Duct Tape R/C Plane

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About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

This is an rc flying wing made from scratch and covered in duct tape. 

This is not a good rc project for beginners. I just wanted to see if this could be done. 

Step 1: Lay-out

The wing is made from foam board with a carbon fiber spar.

Step 2: Wing Ribs

I drew out an airfoil shape on card stock that was the length of the center of my wing.

Using this as a guide, I drew out each successively smaller pair of wing cross-sections based on the lengths that were already laid out on wing halves.

I made twelve unique airfoil shapes which were used as patterns to trace and cut out from foam core the top and bottom sections of each wing rib. All cuts were made with an exacto blade.

Step 3: Main Wing Piece

The two wing halves were glued together with white glue and reinforced with 3M Extreme Tape. It's a bi-directional filament tape that is incredibly strong and sticky. I ordered mine from amazon, but I'm sure you could find it in some office supply stores.

I had an old 20" carbon fiber rod that I used to strengthen the wing. It was glued into a slot cut in the wing, and taped on both sides.

Step 4: Ribs Glued to Main Wing

I used white glue to glue each rib in place, top and bottom. Pins were used to hold each piece in place while the glue dried.

Step 5: Trailing Edge

The trailing edge needed a flat surface where I could attach the elevons (which are the steering flaps on a flying wing--a combination of elevator and ailerons). I added strips of balsa for this purpose, which also served to straighten out a little warp that was on each side of the wing.

Step 6: Motor and Mount Assembly

The motor mount is actually a stud brace I found in the framing section at Home Depot. It worked very well for this purpose. The holes in the little bracket just needed to be reamed out a little so they would line up with the mounting holes on my motor. This was done with a drill bit of appropriate size.

A small piece of plywood was glued onto the wing to anchor the motor mount securely.

Step 7: Onboard Radio Gear Placement

Many modifications were made the the wing to house the servos, receiver, speed control, and battery as seen here.

I knew the general location where everything needed to be based on past experience, but I just guessed where to put everything specifically. I knew if the battery was placed too far back, the plane would be really hard to have balanced without adding more weight to the nose, but if the battery was placed too far forward it wouldn't be protected in a crash.

This set-up worked well in the end, although I did need to add some additional weight to the nose before I felt it was ready to fly. If I was to build this again, I would put the battery just a little closer to the nose, although I would still probably need to add weight to get the center of gravity where it needs to be for stable flight. I found that the CG on the finished wing should be about 5 1/2" - 6" back from the nose, which requires the adding of quite a bit of weight to the nose. (If you build this, let me know how it works for you.)

Step 8: Duct Tape Covering

I weighed the wing before and after adding the duct tape. Based on my calculations, the duct tape covering came in at just over 4 ounces. That's a lot of unnecessary weight in just the covering alone, and wouldn't normally be tolerated.

Step 9: Elevons

The elevons are what steer the wing (they function as a combination of ailerons and elevator, hence the name). They were made out of 1/8" balsa, and covered with colored packing tape.

Hinges were made to attach the elevons to the wing with 1" strips of extreme tape. A strip was placed on both the top and bottom of each elevon.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

The radio gear was installed and tested, with the transmitter programmed for delta wing mixing (which is the set-up for flying wings like this.)

The servos were hooked up to the elevons, and I taped over the open areas to seal up the wing.

I added some foam pieces to either side of the battery hole to help cushion the battery and keep it from sliding around. A piece of tape is placed over the top of it when flying, which makes it easy to remove and swap out when it is dead.

Wing tips were also added, which are necessary to keep the wing stable in flight.

Step 11: R/C Gear Info

The total cost of all the radio gear depends greatly on where and what you buy. I've learned that you can save a lot by shopping around. This is a partial list of what I used.

Motor - CF 2812
18A Electronic Speed Control (ESC)
1350mAh Lipo battery (3S, 11.1V)
Prop - 7x6E
3mm prop saver
MG90 micro servos
Extreme Tape

The Great Outdoors Duct Tape Contest

First Prize in the
The Great Outdoors Duct Tape Contest

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    84 Discussions

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    seamsterBikeHacker

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I had a video in the last step at one point, but I took it down because the plane was so far away the whole time you could hardly see it. It flew like a winged brick... but yes, it flew!

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    DannyKester

    1 year ago

    Very cool! How did you arrive at the Center of Gravity (CG)? What did it end up being located?

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    seamsterDannyKester

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks!

    This was several years ago, and I don't remember the specifics other than what I wrote up back then (step 7 addresses cg). I do recall having to flite-test it and make adjustments in the field to zero in on the cg, though. Are you thinking of making something similar?

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    Malik Al-Sharif

    2 years ago

    Good, but can i use big battery like 4000 mAh, because i don't want huge wight, and want to fly for long time

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    akagami

    2 years ago

    Why is this plane not suitable for beginners ..please reply immediately

    1 reply
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    seamsterakagami

    Reply 2 years ago

    It is a very challenging thing to build a plane from scratch with no definite plans, and even moreso if it is your first rc plane ..please appreciate my reply immediately.

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    DEEJAY642

    3 years ago on Introduction

    this is INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you would normally pay hundreds for something as good as this

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    atuls94

    3 years ago

    i want the design of plane in pdf

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    seamsterdronolite

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I no longer have the plane, so I can't say exactly. But I believe it was about 48" wide, and the finished weight was around 28 ounces.

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    remzakbabbu_hotmail

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I would use a Hobbyking 4 channel transmitter and receiver (25$), a 30A Turnigy Redbrick ESC (10$), A Turnigy Aerodrive 1000kv brushless motor (30$), a Turnigy Nano-Tech 1000mah 2S Lipo Battery (10$), a USB Lipo Charger (5$), and 2 9 gram Towerpro Servo's (4$). Good Luck and Happy Flying!!!

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    remzakNick_Tesla

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    It will fly for around 10 minutes, but not very well. It could carry a small payload such as a keychain camera. Good Luck and Happy Flying!!!

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    remzakbabbu_hotmail

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I would use a Hobbyking 4 channel transmitter and receiver (25$), a 30A Turnigy Redbrick ESC (10$), A Turnigy Aerodrive 1000kv brushless motor (30$), a Turnigy Nano-Tech 1000mah 2S Lipo Battery (10$), a USB Lipo Charger (5$), and 2 9 gram Towerpro Servo's (4$). Good Luck and Happy Flying!!!