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New & looking for advice!

#1
Hi there everyone!
I'm Alex, I come from Poland and thanks to Flite Test, I got recently intrested in those flying foamy things ;)
A little backstory: I always liked tinkering, was really into Lego, especially Technic, where I could learn about mechanics. About a year ago I jumped into competetive On Road RC, still learning but love the experience! There is a slight problem though - everything in RC cars is so expensive. And you barely can do anything yourself, except the looks. Having always built my own cars in Lego, where I had to think about the mechanics too, I lack the DIY feeling. Here is where planes come in - I am amazed how much you can do yourself in this hobby.
After watching like a thousand of FT videos, I settled on a Simple Storch to build as my first plane. Got the recommended electronics, but materials in EU are a problem, as you might have problably read on this forum before. The first plane was made from styrofoam (the kind you put around TVs in boxes). Let's say this was a complete fail, and the material is way to soft for wings and control surfaces.
Luckily, a friend of mine found some 'Foam X' - a polystyrene foam sandwitched between two thin cardboard layers - very simmilar to DTFB. The paper may be a bit harder to separate and heavier, but I don't think there is that much difference - after weighing it, I found its density is around 0,08g/cm3. The thing is, the foam is 10mm thick.
So here I am asking you - does it make any sense to use this board for any newbie plane? I thought about making something like a 200% Mini Scout - so that the foam will be closer to proper values, and the FT Storch electronics will fit. What do you think?

TL;DR: Any ideas on what newbie plane to build out of 10mm thick foamboard and ~200W motor?
 

Merv

Well-known member
#2
Welcome to the forums. I've seen planes made from the Styrofoam you are describing, here in the US, we call it bead board. If you use a spar and put a skin in it, it works great. Almost anything will work to skin it, brown paper, packing tape, laminating film, old school plane covering film. With the covering film, you must use the cheap low temp stuff.

I'm not familiar with 'Foam X', it looks like it will work but you planes may be a bid heavy, somewhat like using Elmer's FB here. My planes, similar to the Scorch, will come out about 25 to 30 oz, (700 to 850 g) all up weight.

I've seen a lot of people in Europe use depron, I believe it is an underlayment for flooring. It's very expensive for us but cheap on your side of the pond. Just cover the depron with tape or paper and your are good to go. Here is the article from Andrew Newton, there is a video at the end.

Here is a video on how to cover a wing with paper. Use a ordinary white glue or yellow wood glue, use either thinned with water to about 50% of its original consistency, not 50% water but 50% thinner. How much water you need to add to achieve the proper consistency is dependent on the brand of glue. Apply with a paint brush to both the foam and paper. You want the glue thin enough to wet the paper, it will help it lay down on the foam and make good contact.
 
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d8veh

Well-known member
#3
I don't know how much money you have, but if you can afford it, it's worth buying a box of foam-boards from the Flitetest store. Theirs works really well and a box will last you for many planes and repairs.

There are various stores in Europe that stock the Flitetest board. You can find them with a Google search, but you need to buy about 10 sheets to avoid damage during shipping.
https://profimodel.cz/pl/ostatni/63129-flite-test-wr-foam-box-25-ks-4013389549554.html
 

jaredstrees

Well-known member
#4
Yes, it is Flite Test is getting more popular in Europe. If that's not available, go for the depron. That 10mm is going to probably be way too thick.
 
#5
Thanks everybody for the answers!
Buying the FT foamboard looks like a very viable idea - this way I won't have to modify the plans, and the cost is fine - hope I'll find some store in my country, so I won't pay the same for the boards and the shipping. I will also visit a local store to search for the depron boards - hopefully around the correct width. I'll update you when I'll know more!
 

d8veh

Well-known member
#6
Good luck. I think you'll fit right in to this hobby from what you've said. Many hours of fun will follow, and maybe a bit of frustration because there are always obstacles to overcome. There's nothing that beats the satisfaction of seeing a plane that you created flying around the sky.
 
#9
It's been a few days, but I made a lot of progress. As advised, I went on a search to find depron in a local store. I have found a very nice floor silencing depron with foil on one side. Thought it may work like the DTFB paper, at least for folds, so I bought a packet of 5m^2 and went home.
After playing a bit with this sheets, I can say the plane looks doable with this material. I managed to cut all the pieces out, reinforcing all future bends with packing tape.
IMG_20181209_204220.jpg
The only thing is, as the foam was heat-wrapped, it has a slight bend. This is not a problem for the wings or fuselage (bending it in any direction straightens it, the 'pizza triangle' effect), but the elevator and rudder will need reinforcement to stay flat.
IMG_20181209_204338.jpg
I also made the firewall out of 2mm abs and the horns from 1mm soft plastic. I also found some 1mm 'piano wire' and managed to straighten it, hopefully it will be strong enough for the model.
IMG_20181210_183234.jpg
I finally went with the FT Simple Cub, as it seemed more up-to-date and I really like the reinforced walls and removable wheels. It has however quite long control rods, so I may need to add some guiders for the wires.
 

Merv

Well-known member
#10
Looking good. For the rudder & elevator you might want to try glue together 2 layers of foam. May need to experiment with the glue, I've had great luck with any polyurethane glue (Gorilla glue). Any glue that will not attack the foam will work. I've started doing all my FB planes with 2 layers, its much stronger. It could also help the material stay. I have found wire marking flags make excellent push rods. They are used to mark utility lines & for layout of construction sights. Look for them in a lumber yard or construction supply store.
 
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#11
It's the week later, and I just came back from the maiden flight :) I noticed however, that I have not posted any photos of the finished build. Here are some:
IMG_20181217_151800.jpg IMG_20181217_151809.jpg
I'd love to take better shots, but the fact it's the middle of winter, there is no sunlight and the plane is covered in reflective aluminium makes it too hard for me to bother. Because of the foil, there were moments where I could not see the plane on the grey sky, and I feel like without a paintjob, flying it makes no sense. I'll make some better pictures then ;)
Even though I followed the build guides precisely, the difference in the materials avaiable made me make some changes. As you can see, the wheels and suspension is made out of Lego parts:
IMG_20181217_151830.jpg IMG_20181217_151817.jpg
They worked fine. The front suspension can take on small bumps and on rough landings may save the fuselage. The rear wheel is very light and does not stress the rudder too much, what was one of my conserns.
In the picture above you can also see some clips I made out of piano wire to hold the removeable barbeque sticks in place. They worked really well. Also, as seen in the shot of the back, I have added four barbeque sticks in the middle of the fuselage to prevent the long pushrods from bending in the middle. They are all positioned close to the point where the two pushrods cross. most of the slack in the linkages I encountered during building dissapeared!

The maiden flight was successful, I had some problems with getting this thing up into the air, but that was due to poorly centered rudder and not enough elevator input during take-off on my side. I don't really know how a plane like this (or any plane) should feel like to fly, but in my opinion it flew very well. It was also very forgiving - a couple of times, when the plane was flying toward me, I misjudged the right direction to steer, and had the plane dash towards the ground. At all of these times, pulling the elevator stick all the way down stabilized the plane very gently.
IMG_20181217_153942.jpg IMG_20181217_154935.jpg
There are also some small things: There are cut ChupaChups sticks on the ends on some barbeque stick (nice friction fit), I have a huge washer as the weight on the tail - the plane was really nose heavy, probably due to the wheels, the C equivalent motor and beefier battery than recommended (1800mAh). I also added a popsicle stick on the elevator, as the depron is not as rigid as the DTFB and it was bending unevenly. Also, there are barbeque sticks glued into the rudder and elevator to keep them straight.

Aaaand that's it :) I'm really amazed, that someone like me, with some manual skills, cheap tools, some electronic knowledge, but none about planes could have built a flying and controllable thing. This only ensures me that any upcoming FT planes are not outside of my reach! Great job designing those machines!

Oh, and one negative thing - the Simple Cub was probably not designed to be flown in the snow. The front battery compartment works like a backhoe loader - after a landing in the snow, it was all white inside. Any Ideas how to make a closeable front? Or should I just tape it shut?
Cheers :)
 

buzzbomb

I know nothing!
#13
It's one of the things I love about this hobby and the people who get into it. You want to do it. You don't know how to do it. You figure out a way to do it. Then you do it, and it's cool as heck! Awesome build, man. Crazy, fun, innovative. You've got it all going on. Thank you.
 

Headbang

Well-known member
#16
I love it! And you had better success with the cub then others I have seen. Only concern I would have is the foil, if it is real metal foil it will cause you some range issues as it will reflect the signal. It might not be real foil tho and just silver painted plastic or paper or something. Good Luck!
 
#18
Thanks again for the comments ;)
About that foil, I named it aluminium but it is probably just some kind of plastic, as you said. I had no interference or range problems (fs-i6 with ia5b), also the foil stretches when heated up. Still, it is way too light reflective :)
I've flown the Cub a couple of times now, and I must say the construction is really strong. Here is a photo of the front after a 'vertical' landing:
IMG_20181220_132752.jpg
It is still in one piece. The foam bends and creases, but with a little hot glue I have rapaired similar damage. The motor however, feels like it had too much, at least the bearings :eek: It spins with noticeably more friction.
This landing and a few more are a result of me mistakingly turning left instead of right or vice versa. This is the hardest thing I find about flying, when the plane is flying towards me I have to mirror the controls. Guess I have to practice and just 'feel' the side I have to turn :)
 
#20
If you want to try Lego wheels on a plane, here is a useful link: Lego wheel chart
You get diameter, width and most importantly, weight. The ones I used (56mm balloons) have one of the best diameter/weight ratios, but if you don't mind the additional weight, there are much better looking wheels :)
Also, I took the motor apart and the bearings seem fine, there is probably some debris in the front one, but it doesn't bind or anything. I may have tried to turn the motor while the ESC was on and that is where the friction came from o_O