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Complete Guide to Building Your First RC Foamboard Plane

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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
 
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Hi Great model and my first foam board built...but I have an issue. I have only recently got into planes and quadcopters (Boat and car man). I am learning to fly my quadcopter that I 3d printed but wanted to have a go at an R/C Plane.

Yours is so detailed I couldn't resist it and built it in a couple of weeks (time not always on my side).

Any how I put wheels on because I loved the thought of a take off.

First flight...Plane launches into the air at almost 90 degrees and I panic but manage to save it.

Second flight...re trimmed (I think I was about right) takes off again and straight away launches at 80 degrees I panic and turn off throttle and she crashes on the nose...broken prop.

Ok so I only had the one prop on me so decide to go home and come back in a couple of days when I have thought about it.

I think the front aerolons were not down enough so I retrim these and thought about speed and rear control so retrim everything.

3rd flight takes in gentle and longer take off and again it pops into the air at about 80 degrees I panic (don't ask me why guess I think it is just going to keep going up..novice pilot) and slow it down, cant save it, down on the nose again and another broken prop.

Questions:

Am I just paniking and this how the plane should take off?
Could it be that I am still trimmed wrong?
I am using a RC 1800KV Outrunner Brushless Motor 2208-12 with a 9 x 4.7 prop is this configuration wrong?

I am running it with a ZIPPY Compact 2200Mah 3S 11.1v 25C - 35C Lipo Pack is that ok...

The thing is it does fly and I love it and I wonder if it just me being a novice...lol

Anyway any help would be appreciated.

Thanks again

TabithaM1 month ago

Awesome plane!!! And congratulations on winning first prize!!! It is well-deserved!

FoamboardRC (author)  TabithaM1 month ago

Thank you! I was so happy! :D

coryativ made it!2 months ago

I can offer a few viewpoints from a beginner's perspective and also warn others of some potential variables.

I used the "Money Saver Package" parts list that you described and there were two things I had to handle: My props needed to be bored out with a 7/32 drill bit to fit and I had to desolder the connectors that came on the motor. I don't know if the props are mass produced and the holes were just too narrow on mine, but I just wanted to make you aware. The connectors on the motor were considerably larger than the bullet connectors you listed in your parts list. Desoldering was easy and it gave me more practice at soldering anyway.

For the hard plastic gift card bamboo skewer supports, I drilled those with a 5/32 drill bit, which is slightly smaller than the skewers I got from my local grocery store. Slightly smaller made for a nice and tight fit when I shove the skewers through.

For the motor mount screws (motor assembly to basswood, NOT motor to mount screws that came with motor), I bought a pack of "#4 x 3/8in wood screws" and used a 5/64 drill bit for pilot holes.

I bought a long thin piece of basswood from a local craft store, Michaels, for less than $3. I believe I bought the 1/8in, but I just eyeballed it. I didn't realize that you put a thickness for the basswood in your steps and my 1/8in basswood got busted each crash that was centered on the nose. 1/4in like you said would probably perform better.

The 2mm heat shrink tubing that you list with the parts list under the Money Saver Package portion was too narrow for some of the wires coming off of the ESC. Though you do say that various sizes are needed, since it was in a different place I didn't notice it until after I had started working.

There are a few times in the parts list where you state "(more on this is step X)", which I think you typed as a placeholder, with the intent to fill in an actual step number. There was also one place in the steps that had a reference to 'step X', so you may want to go back in and fix that.

Through the crashes the paper wanted to delaminate (lose adhesion and separate) from the foam. The Flite Test guys illustrate a technique of scraping hot glue into the hinge with a foam wedge, I tried this on my second Armin Wing and I accidentally made the glue too thick. I'm hoping that my servos will zero the ailerons out okay, if not, I'll just cut them off and make a tape hinge.

Also, I added the clear packing tape to the edges of the aileron, even though you didn't specifically say to do so, but had clearly illustrated it on the vertical stabilizer and elevator.

It would also probably be a good idea to mention that scraping the bottom of the control horns would be a good idea to allow for better adhesion. Speaking of adhesion, I never realized that I should be using the 'High' temperature setting on my hot glue gun. The glue being hotter gave me more time to work. That's probably common sense to crafters, but to a beginner like me I didn't realize it until after my first flight session.

Also, I didn't realize the heat shrink was done shrinking, so I turned the heat gun up to high and ended up melting my XT60 battery connector. The next time I soldered it, I covered the connector with an insulator (a block of wood, in this case) as well as keeping it on low and moving the heat around constantly.

The last thing I have to say is that, it may be a good idea to secure your battery inside the fuselage once you find your ideal CG. My friend, who crashed my plane in the exact same way as I did previously, thinks that the batter shift in flight and messed with the CG, causing it to find the ground rather quickly.

Overall, I learned a lot and I'm really glad to have made the plane. It inspired two of my friends to get into it, so thanks a lot for that!

RC_plane_1.JPGRC_plane_2.JPG
FoamboardRC (author)  coryativ2 months ago

Thank you very much Coryativ the stuff you mentioned is stuff that I would have never though to mention just because I already know how do it or just do it without thinking. I thought I got rid of the step X stuff :D

So I will be going through the entire instructions soon and fixing all what you mentioned and other stuff, and working on the complete build video.

I'm happy to contribute to your instructable in this small way. You did all of the hard work. I'm really glad I stumbled upon this because I really needed a hobby like this. My friends will be getting into it to, thanks to you.
FoamboardRC (author)  coryativ1 month ago

Oh ok thanks for telling me about the camp dry!

That's awesome!

Have fun flying and. . .

One thing. I am currently working on a new wing design that is
lighter and has a better airfoil, giving the plane a better glide ration
because of the increased lift and the decrease it weight! So if that
wing happens to break or you are not pleased with it you can come back
to my instructable in about another 1-3 weeks and I will have
instructions on the new improved wing, and I might even put the video of
it on!

FoamboardRC (author)  FoamboardRC2 months ago

Sweet plane! What did you use to paint it? Did you cover it in polyurethane?

I used $1 spray paint from my local hardware store. I didn't coat it in polyurethane because I was eager to fly, didn't have any, and didn't expect any moisture.

I'm glad I didn't because after crashing the plane enough, I had to make a new fuselage entirely and eventually the wing as well.

The Flite Test guys show some other waterproofing methods, my favorite of which was a spray-on waterproofed called 'Camp Dry'. I'll try that once I get good enough to stop crashing planes, haha.

restonoriginal made it!2 months ago

Great I'ble! I made it - not finished, but nearly. Electrics all hooked up and working - just paint and it's airborn! Thanks for the detailed instructions!

IMGP2561.JPGIMGP2562.JPG
FoamboardRC (author)  restonoriginal1 month ago
Wow that is soo awesome! I love the tail design, may I use it in my instructions??

No problem! I'm just happy that you were able to get through them!

1 thing though, I am currently working on a new wing design that is lighter and has a better airfoil, giving the plane a better glide ration because of the increased lift and the decrease it weight! So if that wing happens to break or you are not pleased with it you can come back to my instructable in about another 1-3 weeks and I will have instructions on the new improved wing, and I might even put the video of it on!

Good luck flying!
RichárdK2 months ago

Hi i maybe build this with money saver package.

How much is the flight time and max radio distace?

FoamboardRC (author)  RichárdK2 months ago
About 20 minutes with the battery I provided.

Look it up. HK-T6A. It's about a mile i think. Much more than you need.
coryativ2 months ago
Hello again! My electronics came in and I completed the plane! I flew it yesterday and I loved it. I was so excited I forgot to get it high into the air and I soft-crashed it on the maiden. Then I crashed it a little harder.
FoamboardRC (author)  coryativ2 months ago
Wow that is awesome!!! I'm so glad you were able to follow along with the instructions. Do I need to fix anything or clarify anything?
FoamboardRC (author)  FoamboardRC2 months ago

Or add something? :D

On your Premium package you mention wheels, but you don't talk about how to add them at all. It would be great if you addressed that a little. I've seen some pictures and videos of the process on different planes and I'm not sure how you would do it with this airframe.

Thanks!

FoamboardRC (author)  coryativ2 months ago

Yeah well I've actually never got a pair of wheels to stay on my plane, so I didn't cover it. Maybe when I get some free time I'll figure out how to put them on. Np, thanks again :D

coryativ2 months ago
Also, I got the music wire from a local hardware store. .047 Music Wire (1.19 mm). It fits in the control horns, but not the servo arms. I had to bore those holes out with a 1/16 drill but.
FoamboardRC (author)  coryativ2 months ago

Oops I didn't even think about metioning that you had to drill it out because I'm just so used to doing that. Thanks!

Matthew___S3 months ago
I'm not sure if I missed it but could you please tell me the size of the propellers???
FoamboardRC (author)  Matthew___S3 months ago
Sorry if you click on the link in the ingredients it will take you to 9x5 propellers. I will fix that.
SteveT13 months ago

Great presentation. Where do you buy music wire? BTW you list it as .47 in, I believe you mean .047 in

Thanks,

Steve

FoamboardRC (author)  SteveT13 months ago

Haha yes that's what I mean!

Um I dunno a hobby store? I've had so much trouble trying to order it online. Maybe off a RC website.

TabithaM3 months ago

Impresionante!!! Eres muy talentosa!

Hm,m... nice...

I have a question, do you have any CAD drawing ? please :)

FoamboardRC (author)  safiullahtariq3 months ago
Nope, don't have one, and know how to make one.

I can help in making a CAD drawing... would you like to do so ?

tomgarty3 months ago

i hope i woould manege to bild it!!

tigerbomb83 months ago

For the price the 9x would be a better radio.. Especially after flashing the firmware to er9x..

coryativ3 months ago
Hello! Thanks for this instructable, so far I have the fuselage built as well as the elevator and vertical stabilizer. I'm really excited about getting into this hobby, so thanks again.

One thing, on 'pic 2a', aka Exhibit 1, the 4" and 6" measurements end on the wrong red line. I followed those instead of following your written explanation and had to erase all my lines and start over.

Other than that the whole instructable is written very well. Thanks again.
FoamboardRC (author)  coryativ3 months ago

OMGosh it took me a while to get this but now I see! Thanks! I'm very sorry about that. I get on that right now. I will have a full video up hopefully by the end of the month!

FoamboardRC (author)  FoamboardRC3 months ago

I'm so glad to know that somebody is actually making this! Let me know how it goes and send me a pic when you are done and if you have anymore questions please PM me or comment below!

FoamboardRC (author)  FoamboardRC3 months ago

Okaydokey that's all fixed up!

laith mohamed3 months ago

Good design ... but there is not flying video ?

FoamboardRC (author)  laith mohamed3 months ago

Sorry! I am trying to it's just I have 2 jobs and my brother works full time, so it's hard to find time to record!

rwestbrookjr3 months ago

I loved your 'ible! I'm actually planning to build 3-5 of these for my family to all get into the hobby. (I've been flying rc helicopters for years) In your BOM you listed wheels which I assumed you were going to use for landing gear, but you never covered how to attach these. Can you possibly add this step? Also I noticed that your fuselage tube construction is slightly different than that of ExperimentalAirlines which you referenced. Do you see an advantage to your design over his? (the missing seam plate) It seems you kind of combined the designs of ExperimentalAirlines and FliteTest (their swapable series of power pod planes). Thanks again for your post and I look forward to your reply!

FoamboardRC (author)  rwestbrookjr3 months ago

That's awesome!

Yes if you examine EA's fuselage his has rounded corners, which makes the fuselage very weak as far as pushing it side to side. Also I don't need a seam plate and that seam plate adds a extra weight. Look hard at my fuselage, then EA's again, then you'll see the difference.

As far as the wheels go I forgot! Thanks! I will try to work on that!

ihart3 months ago

Another great Instructable!

Can you add an actual flight demo? I was thinking of making one of these but I'd like to see if it actually flies first.. ;-) Keep up the great work and I hope that you are considering a career in engineering..

FoamboardRC (author)  ihart3 months ago

YES I am trying it's just I have 2 jobs and my brother works full time, so it's hard to find time to record!

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