Introduction: 3D Printed JET Airplane (electric)
Flight, unfortunately, ended up by the crash. I was approaching to land too fast.
Besides this, I hope my instructable will be still interesting for you :)
Step 1: Intro
I love airplanes and believe that together with rockets they are the most amazing machines that join technologies off all branches into marvels of engineering.
That's why I decided to make 3d printed airplane
I wanted to make a simple and fun design.
I gathered factors od simplicity and fun of airplane and got that what you see below.
-straight no tapered or swept wing
-single engine inline with wings
-basic controls without flaps or landing gear(belly landing on grass)
-electric ducted fan engine
-agile but still not hard to fly
-slot for phone
Step 2: What Do You Need
To hight extent What Do You Need, depends on what you want. You can treat this instructable as :
- source of STL files to print without going into details(skip some parts or all design process).Download from the last step.
- example of a process of design of an rc airplane
- something fun
- whatever ;)
Here is the list of all what is needed to design the airplane and perform flights. Of course, if you want to make this airplane differently or want to skip some steps because they don't interest you, then that's good too :)
- Flying the RC airplanes(if you are total beginner please start with rc simulator)
- 3D printing(basic skills)
- RC electronics(basic skills)
- 3D software (basic-intermediate skills)
- 3d modeling/cad softer. Personally, I use Fusion 360. You can also use another free software like Blender if you want.
- slicer; Cura, Simplify 3D or another one
Tools and hardware:
- 3D printer (or 3d printing services)
- Basic tools(screwdriver, hammer, vise etc...)
- CA glue
- CA activator
- 4 micro servos
- 70 mm EDF(electric ducted fan) turbine
- 60-80a ESC
- 4-6s lip-po 2000-4000mah
- hinges for model airplanes
- neodymium magnets
Step 3: Start of Design Process!
For some people, starting a design only with prerequisites and without any drawings might be not the best option. In my case excitement about designing this airplane was so hight that I relied on memory almost all the time when I had to decide how different things should look like.
Step 4: Wing
The wing has straight shape without a taper or swept. It has 1200mm length and 180mm width. Thanks to straight shape balancing can be done with a simple approximation. The wing has Clark-Y airfoil.To create a wing insert the image of an airfoil with an insert-canvas tool. Then redraw this image with a spline tool. Next, extrude wing sketch on both sides to get solid wing.
Step 5: Aileron
Create a sketch of the aileron. This aileron has 40mm x 250mm. Use the sketch to cut off ailerons shape from the wing as shown on first 2 images. Aileron needs a space to move. Create a sketch that looks like a wedge or tilted line(look at 3rd image). Use this sketch to make an indentation. Next, create slots for ailerons hinges. You can make them by sketching rectangles(25mm x 40mm) and extruding them for 2mm. Lastly, use this extruded rectangles to cut slots in the wing as shown on the last image
Step 6: Hole for Servo
Make a sketch as shown in the first photo. Extrude it and chamfer the one edge of the box as shown on the image. Lastly, move the box so it will create a hole in the wing. Put it on for 12-13mm depth(from wing surface). Rember to place box more less in the middle of aileron
Step 7: Pipe for Cable
This pipe is for the servos cable that goes to the receiver in the fuselage. Look at the small green wall in the first image, sketch 12mm circle on its surface. Extrude sketch of the circle to the center of the wing. Next sketch a shape that is shown in the second image. You need to extrude it and cut off a hole in the wing using it. Later cable will go to the fuselage through the pipe and this hole
Step 8: Control Horns
Ailerons horn receives force from a servo. Sketch a line according to the first image. Next use this sketch line to create a plane on it. You can do this using a plane at angle tool/feature as shown on the second image. Next sketch a horn shape as shown on the third image. Lastly, extrude horn and join it to the aileron.
Step 9: Fuselage
First off all add some basic objects that will represent components that will be placed into the fuselage. I placed li-po battery, phone, and turbine(turbine will be seen in the next steps). You can add more components like servos, receiver etc. Of course, sooner and more you will add, the better insight you will get into your design what is very helpful when you explore new designs. That approach let's minimize a probability of situations when you have to go back and fix something because it doesn't fit etc...
The fuselage is designed in the Freeform workspace of Fusion 360. This gives a lot of flexibility while designing shapes.
Start design of fuselage creating a simple shape of a cylinder (140-150 mm diameter) Set symmetry by internal symmetry feature to apply changes simultaneously on 2 sides of the fuselage. It will be indicated by a green line that will go through the fuselage
Very quickly you can achieve a result as on the 3rd picture.
Next, make a hole for turbine intake by unweld edge feature.
Now harder task...sorry I mean more interesting :).Now turbine intake needs to be designed from the previously made hole. You can see it in this(partly) and in the next step.
Step 10: Fuselage
Inspection analysis feature is applied here so you can see inside of the fuselage. The goal here is to shape the inlet properly and as straight as possible. It's mainly trial and error process. Now other components become helpful as a hint of how inlet should be shaped.
Step 11: Turbine Cover
Turbine needs to be somehow placed into fuselage so I decided to cut off a piece of rear part of the fuselage. I sketched a line that goes through the center of inlet/pipe for turbine and next goes upside straightly as you can see on the first image. I cut off a piece with this sketch. By this not only hatch was created but also a surfaces to place the turbine. Next images show red areas that indicate where the turbine mounts will be screwed to the fuselage. Important is that the places where turbine mounts will be screwed need to be reinforced. That's why I did pads on both sides as you can see on images
Step 12: Tail Beams
Tail beams are attached to bottom side of wings. They are 630 mm long rectangles that are extruded up and rounded. The last image shows tiny points on the wing surface. They are small spheres that will stick out slightly after 3d printing. They are indicators that help to align and glue tail beams as precise as possible.
Step 13: Holes for Servos in Tail Beams
Beams are places for servos that will control tails surfaces. Sketch according to the first image. Next place this extruded block where it should be as shown in the second image and join it with the beam. Lastly, round the edges.
Step 14: Pipes for Cables(Tail Servos)
Cables that come from servos on tail goes through beams and need to go through the wing to finally get to the receiver in the fuselage. That means a pipe similar to that which was made for ailerons servos need to be made again. Just make a pipe from wing center to place where beams merge with the wing. Lastly, add holes on the ends of the pipe so you can put cable inside it. As you can see on images first I create a pipe, the hole on a place of the beam and lastly hole in the wing center.
Step 15: Tail
This airplane has a rare type of tail that has the shape of a flipped V letter. Of course, it provides all functionalities of a normal tail.
Start with a sketch of the symmetric airfoil and extrude it. Next, tilt the tail by 40deg. After this, I used side plane of the beam to cut off rest of tilted tail and remove a piece that left after cut. Next, I mirrored tail. Now the upper flat end of the tail (marked blue) was used to offset plane from it. After this cut off tail closely to the beam using this plane (image...). It will make the tail a separate thing. Now back to the area which was marked blue. Select top flat surfaces of tail parts and join them with loft feature.
Step 16: Tail
Look at the area near to beam which is marked red now(first image). Use this flat plane to sketch on it a line. On next photos, you can see how I extrude this line, thicken it, cut on an angle and merge it with the beam. This detail will help while printing because the transition from beam to tail is a hard thing for a 3d printer and without this, the overhangs problem will appear. It will be clear for you while printing how this detail works.
Step 17: Ruddervators
What are ruddervators???In V tail or in this case inverted V tail rudder and elevator are replaced by ruddervators which combine their function.
Make sketch line parallel to tails surface as shown on first 2 images. Then using the plane at angle feature make a plane on this sketch(third image). Sketch on this plane as shown(third image) and use this sketch to cut off ruddervators. As in wing, here we need indentations on edges of ruddervators to give them space for movement(4th and 5th image). Next, add slots for hinges in the same way as in the wing. After this Sketch ruddervators horn, extrude it and join with ruddervators. Lastly, mirror everything on the second side.
Step 18: Cuting Fuselage
To print the fuselage, it needs to be split for parts. Also, I marked 2 parts for green and red which is very important because if they would be 1 part then it might be hard or impossible to attach the wing. Beginning from the first image you can see that sketch is created by projecting a wing shape. Using this sketch I cut off wing shape in the fuselage and I remove cuted off part. Next images show tiny lines on leading an trailing edges that split green part for 2 so after cut we have green and red. Next are vertical lines that split fuselage for bigger but still printable segments(image 3). The last image shows one detail that needs to be cut off. It is a space for cables that go from wing to fuselage
Step 19: Wing and Ailerons Split
Wings are split for 150 mm long parts. First, remove 1 wing halve. Make sketch over the wing and make lines spaced 150 mm from each other and use them to cut segments. Aileron is split by the side area of the horn(use it as a plane to cut) Lastly, mirror all segments so they will appear for a place of removed half. On the end, the wing should look like on the last image.
Step 20: Tail and Ruddervators Split
Image shows 2 planes that are indicated by dark blue lines. Marked planes will be used to create a midplane between them(first image). Having such a plane lets you easily split tail and ruddervators for half.
The segment which joins 2 parts of the tail needs to be printed differently. It needs to be split as shown on (2 nd image) and printed in the direction where the place of cut is a base/bottom.
Step 21: Canopy
Create sketch according to the first image and cut fuselage using it. Next, create pipe shape on the surface of the previous cut as shown on the 2nd image, don't forget bout half-circles because under them magnets will be placed. Lastly cut pipe shape on fuselage and canopy so they both will have marked lines after printing which are guides for cuts(by hot knife)
Step 22: Phone Slot
Create a slot just behind the canopy. It is just an extruded down surface. Similarly to canopy there are lines that will be visible after 3d printing. When your airplane will be glued then you can just cut along this lines to get a slot.
Step 23: Improvements
This instructable shows the real process of design that can't skip mistakes and in result of them improvements
While designing any airplane at end the end I realize that realize the same thing can be changed and improved. Thankfully designing in digital environments is reversible in many situations without designing from the beginning. Also, a 3D printer can always quickly print new better parts if they are needed.
Improvement1: I printed the beams and I realized they are too weak. The decision was clear, I had to make them thicker. I did so and you can see the effects on image
Imporvement2: I added 2 extra magnets
For sure later more improvements will apear here :)
Step 24: 3D Printing and Slicer Settings
You need to setup slicer that you use and print parts according to the information below.
There are 2 slicer settings and 1 extra setting .
1.Single shell layer,4% infill
Parts: all wing parts, all ailerons,2 parts that surround the wing from both sides, all parts of tail, all ruddervators
2.Double shell layer 0% infill
Parts: all fuselage parts excluding 2 that surround the wing, beams
*Extra setting is for ailerons and ruddervators that need 6 fully solid layers on the bottom. It's because of horns so for ailerons and ruddervators you should use setting 1. and add 6 solid layers on the bottom to it.
Step 25: Gluing Parts Together and Connecting Electronics!
CA glue and CA activators will be your friends here. Be careful of the skin and eyes! This glue is really quick. I also suggest to glue in a well-ventilated room. Moreover, you will glue electronic parts, connect servos to the receiver and you will install a battery in the airplane. After all, you should be ready for final preparations!
Step 26: Front Parts of Fuselage
Prepare mentioned glue and activator. Glue 2 parts together and using a candle or small burner heat up a razor blade to cut marked lines.
Step 27: Canopy
Proceed the same as in the previous step. Glue parts together and cut off marked areas with a hot razor blade
Step 28: Magnets in Canopy & Fuselage
Canopy and fuselage have neodymium magnets. Those magnets make attaching canopy extremely easy and quick.
Step 29: Wing
Glue 8 parts together :)
Step 30: Beams
Glue parts together :)
Step 31: Tail
Glue parts together :)
Step 32: Ruddervators
First, glue parts ruddervators.After this, glue elastic hinges to ruddervators. Already printed slots make this task easy. Lastly, join tail with ruddervators so ruddervators can move freely on hinges.
Step 33: Rear Part of Fuselage
This part is a place for the turbine. Area painted white is a place where turbine cables go into the fuselage and you need to cut a hole there. Next image shows pads(white lines). Those pads are there to reinforce the place where the turbine is screwed to the fuselage.After gluing pads take ESC and put its cables through the previously made hole and connect ESC cables together with turbine cables. Next, you need to screw turbine as shown on the 3rd image. Lastly turbine hatch. Mark places where you need to cut of material(it depends on turbine brand/type)because turbine mounts stick out and they need to be hidden below the hatch.
Step 34: Ailerons
Proceed as with ruddervators
Step 35: Connect Servos With Aileron
Glue servos into holes and connect servo horns with aileron horns by rods.
Step 36: Gluing Beams to Fuselage
Beams now need holes on its ends as shown on the first image. Secondly, install servo with an extending cable that goes through the previously made holes. Next, put the cable into the pipe in the wing so the cable can get into the fuselage. The last image shows both beams glued to wings and cables on their places.
*Note that there are small printed dots on wings that are used to position beams straight
Step 37: Glue Tail to Beams
Step 38: Connect Servos With Ruddervators
Step 39: Center Segment of Fuselage
2 parts visible on the first image, surround the wing from both sides, it is important to glue those 2 parts straight with the wing. The last image shows 3rd bottom part.
Step 40: Glue Front and Rear With Central Part + Electronics
Glue front and rear part of the fuselage to the center part of the fuselage. Lastly, connect all servos and ESC to the receiver, install a battery and setup receiver with your transmitter. It is flipped V Tail configuration so it will need a simple mixing(many transmitters have already prepared modes like V-Tail etc). Ailerons move as in a usual airplane. I don't want to be specific about setting up transmitters with receivers because there are many different transmitters and receivers and if somebody can use the simple RC airplane then he or she will be able to configure this airplane. Now you are ready for final preparations!
Step 41: Preperation for the First Flight
Preparation precede mastery. Prepare yourself and your airplane for the first flight.
For sure you should check followings :
-is everything working with your transmitter setup?
-are all parts are glued properly and don't crack?
-do you have enough confidence to fly properly?
-safety on flight site
-are you going to launch it from hand or using elastic rope? You should find somebody who will help you with it no matter which option you will choose
Step 42: First Flight
Now it's a big moment. If you are stressed that's normal, try to tell yourself you are excited because in fact, you are.
The first takeoff should take place in windless conditions but the small wind shouldn't be a problem just make sure to take off upwind!
Make sure your test flight place is still safe.
For me, the first flight was a crash. I'm impatiently waiting for better weather and try again :)
Second flight(video first page)was successful but I crashed airplane on landing
I'm not going to give up and I will rebuild it again :)
Step 43: STLs
Here are all STL files needed to print the airplane
Participated in the
First Time Author
4 years ago
Fantastic work. I really respect what you have accomplished here.
4 years ago
Great modeling job.