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Pool noodle tundra tires for the Storch

#4
Just flew with them this morning for the first time. They work great. They float right over tall lawn grass and have no issues at all. They help keep the overall plane weight way down. An interesting fact is that the holes in the pool noodles are not centered perfectly. So once I put the cork hubs in, I drilled the axle hole in the center of the overall tire to make the tire roll true. This means the holes are not perfectly centered in the cork.
 

mayan

Well-known member
#5
Just flew with them this morning for the first time. They work great. They float right over tall lawn grass and have no issues at all. They help keep the overall plane weight way down. An interesting fact is that the holes in the pool noodles are not centered perfectly. So once I put the cork hubs in, I drilled the axle hole in the center of the overall tire to make the tire roll true. This means the holes are not perfectly centered in the cork.
Next time I need wheels this will be my solution, thank you.
 
#9
I see that some are interested. Here's how I did it. First, I ordered a black "jumbo"-sized pool noodle on Amazon. This is 3.5 inches in diameter, which is bigger than your standard department store pool noodle. These have one-inch holes in the "center". A standard wine cork is only about 15/16 inch in diameter. So I also ordered some #10 (1-inch diameter) over-sized wine corks from here: https://eckraus.com/10-straight-corks-superior-grade-12-count/
I used some styrene tubing from the hobby shop to line the axle holes that I drilled out. One could also use hollow cylindrical coffee stir sticks if they had them.
First I cut the cork to the width I wanted the wheel to be. I used a forstner bit on my drill press to drill a 1-inch hole in a two by four the exact depth I wanted for the width of my wheel (7/8 inches). Then I just dropped the cork in the hole I drilled and cut the top off flush with a thin hand saw. A tooth pick or straight pin can be used to fish the cork back out of the hole.
To slice a piece of pool noodle to the correct width. Set the cork on a work bench upright like a can of beans sitting on a cupboard shelf. Lay a razor blade flat on top to the cork so that it over hangs the side of the cork by 3/4 inch or so. Pin the blade in place by holding downward pressure on it with your finger. Stand the pool noodle on end on the work bench next to the cork. Bring the pool noodle in this position into the razor blade. rotate the pool noodle so that the blade makes a slice completely around the pool noodle at the exact height of the cork. The blade will not completely cut to the center of the noodle so finish the cut with a bread knife using the slice you made with the razor blade as a guide for your knife.

Glue the cork into the noodle by smearing the outside of the cork in hot glue. Spread the glue evenly on the outside of the cork with a scrap of foam or cardboard. Let the glue cool a bit so it is still soft and sticky but won't melt the foam of the pool noodle. Open the hole in the pool noodle wide with your fingers and set the cork in it without allowing all the glue to be squeezed out one side.

Measure the center of the cork-noodle wheel carefully. The center is not likely to be the center of the cork because pool noodles do not usually have perfectly centered holes. Drill the appropriate size hole in the exact center of the wheel. Line the axle hole by inserting a piece of bushing material like a plastic tube. Use super glue around the outside of each axle hole to hold the bushing material in place.

Don't worry if you mess a few up because you still have a lot of pool noodle and corks left to try again.
 

PoorManRC

Well-known member
#13
That's really clever!! The Storch looks great too! ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿ˜Ž

Big floaty tires work well on the Storch. Good to know they work well on grass. If I ever find any, that will be helpful!!! ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜† (I'm in Arizona)

Seriously, I'll be getting to my Storch Build soon... And Tires were an issue (NO funds).
I've got some worn out 3" Foam Rubber wheelsets. I think the Hubs are 1"...
I may try a Pool Noodle instead!
 
#18
Love the idea! My worry would be that the cork would fall apart overtime.
I'm sure it will. Pool noodles aren't the most durable material either, but it takes about ten minutes to make a new set, they are dirt cheap, and weigh about a third as much as smaller diameter hobby shop-purchased wheels. My intention with the soft foam of the pool noodles and the impact dampening nature of the cork was to relieve stresses of hard landings or bumpy runways on the airfame. The tripod landing legs of the storch are not very forgiving on their own.

On a slightly different topic, I also modified my landing gear legs to be carbon fiber articulated with vinyl tubing. In my imagined world of physics the squishy foam and yielding cork help suck up energy before it is transferred to the gear legs. The light wheels and gear legs together with hybrid wood glue/hot glue assembly gives a flying weight of 858 grams with a FT C power pack, 2200 3S and a walled-off internal cargo bay with servo-actuated side drop door. Flite test specs a weight without a battery of 810 grams or almost 1000 grams all up with a 2200 3s. Interestingly, it seems they achieve that weight by gluing layers of readiboard together to make wheels-also probably not the most durable.
 

FoamyDM

Building Fool-Flying Noob
#19
Interestingly, it seems they achieve that weight by gluing layers of readiboard together to make wheels-also probably not the most durable.
I wrapped mine in Electrical tape to improve the durability and grip of the wheel exterior, the piece that fails for me (beside my flying) is the hub. the foam board gives, or tears. I use the pop-rivet style hub, but the foam around it still gives, I just re-glue. so far it holds up ok.

I have used the dollar store noodles (2 3/8",6cm), and they are just not big enough from my field's grass. the big ones just make it.