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DTFB FLOATS!!!

#1
My buddy has an eFlite Apprentice with the float set and it's just awesome, so I found some DIY floats and slapped them on a FT Storch and we both headed to the lake. The sad little floats I made worked but not well and I wanted a better experience with the DTFB price tag.

Here's a quick video of the Test flight.



These floats are 20" and should fit about every FT plane, I decided to build the BJ-J3 cub, that article can be found here: BJ-J3 Cub the plane flies amazing it's an easy build and is a lot of fun to fly. I had been doing touch and goes across a parking lot when I knew I wanted floats on this plane.

from a single sheet of DTFB you can make both floats, they are scaleable but i think anymore than a few inches and they will get too wide/tall, I'm going to make a second PDF file that has them stretched to fit the storch. Between those two options you should be able to scale one PDF or the other to fit your needs.

The floats retain that V hull you see in most that are purchased, and are almost identical in shape. Attaching the gear can get challenging but I intend on adding pictures to this post in the near future to show everything from the cheap simple way to do it and some more advanced methods for the hard core DIY'er.

Ever since I got hooked up on flitetest i've wanted to give back to everyone that has helped me I hope these are a hit with the FT community so far they are working great for me!

- Jes

PS I have the sketchup file ready to go, I have been able to print it at 100% scale and reproduce these floats. Can anyone tell me how to get that cool logo and specs on the PDF? I can't figure out if it's a sketchup option or something post processing. PM me any instructions or video that can get me going in the right direction, I'd like to dress up the file and at least ad my name to it before I post it up, thanks in advance!
 
#2
A couple extra notes:

I doubled over the entire piece once assembled to make sure every joint had hot glue over it to seal it, it's most important to make sure you glue over where the paper meets the exposed foam because that's where you are likely to delaminate.

I used oil based minwax over the paper. I put a pretty solid coat making sure that the paper was saturated and also covered every joint. After drying (3-4 hours depending on climate) I sanded and applied a couple thin layers of paint which I assume helps with some waterproofing too.

this seemed to be enough to keep the floats water tight and solid at least for the day I had them in the lake, the plane spent a fair amount of time sitting in the water to test them out. they travel across the water really well I wish I had a calmer day to test them on.

more to come!

- Jes
 

willsonman

Builder Extraordinare
Mentor
#7
I would implant some paint sticks for the hold-down points. Once sealed with HG and OBPU you should be water tight and good to go. Ply would be better but the paint sticks will hold up longer than the foam bard IMO.
 

Julez

WOT and going nowhere
#8
I've been working on DTFB floats for a while now. The biggest issue that I've encountered, other than reliability, has been the hard points for mounting them. Because of foam board's adverse reaction to water, as well as its flimsiness when delaminated, I've found it hard to make hard- points for mounting that spread the load enough and don't put to much stress on the foam. I'm currently working on a built- up version, as all my previous attempts have been sort of a 'skeleton' hull and have been hollow.
 
#10
No plans uploaded yet... I have a sketch file for the 20" version... I'm going to stretch them a little for the Storch then I'll post both versions, I hope to get the Storch floats edited and completed tonight!


- Jes

as far as mount points. I have tried a couple things but I haven't ran either long enough to say one is more reliable than another. The best I have so far are some 3D printed mounts that can be installed during the build process however the problem with them is that if you end up needing to adjust your mount point on the floats you'll have to build all new floats. The would be rock solid however even 1/2" off during the build and that might make them unusable. the same mounts can be glued on top of the float but then you suffer all the same woes of DTFB, the best is to cut out the paper and glue the mouth directly to the foam and then seal around the paper and the mount prior to the minwax to seal it all up.

I'll get more info up soon.. I'm going to move this to the mad scratch builders area and I'll be sure to include a link here.