Need advice about RC options for ultralight paper airframe project

Discussion in 'RC Aircraft & Watercraft' started by liftline, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. liftline

    liftline Member

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    I've been designing scale, flyable paper airframes for many years, more or less similar to "card models" but constructed of light weight paper rather than cards stock or card board. Mostly gliders, but some successful electric powered free flight versions as well. Now, I may be crazy:-o, but what with RC sets getting lighter and cheaper, I feel it's time to try 3 axis RC with throttle... a quick build, low risk, low cost model which still looks pretty good and gives the satisfaction of knowing "I built this with my own three hands." Prang the airframe? No problem, salvage the sophisticated bits and print another one, maybe from a different squadron. Tired of what you're flying? Take out the RC & propulsion, recycle the airframe and print yourself a new experience. Problem is, it's been years since I tried anything RC and I don't know the technology of light weight electric propulsion, control surface actuators etc. As for my flying prowess, well it's a good thing the Se5a is pretty docile. So, to any experts out there "Little Help?" concerning what might work and where I might buy it.

    My candidate experimental airplane is my 1:24 scale Se5a, a 40% scale-up of an earlier design which had excellent glide characteristics but which was a bit small for a working payload. The enlarged airframe has a span of about 1 foot and weighs 17.5 grams. All paper, white glue and ink. The wings are internally braced, have a flat bottom cross section and a semi-circular upper cross section. They have working ailerons. Efficient and easy to build. The tail planes are likewise internally braced and there are articulated rudder and elevators. There is a nice 4 X 1 X 1.5 inch box in the nose section available to house the motor, RC, servos & battery. Ideally I would like to keep the takeoff weight to about 35 g. Is this feasible with off the shelf components?

    I would prefer buying separate components from vendors, but would consider cannibalizing a "fly out of the box" RC airplane if that is cheaper and or more expedient.

    I've attached photos of some prototype airframes. If this works out I'd like to move on to my Grumman Wildcat which seems a good prospect.

    Attached Files:

  2. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    Well, indoor infrared-planes weigh 9g and cost arround $13, outdoor planes that are controlled with 27MHz and just two motors (no servos) cost $20-30 and weigh 17-25g, so if you can settle with the simple steering, this would be the cheapest way to go.

    If you want high quality, here are a few components:

    2g Motor (according to reviews 20g thrust, so good enough for planes 40g or so)
    $6.31
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=7230

    Propeller http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=7994 (1g?)

    There are also 5g motors (60g+ thrust on 3 cells) and 10g motors (150g+ Thrust) which run off 2 cell battery packs so standard receiver and servos are no problem. Of course you could run the 2g on 2 2s Lipo as well so any receiver works, but then limit the throttle on the transmitter.
    There are also even smaller motors, but they either require lots of work or are expensive!


    Inexpensive 6g (striped) 8-10A Speed controller, 2-3 cells
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=6455
    $6.15
    4g Speed Controller (ESC), works on one Lipo cell (3,7V) only! Some receivers might need 5V! (2 Li button cells?)
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=9899

    <2g Servos
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=11737
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=11735
    $4.29
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=10951
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=10950
    $5.29
    Servos are one way, even lighter are magnetic coils, actuators. Some shops sell them in kits, some build them (using pats from old servos for example as controller board).
    There are also 1g Servos, but again: Expensive!
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=6405
    There is also wire that will change it's length when heated throug current, but its expensive and the use is limited. Some models weigh under 1g though with smd IR electronics... impressive.

    Battery, depending on the setup (1 cell, 2 cell motor) the most heavy component.
    Hobbyking has a few, but there are other packs available. A 1 cell 420mAh pack weighs arround 10-12g and costs $1,60 at ebay (walkera model compatible batteries, advertised as 500mAh).
    Watch out for "loose" cells, some need to be soldered with aluminum solder which is expensive.
    1s (1 cell) 130-160mAh batteries weigh arround 3-4 grams.
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=8864
    50mA weigh half, but are insane: http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=7565 (and need soldering)
    2s (7g) http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=10915
    or search yourself: http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/lithium_polymer_battery_configuration.asp?cap=1&con=2

    Receiver/Radio gear:
    Now this is a bit more tricky. If you allready own a radio gear, you might have some laying arround. If not there are simple 4 chanel radios with receiver $30 SHIPPED (r2Hobbies.com, but 27 MHz, not recomended!). For $40 you can find 6 channel, usb programmable radio sets with 35MHz and 2,4 GHz (recomended unless used for wireless camera flight on the same frequency). The receivers are NOT micro receivers! But I have one. You can remove the satelite receiver, remove the plastic case, and perhaps even solder the wires to the board. This way 7g (even without lots of mods) or less are easily possible. And the big adventage: They are dirt cheap. Arround 10$ or less I think.
    Hobbyking sells the 2,4GHz 6ch too, for a bit more and with optional cable.But it seems like its a newer version, no clue what changed... just the cheapest receivers are not compativle anymore.
    2,4 GHz Receivers are usualy NOT compatible across manufactorers. 35 MHz mostly are. So you could get a cheap radio and a expensive micro receiver, but not the same with the 2.4G.


    So lets go with a cheap combo:
    5g Motor, 1g Prop (not the one linked!), 7g receiver, small 7g 2S Lipo, 2 small Servos 4g
    Equals 24g just the RC components. That's a bit on the heavy side with your model, so lets tweak.
    Depending on ruder rods/strings, replaced cables and mods this can be a bit more or less. It's recomended to remove all the heavy thick wires (NOT the motor wires and bat. wires as they will need to be thicker depending on the current draw!).
    If you control height just over throttle, 1 servo less. If you want ailerons, that would be one/two more.
    With 2g Motor or heavy mods, smaller speedcontroller and receiver you can easily get below 20g.

    Tax/Customs!!!
    Here in germany, the tax/custom free value is 22 Euro, so splitting orders in smaller parcels saves a few bucks... especially since the shipping cost is relativly dependand on the weight. Read up what the duty-free value is over there.


    A bit off topic but related:
    Look at this lightweight depron (fine foam) sailplane.
    http://www.rcmovie.de/video/c1e7d8ebeabdaa857547/Extrem-Leichtwindsegler
    It's so light even the upcurrent of small hills will keep it airborn :)
  3. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    Somehow my previous reply to this post does not show up; Perhaps because I am a new member and I posted a lot of links, it's awaiting moderation. If so I am sorry if I am posting another reply instead of editing my old one. If the first reply will not show up, I will repost it later.

    Additions to my previous reply:
    9g IR-plane (so only indoor use) from Hobbyking, $13+shipping ~$5.99
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=9476
    ebay: ($13/$14 incl. Shipping )
    http://cgi.ebay.de/Rc-RTF-Plane-Gli...pt=Radio_Control_Vehicles&hash=item255da0b68d

    $50, 60g Plane including servos, bat, esc, motor etc., Radio required
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=11038

    $35 2 motor controlled toy plane with "real" RC
    http://cgi.ebay.de/2010-ELECTRIC-PO...pt=Radio_Control_Vehicles&hash=item5adb5ca99d
    (you can usualy get an original airhog/silverlit x-twin for the price at a local store)
  4. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    [my previous posts did not show up, maybee because I was a new user and posted so many links; I reposted everything now and added the links later on, hope it shows up now.]

    Well, indoor infrared-planes weigh 9g and cost arround $13, outdoor planes that are controlled with 27MHz and just two motors (no servos) cost $20-30 and weigh 17-25g, so if you can settle with the simple steering, this would be the cheapest way to go... Buy one and strip them for parts. But the steering is very basic. Height is controlled by throttle, steering by speeding up one motor faster then the other.

    If you want high quality, here are a few components for real RC & servos. As I have no clue if you allready own radio gear or parts, here some small but cheap parts. There are even smaller parts available, but usualy more expensive. So this is the compromise between weight and budget.
    For example, a 2g Motor is available for $6, but 1g motors are custom made and easily 5-10 times as much. 1.7g Servos cost $4-7, but smaller can cost $20-$60.

    Parts!

    2g Motor (according to reviews 20g thrust, so good enough for planes 40g or so)
    $6.31
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=7230

    Propeller http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=7994 (1g?)

    There are also 5g motors (60g+ thrust on 3 cells) and 10g motors (150g+ Thrust) which run off 2 cell battery packs so standard receiver and servos are no problem. Of course you could run the 2g Motor on a 2s Lipo instead of an 1 cell lipo, so any receiver works, but then limit the throttle on the transmitter or it will burn the motor quickly.
    There are also even smaller motors, but they either require lots of work or are expensive!


    Inexpensive 6g (striped) 8-10A Speed controller, 2-3 cells
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=6455
    $6.15
    4g Speed Controller (ESC), works on one Lipo cell (3,7V) only! Some receivers might need 5V! (2 Li button cells?)
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=9899

    <2g Servos
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=11737
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=11735
    $4.29
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=10951
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=10950
    $5.29
    Servos are one way, even lighter are magnetic coils, actuators. Some shops sell them in kits, some build them (using pats from old servos for example as controller board).
    There are also 1g Servos, but again: Expensive!
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=6405
    There is also wire that will change it's length when heated throug current, but its expensive and the use is limited. Some models weigh under 1g though with smd IR electronics... impressive.

    Battery, depending on the setup (1 cell, 2 cell motor) the most heavy component.
    Hobbyking has a few, but there are other packs available. A 1 cell 420mAh pack weighs arround 10-12g and costs $1,60 at ebay (walkera model compatible batteries, advertised as 500mAh).
    Watch out for "loose" cells, some need to be soldered with aluminum solder which is expensive.
    1s (1 cell) 130-160mAh batteries weigh arround 3-4 grams.
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=8864
    50mA weigh half, but are insane: http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=7565 (and need soldering)
    2s (7g) http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=10915
    or search yourself: http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/lithium_polymer_battery_configuration.asp?cap=1&con=2

    Receiver/Radio-Gear:
    Now this is a bit more tricky. If you allready own a radio gear, you might have some laying arround. If not there are simple 4 chanel radios with receiver $30 SHIPPED (r2Hobbies.com, but 27 MHz, not recomended!). For $40 you can find 6 channel, usb programmable radio sets with 35MHz and 2,4 GHz (recomended unless used for wireless camera flight on the same frequency). The receivers are NOT micro receivers! But I have one. You can remove the satelite receiver, remove the plastic case, and perhaps even solder the wires to the board. This way 7g (even without lots of mods) or less are easily possible. And the big adventage: They are dirt cheap. Arround 10$ or less I think.
    Hobbyking sells the 2,4GHz 6ch too, for a bit more and with optional cable.But it seems like its a newer version, no clue what changed... just the cheapest receivers are not compativle anymore.
    2,4 GHz Receivers are usualy NOT compatible across manufactorers. 35 MHz mostly are. So you could get a cheap radio and a expensive micro receiver, but not the same with the 2.4G.


    So lets go with a cheap combo:
    5g Motor, 1g Prop (not the one linked!), 7g receiver, small 7g 2S Lipo, 2 small Servos 4g
    Equals 24g just the RC components. Depending on ruder rods/strings, cables and mods this can be a bit more or less. It's recomended to remove all the heavy thick wires (NOT the motor wires and bat. wires as they will need to be thicker depending on the current draw!).

    If you control height just over throttle, 1 servo less. If you want ailerons, that would be one/two more.

    With 2g Motor, smaller speedcontroller and receiver you can easily get below 20g.

    !!! - Customs/Tax
    Here in germany, the tax/custom free value is 22 Euro, so splitting orders in smaller parcels saves a few bucks... especially since the shipping cost is relativly dependand on the weight.





    Later additions to my reply:
    9g IR-plane (so only indoor use) from Hobbyking, $13+shipping ~$5.99
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=9476
    ebay: ($13/$14 incl. Shipping )
    http:// cgi.ebay.de/Rc-RTF-Plane-Glider-pilotless-airplane-604-plane-kit-/160484603533?pt=Radio_Control_Vehicles&hash=item255da0b68d

    $50, 60g Plane including servos, bat, esc, motor etc., Radio required
    http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=11038

    $35 2 motor controlled toy plane with "real" RC
    http://cgi.ebay.de/2010-ELECTRIC-PO...pt=Radio_Control_Vehicles&hash=item5adb5ca99d
    (you can usualy get an original airhog/silverlit x-twin for the price at a local store)
  5. liftline

    liftline Member

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    Many thanks Schorhr

    Glad I checked the board, your reply was just I needed to get started. :thumb: The links you provided should save a me lot of time. By the way, I too have had quite a problem learning to get the links and attachments to work!

    I have one of those 13$ 2 motor AC... actually bought it with the intention of using the electrics in my semi-scale paper 1905 Wright Flyer design, which would have to be scaled up 2X in order to handle the weight. My mods make the 1905 extremely docile (unlike the real beast), so the differential thrust control scheme should work reasonably well. If I ever get around to trying it. My Langley Aerodrome would have been a good candidate for this rig as well, but I seem to have lost my files for that one (and probably couldn't even if I found 'em.)
  6. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    Yeah, I noticed that the reply notification is disabled by default in the user control panel...

    The reason I had trouble was that new users may not post lots of links as it looks like spam, so I edited my post and added them later on.

    By the way, I found the inexpensive 6 channel transmitter even cheaper on Hobbypartz.com :)

    From my experience, there is a rather big tollerance when it comes to plane weight/thrust. My first plane was arround 1KG and had only 300g thrust. It flew- not well, but it did.
    Good luck to your build projects! :)
  7. liftline

    liftline Member

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    If I get ambitious I'll try to get this bird flying! Span about 2m, weight around 15 kg. Truth to tell, it's a 1/4 scale designed purely for display.

    Attached Files:

  8. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    Sorry, way to heavy... Here in germany it would be illegal to get this thing up in the air (>5KG)...
    15 KG on 2m Wingspan is just insane :)
    You would need to rebuild it with foam or something and paint it. Or take a look at http://www.skymasterjet.com/news.htm
    :)
  9. liftline

    liftline Member

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    Insane yes, but below the FAA limit! We in the USA like our airspace fast and loud, our interstate highways slow and congested!

    I Visited most of your links and now have a much better perspective of what is available, affordable and practical. Thanks again.

    A 2 g motor powered by a one cell battery should give adequate propulsion. You are correct when you say weight is flexible. The lowest possible weight to get the CG near the quarter cord is 25 g (airframe with 3 US pennies in the nose). I just added another 10 g to the lowest possible weight to get my 35 g specification!

    Test glides with the model weighted to 25 g have a slope of about 8:1 with a speed of about 3.5 m/s. Bringing the weight up to 40 g would increase glide speed by about 25%, still pretty slow. Tests show that banked turns can be controlled very well using just rudder alone (all that dihedral). So, an austere RC with just rudder and throttle would be a viable first step, if unexciting. Dogfighting is the dream!

    Can you recommend any books on light weight electric powered RC? No reason for me to reinvent the wheel.
  10. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    With the 2g and a receiver that can handle it you could also use a 0.7g speed-controller:
    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbycity/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=9667
    (there is also another model from turningy with 1g)

    With 2g Motor, 2 Servos a 1.5g, 5g rX, 1g ESC and 4g Lipo
    =15g + prop + cables (keep them short, and rx+servo wires can be hooked up with coated, very thin, enameled wire)

    Sorry, no book remcomendations. But with Google, RCGroups.com and such you can find lots of infos. If you have questions to certain parts, ask in the hobbyking forum or product discussion at the bottom of the shop's product pages ;-)
    What transmitter do you have, if any?

    I like Micro :) These cheap components rock and make it affordable:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    :)

    The big plane just seems too heavy to really glide or anything neatly flyable?
  11. liftline

    liftline Member

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    Thanks for the additional tips. The big Saab 39 (Grippen) is a display model commissioned by a Saab auto dealer in Ohio. It was never intended to fly and has no working control surfaces, nor a landing gear. It's mostly made of paper products, "Sturdy Board" for the internal framework, card stock and other heavy papers for the skin. Some plastic too (canopy and the pilot manikin). The skin was spray painted, not printed. All and all, a big departure from my normal style. Took about 220 man hrs to design and build. Strong enough to do what it needs to do, but not stressed for flight loads. It did survive a minor earthquake. I like to fantasize about fitting a next generation version with either a ducted fan or a drone turbine. Hobbyists in the US actually do build RC "bricks with fins" in this scale. Rest easy, I'm not in that league!
  12. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    Well, Hobyking has some monster motors, but it would require a few of them and only hover, with them off its a rock :)
    It looks real nice. With Depron you could do a big scale model with a fraction of the weight.
  13. liftline

    liftline Member

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    The forum often logs me off quickly, so I neglected to mention the only transmitter I have came with a SpinMaster Defender RC that I intended to put into a paper Wright Flyer. At $40 I can afford to buy a low end set for the Se5a project.

    I'm assuming micro is a product line. Is that 4 rotor copter based on one of the early Sikorskis?
  14. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    Oops, sorry, the "Micro" ment micro-components in general :)

    Radio:
    Those toy radios usualy just work with the receiver they came with...
    The $32 ("free" shipping) from http://www.hobbypartz.com/79p-ct6b-r6b-radiosystem.html will do the job more then fine :)
    It's actually a darn good radio for the price. Even though I have a older MC 12 radio (still on 35 MHz) I use this 2.4 GHz (digital, no crystals, no channel chaos) more often. While it lacks of a display to programm it on the go, it can be programmed via usb for more fancy flying (mixer, expo, stuff only needed for more complicated models). With aditional software the data cable can be used for the FMS emulator and others, if its too windy outside ;-)

    Though Hobbyking has a slightly more expensive "V2" version (if you add the shipping) wich cheaper additional receivers.
    Watch out, Hobbypartz adds one to your shopping basket by default if you don't uncheck it.

    I do not know how the custom / tax rules ae over there, but here its the best to order below the duty free limit to avoid additional fees.


    The small model actually is a quadrocopter with a TTCCv2 board, using 3 Gyros. Work in progress. I modeled the frame in 3D with Google's sketchup and got it printed for arround $10 at Shapeways.com in plastic/nylon. A bit flexible, but at this scale it'll be allright.
  15. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    Just as a side note, these relativly affordable, 3g planes allways fascinated me:
    http://www.microflight.com/Online-Catalog/Ready-to-Fly-Airplanes/Carbon-Butterfly-Livingroom-Flyer
    check out the others too.
    They have <1g magnet coils/acuators for relativly low cost (kits from $5, sets from $15) http://www.microflight.com/Online-Catalog/Actuators-and-Servos
    Some other shops and custom builds reach weights below 1g, just crazzy.
    Too bad I'dd have to pay high postage and tax; I bought a plantraco from a german retailer once, but he delivered rubbish, so IF i'dd ever buy something, i'dd import it directly.
    There is also a few persons that builds very tiny helicopters, but (i think) due to companies copying his work, he took off all the detail pictures.
    http://www.proxdynamics.com/r_d/micro_helicopters_and_ornithopters/
    http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5378631&postcount=1
  16. liftline

    liftline Member

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    The "Micro Revolution" you are showing me seems to be a European/Japanese thing - manufactured in China! Very little of it has reached the hobby shops in the Midwest USA. Amazing stuff.

    My current and long term interest in paper modeling is really an offshoot from the plastic 1:72 scale models I built growing up. I was fairly good at it, but was always disappointed the models couldn't fly - at least more than once. I also played around with paper modeling as a kid and realized that the old slot and tab designs might be a way to quickly build small, inexpensive flying models that looked nearly as good as the plastic kits. Designing my own kits became practical when the first PC vector software became widely available and got really interesting when color printers got cheap.

    I still design everything using 2-D software. I've tried Sketch-up, it's quite good, but doesn't really buy me anything since modeling in dry paper is firmly limited by Conical Geometry. All the extra bells and whistles of CAD type programs just slow me down. Correl Draw, some Mathematica, and some smoothing functions from a statistics program are pretty much what I need. Sketch Up is very good for making the instructions, when and if I get around to it.
  17. liftline

    liftline Member

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    Over the years I've evolved my own 3-D paper modeling style, similar to classical Slot and tab (like the Fiddler's Green line), but using thin paper rather than cards stock. This requires using a lot of internal structure not normally found in a card model. I've also paid a lot of attention to airfoil cross section. This style works very well for everything from WWI to the Early Jet age. 1:48 is about the smallest scale that works for me in the WWII era, 1:32 for WWI. This translates to a <10 g airframe with a span around 9" (sorry 'bout the English units). There seems to a Reynolds Number limitation when I go smaller - in fact a very small airplane like the Fokker Triplane won't fly for me!

    Anyhow, my master airframe design criteria are as follows:

    All paper, glue and ink
    All 3-D (no painted on parts)
    Build in one or two evenings.
    Survive 50 flights
  18. liftline

    liftline Member

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    I have successfully designed about 25 models that meet all the above criteria. There is no question that RC and electric power plants are now small and light enough to make these models powered flight worthy and RC pilot-able, but it's a bit of a stretch. So, I'm gradually scaling everything up 40%, to accommodate a wider range of existing electronics and electric propulsion....plus my adult stubby fingers!
  19. liftline

    liftline Member

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    As you can see, I've learned the virtues of "burst messaging" on the Zealot Board (thumbs up Zealots for hosting this outlet). Here are some photos of my older work, often on a Photo Shopped background, but no cosmetic touch-ups!

    Attached Files:

  20. schorhr

    schorhr Member

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    Well, I suppose the regular size stuff has a bigger market, not everyone it into the minis, especially since there are toys for 20 bucks or less available... If you look into rcgroups, there are a lot of micro pilots and sellers who are located in the usa though.


    While paper has it's advantages, another thing you could try is to depron (ultra-fine styrofoam like material that does not brittle bits) and copy the plans to it and paint it, or use the "napkin technique"; Basicly you print on napkins, pull off the thin first layer, and use spray glue on the depron. This saves weight compared to paper. (Examples: http://home.comcast.net/~gordon-johnson/monocoupe-bl.htm
    http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36585 )

    The big advantage of depron is that for small planes it is stable/stiff enough, and you can just glue the 3mm edges without flaps and folds. Quick with a small glue gun, too... And you can use sandpaper to round off edges and such.
    I want to do that with the SeaDuck airplane, but it needs to be a bit bigger for outdoors and to hold two motors.



    Yeah, I wish all this would have been available years ago... Oh, well. Time to catch up ;-)


    I usualy work with 2D only as well. Sketchup is sort of the "MS Paint" of the 3D applications, but I was amazed how well the production with shapeways went. 3D-Print-on-demand is amazing, especially since I could keep the weight to 7g and the price to less then 10 Euros. Usualy I just use Sketchup and the image library to spice up some presentations for university, nothing serios. I just wish Shapeways would offer a paper or styrofoam material...