Introduction: Duct Tape R/C Plane
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.
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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
First Prize in the
The Great Outdoors Duct Tape Contest
Participated in the
Make It Move Challenge
Participated in the