Picture of Foam RC Airplane
If you are like most RC enthusiasts you have spare spare motors, servos & batteries. This instructable shows you how to make a flat foam airframe in a couple hours.

I've modified free plans from http://www.foamyfactory.com/ for a faster build that is also stronger.
This requires just 1 foam core board that can be purchased from a craft store.
I used the 1/2" thick board instead of the more common 3/16" version I've used in the past.

Step 1: Airframe Layout

Picture of Airframe Layout
IMG_1526 (800x600).jpg
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Print out the full scale design available free from http://www.foamyfactory.com/
Put the design on poster board so you can easily trace out the design for future builds.
I've found that making just the vertical profile of the fuselage, the whole wing and the tail is all you need.
Trace out the designs on the foam board.
SteveMiner10 days ago

how many money did you spend for this

jkinser16 days ago

Just a thought... 1/2" dia. Balsa Half-Round on the leading edges would significantly reduce drag.

imranayaz3 months ago

how many kv motor and how many amps esc anf how many v battery is been used to make rc plane

and wht is the correct name for that form please let me know

imranayaz3 months ago
What kv brushless motor , what amps esc and how many v battery should be used for making a small rc plane
Assabit4 months ago

A nice RC aircraft . Very easy to make

vipul.tak4 months ago

will you give me design and requirement

which pcb have you used??

I'd like to make your model. I am having trouble getting the plans to load from foam factory. Is there any way you could send me the drawings so that I can print them out.


ssuseelan7 months ago

Is it necessary that the wing should be aerofoil in shape??????

Im kind of a newb with rc stuff so would u recomend I build this model, or should I build a different/easier model?

This is a fine trainer but there are better models out there. Google "Foam Trainer Homemade"

snaqvi14 years ago
i have no rc only foam motors and battries wires what isthey needed to made this plane
remzak snaqvi17 months ago

Transmitter, reciever, servos, lipo battery, brushless motor, brushless speed controller

duct tape3 years ago
It might be easier to cut the foam with a hot wire foam cutter, like this:
remzak duct tape7 months ago

I use a foam cutter for similar planes and it works great.

tomtortoise3 years ago
I have never built an airplane before but i have made robots so i have a Hitec Laser 4, a few standard size servos and some Ni-Mh batteries (1600 mah 9.6v and 8.4v) im wondering if these servos and batteries are too big, if so what ones should i use, and also what size motor should i get, i have no clue what to look for in a motor or prop.

The servos are too big but the battery could work though no optimal. For a motor look for a brushless 1100kv motor around 60g with a 30A speed controller.

TomGFuller2 years ago
What type of servis
remzak TomGFuller7 months ago

Use 9g micro servos. They are about 3$ on hobbyking.

ashwini112 years ago
Hey do we have to do any programing while conecting electronics to transmiter and reciever...??
remzak ashwini117 months ago

If you spend around 60-70$ you can buy an Orange Rx computer radio. With this you can program deflection and change what happens with certain stick inputs. For the beginner though a cheap 25-30$ radio should be fine.

No, unless you create a custom flight controller, you rarely ever have to know any programming in the R/C hobby, hope this helped
what kind of motor do you use?

Brushless outrunner ~1000kv

DocMat9 months ago

Central New York doesn't give many "perfect" flying days, so I've been flying the crud out of multirotors, I'm just getting into planes. I'd rather build and fly foamies because I know I'm going to crash. And you can pick up 20" x 30" sheets for $.99 and Dollar Tree or Dollar General. There's tons of free plans out there, things that aren't for beginners and things for the more advanced pilots. If you want a good amount of plans for free (with the option to purchase kits)- check out www.flitetest.com. I flew a Nutball for the longest time. They're easy to fly and they take a beating. As far as electronics go- check out Amazon. I picked up a set of 4 motor/ ESC sets for $30. They're more for multirotors, but they work fine on smaller foamies. I've seen cheaper receivers on Amazon, but you'd need your own transmitter. You can also pick up smaller 5-9 gram servos for cheap as well. Which are perfect for foamies. As long as you do the research, anything can be found cheap enough.

NazyaT10 months ago

u can give me the cm of this diagram plz my bro

sarvesh71 year ago

I am a starter guys, somebody pls tell me what is 'ESC' and 'radio' in this instructable

ESC = Electronic Speed Controller Radio = remote control The radio sends signals to your flight controller, the flight controller controls servos and is connected by a plug into the esc. The esc is hooked to the battery and flight controller unless it has more than one motor. The esc connects to the motor giving it the power it needs.

ashwintunga4 years ago
how much is the range of cost of making this
I guess somewhere around $400 dollars if you have to buy everything.

$400? No way! If you are a very beginner and have nothing yet to start in the hobby, this is +- what you gonna need: Transmitter and receiver $40, 3 servos $10, Esc $10, motor+ propeller $15, Lippo battery $10, few extra things $15. So around $100. All this you can find at ebay, hobbyking, banggood and many other online places.

what do u use to glue it together???
pva or hot glue gun?
Hot glue is not too heavy, as long as you dont overuse it.
David97 simonyu3 years ago
I would think that hot glue would be too heavy and pva on foam, too weak. I would buy a contact glue.
Oh man you did a great job i really appriciate you for this foam RC airplane ypour post is very helpful and this is great way to build an cheap Rc plane thanks for shairng this post.
tak145 (author) 2 years ago
For this size plane a mini servo works well. Approximately 11-15 grams
White_Wolf3 years ago
If you get a chance check out this guy's technique for using dollar store foam board.
With your talent with this foam you could do some awesome work with foam board. :0)
cillianm5646 years ago
I want to build one which material would be better balsa wood or foam
Foam is easier to fix, and if you ask me, more fun. A crash with foam means tape and glue. A crash with balsa wood means a full repair job.
Couldn't agree more. I love to build but I would rather fly than repair. A little tape or foam glue is hardly a repair and your up in three minutes. Although, Just for the sake of arguement, and to be fair, Balsa repair really is not as bad as some would think(for a minor crash), but it does end your flying for the day.
Exactly. A balsa plane crash ends your day. Foam planes, it's time to get out the foam-safe super glue and the fiberglass reinforced tape and stick the pieces together.
Newbie question: What is the foam safe super glue?

(I've had good luck gluing foam with Gorilla glue. I also tried Shoe Goo when I was out of Gorilla glue--it ate up an inch of foam, oops.)
UHO POR is the glue to use.  This is a contact adhesive which doesn't eat the foam and is great for other jobs too.
awang85 years ago
Can this plane actually fly? I've notice that the wing lacks the all-important aerofoil property that provides lift.
tak145 (author)  awang85 years ago
Yes. The motors are so powerful there is no need to have an airfoil. Check out the videos in this link. http://www.foamyfactory.com/videos.htm
rjoshua2 tak1454 years ago
from where do you get these motors.All the electronic shops i have been to had no Ac, Dc or any kind of motors. please reply back
yes. you do not need an airfoil to create lift. all you need is to turn air down, and by newtons 3rd law, the plane will go up. a flat wing IS an airfoil, just not as efficient as airfoil's youre thinking of. it is a very simple, and good airfoil for a smaller, 3D RC airplane
where would one go about getting these parts? and how expensive is the plane made in this 'ible?
google "hobbyking". cheap rc equipment from china. use paypal on orders though. ive had problems with credit cards through them.
tak145 (author)  absolute zero5 years ago
There are lots of online rc hobby stores. If you are getting started with a first plane i recommend you buy a brushless plane that has all the components. When you crash, and everyone does, you can salvage the parts and build a foam plane.
Hi I can you explain in detail how you actually cut the foam? What kind of knife, technique?

I am also trying to cut foam that is as thick as yours and the edges are not coming out straight. I don't mean the long edge, I mean the short edge that are on the side of the foam. The reason mine are not straight is because I find it hard to keep the knife at a 90 angle to the cutting mat.

Do you have some tips on how to keep the knife perpendicular to the cutting surface?


plz help me, how can i make foam wing rc plane, email me on noumanahmad43@yahoo.com, plz
tak145 (author)  mathursharad4 years ago
I use an electric jig saw. See step 3. In that picture I'm showing how to cut the bevel on the control surfaces. The jig saw makes the process go quickly. I used to use and exacto knife but unless its extremely sharp you'll have to take several passes to cut through the board.
i am the member,but i can't download it.what's that...............
sham19904 years ago
Nice & simple! But its better to make the wing and elevator wing boarder smooth curve for better aerodynamic. Your design good for indoor.
eieio7064 years ago
what size motor ? thanks Ray
ciragan5 years ago
if that plane flies, than everything else on earth can do so... no way..
It flies because it's very lightweight and has a massive amount of power on the nose.
limppimento5 years ago
First, tak145 thanks for the contribution. I have noticed there are several negative comments as to the quality and design of this plane. Based on my experience of 12 years of experimental r/c design flight, and I still learn new things eveyday, I would like to make a few observations. 1) I have never come across a plane that would not balance unless it was due to a horrible design issue. That doe not exist here. These plans are nearly identical to several commercialy produced kits on the market. 2) This is a 3D profile style plane. I have built several out of 3/16" foam core WITH bamboo dowel supports for the wing. If you want a plane you can run up to max power on you throttle and yank back on your elevator, and keep it in one piece, don't build this plane. Tak145 may not agree, but then again, he made his out of 1/2" foam. 3) could you put a nitro on this. yes but see point #2 above. When I first started out flying all I had was a 2 channel radio, a $3 walmart foam glider, amd a cox .049 engine. So yeah its possible. The important thing is to experiment. This is a great guide for getting you started but dont look to insult someone if you base your battery position off of someone elses picture and it doesnt balance. Ask, don't insult, especially if you went though all the fun of building this then scrap it because of a kink or because you thought you were building a HI-PO Jet. Thanks.
mrcayouette5 years ago
would i be able to put a small nitro powered motor like a .10 on this remote controled plane?
Motordude5 years ago
how much do you think the plane weigh
sdfgsdfg5 years ago
Try sanding the foam. It will make it more aerodynamic: less speed for flight etc.
erod9985 years ago
 i want o see a vid of this thing flying and multiple pics of different parts of the plane/ Can u post some . If u cant that fine great instructable anyway
FURAT SUBHI5 years ago
FURAT SUBHI5 years ago
rodneyroy5 years ago
ive looked at these plans before, and they look easy enough. but im not sure if i would trust them, becaouse i  made the bipe from the same website and it didnt fly very good. maybe it was the kind of foam. who knows.
elecsl5 years ago
What is the motor you have used? Is it brussless DC motor? I have tried some project like toy airplane. I like try this as well. thanks.
tak145 (author)  elecsl5 years ago
Its a brushless DC motor. They are powerful and exactly what's needed for a plane like this. It can climb straight up with no problem. I've since used a brushless outrunner from bphobbies.com. They are good and inexpensive.
prof885 years ago
davidneth5 years ago
Great instructable!  I am building a electric combat plane using foamboard for the fuselage, finally someone out there that has had the same idea I have had.  what type of glue did you use to tack everything/hold it.
tak145 (author)  davidneth5 years ago
I like to use hot melt glue to hold the servos in place. Otherwise I use Elmers everywhere else. I've never had a glue failure. I started out using foam safe glue but found its not needed. Good luck with your plane. I'd love to see it.
Yeah, Ok, maybe I will make an instructable about how to cut foam with a hot wire cutter, and show my plane when complete.
Thanks for the encouragement!
smanzie45 years ago
can you post me the plans, the site is not working
by the way nice instructable.
wild13575 years ago
Very nice project, is there anyplace I can get parts in Canada, or a place that ships to Canada (cheaply)?
Patented5 years ago
Woah!! Thats a nice project!! A vid would be awesome! 5* man you did a really good ible!
stumpffy3456 years ago
thats cool i may build one of these
Cubie26 years ago
I made one from scratch like this before, It was meant to take off from the water though, It had a weird design, the two main wings were the same shape as any other planes, but I didn't have any tail or elevators. It's rudder was attached directly to the back of the wings with 3/4's of it below the plane. The motor was situated at the front of the plane with the propellor in the middle of the wings, opposite of how you usually see a prop engine I also cut out a rectangular hole in the wings where it was so half was under the plane and half on top. I had 3 servos in my plane, 1 for each "ailron" (they move seperatly) and one for the rudder. I then added a curved front to the wings like a boat. The finished product had wings similar to a p-51 mustang. It had a 3 foot wingspan and was 1 foot long. If you build on remember, the position of the motor is very crucial, put it about 2/3rds the way up the plane from the end of the rudder and it should push the plane, not pull it. Put the battery and receiver in the curved part in front towards the back I flew if 5 times from the surface of a pond. i than proceeded to take it apart and build something new. I'm still working on that. Keep yu posted!!!
matrix435476 years ago
Nice job, you should check out the rc groups forum (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/index.php), ton of great stuff about rc
noah1r6 years ago
what kind of foam are you making it out of
tak145 (author)  noah1r6 years ago
This one is foam board. The major craft stores carry it. Many people make it from fanfold which can be found at a home improvement store. Fanfold can be flimsy so people stiffen it with carbon fiber rods.
noah1r tak1456 years ago
thank you
tak145 (author) 6 years ago
The lift for a flat (profile) plane is generated by the forward motion of the plane coupled with the elevator. In fact a plane can hover with just the power of the motor. Check out this cool video.
Thats crazy, that stuff is indestructible! Are there any good beginners guides to building RC foam planes? I had an old Firebird a couple of years ago, and one good crash broke the tail - ever since then I haven't managed to fix it, but want to keep on with the hobby!
you look like a person i can talk to. i had a airhogs plane, but it didn't fly well at all. i took it apart and salvaged all the electronics and chucked the body in my closet. i got a larger body from tech in school and am putting the electronics in. i have added range, maneuverability, and speed to my plane. I started three months ago, but i could only work every other day, and i took time off to build a penny hockey and a robot. i am very close to being done, like i have to solder two joints and i'm ready to fly. you might consider getting a foam plane from online somewhere and putting the electronics inside it. if you could post some pics when you're done, whatever you do, even if you just fix it, then that'd be great. i'll post some pics too. happy flying!
kanth4916 years ago
without landing gear how will it takeoff and land.
hand launch, belly land.
bishal6 years ago
how can it be controlled to move sidewards?
tak145 (author)  bishal6 years ago
The control surfaces on the wings cause the plane to bank left or right. Then moving the elevator control surface causes the plane to turn. The rudder (not on this plane) keeps the turn "coordinated". That just means the plane doesn't slip through the air. The lack of rudder is un-noticeable for most types of flight maneuvers. There are some 3D stunts that need a rudder but I don't do that type of flying.
Phil B6 years ago
I do not fly R/C planes, so I have a limited frame of reference. I was surprised that the wing does not have the classic teardrop profile.
it called an aerofoil... not a teardrop
Yes, it is an aerofoil. But "teardrop" would be an acceptable word for describing the profile of a traditional wing design, would it not? And, does it matter? The tone of your comment is less kind and tactful than most on Instructables.
Yeah I know it doesn't matter, but a teardrop airfoil would be more like the symmetrical airfoil of some WWII bombers.
ward2u6 years ago
gamerboy296 years ago
Will these instructions work with 3/16in foam core board?
gamerboy296 years ago
what type of moter do you recomend for this aircraft
tak145 (author)  gamerboy296 years ago
There are 2 main types, brushed & brushless. I recommend a speed 400 brushless. It will have more than enough power.

gamerboy296 years ago
how did you modify plans on http://www.foamyfactory.com/?
gamerboy296 years ago
does this Instructable tell you how to hook up a remote controller to it?
tak145 (author)  gamerboy296 years ago
The instructable was meant to show how to build a fast and cheap airframe. To hook up a radio you need a receiver that is paired to the controller. The servos connect to the receiver along with something called a speed controller. The speed controller is like the gas pedal. It controls how fast the motor spins. The battery is connected to the speed controller. It sounds complicated but its really simple once you see the layout.
Clayton H.6 years ago
instead make it out of EPP foam instead of foamcoar, it will last linger. just remember to get carbon fiber rods because EPP is really flexible and will flop around in the air without the carbon fiber. You can get it at RC Foam.com.