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Dollar Tree Foam

#1
i'm new to building planes from foamboard, and very much like the idea. i've begun to cut out an FT Simple Cub.

the dollar tree foam is fragile. it dents and creases when you look at it sideways. not fun to work with. i'm accustomed to making architectural models out of much better material, but i understand it's much heavier. i want to make good looking models, but with readi-board i think i'll be tearing my hair out.

anybody have success with "quality" foamboard? modify designs, or add more power, etc?

thanks.
 

JasonK

Elite member
#2
1) -> can you fly a plane well already and are just learning foam board building or are you building to also learn to fly?

I would stick with the dollar tree foamboard if your still learning to fly as, unless you have someone training you, your going to crash and being worried about a few minor marks on the surface isn't worth trying to redesign to account for heavier/different materials.

2) -> if you really want to get into high quality building, I would suggest balsa, hotwire cutting foam, and other techniques if the DTFB is giving you that much trouble.

3) -> I do find it odd that your having that much trouble with the DTFB, as long as I treat it correctly, I can be fairly rough with it and it comes out looking just fine. However I also don't get upset at small imperfections as I don't find it to be worth the trouble to be worried about them.

4) -> to your actual question, the flite test designs are based around a foamboard with a mass really close to DTFB, if you use something heavier, your going to have a hard time getting your CG correct (for example, your FT Simple Cub has way more foam behind the CG then in front... and some of it is far away), so if you put a big enough battery right in the nose to get your CG correct, your going to be much heavier the the design... and will have a much higher stall speed (so you will need to fly even faster).
 

Mr NCT

Active member
#5
i'm new to building planes from foamboard, and very much like the idea. i've begun to cut out an FT Simple Cub.

the dollar tree foam is fragile. it dents and creases when you look at it sideways. not fun to work with. i'm accustomed to making architectural models out of much better material, but i understand it's much heavier. i want to make good looking models, but with readi-board i think i'll be tearing my hair out.

anybody have success with "quality" foamboard? modify designs, or add more power, etc?

thanks.
I did a simple cub using HobbyLobby "quality" foam board. Came out real well but about twice the recommended weight. Still flew well if a little fast.
 

Merv

Legendary member
#6
....i'm accustomed to making architectural models out of much better material, but i understand it's much heavier.....
You can build a plane, that will fly, out of heavier fb. They just will not fly as well as a plane made from the lighter fb. If you want to build a plane to admire when on the ground, then use better materials.

If you want to build a plane that flies great, then use DTFB (aka Adams fb) or Ross fb, from Walmart. When the plane is in the air, nobody will be able to see the imperfections you are considered about.

Your first “rough landing” will even dent the better materials.
 
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#7
thanks for all the replies.

as i pilot, i'm a novice. i have an epo foam trainer (Flite-test Maule) for learning, and an excellent teacher.

i'm familiar with other building techniques. i built with balsa when i was a kid. maybe i'll go down that path one day.

my motivation is to make something as clean and beautiful as i can with this material, and building method. i was taken aback at the characteristics of the adams stuff.

i guess i'll be tearing out what little hair i have left.
 

danskis

Elite member
#8
As everyone else stated I'll say in a different way - architectural models don't have to fly. As you know, all materials have their limitations. I'll bet your architectural models look amazing though. I'd love to see one.
 

danskis

Elite member
#9
Have you seen the following threads? These guys have pushed the limits of Adams about as far as it will go. If you look carefully they are not perfect - each has its own imperfections. About the best you're going to get is "stand-off" scale with Adams. But even balsa and covering have their own limitations if you look objectively at those models. I had the same issue and then I started looking at pics of real warbirds - the real ones were a mess and its amazing they held together.

(17) Master Series Builds, Past Present and Future. | FliteTest Forum

or this one?

13TH SQUADRON - Home

or this one? (I believe he uses Depron or Model Plane Foam)

(3) My Homemade RC planes from 2014-2018 - YouTube
 
#10
Have you seen the following threads? These guys have pushed the limits of Adams about as far as it will go. If you look carefully they are not perfect - each has its own imperfections. About the best you're going to get is "stand-off" scale with Adams. But even balsa and covering have their own limitations if you look objectively at those models. I had the same issue and then I started looking at pics of real warbirds - the real ones were a mess and its amazing they held together.

(17) Master Series Builds, Past Present and Future. | FliteTest Forum

or this one?

13TH SQUADRON - Home

or this one? (I believe he uses Depron or Model Plane Foam)

(3) My Homemade RC planes from 2014-2018 - YouTube

Yes. I'm familiar with all three of those. they are what attracted me to this medium. I simply was surprised at the nature of the material, given my past experience.

as far as pictures of my past work goes, there are none. it was decades ago, when i was renovating my first house. they weren't works of art, just visualization tools.
 

Tench745

Elite member
#11
I find the Ross board from Wal-Mart is a good compromise. It is sturdier than the Dollar Tree stuff but not that much heavier. You can save some weight by peeling the paper off the inner surfaces. You can also save significant weight by using white Gorilla Glue (GG) instead of hot glue. I was able to build two Ft Mini Scouts which weighed exactly the same. One was made with DTFB and hot glue. The other was made with the Ross foam using the techniques above. It's a bit more work to keep it light when using the Ross board, but the surface finish is much nicer and the board is more durable.
Alternatively, you could go with FT's own brand foam board. I have no experience with it but it seems pretty sturdy.