Introduction: Build a "Warp", a Full-contact Combat RC Aircraft.
Some of the guys at the local RC club (Brindlee Mountain RC Club) and other clubs around the North Alabama area have designed a plane for full contact combat flying. The whole object is to bump/crash into the other guy(s) and have their plane hit the ground before yours does.
The current Warp has evolved from a design created by another "Don" who goes by the name of "Miderror" on the RC Groups forum thread "Don's Blue Plate Special" which is dedicated to these and other style combat planes. There is a video (20 megs) here showing the action between 2 Warps and 4 other kinds of planes!
The plane is made of 1/4" blue insulation foam available at any of the larger home improvement stores. This foam is inexpensive, easy to repair with hot glue and can take a lot of punishment. The Warp pictured below has been repaired many times but still flies beautifully!
One thing to ALWAYS remember, the tail fin is on the BOTTOM when the plane is flying normally, it looks like it's flying upside down. When you launch the plane, make sure you don't have the fin up and pull back on the elevator thinking it's going to go UP! It won't! I know this from experience. The picture below is really of the BOTTOM of the plane.
This Instructable is intended for people that are familiar with building and flying RC planes.
Step 1: Gather Together What You Need for the Airframe.
You'll need a sheet of 1/4" blue foam, marker, ruler, Xacto or similar knife, soldering iron and solder, hot-melt glue gun and glue, and fiberglass packing tape. The schematics included are really just guidelines, they're for the Warp that I'm currently flying. You can round corners, change angles, and change any dimension you like, but keep in mind that any changes you make, you'll be changing how the plane flies.
Mark out the lines and cut out the pieces. If you're careful, you can get two complete Warps from one sheet of foam.
In the plans, all dimensions are in inches.
Step 2: Rudder and Elevator Hinging.
Chamfer the rudder and the tail fin to allow for movement. Then apply the fiberglass packing tape to make hinges. Do the same thing for the elevator.
Step 3: Glue the Fins and Reinforcements.
Apply fiberglass tape around the propeller cut out for reinforcement and glue on a strip of 1/16" x 1/4" balsa (some fliers use carbon fiber rods and strips).
Glue the tail fin and nose fin onto the body of the plane using the hot-melt glue gun. Insure the fins are aligned dead center of the body and not angled in any way. At this time, you can also add the other reinforcement strips. These are just strips of foam cut and glued along the bottom of the fins and along the sides of the propeller cut out.
Also visible (through the cut out) is one of the two fins on the far side. These two fins help prevent the propeller on this plane from damaging the opponent's plane. I'd suggest waiting to glue these on until the electronics are installed, it'll make it easier because the plane will sit flat on the table.
It's a good idea to apply a strip of low temperature covering or fiberglass tape to the leading edges of the plane. This is a vulnerable area and the covering or tape will help prevent rips and tears from impacts.
Step 4: Begin Installing the Electronics.
You'll need a motor, speed controller, battery, receiver and two sub-micro servos.
There are many different types and sizes of these items, but this is what I use:
1 Thunder Power 1320-2S-TP LiPo Battery
1 Thunderbird 18 Brushless Speed Controller
1 ARC-20-34-110 Brushless Motor
1 4 Channel Light Flight S4 Receiver
2 Blue Bird BMS-306 Servos
I bought these items from Light Flight RC
Step 5: Mount the Battery.
The battery is mounted using hook and loop tape (Velcro). Cut slits in the nose fin to slip the velcro though the slits. In addition to this, I stuck the a piece of the hook side to the fin and another piece to the battery for added holding power.
Step 6: Mount the Speed Controller, Motor and Receiver.
The speed controller is mounted using the hook and loop tape. The power lead fits snugly in a cut out in the nose fin. Either use a 12" servo extension lead or solder wires to go between the speed controller and the receiver. Tack glue this lead to the body of the plane to keep it out of the propeller. The receiver is also mounted with hook and loop tape.
Take an old AOL CD (who doesn't have some of THOSE laying around?) and cut it to fit between the nose fin and the propeller cutout. Drill 2 holes in the CD to match the diameter of the motor you're using. Glue two small pieces of wood onto the CD and glue the CD to the plane. The motor is held on by a plastic zip tie.
Solder the motor leads to the speed controller's leads.
Step 7: Mount the Servos.
The servos are mounted by first surrounding the servo with heat-shrink tubing and then hot melt glue. The heat-shrink tubing makes it much easier to remove the servos if needed. Just cut the tubing and the servo comes free. The control horns are hot glued onto the rudder and elevator.
Step 8: Flying the Warp.
The Warp is not, by any means, a beginner's RC plane. You really have to be "on the sticks" at all times to keep control. But that's a GOOD thing in full contact combat! You need a plane able to flip and roll quickly at low speeds. With the setup as I have you'll rarely if never need full throttle, but you WILL be constantly jockeying the throttle while in the combat furball. The throttle also comes in handy after your plane has been hit and is in a spin or out of control. Give it a burst of speed and sometimes the plane will recover.
One thing to ALWAYS remember, the tail fin is on the BOTTOM when the plane is flying normally, it looks like it's flying upside down. When you launch the plane, make sure you don't have the fin up and pull back on the elevator thinking it's going to go UP! It won't! I know this from experience.
Before flying the plane, make sure the servos move the rudder and elevator in the proper directions with the tail fin on the bottom!
Step 9: Repairing Minor Combat Damage.
Sooner or later, your Warp will need some repairs. Most damage, short of an electrical problem such as a receiver or speed controller gone bad, can be repaired right there at the flying field, sometimes even before the current battle is over!
The best repair means is hot-melt glue. If you have an inverter (changes 12v DC to 110v AC), you can keep a glue gun hot and after a hit, you can run over, apply glue to the break in the foam (or loose servo, etc.), put the loose item back and hold for a few seconds for the glue to cool and you'll be right back in the action!
Sooner or later, the plane will become too heavy with all of the added glue to fly very well. You have the option of either cutting out some heavily repaired areas of the plane and rebuilding them or just removing all of the electronics and building a whole new plane.
It's surprising how many flights and battles a Warp can go through before it gets too worn out to fly.
Step 10: Repairing MAJOR Combat Damage.
After a wild afternoon of battle Monday with SEVEN warps in the air at once, my poor plane took a beating. The whole nose was crumpled beyond repair and I was about to just remove the electronics and start building another when I thought "Hmm, I wonder if I could just cut off the bad part and make a replacement?". Here's what I did. I simply cut a diagonal line from the front corners of the propeller cut out to the edge of the plane, cut a piece of fresh foam to fit, hot glued it on and added some reinforcing fiberglass tape, a couple of strips of foam for stiffening and then just remounted everything. I'll see how it holds up this Saturday when I attend the first ever full contact combat event at a RC club field in Huntsville, Alabama.
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