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An absolute beginner scratch builds an FT P-40. Now with maiden vids

Dunfielder

Active member
#1
Hello zero experience builder/pilot !!! I made this thread just for you. I am 40 years old and I have never built, nor flown, an RC aircraft. When I was young RC planes were expensive balsa masterpieces with fuel engines. We didn't have the money, and I really had no interest in building a plane for months to watch it turn into a pile of match sticks in seconds. Fast forward to 2020. I'm watching a Flite Test vid on YouTube. I watch the two Josh's having a blast with electric airplanes made of cheap foam board! After consuming FT vids like a crack addict I decided now is the time to build a plane. I printed off the plans for the FT P-40 warhawk last night. Tonight I joined and cut out my templates. Tomorrow I'll mount them on poster board so I have a nice set of templates when I inevitably wreck my bird.

I chose to scratch build because I want to be able to fix or replace my plane by myself. I did however order power pack C from Flite Test. Gotta give them some support for the great work they do! I have not picked up any radio gear yet, but I will probably be grabbing a flysky i6x and matching 6 ch receiver. Over the next bit I will post updates and pics on my progress all the way up to and including the maiden flight ! Follow along with me on my newbie RC aircraft adventure and see if I fly or die tryin. Tonight I have attached an image showing a pile of paper and one showing the pile of paper it turned into lol!

I will post again when I have finished mounting my templates.
 

Attachments

Ketchup

4s mini mustang
#2
Nice! You should have a lot of fun building and just as much fun flying the plane! Of course you will crash, but once you can embrace them, you will have a lot more fun flying and trying new things. For the build though, let us know if you need any help at all. I am not very experienced myself, but I can help with some basic things and there are a lot more people here that have a lot of knowledge that can help. Good luck!
 

Dunfielder

Active member
#6
Alrighty then! So I'm checking over my templates I taped together last night. Here is my newbie take so far and what I have already encountered. Here goes...

1- A couple of things did not line up perfectly. The canopy sticks out in my mind the most. I printed my plans through windows 10. I printed at actual size. The scale on the edge of the plan is correct so I don't know what happened but I'll attach some pics to show. Anyway I didn't sweat it too much and made it work, hopefully.

2- I just sized my fuselage to my foamboard as it looked big. My fuselage template will not fit on my 20x30 foam board sheet. Again I will attach a pic. It is about 1cm too long!! Again not gonna sweat it too much as I can trim the paper that folds around the front off to make it fit on the sheet.

Well those were the only issues I have run into so far but it's to be expected. Remember I'm a complete noob scratch building an airplane! If you know what got messed up or think trimming the folding paper nose end will be fine chime in! As soon as I get some confirmation that all is not lost I'm mounting these to poster board.

Thanks for any and all advice in advance!

Now here my couple tips for fellow noobs. First when trimming your templates to join them only trim one side to the dotted line. if you trim both sides good luck getting a nice line up on them. My second tip is cut the pieces and join them up. Don't join full pages together. Someone with more experience may argue that's wrong but I found things will not line up all the time. One piece on a sheet will line up great to the next sheet but other parts that join on those two sheets might not.

Well that's it for now until I hear from someone with more exp. I'm sure I won't have to wait long!
 

Attachments

Ketchup

4s mini mustang
#7
Ok @Dunfielder
The alignment issues with the canopy is normal on some plans. You just have to align it manually instead of using the lines. For your second question regarding the fuselage, don’t cut off the front edge yet. It is not necessary, but it could be helpful to make sure that the paper on the nose doesn’t delaminate. First try moving the plan around to see if you can get it to fit, try placing it diagonally on the foam. If that doesn’t work, an option is to cut out the fuselage in two halves and then glue the two pieces together. I’m not sure if you should use the second option yet though. I think that @BATTLEAXE has built a P-40 and he might know what to do...
 

Dunfielder

Active member
#8
Ok @Dunfielder
The alignment issues with the canopy is normal on some plans. You just have to align it manually instead of using the lines. For your second question regarding the fuselage, don’t cut off the front edge yet. It is not necessary, but it could be helpful to make sure that the paper on the nose doesn’t delaminate. First try moving the plan around to see if you can get it to fit, try placing it diagonally on the foam. If that doesn’t work, an option is to cut out the fuselage in two halves and then glue the two pieces together. I’m not sure if you should use the second option yet though. I think that @BATTLEAXE has built a P-40 and he might know what to do...
I'm thinking i'll trim it. I can always cover those edges after. wish me luck!! And of course thank you as always! Cutting it in half may be a bit much for my virgin build!!!
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#9
Alrighty then! So I'm checking over my templates I taped together last night. Here is my newbie take so far and what I have already encountered. Here goes...

1- A couple of things did not line up perfectly. The canopy sticks out in my mind the most. I printed my plans through windows 10. I printed at actual size. The scale on the edge of the plan is correct so I don't know what happened but I'll attach some pics to show. Anyway I didn't sweat it too much and made it work, hopefully.

2- I just sized my fuselage to my foamboard as it looked big. My fuselage template will not fit on my 20x30 foam board sheet. Again I will attach a pic. It is about 1cm too long!! Again not gonna sweat it too much as I can trim the paper that folds around the front off to make it fit on the sheet.

Well those were the only issues I have run into so far but it's to be expected. Remember I'm a complete noob scratch building an airplane! If you know what got messed up or think trimming the folding paper nose end will be fine chime in! As soon as I get some confirmation that all is not lost I'm mounting these to poster board.

Thanks for any and all advice in advance!

Now here my couple tips for fellow noobs. First when trimming your templates to join them only trim one side to the dotted line. if you trim both sides good luck getting a nice line up on them. My second tip is cut the pieces and join them up. Don't join full pages together. Someone with more experience may argue that's wrong but I found things will not line up all the time. One piece on a sheet will line up great to the next sheet but other parts that join on those two sheets might not.

Well that's it for now until I hear from someone with more exp. I'm sure I won't have to wait long!
Ok @Dunfielder
The alignment issues with the canopy is normal on some plans. You just have to align it manually instead of using the lines. For your second question regarding the fuselage, don’t cut off the front edge yet. It is not necessary, but it could be helpful to make sure that the paper on the nose doesn’t delaminate. First try moving the plan around to see if you can get it to fit, try placing it diagonally on the foam. If that doesn’t work, an option is to cut out the fuselage in two halves and then glue the two pieces together. I’m not sure if you should use the second option yet though. I think that @BATTLEAXE has built a P-40 and he might know what to do...
I have built the P-40 and it all fit on the sheets of FB for me. One thing i like to do is print the plans in Adobe Acrobat. I use the FS (full size) plans and then let Adobe poster size and tile it for me. It is way more accurate to the cut marks so you can tape them together full sheet instead of piece by piece.

You will find if done in Adobe that you can scale up or down to help choose a size of plane for a certain motor. It is just more user friendly and accurate. Never had an issue with printing off tiled plans that way. There is no special cutting or trimming of individual templates. Just straight trimming of the mating edges on the marks and tape them together.

The canopy may look to long but it is meant to overlap the razorback former directly in behind the cockpit. Really the position of the canopy is up to your discretion. For a more scale look it can come forward, or more back for a racer look. I like mine to be a little more back. But yeah the back of the canopy should overlap over the rear turtledeck.

Hope that helps. Keep us posted
 

Dunfielder

Active member
#10
I have built the P-40 and it all fit on the sheets of FB for me. One thing i like to do is print the plans in Adobe Acrobat. I use the FS (full size) plans and then let Adobe poster size and tile it for me. It is way more accurate to the cut marks so you can tape them together full sheet instead of piece by piece.

You will find if done in Adobe that you can scale up or down to help choose a size of plane for a certain motor. It is just more user friendly and accurate. Never had an issue with printing off tiled plans that way. There is no special cutting or trimming of individual templates. Just straight trimming of the mating edges on the marks and tape them together.

The canopy may look to long but it is meant to overlap the razorback former directly in behind the cockpit. Really the position of the canopy is up to your discretion. For a more scale look it can come forward, or more back for a racer look. I like mine to be a little more back. But yeah the back of the canopy should overlap over the rear turtledeck.

Hope that helps. Keep us posted
So start over? Or keep going with what I have? Already have all pieces except the wings and fuselage glued to poster board. Don't wanna PO the wife over wastage lol !!! I was also advised to just take the extra length off the tail of the fuselage as 1cm ain't much on a big ship.
 
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Dunfielder

Active member
#12
O.K so after a lot of input I've made my decision. By the looks of things, all the parts are scale to whatever they printed out at. Nothing looks out of whack. So in true noob fashion I'm gonna go with it. I don't want to alter the actual fuselage length or build it in halves, or start over. I was only joking about the missus lol. 1.25 foamboard is no big loss ! That's why I'm trying it. I'm gonna cut the paper flap off the nose and cover it after to help prevent delaminating. Just seems the easy fix.

Thanks @BATTLEAXE for your advise and I promise on my next plane I will follow your advise. I'm sure its much more sound than my own. But for now people everything except the fuselage is stuck down. Gonna make my adjustment cut and get that stuck too so I can start cutting them out. Winging it Newbie stlye!!!
 

Attachments

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#13
O.K so after a lot of input I've made my decision. By the looks of things, all the parts are scale to whatever they printed out at. Nothing looks out of whack. So in true noob fashion I'm gonna go with it. I don't want to alter the actual fuselage length or build it in halves, or start over. I was only joking about the missus lol. 1.25 foamboard is no big loss ! That's why I'm trying it. I'm gonna cut the paper flap off the nose and cover it after to help prevent delaminating. Just seems the easy fix.

Thanks @BATTLEAXE for your advise and I promise on my next plane I will follow your advise. I'm sure its much more sound than my own. But for now people everything except the fuselage is stuck down. Gonna make my adjustment cut and get that stuck too so I can start cutting them out. Winging it Newbie stlye!!!
All good just as long as you have fun man. Keep us posted
 

daniZZ

Active member
#14
Hi
I'm using bigger fb sheets 100x70cm approx 40x30". 2 sheets are more than enough for the P40, and buying it like that is cheaper than 3 sheets of 50x70cm, but it is here in Romania....
On the other hand I use to print out the plans actual size in a print shop near me, it cost me around 3 USD but I don't have to hassle with alignments and taping.
If something goes wrong, I just print out the pages I need from a plan tiled by Acrobat reader like BATTLEAXE said and redo the problematic part. You should try this with your canopy.

But don't feel obligated to follow my advice, I'm not more experienced than you...
Good luck.
 

Dunfielder

Active member
#16
Well change of plans. I’m shelving the templates I’ve made. I printed off new plans through adobe at the correct scale. Checking against what I had already made mine were all a bit bigger than the new ones. Now here is my question to the community. Can I glue the templates right to the foam board ?
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#17
Well change of plans. I’m shelving the templates I’ve made. I printed off new plans through adobe at the correct scale. Checking against what I had already made mine were all a bit bigger than the new ones. Now here is my question to the community. Can I glue the templates right to the foam board ?
Yes - you can glue directly to the foamboard, and that's my preferred method! I use Elmers spray adhesive.
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#18
Well change of plans. I’m shelving the templates I’ve made. I printed off new plans through adobe at the correct scale. Checking against what I had already made mine were all a bit bigger than the new ones. Now here is my question to the community. Can I glue the templates right to the foam board ?
You can glue them with spray adhesive to just the template so it can be removed after, but then it might leave a residue depending on the brand of glue, and your templates are rendered disposable. Really there are easier ways to do it bud. You dont need to trim them out to exact size yet, that will happen once the piece is cut. Just tape the rough cut templates, like i saw in the last picture, down to the FB and then trim on the line through the paper into and through the FB. You only need a few corners taped down to stretch out the template so it doesn't move. The when you cut take a few easy passes with a sharp blade. You can use a ruler on the straight edges and you can freehand with a hobby knife the curves. Don't try to cut all the way through in one pass, the blade will catch the foam as opposed to cut it and ruin the piece. Sometimes on curves i do 5-6 passes sometimes more, in both directions to get a clean cut. Once the piece is cut out, now so is your template. Super simple, less mess, and the least amount of effort and time. Trust me my friend I have built more FT models then most, maybe about 75% of the FT models, a handful of others designs, and a handful of my own design, and more then half of all those i have built more then twice, sometimes 3 or times. Short of a needle or laser cutter this is as easy as it gets for the first few builds. As time goes on you learn a few tricks, streamline your system, progress your skills, maybe come up with your own way of doing it. It doesnt need to be complicated just fun. Cheers my friend
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#19
You can glue them with spray adhesive to just the template so it can be removed after, but then it might leave a residue depending on the brand of glue, and your templates are rendered disposable. Really there are easier ways to do it bud. You dont need to trim them out to exact size yet, that will happen once the piece is cut. Just tape the rough cut templates, like i saw in the last picture, down to the FB and then trim on the line through the paper into and through the FB. You only need a few corners taped down to stretch out the template so it doesn't move. The when you cut take a few easy passes with a sharp blade. You can use a ruler on the straight edges and you can freehand with a hobby knife the curves. Don't try to cut all the way through in one pass, the blade will catch the foam as opposed to cut it and ruin the piece. Sometimes on curves i do 5-6 passes sometimes more, in both directions to get a clean cut. Once the piece is cut out, now so is your template. Super simple, less mess, and the least amount of effort and time. Trust me my friend I have built more FT models then most, maybe about 75% of the FT models, a handful of others designs, and a handful of my own design, and more then half of all those i have built more then twice, sometimes 3 or times. Short of a needle or laser cutter this is as easy as it gets for the first few builds. As time goes on you learn a few tricks, streamline your system, progress your skills, maybe come up with your own way of doing it. It doesnt need to be complicated just fun. Cheers my friend
I agree with everything you said but I think it's way easier to glue it to the FB than taping. I always have issues of the plans shifting on the FB when I tape them. It does leave a little bit of residue though. Not really visible but feels slightly different.
 

Rhaps

Well-known member
#20
Here is what I do:
- Print the pdf plans with Adobe (use poster and original scale)
- Check the inch/cm legentd to see that the scale is correct.
- Depending on the parts I may cut them out from the plan - with plenty of marginal so no precision work here.
- For bigger parts taping some pages together may be necessary. If possible I use some line - Page edge or part edge and align them with line on the cutting mat before taping them together.
- I may tape plans to FB but lately I just mostly hold them at place while I mark (cut) the corners
- I generally just cut to FB through the plans - but only the corners or ends of the lines. Then use ruler to cut lines between cut marks.
- For symmetric parts like hull or right/left wing I may cut marks only for one side, then flip the plan over the middle and then cut through previous holes. Works surprisingly well