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My story and the hunt for: Scale Foam , and DC 3 build

#1
Hello everyone!
First of all, let me know if I should be posting this thread somewhere else, I'm new to the forum and its ways.

I have been following FliteTest on YouTube for a while now. I started RC flying in about 2003-2004 with a 2 channel foam winged V-tail-ed plane, that gave me enough confidence to lose it in a huge gust of wind one day. When that was gone I bought the Typhoon 3D, and I still fly that one to this day. I haven't crashed it hard enough to quit flying it yet!
typhoon.JPG

After watching FliteTest for some time I wanted to build something myself from scratch. I tried 3d printing one of those spitfire or mustang models with the intent to make it RC, but I think it would have been too heavy. I watched some of the speed build videos and thought the FT Mini Tiny Trainer would be a great place to start. I bought a foam board display stand and printed out the downloadable pattern and got to work. I went through this one with the build video, starting with the chuck glider nose and simple wing, this gave me enough practice to finish the rest of the plane with great precision. I powered this one with an Eflite Park250 motor, a 800 mah 3S battery, and a 6x4.5 prop. I cut the motor mount and control horns from old credit cards with a small hobby laser. I tell you what, this plane flew so straight and smooth on the maiden you couldn't wipe the grin off my face. I still love flying this one.
BlackTrainer-airframe.jpg

After a few flights with the mini trainer I wanted something with a little more realism. I downloaded the plans for the mini corsair, and built that one in a few days time. I had a 2204 2300kv drone motor and got some small 3 blade props for it. The first flight was under powered, I think the esc wasn't set right for the motor I had. I put a different, smaller esc in and now it has about 3x thrust to weight! First flight broke a blade off the prop. Second, more powerful flight, I think the CG was too far back and it was too unstable for me to fly and broke another prop blade. I will add some weight to the front and try again this week.
corsair.JPG
corsair broke prop.JPG

Before I got to maiden the Corsair mini I wanted to start construction of a bigger plane. I looked online to see if anyone had plans for a DC3 type aircraft, I caught the tail end of the Plane Savers DC3 restoration and wanted to fly something like that. I hadn't found any complete plans yet so I set out to design it myself. I use Autodesk Fusion 360 for personal projects so its free to use, and I found some ways of designing flat-faceted models to make flat patterns. When I get done testing this new design I want to share it and see what other people are able to do with it.
Here's a little animation of the 3d model...

Here is the current status of the test build. I am trying to make the engine cowling from paperboard, similar to how the corsair was constructed. The motor pods use the same mounting as the mini corsair, so they can be swappable!
dc3-airframe.JPG

I plan to put some fixed landing gear on this since the motors aren't very high. Also if this works well I'd like to re-design it to have a round-ish fuselage like the corsair, for added realism.

Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see on this new plane. I'm pretty proud of my progress so far. If I can get a friend to help I'll try to get a video of the maiden. The motors I think I'll push as far forward as I can to help get the CG forward, and the battery will surely go in the nose. If anyone has tips on if I need any thrust angle, or anything on getting something like this set up initially I'd appreciate the input.
 
#3
Update:
I was up til about midnight learning the tricks to model 'revolved' sheet metal type bodies, so the flat patterns can be generated with the wing slot already cut out. I was able to get the engine cowling started and a prototype cut from a file folder...

DC3-Cowl Modeled.JPG
A little help from the little laser cutter at the office (the rest of the plane has been hand cut up to here)
Cowl Laser Cut.JPG

cowl proto.JPG

I will be using some eBay drone motors, they seem to have enough pull.. MT2204 2300KV from Shenzhen (same as what I have on the Corsair) and I can either run both CCW or counter-rotating. The ESC's I have ordered are ZTW Mantis 12A. And I plan to run one 2200mAh 3S battery parallel to the two ESC's.

More updates to come.
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#5
Update:
I was up til about midnight learning the tricks to model 'revolved' sheet metal type bodies, so the flat patterns can be generated with the wing slot already cut out. I was able to get the engine cowling started and a prototype cut from a file folder...

View attachment 141532
A little help from the little laser cutter at the office (the rest of the plane has been hand cut up to here)
View attachment 141534

View attachment 141535

I will be using some eBay drone motors, they seem to have enough pull.. MT2204 2300KV from Shenzhen (same as what I have on the Corsair) and I can either run both CCW or counter-rotating. The ESC's I have ordered are ZTW Mantis 12A. And I plan to run one 2200mAh 3S battery parallel to the two ESC's.

More updates to come.
Love the DC-3's, flown in them many times as a kid with my grandfather as a pilot. So wanna see the maiden on this one. Great job
 

Mad_Mechanic

Well-known member
#7
When most people introduce themselves on this forum, they do so with a "hi, I'm new here, this is my history in the hobby."

They might also be in the process of building their first FT speed build kit.

But you have introduced yourself with a significant design and scratch build project that you have already made significant progress on.

This is very impressive and I love the work you are putting into this!
 
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#10
Update:
Didn't get much time this weekend to work on the DC, but I tried to get the Corsair to play nice. Once again it defeated me. I added a bunch of weight to the nose to get the CG closer to 1 inch behind the leading edge. It was still very twitchy. After review of the build video once more I think the control throws were a wee bit too hefty, especially on the elevator.
Capture.JPG
The crash didn't take the motor off, but I tried to throttle test it in hand and it shook the motor mount off and got the wires all twisted up.
So this motor is no good anymore, that's what spares are for! The motor cowl got a little chewed up too, but that's easy to remake.
I adjusted the throw in the radio to the 11° angle gage on the elevator last night, so this week I'll take 'er out and hopefully get some air time.

On the DC I was thinking... when building one, it takes about 1/10 the time to build a second one. If not to fly itself, to have spare parts in the field would be great.
Capture2.JPG

If the design is good enough to fly without major changes I'll surprise gift one to one of my buddies.
Here's what I have worked out for the powertrain...
Capture3.JPG
Basically 2x the setup that's in the Corsair, since it seems to have great pulling power with this ESC/motor combo. ZTW Mantis 12A and the ebay 2204/2300kv drone motors. Here I got a set with one CW thread and one CCW. I made a battery Y harness to go from Dean's T to 2x JST in parallel. I should be able to Y the throttle control wires since they are both set to output 5v to the receiver. I've seen jumpers that remove the power line from one of them but I don't know if that's entirely necessary. On a quick plug-in/throttle test nothing let the magic smoke out, so I'll call it good!

Next on the to do list on the DC is mounting the servos for the tail control, and possibly a battery cradle in the nose. Also wanting to steer the tail wheel, whether from another horn on the rudder servo or Y connect another servo dedicated to the wheel steer.
Then I'll be able to mount the wing for good and do some taxi driving! Still waiting on my tail wheel from ebay.

Thanks for reading, I'll keep the updates coming. To quote Scott Manley, "Fly safe!"
 
#11
Update:
Got some more parts to continue the DC# build, and have some cool graphics laid out, will see if my buddy can cut them in vinyl for me.

The Corsair flew! I placed the battery on top of the motor mount 'box' and banded it on tight. The CG was right at about 1" from the leading edge, maybe a little more. The elevator controls were limited at 11° with 30% expo.
The control felt really good once it got up to speed, and it does like to fly fast. Faster than anything else I've flown so far.
I flew circles for about a minute with a nice barrel roll in there for good measure. Touched down softly on the grass and thought I'd toss it up once more. I tried trimming in the pitch and roll while on the sunset side of the sky (probably part of my mistake) I lost my roll frame of reference and nosed it into the grass pretty hard...
Capture.JPG

As bad as it looks at first I think it is repairable to some degree. The break in front of the windshield is pretty clean and the tail control servos are still intact with control rods working. The wing was rock solid, just a small tear near the left wingtip that grabbed a piece of grass.
I'll work on this one for a little bit, and hopefully goes up in the next day or two. I learned a little from this, got a few experience points.

On the DC I am thinking I will put together a spare wing with a wider profile/ more surface area. If it needs to go fast like this corsair to be controllable I might have to go back to the drawing board.