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Help! New builder have parts and ideas but limited skills

Vimana89

Well-known member
#1
Hello, I have been trying for a while now to design and build my first rc plane, and I have some electronics from failed builds using corrugated plastic. To be completely honest, I have limited building skills, patience, and dexterity/coordination. I have a strong imagination and creative drive, and I would probably be a much better designer than builder, but I have nobody to do the building and trouble shooting for me. I see products on the market, other people's home made builds, and full scale aircraft and the ideas just start coming. If I could design and build the things I can envision, I have no doubt they would be interesting and some would be very successful and perform very well, but I'm just not a very good builder-I'm not mathematically inclined, my coordination and dexterity are mediocre, and I have a low tolerance for frustration. As the main drive to get into this is seeing my own designs come out of my head and into life, I really don't want to spend time and money on a kit build and just copy a finished design piece for piece to learn, so I'm looking for help and suggestions when it comes to materials, tools, techniques, and things like weight distribution when placing the electronics-and things like the flaps(which have been a large problem). My first build is intended be a simple build using a single propeller, 2-3 servo motors, a 6ch transmitter and a 4ch receiver. There's a few different potential ideas I have for that, one of which I have a rough overhead view 2d sketch for. I can post pics of my designs(to my best ability to sketch them up) and I can list the exact parts I have at my disposal. My current electronics system is pre-soldered, as soldering is not a skill I have, although I do know a couple of people who could help or teach me if necessary. Hopefully with enough input, I can get one of my designs to work, but just as a heads up, I'd be just as happy to pay somebody a reasonable fee to build one or more of my designs for me-so if there is anybody here who could not only help me streamline my designs but could actually build them into a finished product with the kinks worked out for a reasonable price, that would be very helpful. I really don't have any friends with inclinations to this sort of hobby, and there's no meetup groups to teach me in a hands on manner around where I live-and although I would really like to learn to do this myself, it has been a lonely, daunting, unforgiving, and frustrating path-and if it takes paying somebody else with better skills, knowledge, tools and patience to see my designs come to life, so be it.

I'm looking forward to any help and responses. If some people are willing to help in one way or another I will post a basic sketch of what I want to do for my first build and list my exact electronics. Just to briefly describe it though, it is loosely based on the geobat and other round wing designs, but stretched into an elongated teardrop delta shape. My plan has a solid wing with no "cutout" areas, has the thee flaps along the rounded rear section of the wing(s) and two stabilizers like the geobat, It has a single motor and prop at the front nose, but I could change the build to a pusher if it would work better. For simplicities sake my plan has a simple mount for the propeller and no enclosed fuselage, basically a flying wing with the electronics exposed and simply mounted on top of the wing in the right positions for weight. Again, this is something I can tweak by making an enclosed fuselage that goes either partly or fully down the wing. If I'm building it myself this will be more challenging, but will probably lead to a better product. If this plan is unfeasible I have quite a few other single motor designs in mind, most of which use 2 flap servos rather than the 3 this build requires. Thanks in advance for any help!
 

Merv

Well-known member
#2
Hello, I have been trying for a while now to design and build my first rc plane,
Welcome, you’ve come to the right place.

Your might consider a FT kit for your first build. Their kits are very easy & quick to build. Having a proven design might be an easier project to learn to fly with than one of your own design. Offering advice remotely is difficult, we don’t know what you don’t know. We, the FT community, will be far more effective troubleshooting a known design than an unknown plane.

The journey of a thousand miles is best taken one step at a time. Learn the basics building skills first. Then learn to fly. Then go wild and build your dream plane.
 

kilroy07

Well-known member
#3
Your might consider a FT kit for your first build.
I second that.

You mentioned your lack of tolerance for frustration...
If you take an existing design and get it flying first THEN modify it, I think you will have a much easier (less frustrating) time of it.

A good analogy is cooking from a recipe;
Follow the recipe to the letter the first time so you know what it's sposta taste like. THEN modify it to your own tastes!

That said, feel free to post your designs and share (sharing is really what this community is all about!)
You might perk someone's interest enough to help out! (I might offer to help, but I've seriously got WAY too many projects lined up already on my workbench!)

The design sounds interesting, although, maybe a bit difficult to fashion out of foamboard... (but that's just judging from the image in my head...)

So, welcome to the community and I hope you see your dreams fly one day!
 

Vimana89

Well-known member
#4
Thank you for the replies, about the advice I expected. I'll try to draw up some nice plans of one or more of my designs and post them. as for the FT kits, some of them do look interesting, but I do really kinda want to add a little twist. I really like the idea of contra rotating props. Would it be terribly difficult to take a nice FT kit such as https://store.flitetest.com/flite-t...-electric-airplane-kit-635mm-flt-1038/p673702 or https://store.flitetest.com/flite-t...-electric-airplane-kit-737mm-flt-1035/p673699, and fit it with something like https://www.ebay.com/itm/163342234817?
 

Merv

Well-known member
#5
Would it be terribly difficult to take a nice FT kit such as
They look like it would work but it’s hard to say for sure. It may be a tight fit. The additional complexity will not be worth it. Just more stuff to break. You would be better off starting with a trainer. I’d recommend the Storch or Bushwhacker. The Simple Cub and Tiny Trainer are a bit smaller but are also excellent choices.
 

DamoRC

Well-known member
Mentor
#6
Hello, I have been trying for a while now to design and build my first rc plane, and I have some electronics from failed builds using corrugated plastic. To be completely honest, I have limited building skills, patience, and dexterity/coordination.
I think you have come to the right place and kudos for an excellent first post.

Not to be annoying, but I have a few questions to help better understand where you are with your design, build, and flying skills

(1) Are you an experienced flyer but are just struggling with the design / build part (the reason I ask is that if you are learning to fly and trying to design and build your own planes, this can be a hard and long road)
(2) Can you define "failed build" - it just fell apart on the bench because of poor building or would it not fly?
(3) Limited building skills are only limited by practice and guidance. Learning good basic techniques (for example with a kit) and then building a lot will improve your skills - this is not a terminal affliction.
(4) Limited patience ? Join the club! ;)
(5) Limited Dexterity / Coordination - is there an illness or disability we should be aware of or do you just think you have limited dexterity / coordination.

I think you should jump in with both feet - continue your dream to design and build, but improve those skills by getting a kit and learning the basics. No reason you can't do both. So go ahead an post the plans / drawings and electronics here and we'll see what we can do. One thing you can be at ease d about, you will get only positive encouragement from the community.

On the contra-prop setup - that looks sweet. I haven't build the vector, but the mini arrow is solid and can carry a chunk of weight - you might be pushing it to its limit with that CR setup, particularly if you are a new flyer. Perhaps start with the larger FT Spear if you fancy a flying wing?

Looking forward to seeing your plans.

DamoRC
 

kilroy07

Well-known member
#7
Okay, see I said "Post your plans and you might peak someone's interest..." and you have...

One of the projects on my (ever expanding) list is one of my Father's favorite planes;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_XFY_Pogo

I had planned to make him one for Father's day next year... If you want to try designing one I would build it!
(I know you want to do something based on your own designs, but you're the one who mentioned contra-rotating props) ;)
The ebay listing is similar to ones I've been looking at on aliexpress...

In trade, I could send you a laser cut kit for yourself to try and build.
 

Vimana89

Well-known member
#8
I think you have come to the right place and kudos for an excellent first post.

Not to be annoying, but I have a few questions to help better understand where you are with your design, build, and flying skills

(1) Are you an experienced flyer but are just struggling with the design / build part (the reason I ask is that if you are learning to fly and trying to design and build your own planes, this can be a hard and long road)
(2) Can you define "failed build" - it just fell apart on the bench because of poor building or would it not fly?
(3) Limited building skills are only limited by practice and guidance. Learning good basic techniques (for example with a kit) and then building a lot will improve your skills - this is not a terminal affliction.
(4) Limited patience ? Join the club! ;)
(5) Limited Dexterity / Coordination - is there an illness or disability we should be aware of or do you just think you have limited dexterity / coordination.

I think you should jump in with both feet - continue your dream to design and build, but improve those skills by getting a kit and learning the basics. No reason you can't do both. So go ahead an post the plans / drawings and electronics here and we'll see what we can do. One thing you can be at ease d about, you will get only positive encouragement from the community.

On the contra-prop setup - that looks sweet. I haven't build the vector, but the mini arrow is solid and can carry a chunk of weight - you might be pushing it to its limit with that CR setup, particularly if you are a new flyer. Perhaps start with the larger FT Spear if you fancy a flying wing?

Looking forward to seeing your plans.

DamoRC
Thank you, a lot of helpful responses so far, but yours in particular gives me some hope. If I do a kit I am sort of set on customizing it with the CR prop. Maybe I was just looking at kits that were a bit small to support it efficiently. I like the larger spear, and will continue to look at other kits in that size range. As far as my flying skill, it has been a while since I have flown, but as a young teen I had a couple of rc planes, one of which was a simple flying wing I believe airhogs, and the other was a simple fixed wing plane but with double props. I picked it up quick and got proficient with both, so I don't think it will be very hard to learn again. As far as dexterity and coordination, nothing seriously impairing it, just not my strong point...mediocre, a bit clumsy and uncoordinated. My builds were made of corrugated plastic rather than foamboard which could have contributed extra thickness and weight. They held together, the electronics functioned, but they would not fly. I tried a slender delta flying wing, much the shape of your stereotypical paper airplane, long pointy and triangular. Tried it with a front prop and then rebuilt it to a pusher. I launched it from hand and it spun out of control and flopped every time. Next, I tried a little square 4 winged vtol xcopter. Just wouldn't lift off the ground and toppled. Third, I tried a long simple rectangular flying wing with the battery as the nose and a pusher prop. Went a lot like the delta. The main thing I can absolutely point to on all 3 as a probable cause or contributing factor was crumby flaps. I did not have the proper wires and control horns and I couldn't really make flaps that sit flush with coroplast, so all three builds had these flaps with very tangible gaps between the wing and flap. The second thing that I suspect was simply not getting the weight distribution right. I think that if I use foamboard, learn to make good flaps, and work on the weight distribution and lift, I may be able to get a fairly simple single engine build with 2-3 flaps of my own design to work. As the point of this hobby is an outlet for my creativity, I have a very hard time being motivated to buy and build(what is to me) for example an extremely bland and basic kit part for part exact copy-at that point I've circled completely away from my original intent in picking up this hobby, but I do understand that I need to learn and a kit can be helpful, so I feel it might be a nice compromise to pick a kit I find interesting and custom rig it with that CR prop. I need to flesh out some drawings for a couple of my own single prop ideas so I can share, so until then, really any input regarding general building techniques, materials, and anything regarding the CR prop kit build would be most helpful.
 

Vimana89

Well-known member
#9
Okay, see I said "Post your plans and you might peak someone's interest..." and you have...

One of the projects on my (ever expanding) list is one of my Father's favorite planes;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_XFY_Pogo

I had planned to make him one for Father's day next year... If you want to try designing one I would build it!
(I know you want to do something based on your own designs, but you're the one who mentioned contra-rotating props) ;)
The ebay listing is similar to ones I've been looking at on aliexpress...

In trade, I could send you a laser cut kit for yourself to try and build.
Interesting plane, I'm familiar with it, you and your dad really couldn't have picked a cooler one :). Just saw a really nice build on youtube the other day of it in fact-I'm just unclear what you are proposing. Are you asking me to design for you, a build that is as close as possible as the original plane,of which you will send a copy of your printed parts(assuming it works out)? Or do you already have your Convair design handled, and are asking me to submit a completely original design with CR props? Either way, I'm intrigued, and will help to the best of my ability. If you want a close to accurate model of the Convair, there will be some engineering challenges and compromises even for somebody with much more skill and experience. that being said, I will help to the best of my ability-if your going with foamboard, that rounded, dolphin-shaped fuselage is going to have to become something more polygonal, or all together rectangular. The fuel tanks on the wing tips are extra weight and engineering for no return but aesthetics-I could include them, but Id recommend not. You won't want wheels on your landing gear on the scaled down rc version-just straight sticks. Those are just the few things I see right off the bat-other than that shouldn't be too bad to design.
 
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Vimana89

Well-known member
#10
Interesting plane, I'm familiar with it. Just saw a really nice build on youtube the other day of it in fact-I'm just unclear what you are proposing. Are you asking me to design for you, a build that is as close as possible as the original plane,of which you will send a copy of your printed parts(assuming it works out)? Or do you already have your Convair design handled, and are asking me to submit a completely original design with CR props? Either way, I'm intrigued, and will help to the best of my ability. If you want a close to accurate model of the Convair, there will be some engineering challenges and compromises even for somebody with much more skill and experience. that being said, I will help to the best of my ability-if your going with foamboard, that rounded, dolphin-shaped fuselage is going to have to become something more polygonal, or all together rectangular. The fuel tanks on the wing tips are extra weight and engineering for no return but aesthetics-I could include them, but Id recommend not. You won't want wheels on your landing gear on the scaled down rc version-just straight sticks. Those are just the few things I see right off the bat-other than that shouldn't be too bad to design.
Also, the original design has 4 flaps-and with my limited experience I have yet to actually mess with CR props I'm assuming your gonna need a second ESC and perhaps even a second battery using the CR props-so what that means is your gonna need at least like a 6 channel transmitter and receiver to run 4 servos and a CR prop. hobbyking 6ch transmitter(what I'm trying to work with) is as cheap as they come but 6ch receivers are a bit pricey, and like I said I'm assuming but not 100% sure you need extra parts(esc and bat) to rig a CR prop-that very question is one I'm looking for advice on right now in fact, so as soon as I know, I can incorporate that into the build.
 

kilroy07

Well-known member
#11
A contra-rotating setup will indeed need two ESCs. I think one battery would work (maybe under 5 min flight times, but it should work.)

There are a couple of ways we could setup the control surfaces.
I could see it set up as a simple elevon rig and leave the "rudders" fixed (some testing would need to be done.)
So you could get away with as few as 3 channels (I currently have Flysky equipment, a 6 channel receiver is $10-12.)

The idea would be to launch it vertically (of course!) :LOL:

I plan on adding a few 3D printed details.

I just thought maybe you would be interested in a design challenge.
If not that's certainly okay, as I said I plan on building one next year anyway (I haven't even ordered my motors or anything yet.)

I've looked at the old Linberg kit (1/48). I'll probably pick one up so I can get a good handle on the shape of the thing in 3D.

So, no worries. Just an idea.
 

PoorManRC

Well-known member
#12
Okay, see I said "Post your plans and you might peak someone's interest..." and you have...

One of the projects on my (ever expanding) list is one of my Father's favorite planes;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_XFY_Pogo

I had planned to make him one for Father's day next year... If you want to try designing one I would build it!
(I know you want to do something based on your own designs, but you're the one who mentioned contra-rotating props) ;)
The ebay listing is similar to ones I've been looking at on aliexpress...
In trade, I could send you a laser cut kit for yourself to try and build.
Trying not to make this a Threadjack (although still on subject)....

HOLY YOU-KNOW-WHAT That's Ambitious!!!

@Vimana89 - if you can design it, I'm pretty certain that He can build it! Sounds like a symbiotic pairing, that could come up with something really Cool.

...... I've never seen contra-rotating Props successfully done in RC. Take that with a grain of salt, I'm quite new at RC Flight!! :p I barely remember a Tupelev TU-144 running as a Kid. LOUDEST thing I've ever heard!!
I'm sure a couple of 8 inch Props wouldn't be that loud... Just preparing you, in case you've never heard what that set up sounds like. ;)

IF there's a pre-built twin reverse Propeller mechanism, I'm sure that would be more than HALF of the design! GOOD Luck, and please post progress!!! (y)(y)
 

Vimana89

Well-known member
#13
A contra-rotating setup will indeed need two ESCs. I think one battery would work (maybe under 5 min flight times, but it should work.)

There are a couple of ways we could setup the control surfaces.
I could see it set up as a simple elevon rig and leave the "rudders" fixed (some testing would need to be done.)
So you could get away with as few as 3 channels (I currently have Flysky equipment, a 6 channel receiver is $10-12.)

The idea would be to launch it vertically (of course!) :LOL:

I plan on adding a few 3D printed details.

I just thought maybe you would be interested in a design challenge.
If not that's certainly okay, as I said I plan on building one next year anyway (I haven't even ordered my motors or anything yet.)

I've looked at the old Linberg kit (1/48). I'll probably pick one up so I can get a good handle on the shape of the thing in 3D.

So, no worries. Just an idea.
Cool, I was going to ask if it were possible to get away with using 2 flaps rather than 4. I actually am interested, just as I said, my skills and experience are quite limited-but I'd be willing to try to the best of my ability and help any way I can. I'm already looking at sketching up the body and stuff, but I'm wondering what kind of equipment and experience you have-if you can make rounded and curved rather than polygonal parts, especially for your fuselage, your working on a level that I'm not even designing on yet. What I'm envisioning is not rounded, it is polygonal. That being said, the profile is basically the exact same, and the function should be too. I can replicate the "dolphin" sort of profile of the fuselage, slim towards the back wide towards the front then sloped again down to the nose-but in a polygonal manner that is somewhat vaguely reminiscent of the f117 stealth fighter. The wings and fins would be placed and shaped exactly the same as well, but angled and squared off rather than rounded. Basically, just picture the exact geometry of the original convair, but everything polygonal instead of rounded. If you have a better or different way to do the profile in mind I say go for it, but if you wish to see my simplified polygonal version I can work up a nice sketch for you, and then we can get to working on the exact scale and size you want and your electronics loadout.
 

Vimana89

Well-known member
#15

d8veh

Well-known member
#16
As a designer, what advantage are you trying to get from the more complicated contra-rotating motors? Their thrust and efficiency are similar to simple motors.

If you want to design and fly your own planes, you need to do an apprenticeship to understand construction techniques, power systems and control mechanisms. By apprenticeship, I mean build a few different planes to figure out how others do it and what the problems and key design parameters are. I'm still not sure what your ultimate goal is. Could you explain what you see as the end-game.
 

Merv

Well-known member
#17
you need to do an apprenticeship
I agee with @d8veh, you need to learn to stand before you can learn to walk and walk before you can run.

Some of your frustration is due to: your trying to run a marathon before you’ve learned to stand. You will achieve your goals much quicker if you take it one step at a time.

I find that my flying skills diminish with just a few months of winter. In the spring, I always go back to my trainer for a few days, until I get my mojo back.
 
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Vimana89

Well-known member
#18
As a designer, what advantage are you trying to get from the more complicated contra-rotating motors? Their thrust and efficiency are similar to simple motors.

If you want to design and fly your own planes, you need to do an apprenticeship to understand construction techniques, power systems and control mechanisms. By apprenticeship, I mean build a few different planes to figure out how others do it and what the problems and key design parameters are. I'm still not sure what your ultimate goal is. Could you explain what you see as the end-game.
My endgame is to scratch a creative itch, and make my own designs come to life, whether I'm the one actually building them or not. I'm trying to sort of do this in a vacuum by myself, because I've found no meetup groups where I live to do this, and none of my friends share this hobby-in fact my friends don't really have hobbies at all, they just go to work, come home, play video games and watch tv, rinse and repeat. I feel completely stifled by life circumstances, and just want to see the things I imagine come out of my head and into reality. I really have trouble getting motivated to the idea of taking a really bland kit and copying it exactly. It's time, it's money, and the creative itch goes unscratched-If I'm spending that money on something not of my own design, I feel I'd be better off just buying a really nice plane or multicopter . The main reason for wanting to use CR props on a kit build is just that-to make it my own, to not copy something exactly-a sort of compromise where I can learn and still feel a little bit of creative fulfillment. It's the unique factor-the cool factor. That being said, there are some tangible advantages in the design. It will probably provide marginally more power and efficiency than a regular prop, likely between a 5% and 15% increase. The bigger advantage though, in my opinion is better and more stable flight characteristics. There's something called asymmetrical torque that creates yaw, using a normal prop, that causes handling problems at low speed, and a CR prop negates this. Better handling and stability at low speeds sounds like a desirable characteristic to have. Plus. Ya know. It looks cool:cool:. This IS supposed to be about fun after all...right?
 

Vimana89

Well-known member
#19
1542477213131.png
Looking like a good candidate for the CR-takes off vertically too just like the Convair. Easy to fly it conservatively and learn, but also capable of high performance when I get better and more confident.
 

d8veh

Well-known member
#20
If youwant to see your ideas realised, you should make some sketches and post them here. If they're interesting enough, somebody will try them.

To me, contra-rotating is just unnecessary expense and compexity. The torque isn't a problem on trainer and fun-fly aircraft, though it could give an advantage on a F3A pattern ship. By all means try it.