Dollar Tree Foam R/C Plane, F-16K

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About: My hobby is building robot. My goal is design and 3D printing all different kind of robot and provide the robotic hobbyist community with a platform that could then program and improve up on.

Have you ever try to get into the radio control airplane and got intermediating about all the detail of the hobby like. What is a transmitter, receiver, Lipo Battery, etc? And the biggest deal breaker is actually the cost of everything. You then go on Youtube to do some more researching (me), at first the hobby looks great, people know what they are doing, beautiful flying, beautiful video shot, then you start finding crashes, then more and more crashes. At one point you start asking yourself how people able to afford the hobby?

That was me months ago, I was debating for months, however, the moment my first design took off from the ground and starts to fly up the beautiful blue sky is something that I ever felt before. Nevertheless, I am not denying the challenge in this hobby. For that reason, I decided that it is time to share my experiences, design and, building tip, and also offer my best design, so that if you are a beginner then you would more likely to succeed and inspire you to join aerospace engineering.

Step 1: Research. What Is a F-16? and Why F-16?

The General Dynamics F-16, known as Fighting Falcon, is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF).

Fast forward to now, I have been in the hobby for months now, I can confident said that I gained some valuable lesson that I think it would make a big difference in the experience for a beginner. I have flown many different types of R/C airplanes, civil planes, war-birds, electric ducted fan(EDF) jet plane, etc. They have a unique characteristic flying style, and different experience as you control it in the air.

In this post, I will not go too deep on a particular topic, I will simplify most of the technical detail. If you just want order some parts online, slap it together and fly it and careless about the technical detail, you can. I will also include some link to other pages where I learn all this information if you are interested in a deeper understanding of the machine.

Don't get me wrong, this build has its own challenges. However, this design is a balance between build skill, electronic parts, and flying skill. Where I do not want the airplane make more than 10 parts to limit the material that you have to invest, also I want to use a minimum amount of electronics that you would need for the build, however, that means we have to setup elevon mixing. Sound complicate? Don't worry I will walk you through it and also include some great resource on the topic also.

Step 2: Let Start

I usually tape my dollar foam board with dollar tree packing tape, add little weight, however, make the airplane very durable and almost waterproof. It is important that you want to use the dollar tree tape because of their lightweight instead of the more expensive tape.

In this step, I draw the wing design on the board before I cut it out help the cut look cleaner also. I add a carbon fiber rod in the center of the plane because this is a "combat" plane. If you planning on 4S set up then I would really recommend the carbon fiber rod.

Step 3: Important Step. KF Airfoil

The Kline–Fogleman airfoil or KF airfoil is a simple airfoil design with single or multiple steps along the length of the wing. You would need cut the edge at a 60-degree angle on both sides like the picture, this will allow you to fold the paper down to for the KF airfoil.

Step 4: Motor Mount

I was using a common set up that you can get on eBay, however, the plane design like speed so a bigger set up if you have extra parts around. Here is the link for the brushless motor and ESC that you can get from eBay.

Just make sure if you choose to use a bigger motor then adjust the motor wall accordingly, ensure that the structure covers the motor since this plane design for a belly landing.

Step 5: Tail Section

Cut out the tail section of the plane, then glue it with rest of the airplane

Step 6: Horizontal Stabilizer

The horizontal stabilizer will help the airplane to go up-and-down, or pitching of the aircraft nose. This is one of the most important parts of the aircraft since it responsible for the airplane to take off and land.

https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/elv.htm...

Step 7: Electronic

Install servo motors, then run both servo motors, ESC signal wire, and power cable to the top of the plane to connect them to the receiver. This will keep the electronic setup cleaner.

Cut out the section for the nose. Then make sure glue the sides vertically to the top surface.

Step 8: Set Up Control Rod

We need to understand the basic of "Elevon" and how it works to continue in this important step.

" Elevon" is the combination of 2 words Elevator and Ailerons which are the 2 Control Surfaces on any airplanes.

" Elevon" is officially known as Dual Purpose Flight Control Surfaces, where the elevons perform the combined

functions of the ailerons and the elevator

Aircraft flight control surfaces are aerodynamic devices allowing a pilot to adjust and control the aircraft's direction.

The control rod will transfer the motion from the servo motors to the control surfaces. Therefore, the control rod is a very important part of the airplane.

Most of the time, the "elevon" usually use for flying wing, which the aircraft does not have the elevator. However, after testing I came to a conclusion that the control surfaces on the wings are not enough. I took the words "elevon" to a next level, where the Ailerons will mechanically connect to the Elevator. This will provide extra control over all.

I also design a double head servo horn to archive this setup. The double head servo horn will be glued to the ailerons and the single head servo horn will be glued to the elevator.

There are 2 ways to connect the control rod to the servo horn. You can use linkage stop or a Z bend, each of the methods has its own advantage and issues.

The linkage stop advantage is the ability to adjust the rod to archive a good setup on the control surface.

The Z bend is where the end of the control rod bend into a Z to then connect to the servo horn. The advantage of this method is simple and do not require extra parts. However, it is almost impossible to get a perfect length and a perfect bend to get a perfect control surface setup.

To know more about these setups, here is the link for more information about how to make a Z bend.

Step 9: Maiden

The plane flies on 1300 mAh 3S Lipo Battery, installed toward the front to balance the Center of Gravity (COG).

COG is the most important factor where a successful maiden and a failure maiden is a difference by inches.

To understand more about the COG, here is the link for more information.

If you follow with the drawing the I provided, then you do not have to worry too much about the COG

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    17 Discussions

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    pkertt

    3 months ago on Step 9

    your drawing seems to be missing some parts like the motor mount,the cover over the motor,the side nacells where the servos mount. dimensions for these parts would be helpful for those of us who would like to build your plane.

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    Khang Nguyenpkertt

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you for the comment.
    I actually approaching it a bit differently since I wrote the post for a beginner builder I don’t want the drawing to be to complicate to read.
    If you follow the picture on the motor mounting step. I have the motor mount next to the ruler to show its dimension. I guess I show make it clear, thank you for bringing my attention to it.

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    Thorondor95

    Tip 3 months ago

    Very nice flying plane! Btw, for all you beginning RC nerds, Flitetest.com has some good cheap planes ($100 or less for a plane with electronics, but no radio).

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    DreamDabblerThorondor95

    Reply 3 months ago

    $100 without the radio? that's not what *I* would call "cheap," but glad to hear you have that kind of money. Also that says a lot about how much "not cheap" planes must cost!

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    Thorondor95DreamDabbler

    Reply 3 months ago

    True statement, but these "cheap" planes will stay with you until you sell them because you can repair them with hot glue and the electronics will not likely wear out. Yet another option is to just buy the electronics and then cut out your own parts on Dollar Tree foam board (Flitetest has free print-out plans). This would be about $60. How much did you spend on your plane, by the way?

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    Thorondor95Thorondor95

    Reply 3 months ago

    Also if you want to spend under $100 radio included, Horizon Hobby has some great little planes ready to fly (but where's the fun in that?).

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    Khang NguyenThorondor95

    Reply 3 months ago

    I have to agree with you both here.

    I have to give the credit where its due, I learn many tricks, and tips from Flite Test. They have a great selection of planes, and each design has its own unique challenge.

    To a veteran hobbyist, Flite Test is a great source for cheap, and realistic planes. With some extra tools, and skills one can make these airplane look pretty realistic I have seen it myself. However, for an R/C plane beginner, where the budget is limited and you already put all your eggs in a basket, you don't want their first plane flying outcome depending on their building skill, I hope I make sense here.

    The Flite Test kit is more than just an R/C plane, it is a step down from a Balsa kit, where the airframe makes out of Balsa wood instead of foam board. Therefore, you need to enjoy putting things together and have time to do so, otherwise, you would able to fly for at least a week. Due to the flight outcome depending on the build quality I would not want to rush it. This is a great kit for Balsa kit builder beginner, where you want to practice putting pieces together.

    For a serious R/C plane hobbyist, I would recommend this Eachine Micro Skyhunter. You can assemble it under an hour and have it ready to maiden. There are under 10 parts, therefore less room for error.

    Come with carbon fiber rods, some pre-install. The plane can also do FPV, half of the canopy comes of allowing to attach FPV kit. This plane can easily go 45 mph, however, glide like a dream easy landing. 66 dollar bind and fly.

    https://www.banggood.com/Eachine-Micro-Skyhunter-7...

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    Thorondor95Khang Nguyen

    Reply 3 months ago

    How long have you been in the hobby, because you sound like a pro! I personally think that putting together simple puzzle pieces with hot glue is suitable for beginners, but I guess some people just plain (plane?) don't like building stuff, so they would prefer a RTF package. I like building stuff, however, so I guess I am a little biased that way. Wow, this is a productive discussion.

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    Khang NguyenDreamDabbler

    Reply 3 months ago

    I have to agree with both of you here.

    When I just start out the hobby, it is expensive alright. However, there are ways to get cheap planes to start out the hobby.

    If you are very into R/c plane and planning to stick with the hobby. Check out your local flying field. Let me tell you a secret, all r/c plane hobbyist have the same problem, we all have too many airplanes. You will able to buy everything you need for a good deal, we all want new people joining the hobby.

    If you just want to fly around your local park, then I would recommend you these two:

    C-17 Transport plane, This plane will able to take off and landing. Internal gyro so that you pretty much uncrashable. The motors are on the wing limited the chance of wrecking the motor on a bad landing. Best of all, 25 dollars ready to fly, battery included.

    https://www.banggood.com/C17-C-17-Transport-373mm-...

    More traditional flying type? Cessna 182 with elevator and rudder control make this is one of the best training planes for the young one in the family. The plane comes with landing gear, however, due to the motor in the front, I recommend that you should hand launch and belly land until you get comfortable with the plane. This plane cost a little bit more, 44 dollars ready to fly, battery included.

    https://www.banggood.com/WLtoys-F949-3CH-2_4G-RC-F...

    Have fun and it you have any question let me know DreamDabbler

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    DonaldW61

    3 months ago

    Im glad you joined the hobby. Im getting back in for fun with nmy grandkids.

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    Khang NguyenDonaldW61

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you Sir.

    It is a great hobby, very educational could really benefit one in their future career.

    Please check out my channel, I have more design there. Let me know if you want me to write up and publish any of those, I will gladly do so. :D

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrcGRpardwF...

    Have a great day Sir.

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    dhaykus0418

    3 months ago

    This very good. Do you have any printout for this or a link to it?

    Thanks.

    1 reply
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    Khang Nguyendhaykus0418

    Reply 3 months ago

    Hi there,

    Sorry, I went old school and draw it on an engineering paper. You could redraw it directly to the foam board, all the unit is in inches.

    Let me know if you have any more question :D

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    DonaldW61

    Question 3 months ago on Introduction

    Which Kv did you choose? What is the flying weight of your airframe? Im curious as Ive seen the generic 2212 motor in your post and was wondering how much power it has.

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    Khang NguyenDonaldW61

    Answer 3 months ago

    It is the generic 2210 motor. This version is a little bit over weight at 280 gram. My last version was only 210 gram and it flied better.