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Pumpkin drop event

FT crusier for a newbie and the road so far

#1
I'm just getting into the flying part of the r/c hobby. Had though I would build a "throw away" plane to learn the basics on...

I began by throwing together a plan off the forums, a half-sheet no-waste 3-channel trainer. 59309.jpeg It's pretty rough, the closer you look the more you can see things wrong with it (the wing is off center, the tail boom is crooked, ect...) it glides pretty well though.

Because I didn't like the mistakes I'd made, and the half-sheet also requires some scraps of foam that I didn't have without chopping up my other half-sheet, I started on an FT simple Scout. It went a bit smoother than the first attempt but I still made some mistakes (the turtle shell should be poster board... not a piece of foam backing.) 59318.jpeg

With 2 airframes complete I figured it was past time to get some electronics to get them in the air. Almost $200 USD later, I believed that I had everything I would need for both of these planes and some wiggle room to grow.

Then I found out i had ordered power pack "C" sized electronics by mistake (2212 motors)... and the forum unanimously agreed that they would be to big for what I'd already built. (Thank you all for your kind advice and patience.)

So I set about trying to figure out what to do with what I'd ordered.
First, I though about what I wanted to build later in my hobbying. This led me to the FT A-10 and the FT KRAKEN.
After some discussion with some of the mentors on the forum, I decided that I should pick a simpler plane to build and fly.
Then I spoke to one of my colleagues, he wanted to build an FT Sea duck, so I considered also building a seaplane. Later he changed his mind and now wants to build an expandable drone platform (firewheel?).

While looking through the c-pack sized plans FT offers, I became interested in fpv capabilities. This led me to look at the larger craft on offer, specifically the FT Cruiser.

So while I am waiting for the motors, ESCs and servo wires to arrive from china, I've been cutting out and gluing all of the components for the cruiser's main assemblies [fuselage, wings, control surfaces, nacelles, and power pods.]

I purchased some 14-3 power tool cord and connectors to run power to the ESCs, it's probably overkill. or if I don't do differential thrust/2 ESCs, it can run power to the 2 motors from the one ESC. Or some combination of the two. Either way, a Y-harness will be built.

So far, this is what I've assembled.
20190731_223823.jpg
I forgot to put the rear servos in before closing the fuselage so I had to cut an access hatch, but i plan to packing tape the outer surface for durability and moisture resistance so it shouldn't matter much.
20190731_224036.jpg

Here is the dry fit, sans posterboard parts
20190731_225409.jpg
I've reinforced all of the control surfaces and most of the leading edges with tape-joints, as well as glue-sealed most of the raw edges.
Bottom line, up-front: its not pretty, but I'll be damned if it doesn't survive a few good crashes.

Just need to add the other 4 servos (ailerons and flaps,) glue everything down, cut the hole in the wing for the wire routing and wait for my 50Amp ESCs (from china) and 8.5x6 props (from master airscrew, cw and ccw) to arrive, before hooking everything up and taking it out to maiden.

So far I've got 2 racestar 2212 1400kv motors, a turnigy 3s 2200mah 20c LiPo, flysky-i6 tx/rx (looking into modding it to 10 channels), 2.75 inch wheels and some smraza 9g servos.

I'm planning to build in the options for everything (FPV/osd, split flaps) but also to start with a throttle limitation programmed in to keep me out of trouble at first.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#2
I would run an ESC per motor, the Y lead is for getting power to the ESC’s, not taking motor power from one ESC to two motors. That kind of load will smoke the ESC and over long motor wires can also cause issues.
With regards to setting planes up to help you fly, throttle limits are not always helpful, you sometimes need more throttle to overcome weather or get out of stalls etc. What you should do to help yourself is to set up dual rates and Expo. If you are flying 4 channel in the cruiser I would advise setting the ailerons to be 20-30% less than the low rate with 30% expo on the “low rates” setting, with the other controls set as per the plans deflection gauge, with 30% expo. Then set the second switch position to the high rates on the deflection gauge, again with 30% expo and the third stage is just full servo movement with lower or no expo.
This, combined with careful balancing and not running too heavy will give you good flight characteristics. I think the battery you have is still on the large size.
Cheap ESC’s are not a good buy in my experience, you should look for a fixed wing specific one with voltage cut. The Hobbywing Skywalker range have that, as do the Hobbyking ones, both have 3-5A Becs and are under $20. Many of the budget ESC’s come set up for multi rotor from the factory, which you don’t want and I have found them to be notchy and poor performing in comparison to the ones listed above. SimonK firmware in particular is not good for fixed wing.
I would also leave all the bells and whistles off this plane to begin with. You are going to have your hands and brain full just keeping it up, without worrying about flaps, FPV etc. FT airframes are cheap, fly and crash this one in basic form, then make another.
I would also prioritise getting the Scout flying, you are talking 3 servos, an 850mah 3s, a simple 20A esc and a $6 Motor, total cost from Hobbyking under $35. You could have it all in 3 days.
 
#3
Update: the simple Scout got stepped on... can thank my cat for that one...

The Crusier is assembled, thank to some control rods/horns I forgot I'd ordered. Still waiting on escs from China, the order says it was split but the staff cannot give me any other information on the status... (I am considering ordering some 30 amp escs from hobbyking. The warehouse is just up the road.)
59675.jpeg
Its a pretty impressive wingspan; fits between my kitchen counters, so I can access the innards without having to bend at weird, back-hurting, angles.

I set up all the optional features for shiggles. I don't anticipate getting to use them before any major repairs have to take place though.
15648061483519004687630574258967.jpg
Need to trim the control rods once I can test the throws, but I don't want to hook up the arduino right now.

I am super excited to get to fly this beast. I've put alot of time and effort into this project; more than I thought it would need. Once it is in the air, I feel like it will all be worth it.

Once again, thank you to everyone that has offered advice and constructive criticism.
 
#4
Interim update:
Contacted Banggood customer support (would not recommend) about the status on my order. The system said the order was shipped 24th of July, as a split order, but there has been no update since. Apparently, both parts of the order will leave the china warehouse in the next couple of days [they wouldn't give me reason and kept trying to blame me for the issue.]

Lessons learned: Don't pay for expedited shipping from china, if you can afford the shipping upgrade you can probably spring a little more for similar products already in your country.
 

quorneng

Well-known member
#5
Morgajus
You seem to be building more than flying!
No harm but I like to explore how something flies before I start another project just in case there is something that could be done better!
I know these are all FT designs but they do all seem rather 'close coupled' (tail plane close to the wing) for my liking.
Apart from any issues with the weight of the rear end a long tail does make flying more controllable and less 'twitchy'.
 
#6
Morgajus
You seem to be building more than flying!
No harm but I like to explore how something flies before I start another project just in case there is something that could be done better!
I know these are all FT designs but they do all seem rather 'close coupled' (tail plane close to the wing) for my liking.
Apart from any issues with the weight of the rear end a long tail does make flying more controllable and less 'twitchy'.
You are correct in that I have built more than flown. Mostly as a reaction to mistakes I've made in one way or another.
I've never thought about how short most of the FT designs are in length vs width. It makes sense that a longer tail boom/fuselage would stabilize flight a bit better from a mechanics point of view. [The tail surfaces create lift or resist yaw, multiplied by the distance from the CG creates larger moments, allowing for more precise control.] However, it could be argued that FT want more of their designs to be "error tolerant." Meaning if there is a irregularity in the construction, the change in forces it creates is smaller due to the shorter moment-arm and thus easier to account for with trim.
Or it could just be due to the ultra-light nature of foamboard and the length is chosen to balance out the CG when the electronics are added.
It is kind of a "chicken and egg" conundrum...

Looking at modern commercial aircraft, very briefly, it seems most are designed with at least equal wingspan to length, generally greater wingspan. So there may be more motivations behind the design than I can readily imagine.
 
#7
Found some new-in-bag 30 amp escs at a sale. Decided they would be good enough to get started (they are what was originally rated for this build.)
59918.jpeg

Everything is glued/taped/rubber-banded on. Y-harness was a pain to solder with a gun (vs an iron) but it seems to work.

I'm having some difficultly taming the servo wire extensions in the fuselage. Should probably zip-tie some of them...

I've got a few 3s lipos ready for the maiden, 1 2200mah and 2 1600mah.
Probably going out to my buddies suggested field on Saturday morning!

All that is left is to dial in the throws and expo, i have the guage out of shot... I've decided to hold off on differential and fpv (as per suggestion.) That being said, all I have to do is remove a servo-wire splitter and change models on my radio to start differential.
 
#8
Took the crusier out for maidening.
The first few attempts showed that my servo throws were utterly garbage (probably due to build errors and other mishaps.) After 4 propellers we decided to call it a day and bring her in for repairs/reinforcement.
20190810_143321.jpg
20190810_160132.jpg
A couple weeks later we went back out to try again. This time, everything seemed to be going ok, with my more experienced friend on the sticks. He was getting it trimmed in for me... and then something went wrong. He described it as "suddenly losing all tail authority." The ensuing nose dive snapped off a firewall and tore the fuselage in half just past the tail end of the wing. The only part to survive was the segment that I'd reinforced already, lol. We discovered that the nuts on the servo rod holder things had both come off (locktite next time.)
The silver lining was that both props survived this time :)
Day 2's air fleet: (the 4 on the far right are me.)
20190817_122739.jpg
Currently the crusier is awaiting repairs as I debate building something smaller and convert a cheapo p-51 EPO-plane I found on clearance from harbor freight to brushless/LiPO. And my friend convinced me to build a quad... 10 inch camera platform.

Also thinking of adding a gyro for "training wheels." Despite advice against adding a "crutch."
 
#9
Been a while since I updated this, thought it was about time to add something.

Due to family, work and school scheduling issues I've not had alot of time to actually go flying, added to the fact the rainy season came to Oregon early this year. As such I've been staring at my ever-growing pile of electronics and telling myself to stop buying things on impulse (to little effect...) until I actually get something flying reliably.

The FT crusier has maybe 1 more good crash in it before its time to scrap it for parts. That being said, I am going to be trying my hardest to get it in the air before new years.

So far, I've added a gyro and aio-fpv unit to the original construction, on top of the repairs/reinforcements. Also, further research shows I am running something between b and c-pack motors (I firmly believed they were c-pack equivalent motors at first), which doesn't seem to affect the flight characteristics a whole lot.

In other news, the EPO p-51 modifcation is going smoothly, for a first timer. The prop I chose was a little undersized which led to higher takeoff throttle and both p-factor and prop torqueing issues. $3-$5 at the nearby hobby shop should have that sorted though. (8035-ish original, 6045 post-conversion.) I honestly didn't think twice about the size difference because the stats for the original props weren't given in the box. And a 2212 2200kv swinging a 6045 prop was surely enough thrust to get it airborne... (lesson learned: try to stay near the design specs. They were probably chosen for a reason.)
Additionally, I ended up building a 5" quad with spare parts I had and a free f405 stack I was given. I am not a natural drone pilot... as evidenced by the holes in my ceiling, LOL. And the 10" camera platform got an upgrade from a chinese f3 FC to a chinese f7 FC (such computing power.) Re-maidening has yet to occur.

I also modified my 6ch flysky radio to a 10ch. Wasn't difficult at all, but I lost all of my saved settings in the firmware flashing. I guess 10ch =14ch when you use ibus?? Its overkill for now, but if i endup building a drop-ship, the extra servos/telemetry can be useful.


Final noteS for this update:
Would it be best to try to build/finish a smaller (maybe 3ch trainer) plane instead of some large slow thing?
What ever should I do with a 12-blade 70mm EDF?
Designing a plane is hard. The razorblade conversion is not going well...

Thanks for reading!

EDIT: added radio mod info
 

SquirrelTail

Well-known member
#10
Been a while since I updated this, thought it was about time to add something.

Due to family, work and school scheduling issues I've not had alot of time to actually go flying, added to the fact the rainy season came to Oregon early this year. As such I've been staring at my ever-growing pile of electronics and telling myself to stop buying things on impulse (to little effect...) until I actually get something flying reliably.

The FT crusier has maybe 1 more good crash in it before its time to scrap it for parts. That being said, I am going to be trying my hardest to get it in the air before new years.

So far, I've added a gyro and aio-fpv unit to the original construction, on top of the repairs/reinforcements. Also, further research shows I am running something between b and c-pack motors (I firmly believed they were c-pack equivalent motors at first), which doesn't seem to affect the flight characteristics a whole lot.

In other news, the EPO p-51 modifcation is going smoothly, for a first timer. The prop I chose was a little undersized which led to higher takeoff throttle and both p-factor and prop torqueing issues. $3-$5 at the nearby hobby shop should have that sorted though. (8035-ish original, 6045 post-conversion.) I honestly didn't think twice about the size difference because the stats for the original props weren't given in the box. And a 2212 2200kv swinging a 6045 prop was surely enough thrust to get it airborne... (lesson learned: try to stay near the design specs. They were probably chosen for a reason.)
Additionally, I ended up building a 5" quad with spare parts I had and a free f405 stack I was given. I am not a natural drone pilot... as evidenced by the holes in my ceiling, LOL. And the 10" camera platform got an upgrade from a chinese f3 FC to a chinese f7 FC (such computing power.) Re-maidening has yet to occur.

I also modified my 6ch flysky radio to a 10ch. Wasn't difficult at all, but I lost all of my saved settings in the firmware flashing. I guess 10ch =14ch when you use ibus?? Its overkill for now, but if i endup building a drop-ship, the extra servos/telemetry can be useful.


Final noteS for this update:
Would it be best to try to build/finish a smaller (maybe 3ch trainer) plane instead of some large slow thing?
What ever should I do with a 12-blade 70mm EDF?
Designing a plane is hard. The razorblade conversion is not going well...

Thanks for reading!

EDIT: added radio mod info
What part of oregon are you in? You should make a trip down to Carl Henson field..
 

SquirrelTail

Well-known member
#12
I'm up in Albany. I would totally consider driving down if I had a whole day available. Though I'm not an AMA member, so I probably couldn't fly (according to the website's rules.)
I usually just go to a local park/grass field.
If you come to our field you could be our guest and fly with us!
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#17
I would run an ESC per motor, the Y lead is for getting power to the ESC’s, not taking motor power from one ESC to two motors. That kind of load will smoke the ESC and over long motor wires can also cause issues.
With regards to setting planes up to help you fly, throttle limits are not always helpful, you sometimes need more throttle to overcome weather or get out of stalls etc. What you should do to help yourself is to set up dual rates and Expo. If you are flying 4 channel in the cruiser I would advise setting the ailerons to be 20-30% less than the low rate with 30% expo on the “low rates” setting, with the other controls set as per the plans deflection gauge, with 30% expo. Then set the second switch position to the high rates on the deflection gauge, again with 30% expo and the third stage is just full servo movement with lower or no expo.
This, combined with careful balancing and not running too heavy will give you good flight characteristics. I think the battery you have is still on the large size.
Cheap ESC’s are not a good buy in my experience, you should look for a fixed wing specific one with voltage cut. The Hobbywing Skywalker range have that, as do the Hobbyking ones, both have 3-5A Becs and are under $20. Many of the budget ESC’s come set up for multi rotor from the factory, which you don’t want and I have found them to be notchy and poor performing in comparison to the ones listed above. SimonK firmware in particular is not good for fixed wing.
I would also leave all the bells and whistles off this plane to begin with. You are going to have your hands and brain full just keeping it up, without worrying about flaps, FPV etc. FT airframes are cheap, fly and crash this one in basic form, then make another.
I would also prioritise getting the Scout flying, you are talking 3 servos, an 850mah 3s, a simple 20A esc and a $6 Motor, total cost from Hobbyking under $35. You could have it all in 3 days.
What don’t you like about the SimonK esc’s? I got four and really like them. They start up a lot smoother than the ft emax ones...
 

FDS

Well-known member
#18
Simon K firmware is deliberately set up to not have a throttle cut on low voltage. I prefer to have that so if I get a problem my battery doesn’t get puffed. Simonk is quad firmware, I don’t want to have to reflash everything before I use it.
I don’t use the Emax ones, we can’t get them here.
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#19
Simon K firmware is deliberately set up to not have a throttle cut on low voltage. I prefer to have that so if I get a problem my battery doesn’t get puffed. Simonk is quad firmware, I don’t want to have to reflash everything before I use it.
I don’t use the Emax ones, we can’t get them here.
I just used them as stock and I set a timer on my tx to land at a certain time. Does the stock firmware have limitations when flying airplanes?
 

FDS

Well-known member
#20
No, apart from the lack of battery protection.
I run a timer too, but air temperatures here have a wide range and my battery life can vary by a minute or so within the same week, especially in winter.