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6.5" Prairie Duster bipe

I got some micro RC parts in the mail and got distracted from my Caudron build for a few days...I built a 7" version of this back in 2006, it was one of the first micros I did that I really thought looked the part and loved the design ever since. This one came in with a 6.5" span and a current AUW of 5.1 grams. Its a hair under powered at the moment, but that will change tomorrow when I swap out the long can 4mm direct drive motor with a short can 4mm with gearbox and balsa 2.25" prop.

Formers and spine were done with 1/16" balsa, bottom wing and tail feathers are 1/32, top wing and fuselage skin is 1/64"...never used 1/64 (.015" / .4mm) before, but its really nice, no more sanding down 1/32! RX is a .35g 3 channel unit, rudder controlled via an in-hinge actuator that I converted to a remote actuator, battery is a 30mah.

A few quick test flights this evening shows it'll fly just fine once it gets a bit more power, looking to use a bit of wood stain to give it some color, but need to go get some first. LG is temporary as its just extra weight and I dont usually do rolling take offs, plus its in the way of the battery as it is now, so they'd have to move to the wings.


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edit: put a different gearbox in it and she flew great!
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Thanks guys!

Userofmuchtape&glue yep, the little 4mm motor only puts out around 2 grams of thrust...if I had gotten the plane to a 4 gram AUW it probably wouldve worked. I have a couple other props for it that I'll try before swapping out the direct drive and going with the gearbox.

French, yeah, took a few tries, but finally got one that came out decent. Making props is kind of cathartic actually, quite enjoyable.

TexMechsRobot there used to be a good handful of RC shops in the US that carried these little parts, but theres only one or two left. Had to order everything from places like banggood/aliexpress. I've got 2 more of the receivers I used in this plane and one more about the same size thats meant for servos, also ordered a bunch of actuators, but they're on the slow boat, so it'll be a while before they get here. I'm actually going to try setting up a little shop and selling parts, since ordering from overseas can be a pain.. If you're interested in an RX, let me know :)

liamnave I'm actually in the process of doing just that. I'll sell parts separately if someone wants to build their own, but will probably offer a few complete models as well. Only thing I havent figured out is how to ship something like this, 1/64" balsa is fragile, though easily repairable.

These are the two shops that I know of still operating, Nick Leichty of MicroFlierRadio in the US makes some of the lightest gear you'll ever find, and the prices reflect it. Plantraco is based in Canada, their gear is quite nice, though its 900mhz so you need their TX. This is the receiver I used, DSM2 compatible. These small planes are really fun, the cool factor from just how small they are always attracts a crowd, and you can fly them pretty much anywhere...hard part is just finding the electronics, so if I can get them here and offer them to get others into it, sounds worth it to me.

Rockyboy, I loved that movie, along with InnerSpace...dont know what it is, but theres just something about miniaturizing something, and it working like it should that I always liked.


edit: couple better pics...balsa looks so nice in the sun


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Thanks! I agree, bare balsa looks pretty good even without graphics.

I swapped out the direct drive 4mm motor with the geared unit, but still not quite enough thrust. I used a short can 4mm, so I may put in a long can 4mm in instead. One way or another, she'll be in the air.

Took out the gearbox I put in earlier today and swapped it with a different one with a long can 4mm motor and bigger prop. No problems with thrust now! Scoots along nicely, not too fast, left turns are nice and smooth and stable, right turns induce a bit of dive so I'll remove the right thrust. Pretty pleased though!

Updated the video in the first post, but here it is again:

Thank you! I am debating putting an elevator in, weight shouldnt be an issue, but finding room in the fuselage might be, its a tight squeeze in there.

This is nuts! You, sir, are a true artist. Making something THAT SMALL fly is just amazing. That flys better than some of the micro RTF’s! Well done!!!:applause:
This is nuts! You, sir, are a true artist. Making something THAT SMALL fly is just amazing. That flys better than some of the micro RTF’s! Well done!!!:applause:
Thanks! There's guys out there though that can build micros that make me look like a completely rookie! But, they're a good target to strive to.

For the skin, did the balsa just wrap around? Did you have to prep or help it?
Because of the tight radius at the top, I had to wet the balsa...literally just ran it under the faucet for a moment, then gently rounded it over by hand to get the curve started, then glued it in place. Balsa is amazingly flexible when wet.