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Getting into Foamies with my son

Kendalf

Well-known member
#1
I tried to start with RC planes about a dozen years ago, but new kids and school and jobs caused me to put the hobby aside for a number of years. Now that my kids are older, I'm getting back into it! It's always nice to have someone to share the hobby with, and provide enthusiasm while building and flying. A few months ago I got a HK Bixler 1.1, but after a couple successful flights a 40' tree ate it. I got a Walrus to replace it and my son and I took it for a short test flight, but the neighborhood parks and fields where I live just aren't big enough for something that size, plus it just barely fits inside the back seat.

And then I came across the Flite Test foam models. My kids and I enjoy crafting and building. My son especially has made a number of things with scrap cardboard delivery boxes, foam, duct tape, and anything else he can find around the house. This looked like a perfect (and more budget friendly) way to get some RC planes to fly and gain skills while building. I ordered a Tiny Trainer as well as a Mini Scout speed build kit, and we've also been combing the various dollar and hardware stores looking for cheap parts to use for scratch building. I picked up a few sheets of DTFB and over the past two weeks my son and I have been building two Tiny Trainers, one from the speed build kit and the other from scratch. The scratch build one served as a beta or prototype for us to figure out the build process before applying them to the kit. I traced out the pattern for the scratch build pieces onto the black foam board using the speed kit as a template, but since the paper on the speed kit extends out from the foam a tiny bit my tracing was a bit off, and some parts weren't as even as they should have been. I had to sand various edges to line things up, but it wasn't until I was test fitting the wings that I noticed that the tail section was not horizontally level. What's a beta without a few bugs, eh? ;)

I'm also learning how to solder to add connectors for batteries and ESCs, and that's another learning curve by itself. But we finally got the servos and pushrods and other electronics into the beta model and yesterday had the chance to take it to a nearby park for the maiden. And it actually flew! Mind you, it was a bit of a handful--mainly due to the tilted tail section, as it constantly wanted to roll and dive to the left--and I will need to tweak the throws and expo settings, but we got over ten minutes of actual air time before my battery was low, with a couple soft landings and a couple mild cartwheels in the grass.

And now I need to finish soldering the electronics for the speed build kit which is otherwise done, and once the weather clears we will hopefully have a successful maiden with that one, with my son on the sticks.

We're already thinking about building the Mini Scout kit, and I've got a box of 25 sheets of DTFB on order. I have printed out the plans for the FT Sportster and the Simple Scout (leaning more towards the Sportster due to looks and reportedly easier flying at slow speeds), as well as a couple of NerdNic's chuck glider plans. As you can see, we've really caught the foamie bug, and we're enjoying it immensely!
 

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mayan

Well-known member
#2
Wow my friend that is an amazing way for my to open my morning with such a lovely post to read. Tip of advice the black foam board is a little bit heavier. The Tiny Trainer is an amazing plane to practice flying. Plus if you look around the forum has a lot of available modifications that you can give it. If you decide to go with the Mini Scout feel free to join our newbie challenge here: https://forum.flitetest.com/index.php?threads/ft-mini-scout-newbie-challenge.57186/

Good luck buddy. Happy flying...
 

Kendalf

Well-known member
#3
Thanks! I went to five different Dollar Tree stores and they were all out of stock of white foam board, and one store had the black so that's what I picked up. Kind of gives the plane a Skunkworks vibe. The new box that is on order is white. Will be easier to paint if we get to that point.

I may very well join the Mini Scout challenge! I saw your build with the black foam. Are you using a gel pen to trace the template? I was thinking of pinning the printed tiled paper plan to the foam and cutting directly through the paper rather than creating templates from poster board first. Is that viable?
 
#5
Hi Kendalf,

If you ever start from a printed plan, I suggest you cut small windows (1cmx8cm) in the templates. Than you cover the Windows with scotch-tape to attach the paper to the foam. That way, the template won't fall off when you cut the last line.

(I will try to get a picture to illustrate the technique)

au revoir
Guillaume
 

Kendalf

Well-known member
#6
If you ever start from a printed plan, I suggest you cut small windows (1cmx8cm) in the templates. Than you cover the Windows with scotch-tape to attach the paper to the foam. That way, the template won't fall off when you cut the last line.
That's a great idea! I think I get the picture of what you are describing.

My son and I started on a NerdNic chuck glider over the weekend and I was cutting through the paper plan directly on the foamboard below. It works okay for shorter cuts but the off hand certainly gets tired from applying pressure on the paper to make sure it doesn't move. I've give the scotch tape window method a try.
 

Grifflyer

WWII fanatic
#7
You could also try using thumbtack or pins to hold the paper in place while you cut, I've been doing that for a couple years and it's worked great.
 

Kendalf

Well-known member
#8
You could also try using thumbtack or pins to hold the paper in place while you cut, I've been doing that for a couple years and it's worked great.
I thought about using thumbtacks but I didn't want to poke holes in my cutting board. How do you get around that issue with tacks/pins?
 

mayan

Well-known member
#10
If you decide to cut directly off the plans attached to the foam board I’d recommend using super 77 spray the plan and let it sit and when I say sit I mean it. Let it sit for a good 20 mins or more the you can stick not glue it to the foam board cut and remove. Used this in the past but find it easier to trace now days. It’s a little more work but works for me.
 

Kendalf

Well-known member
#11
Will give each of these methods a try and see which one works best for us. Nice thing about foam boards is that it's cheap for experimenting!
 

buzzbomb

I know nothing!
#12
Will give each of these methods a try and see which one works best for us. Nice thing about foam boards is that it's cheap for experimenting!
Welcome! I'm going to take you several steps further.

https://forum.flitetest.com/index.php?threads/first-scratch-build.55846/

I explored lots of different methods of getting plan to foamboard. I did the experimenting and found what worked for me. It turned out be a combination of taping, pinning and tracing, depending on the part.

Thanks to the trials and tribulations on that thread, I can now print a plan and build a plane. I give you forwearning, though. It's a lot of reading, and I tend to wander off-topic.

My suggestion would be to read the thread, skip-read or ignore the personal bits, and pick which method or combination of methods works for you. Between my posts and the answers to my posts, I don't think we missed a good method of getting plans to foam.

Plus, I agree with mayan! You don't know it, but you are the perfect candidate(s) for the FT Mini Scout Newbie Challenge! It's all for fun, and for people who haven't flown the plane before. My flight lasted less than three seconds, and my son and I are still laughing about it. Check it out.

https://forum.flitetest.com/index.php?threads/ft-mini-scout-newbie-challenge.57186/

Welcome, friend!
 

Kendalf

Well-known member
#14
Here's the maiden flight of the Tiny Trainer that my son and I worked on together from the speed build kit. We actually had a few flights with the black TT prior to this one, but I'll need to edit those videos a bit. The maiden almost ended as soon as it started when the plane dived to the left after the toss, but thankfully I was able to recover and flew it for two minutes before landing and giving my son a chance at the sticks.

Both TT exhibit a tendency to dive to the left with neutral sticks. The black one was significantly worse (and you'll see it once I edit the videos) but part of the cause is probably due to the tail horizontal stabilizer not lined up level with the wing. The foam board I had was a bit warped and thus the plane itself was warped. The brown TT was better, but still tended to veer left. It may have been because the wing was not quite centered over the fuselage. After our flight, I noticed that more wing was on the right than the left, so possibly generating more lift on the right side and making the plane veer left.

But the boy and I are happy that both planes flew, and are ready to be flown again just as soon as all the rain stops!
 

buzzbomb

I know nothing!
#15
Here's the maiden flight of the Tiny Trainer that my son and I worked on together from the speed build kit. We actually had a few flights with the black TT prior to this one, but I'll need to edit those videos a bit. The maiden almost ended as soon as it started when the plane dived to the left after the toss, but thankfully I was able to recover and flew it for two minutes before landing and giving my son a chance at the sticks.

Both TT exhibit a tendency to dive to the left with neutral sticks. The black one was significantly worse (and you'll see it once I edit the videos) but part of the cause is probably due to the tail horizontal stabilizer not lined up level with the wing. The foam board I had was a bit warped and thus the plane itself was warped. The brown TT was better, but still tended to veer left. It may have been because the wing was not quite centered over the fuselage. After our flight, I noticed that more wing was on the right than the left, so possibly generating more lift on the right side and making the plane veer left.

But the boy and I are happy that both planes flew, and are ready to be flown again just as soon as all the rain stops!
OH. My Gosh! When you launched the plane my immediate thought was "NO! You need to throw it upward and harder, you're going to crash!" Then you pulled up just before the trees and proceeded to fly the darn thing by and around two of the most feared obstacles to any RC pilot: Trees and light poles!

Then you calmly came to a perfect landing. The whole while your son was being a son and asserting just how superior he was to his dad (they are. Our sons? Superior to us. Because we strive to make them that way. Darn but it's irritating, though! Nah. Not really. I want my son to be better than me. I just wish he wouldn't show it off so much. ;))

A skillful and beautiful flight. Smooth, perfectly controlled, and done in a location I can not currently even dream of successfully flying in. Plus, you got to share the moment with your son. Chances are, you'll remember it for the rest of your life.

Well done, my friend. Well done, indeed.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#18
@Kendalf Well done on the first flight! That was a great recovery and smooth flight. I would have been very happy with that.
My son had that attitude until I got more stick time whilst he was at school then flew a full inverted pass over the field with a neat flick roll out. Silence...
Flying together is the best. I hand over to him with it high up and neutral, after trimming, then land it until we get our buddy boxing done. He flies our micro cub on his own now, but that has SAFE to self right etc.
Trim a bit more up elevator in and a touch of right rudder to counter the dive. I launch with the nose up a bit and 60-70% throttle, mine did the same with less throttle and was out of trim a little too.
 

jaredstrees

Well-known member
#19
What FDS said. You should be able to trim that out. Does it want to dive left only when you increase throttle or does it do it when you are flying level with no throttle inputs? If it is only during throttle increase, you may want to add a few degrees of incidence to the motor and that may help as well.

Well done and welcome to the addiction!
 

Kendalf

Well-known member
#20
OH. My Gosh! When you launched the plane my immediate thought was "NO! You need to throw it upward and harder, you're going to crash!" Then you pulled up just before the trees and proceeded to fly the darn thing by and around two of the most feared obstacles to any RC pilot: Trees and light poles!
Ha, thanks buzzbomb! I've gained a healthy fear of trees; my first ARF bird (a Hobbyking Bixler) got eaten by a tree. The light poles were actually a bit farther away than they might have looked in the video.

Yeah, my son is a "backseat flyer". But he got some stick time and has realized that it ain't as easy as it looks!