your fingers. I
If you plane is still not balancing then move the battery around. If the plane is too nose heavy, add another wad of paper towels to the nose and scooch the battery back a bit. If the plane is tail heavy, mash the battery forward some more. If you sill can't fix the problems, scoot the wing up or down on the fuselage.
Step 41: Adjusting the Plane BEFORE Flight!
There are several important things to check before you are ready to launch your plane!
- Always make sure that your CG is good, and that the plane is slightly nose heavy.
- Plug in the battery and check to see if all the control surfaces are level. If they are not, adjust the V-bend in the push rods until the surfaces are flat. For the ailerons make sure they maintain the slope of the wing.
- Is the motor spinning the right way? Turn on the propeller and see if the air is being blown backwards. If it is being blow forwards, then just switch any two wires of the 3 attaching the motor to the ESC.
- Do both ailerons work and does the elevator work?
Here's a problem you might have! You push up on the stick, and the elevator swings upwards. What's happening is that the servo is needs to be reversed. Find channel 2 on your radio LCD or computer program and change that channel. You may need to do the same thing for the ailerons.
- All wires are secured and nothing is hindering the prop.
- Battery is SECURED! If the wires don't already create a tight fit, use velcro to attach the battery to the bottom of the fuselage. Remember to recheck the CG!
Before you fly please watch all the videos in this step! You don't want your brand new plane to crash on its first flight because of a build error!
Step 42: Conclusion
Well I am suppppper tired because I basically stayed up all Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, and until 11:59 Monday. I was working so hard because I wanted to get it done for the Launch it Contest! I will be regularly fixing the instructions and adding more videos, and eventually, a complete video. I just bought a new camera that will be coming soon so I should have the complete build video up soon! I hope you learned a lot from this i'ble if there's anything you need help with or want to know please PM me or leave it in the comments below.
3 People Made This Project!
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Please be positive and constructive.
here's another question for you, when you get a chance. the music wire i bought came coiled up, it's not straight. will that hurt its push rod functionality?
the transmitter/receiver in the premium package doesn't seem to be available from hobbyking, and is $120+ on amazon. would another option like Flysky FS-i6X 2.4GHz 10CH work?
I mean yes you can use pretty much whatever you want, but try to stay away flysky. Another great option out there right now for cheap is the Turnigy Taranis X7 with a D4R or X4R receiver.
i appreciate that. as a complete newbie, i have no idea. i don't see a turnigy taranis anywhere. i found a frsky taranis. is frsky different from flysky? and why stay away from flysky?
Haha I meant FRSKY Taranis my bad on that one I was quickly typing on my phone over lunch break I wasn't really thinking. But yes the FRSKY Taranis X7 is an excellent choice, it is what I currently use for my miniquads/planes. My favorite receivers (these all work with the X7) are the D4R-II for 4 channel planes, X4R (or XSR) for miniquads because of the SBUS capabilities (all channels on one wire using a serial protocol), and the D8R-II Plus. All the above mentioned receivers can be found for under 40 dollars.
FRSKY is a muuucch better company than Flysky. Their products (frsky) are widely used in the minidrone world.
great, thank you. i think i got the XSR. i hope that works for the plane i'm trying to build.
The Frsky XSR has only CPPM or SBUS communication protocols, neither of which work with a standard servo or ESC. (There are servos and ESCs that you can purchase that can utilize SBUS but they are typically more expensive than regular parts). You will need at least a 3 channel (or 4 channel if you want a rudder) PWM output, like the D4R (4 channels) or X4R (3 channels). I'd go with the D8R-II (or D8R-XP, extra feature is RSSI and CPPM output), it has 8 channels, RSSI (signal strength indicator, readout is on your radio), and has a wide operating voltage range. It's only a little bit more than the others listed. Otherwise the D4R-II or even the X6R works great.
thank you, thank you, thank you. with any luck, we'll get something put together.
thank you, i appreciate that. i'm a complete newbie at this, why stay away from flysky?
No problem man. Their products are cheaply priced, and you get what you pay for. If you want to buy one do some research and figure out which one has the best ratings/reviews.