This is the story of how a remote control airplane turned into a remote control boat. 

Step 1: Fail Dramatically at Flying a Remote Control Airplane.

The remote control airplane was only $30 at Harbor Freight.  I put it together in about 20 minutes, on the living room coffee table, during my two-year old son's nap time.  It was much easier to assemble than the complicated and expensive gas powered RC plane I built as a teenager, but it was also palpably cheap.  The battery charger doesn't have a light, so I read the instructions carefully to figure out how to tell when the batteries are fully charged. The answer: "When they start to feel hot."

A few weeks later there is a calm Sunday morning. My wife pushes the stroller while I carry the bright yellow plane down to the empty soccer field. The air isn't completely still, but the small gusts are only enough to rustle the leaves of the trees at the edge of the field.

I show my wife the arm motion to launch it, and then I push the stick all the way forward to full throttle. She tosses it, just right, into the air. I had trimmed it beforehand but it immediately begins to veer right. I nudge the stick left and keep the throttle high but it banks hard and loses lift, and before I can back off on the the throttle the plane flies hard into the pavement at the edge of the tennis courts. My son and I run over to inspect the damage. The wing and the body are in pieces.

I feel a little sorry for myself, and have the thought that I'm not cut out for RC airplanes. I remember how more or less the same thing happened the last time I tried to fly an RC plane I'd put together, when I was a teenager. And in the midst of my disappointment and self-recrimination, I notice that the innards - the RC receiver, battery, props, and motors, are all intact.  I get out my leatherman and free them from the wreckage. It occurs to me that boats are easier.

* * *

Acquire an inexpensive remote control airplane with two electric motors that can be controlled independently. Remove the motors, battery pack, and radio receiver from the plane.
I used a catermarina frame from hobby lobby. I did this before I saw this instructable. I didn't know anybody else every did this before.
<p>That's awesome!! :) And with the 2 bottle approach, you don't really need to have such a heavy keel as mine had. You should make a whole instructable about yours if you haven't already - it looks really cool!</p>
Thank you. Maybe I should.
<p>why would you want to do this anyway. Its a waste of money!!!!!!!!!</p>
why is it a waste of money. you get to make your own rc boat for a good price. also mine belonged to my brother but crashed so we made it into a boat. I one sense we saved money by not throwing it away.<br>its called American ingenuity.
<p>I wold hardly say it's a wast of money I do stof like this all the time </p>
<p>Have you considered a twin hull approach. The catamaran arrangement might increase stability without needing so much weight in the keel.</p>
No, but that's a great idea. You'll still need a fair amount of ballast though, unless you seal the electronics in something water tight. :)
<p>What fm is the Yellow bee. Because i found this plane out in the forest tattered and broken. so i thought the same thing like you, that i would turn it into a boat. I think you did a really nice job. sincerely Jackdu24</p>
Nicely done!
Good dad
I LOLed at the first photo. Thanks dude, this made my day. True maker spirit!
XD Cool. Glad you liked it!
umm get to more of the motors an connect them together an walla. u now have the beginnings of a 4 prop chopper.
That's a fantastic idea! They seem to have pretty good thrust. I'm not certain if it'd be enough to lift the bottle, the radio, and the battery pack -- but it certainly might be. So it's worth a try to anyone with spare motors / props and one of these kits!
Yes! That was great!
Thanks! :)
Bravo! Especially on the 'fail dramatically' realization. <br> <br>One tip, keep a fishing rod handle to help retrieve the boat when it gets stuck too far from shore to reach easily...
Ah, great tip! I had to rely on a guy with sandals who didn't mind rolling up his pant-legs to help out. I'll remember to bring a fishing rod next time. :)
I got in mind doing the same, but with weels.
Awesome! Yeah that should work great. Steering might be a bit of a challenge. But the Yellow Bee has plenty of thrust. If your car is small and light, it'll probably go nice and fast. :)
i put the electronics into a line tracer robot it uses tank style steering
Awesome! If you have pics / an instructable, please post a link!
sadly i don't have any pics, i did it years ago
Kid's a wizard
Got the same plane as yours ;) I prefer more professional look and will make it out of foam ;)
Fantastic~! Please drop me a link when you share it - would love to see it! I'll also add links to cool remixes like that into this instructable, if that sounds ok to you. :)
just after I finish ;)
I did a similar conversion when I was about thirteen, but the boat did not work very well since the drag of the water was not easily overcome by the thrust of the small motors. Nice project :)
Thanks! Yeah the Yellow Bee has some serious juice. Probably would be a lot faster without the sloppy keel design, and a smoother juice bottle. :)
Excellent use of broken toy, on a budget. in addition I really, really enjoyed reading your writing, especially the last passage, with which, I concur.
Thanks very much! :)

About This Instructable




Bio: I develop tinkering activities that invite people to experience and reflect on creativity and learning through play. Previously I ran the Scratch online community in ... More »
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