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New member
Perhaps this has been asked and answered but cannot find it.

I am looking to design my own foam board plane from scratch.
Is it easier to:

a) use foam board and design it then reverse engineer it.


b) design it on a program then cut it out....

I am going to guess the answer is b, however what program do you use?


Flite is good
Look for the "free" programs. The ones that are free are my favorites.

Personaly, I like Sketchup. Free being the key.

The next two on my list, in no particular order, are DoubleCad (a free autocad) and Auto desk Fusion 360 (very powerful software, and also free).

Some folks use combinations of those programs and InkScape for making their plans. I am just now tinkering with InkScape.

All of these programs have tutorials and user community "how to" videos on You Tube.

More folks will chime in here. None of them bad or wrong suggestions. In the end, the best technique is the one that works for you.
I learned 3D cad with Solidworks, but switched to Fusion360 because of the price. I find fusion360 to be perfect for making models for my 3d printer and machine shop drawings. I haven’t yet used it for model airplanes. I am not sure how you would use it for foam board. Perhaps as a sheet metal project, and simply unfold the the 3d model for the flat pattern? But what about A, B, and C folds?
I thought the drawings for the FT Mustang were horrible, but the drawings for the Simple Scout were a pleasant surprise for usability. I would think one would use Inkscape or photoshop to put that final polish on the plans. If you have to tile the plans, do it exactly like the Simple Scout.


Site Moderator
I would respond to the "what is best" question with "whatever moves you forward". I've long struggled with trying to be efficient and getting the design right the first time and thus made very little progress when so many find more success by trial and error. So now, I would suggest that whatever keeps you moving forward is the better choice and if it means cutting extra pieces of foam, so be it. The stuff isn't that expensive. Oddly enough I was thinking about this very thing today at work (a 4th grade classroom) when writing was the subject. You see, the kids are told to write and keep writing. If mistakes are made, if things are unclear, it can be revised later. Just get the words on the paper and then come back later. I think the same thinking can apply to designing in this hobby and in time we'll make less mistakes because of experience.

People are different and do things differently. I can see how drawing things up with knowledge already gained can also streamline a process. Either way, I think the key is moving forward with the ideas whether it be on paper or on the assembly table.


Old and Bold RC PILOT
Old school here!

I draw up the plane on A1 graph paper and then redraw the pieces on another sheet ready to use the "Pin Poke" method to transfer the design to the Foamboard.

It has worked for around 50 designs so far and I can make changes with an eraser and a pencil as I go!

What works for me!

Have fun!


I like Biplanes
i use draftsight. Its a free 2D cad program. I take a top and side view of a plane, import it as a reference image then I start sketching over that with lines to get the outlines. scale the whole thing then start using standard FT features like the 3 types of folds and such. Works really well for me.

I guess before all of that, I will look at the FT plans and kind of reverse engineer those. I take ideas that are known to work and then fit them in to what i am designing. its a lot easier to start with a wing that you know works and just make a few tweaks to make it fit your own design.



Posted a thousand or more times
Same as Justin,
I use drafsight, inckskape and Fusion360.
Take an existing design as reference and adapt to your own design to get confortable.
After some practice you can design without template.
I have been doing a little design, Drafting board and paper.
So far so good but it's not as easy as it sounds. Back in my control line days. I built and flew this.
The ultimate CL aerobatic aircraft!
A Nobler

Been working on making an electric RC version it out of foam board. Will see in about 6 months.
I will probably try to re-design the viggen and then a few others.. to see what happens with it...

Ideally I would like to design in 3d and then get it flattened out.