Introduction: EZ-Pelican - Durable, Easy to Build and Fly Radio Control Plane
In this guide I will be showing you how to build the EZ-Pelican!
It is a radio controlled airplane I designed. It's main features are:
- Super Durable - Able to handle many crashes
- Easy to Build
- Easy to Fly
Some parts of it are inspired by work done by FliteTest (inspired the airfoil) and Experimental Airlines (inspired part of the fuselage). I have taken this inspiration and adapted techniques into this design, whilst adapting things for easier construction.
The pusher-propeller design of this plane means when you crash you won't damage your motor. The high wing with dihedral makes it self correcting and very easy to fly.
I have crashed mine multiple times, the airframe has been fine every time!
- A1 sheet of 5mm foamboard - I used black but white is more common
- Hot glue
- Packing Tape
- 3 Barbecue Skewers
- Glue stick (or school glue)
- Printed out A1 plans (I got mine printed at Officeworks for $3, it's like Australian Staples). Download the plans here.
- Motor Mount - STL files for 3D printing are included in the plans. Alternatively refer to plans to make one out of plywood. I would recommend getting it 3D printed somehow. Shoot me a message if you need help.
- Control Horns - You can 3D print the ones I used, they're included in the above download for the motor mount. If not, off the shelf or homemade control horns will do.
- 4 Rubber Bands
- Hot Glue Gun
- Sharp Blade - I used a utility knife
- Long Straight Edge - I used an aluminium extrusion
Electronics and Power:
- 1806 Brushless Motor - or similar size, I used a 2450kv one.
- Electronic Speed Controller - that can handle your motor
- 5030 Propeller
- 3CH or More Radio System
- 2x 9g Servos
- 1400mah 3S LiPo Battery - That is my recommendation, anything that can power your motor would be fine. This size battery balances the plane nicely with its weight.
- Velcro for the battery if you chose
Step 1: Cutting Out Parts
1. Apply glue stick to the foam board, going right to the edges. You don't need full coverage, we will be removing the paper later. A good meshed spread is nice, refer to what I have done.
2. Glue the plans onto the foamboard, making sure to align the paper with the board. Let it dry.
3. Cut out the parts. Cut along solid lines only. Broken lines are for the next step.
4. Score along the broken lines. Try cut through the top layer of paper and most of the foam, leaving the bottom layer of paper intact.
5. Peel the plans off your parts once you are complete. Either write on the parts of remember the name of each part.
Step 2: Lower Fuselage
1. Take the main lower fuselage piece and crack open the two score cuts we have done by bending the foam.
2. Bend one side flat as shown.
3. Cut a bevelled edge into one edge of the piece.
4. Repeat on the other edge.
5. Repeat this process on the other side. Once you unfold the part it should look like this. The red line shows the profile of the bevelling.
6. Turn the part over and reinforce it with two strips of packing tape. On the reverse of where the bevelled grooves are. Trim off any excess tape.
1. Apply hot glue to a lower fuselage frame as shown, on its shortest side, then adhere it to the fuselage part as shown.
2. Repeat with all four frames.
3. Take the vertical stabiliser, and test fit it with the slot in the lower fuselage. If it fits (it should be snug), apply hot glue where indicated by the blue marking on the photo, on both sides.
4. Insert it into the lower fuselage as shown. Check it is at a right angle with the fuselage by holding something like a ruler to it. Let it dry.
5. Apply hot glue where shown by the red lines in the image. Along the two bevelled channels as well as along the fuselage frames.
6. Bend up the fuselage sides from the bevelled channels, and hold together until the glue has dried.
Step 4: Finishing Fuselage and Starting Wings
1. Apply hot glue along the top of the joint.
2. Apply packing tape along the top of the joint. Trim off any excess on the ends.
3. Put the fuselage aside and grab one wing section.
4. Crack open the score cuts in the wing by bending it as so.
5. Perform a bevel cut on the edges shown, just like in the previous steps.
6. Repeat with the other wing.
1. Turn the wings over and line them up so that the edges meet. Use pieces of tape to hold it in place as you line it up.
2. Use a big piece of packing tape along the length of the top to hold the wings together.
3. Turn the wings over and crack open the joint created with tape.
4. Squirt a good helping of hot glue into this joint.
5. Lay the wings flat. Wipe any hot glue that is pushed out of the joint along the length of the joint with a scrap piece of foam.
6. Let the wings dry for at least 5-10 minutes. Lay something like rulers on top.
1. Apply packing tape over the new joint. You can go all the way around the wing if you would like.
2. Cut the packing tape where we have made our previous score cuts.
3. Apply packing tape on the reverse side, above the bevelled channel.
4. Run a screwdriver through the score cuts in the wing. (Not including the bevelled channel). Try press firmly so as to create a deep groove. We do not want to break the paper on the other side though.
5. Apply glue to the main spar and glue it in place.
6. Glue in the additional wing spars in the places highlighted with red squares. The red dotted lines show the other cutouts in the wings so you can see where to place the spars.
1. Place the lower part of the wing on the table, and slowly bend it over. EXTREMELY SLOWLY, WITH GENTLE BUT FIRM PRESSURE. The foam and tape needs to bend and stretch, if you go too fast things may crack (you can probably fix it with tape and glue, but try avoid that).
2. It should look like this once complete.
3. Poke out the cutout sections of the wings in the spots shown in red, if you have not done so already.
4. It should look like this.
5. Apply hot glue into the two grooves we made with the screwdriver.
6. Fold the wing over again like before.
1. Unfold the wing again. It will be bent now. Do not try and flatten it out.
2. Apply hot glue to the top of the spars. Then apply hot glue through the bevelled groove. A lot of glue is required, make sure your glue gun has reached peak temperature before beginning.
3. Fold the wing over once again.
4. Firmly hold it in place for some time. If necessary place weights on it to hold it in place. Allow for 5-10 minutes for the glue to set.
5. Apply hot glue through one of the cutouts in the wing as shown. It would be a good idea to try bending the wings as required for dihedral before using glue.
6. Use the dihedral gauge to elevate the tip of the wing to it's height. Hold the wing in place till it is set, then let dry for 5-10 minutes again. Use weights if necessary.
1. Apply packing tape over the glue joint.
2. Repeat the dihedral process on the other side of the wing.
3. Cut a section of barbecue skewer to the length shown, use hot glue to glue it into the centre of the trailing edge of the wing.
4. Apply packing tape along the trailing edge of the wing. In the process make sure to cover the skewer.
Step 10: Upper Fuselage
1. Put the wings aside and grab the upper fuselage piece. Run your screwdriver along all the score cuts to deepen them like before.
2. On the reverse side, apply 4 pieces of packing tape along the back of all the grooves we just made.
3. Bend the fuselage along all the grooves. Each groove needs to make a 90 degree bend, so flex until you can bend just past that.
4. Hold in place for a few seconds.
5. Let the fuselage release. Apply hot glue to the upper fuselage reinforcement.
6. Glue it in place as shown.
1. Apply hot glue into the channels highlighted in red.
2. Fold up the fuselage and hold in place until the glue has dried.
3. Apply hot glue to the two remaining channels on the inside, as well as along the two edges of the fuselage. All areas are shown in red.
4. Fold together and hold in place until set.
5. Apply a length of packing tape over the joint.
6. Apply packing tape around the fuselage. Do two sections, one at the back, and one near the cockpit opening.
Step 12: Front Bumper
1. Apply hot glue as shown to the front of the lower fuselage.
2. Glue on the front bumper. Yours will look different, I corrected the plans.
3. Trim off the edges of the bumper.
4. It should be flush with the lower fuselage.
Step 13: Joining the Fuselages
1. Apply hot glue along the bottom of the upper fuselage as shown.
2. Glue it onto the lower fuselage as shown. Make sure it aligns.
3. Use packing tape in the same areas we did earlier to tape the two fuselages together.
4. Go all the way around with the tape.
Step 14: Elevator
1. Set aside the fuselage and grab the elevator. Crack open the score cut where highlighted.
2. Bend it over and bevel the edges as we have done before.
3. Lay it flat again.
4. Apply packing tape to the back side.
5. Test fit the elevator on the vertical stabiliser. If it fits, apply hot glue to the top of the fuselage, as well as the sides of the vertical stabiliser as shown in red.
6. Slide in the elevator and hold it in place until the glue dries. Make sure it is at 90 degrees with the vertical stabiliser by holding a ruler or something similar to it.
Step 15: Rudder
1. Take the rudder and bevel it's longest edge. There is only one edge to bevel this time, other than that it is the same as before.
2. Apply tape to its non-bevelled side, on the bevelled edge.
3. Stick it onto the vertical stabiliser with the tape.
4. Bend it over so the joint is flat, then apply tape on the other side as well. Stick down well.Check to see if it can move correctly.
Step 16: Barbecue Time
1. Stab a barbecue skewer through the upper fuselage where shown.
2. Try get it to go through between the two layers of foam, or alternatively directly under the lower piece of foam. This is so the whole width of the roof supports the tension from the wings later, rather than just the walls of the fuselage.
3. Repeat at the front, this time just trying to get it under the foam directly. Remove both skewers
4. Apply hot glue to the holes created by the skewers.
5. Reinsert both skewers. Let the glue dry.
6. Cut the skewers off to approximately the length shown.
Step 17: Motor Mount
This procedure is pretty much the same whether you use the 3D printed motor mount, or the plywood motor mount.
1. Apply hot glue to the sides of the motor mount as shown. Repeat on all 4 sides.
2. Slide the motor mount into the fuselage. Push it in until the edges are contacting the edges of the foam. The motor thrust angle is dependant on this.
3. Apply hot glue to the wing support.
4. Glue it in place.
Step 18: Taking Control
The next steps regarding electronics have not been documented as strictly as the previous. I did this to give you freedom in the methods you chose. However the following steps will give you a general idea of how I did it, and I'm sure you can follow along if desired. Further research can be done online in regards to the things used.
There is too much to cover in this Instructable when it comes to Radio Control electronics as well. This Instructable mainly relates to the airframe. It is presumed you have a knowledge of RC electronics. If you do not you can find a lot of information about this online. If you have any questions feel free to comment below!
1. I used metal from a very thick large paperclip to create this control rod. I inserted it through one of the holes of my servo horn. (You should try using a hole closer to the centre of the servo, the controls of the plane were very sensitive for my beginner flying skills with the configuration that I used.)
2. Insert the other end of the control rod through a control horn. Position the servo so that the control horn joint is aligned with the hinge of the control surface when it is at a neutral position.
3. Glue the servo in place. Press the control horn into the rudder to make a mark on it.
4. Make a cut where you marked using a knife.
5. Apply hot glue to the cut
6. Push the control horn into the cut. Hold until dry.
Step 19: Elevation
1. Repeat the steps from earlier on the elevator. We are mounting this on the other side of the vertical stabiliser. The setup is turned to the side as you can see.
2. It should look like this.
3. Mount the motor to the motor mount. Don't tighten too much yet. I already mounted the propeller onto the motor.
4. Once all four screws are in, tighten the screws well.
5. Run the servo wires into the main fuselage area as shown. You may need extensions.
6. Tape down the wires with packing tape so they stay flat and don't go near the propeller.
Step 20: Finishing Up
1. Wire up the rest of your plane with the receiver, ESC and anything else.
2. Push all of these into the fuselage through the hole. You can use tape to hold them in place so they don't come back out the hole.
3. I mounted some adhesive velcro to the front of the fuselage.
4. I mounted the same onto the battery so that it can be securely mounted there, but removed when needed.
5. Secure the wing to the plane using rubber bands on the barbecue skewers.
6. First apply two in a diagonal orientation to form a "X" shape. Then apply two perpendicular to the wing.
Step 21: Flight!
Here I demonstrate flying the plane!
If the video makes it look hard to control it is only because I am a beginner flyer. I really suck hahaha. This plane is great to practise with, it's taken many hits without any damage in it's current configuration!
Participated in the
Make It Fly Challenge
Question 1 year ago on Step 17
Hello want to know it's exact dimensions
Answer 1 year ago
If you mean the motor mount, this will depend on your prop size. You want to keep the prop low and angle the mount so the line of the prop goes through the wing just behind the leading edge
1 year ago
This was a pretty fun build. Unfortunately, even after moving the servos forward, and cutting a notch in the wing and moving it back it was still tail heavy. I had to add weight to the front with a few washers.
If you build this, I would suggest adding a couple of inches to the nose to help with the CG.
Reply 1 year ago
I found the same problem. I ended up making the main section for the battery, etc longer, and essentially moved the main wings back a little. Even then , I needed a 2200mAh battery to balance it.
Question 1 year ago
Hi there. Firsly, great instructable. Enjoyed the video and decided to start building this. I do have a couple of questions though.
You mention a dihedral gauge, but I can't see one anywhere within your plans. Are you able to give dimensions and/or the angle?
You also have 'Plywood motor mount coming soon' on your plans, but I can't see one anywhere yet. Is this imminent? I could just make something myself, but if you have already tested a specific design, why reinvent the wheel, right?
Thanks in advance.
Question 2 years ago on Step 4
Hi, is the EZ-Pelican a slow flyer. I'm a beginner too :)
Tip 2 years ago
Where are the plans??
2 years ago
Hey seamster I made your rocket a few days ago.
Question 3 years ago on Step 1
Where are the plans
Answer 3 years ago
3 years ago
Looks pretty good! : )