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Foam Board UAV Project

#1
Good evening!

I will do an article on the main FT site, but they take soooooo long to get approved I couldn't wait to show off the new idea...
For various reasons I wanted to design a low cost UAV platform that was lightweight and efficient. True to form, I also wanted to use foam board to build it!

I took inspiration from the Predator and Reaper military drones and put some ideas together in Sketchup...

FPVTLAR.jpg FPVTLAR2.jpg FPVTLAR3.jpg

These were then quickly transferred to foam using the Flattery plugin and the cutting commenced. As usual the process was pretty quick so by this evening, and after only a few working hours I ended up with...

2014-01-03 21.14.05-960.jpg 2014-01-03 21.28.27-960.jpg 2014-01-03 21.28.38-960.jpg 2014-01-03 21.35.45-960.jpg 2014-01-03 21.36.53-960.jpg 2014-01-03 21.37.13-960.jpg 2014-01-03 21.37.22-960.jpg 2014-01-03 21.43.01-960.jpg

It's a folded wing in the same style as the FT Spitfire, Simple Soarer etc. Tube fuselage with a double skin nose section for strength.
The complete airframe weighs in at 15.8 ounces (450g), which is pretty impressive for a 6ft model build with "heavy" Australian foam board.

I'm putting a Park 480 in the tail for motive power and will be installing a GoPro (maybe also a board cam later), FatShark/Immersion RC 5.8 FPV, and MegaPilot flight controller with GPS for use with Mission Planner. I'm sure more will be added as I think of it!

Anyway, this was just a quick look at what I am doing. There is a huge build article on my blog at Red20RC.org if you want to learn more before the FT article comes out.

Cheers,
Mike
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#2
Nice work! Keep us posted on your progress.

The only thing that would concern me on this plane is breaking the downward point V's of the tail surfaces upon landing. Or, the nose may get slammed down when they catch on landing.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#3
Nice work! Keep us posted on your progress.

The only thing that would concern me on this plane is breaking the downward point V's of the tail surfaces upon landing. Or, the nose may get slammed down when they catch on landing.
Yes, the original had those really tall, spindly gear legs to keep that from happening. Flying off grass or hand launching/belly landing might not be the best way to go with this one.
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#4
Yes, the original had those really tall, spindly gear legs to keep that from happening. Flying off grass or hand launching/belly landing might not be the best way to go with this one.
It would be fine if the OP adds some wire to the nose that goes lower than the V-tail, but has a slight bend back towards the tail so it takes the impact.
 

RoyBro

Senior Member
Mentor
#6
Hey,

You could always put skids or wheels on the tail sections and then just mount a single nose wheel.
 
#7
Thanks for the comments.
You know what? I hadn't even thought about getting the thing back onto the ground! You would have thought the fact that I had to prop it up on something just to take the photos would have given me a clue!!!

Oh well, it is only a prototype. Looks like some modifications are in order...
 
#10
Now THAT is thinking outside the box! Who says the bottom is always the bottom?

Inspiration time! Thank you!

Of course, I'm missing the obvious solution aren't I?
At present this is very much "Predator" style, but if you look at the "Reaper" it is actually a V-tail.

All I need to do is flip the fuselage, turn the tail into a smaller skid and add some V-tail mixing...
Problem solved!
 
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xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#11
Well, there you go! I surely didn't mean to flip your build as the Predator version certainly looks slick, but the Reaper version will probably handle the ground better. Only because while take-offs are optional, landings aren't.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#12
I did find this vid of a maiden and his tail is inverted to what your drawings show. Maybe just go with this style and keep it a Predator...?
 
#13
Ah, you see this is where it gets really confusing. Spot the difference...

uav-predator.jpg predator-b-drone-mq-9-reaper.jpg

Apparently, the first one is a Predator and the second is a Reaper so the one in that video is actually a Reaper! Anyway, I think I'll just stick the fins up top and that should solve my problems.

To be honest, this was never intended to be a scale or even a "somewhere near scale" model. I picked the design because when you study it for a while you find that it is an incredibly functional layout that would work well with FPV gear etc. I was doing a bit of workshop tidying last night but will probably draw some more plans up this evening.

I'll let you know how it goes...
 
#14
you could also reinforce the tails with old gift cards or something like that. a little duct tape or something similar to that should also help if put on the leading edges and on the contact points. cool design though hope it works. Don't forget the first flight video
 
#15
Thanks for the comment. I'll probably need to reinforce the edges whichever way up the tail ends. I also need to get out and minwax the airframe as well sometime today.

Anyway, I just had a message from Australia Post saying my stuff is incoming over the next day or two so looks like a busy few days ahead...
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#16
Ok, I guess I was mixing up the Reaper with the Avenger, which has a very different look but does have the upswept tail...

avenger.jpg