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Two Sides of the Power Pod Fence

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#1
Over the brief time I have been on this forum, or even in the hobby for that matter, I have noticed a consistent division over the power pods. Some are on the "love the power pod as a sacrificial lamb to save the damage to the fuselage" side, which makes sense. Why not just build a new pod because of a nose in incident instead of doing surgery to the nose of the fuse or building a new airframe entirely. I can see how that point is appealing especially to pilots in training, or the weekend warriors who like the sport maneuvers and take risks any chance possible. But what I have found in my own experience, and others crashing as well, not naming an names... @PoorManRC, what ends up happening is that it isn't only the power pod that takes the damage but the nose absorbs some inertia tell tale by the crushed nose and the pilots groans and sighs. Hence surgery or a full rebuild of the fuselage is still required.

Other side of the fence is the good folks who don't like the power pod because in the action of switching it in and out of planes or just to change a battery the power pod wears out, gets weak, wrinkles, deforms, and just becomes less effective each time it is removed or installed. Another good point. Just like in the build vids where The Bix says "build your power pod first" then move on to the airframe, is something I do every time. But in the build process I tend to fit the power pod in a handful of time to check fit, squareness or symmetry, electronics placement, airflow, fitting landing gear, etc... the power pod is so far removed from new by the time it is ready to maiden. It will have been handled so much that it is misshapen, paper is frayed and delaminated on the tabs, skewer holes are worn out and loose, and I know there are other issues many of you have already experienced.

It's not that the power pod is a bad design or even a bad idea, it is the limitations to the medium we are so used to using. No matter how you prep it, cut it, tape it, seal it off, it is inherently weak. No ones fault, it is the material we use because it is easy to build with, and it is CHEAP. Crash, rebuild, repeat. There have been some really creative ways to help solve problems with FB by way of bracing, laminating, taping, types of glues, most of which I would have never thought of if it wasn't for being on this forum, all brilliant as they are we keep hearing the same issues floating to the top.

This thread is to help with our power pod woes to those who wish to try it for our beloved swappable airframes. If it is something you gravitate to because you think its a good idea then try it out and post here to provide feedback to others. If you think it's a bad idea, still try it and post your feedback and opinions here. It's just an idea we all can learn from albeit a positive or a negative to move forward with the idea machine. I watched a build vid from @nerdnic on his P-39 and noticed he used BBQ skewers in a way I hadn't seen before, he frenched in some sections of skewers around his battery hatch for strength and durability, knowing people are going to be handling this area a lot. So i played around with BBQ skewers in creative ways on my builds to see where it could go, my Baby Blender and Speedster Biplane both use skewers for wing struts and cabanes, and recently as control rods. Now i have integrated them into the power pod and I am super impressed. Check it out:
20190820_134201.jpg 20190820_140050.jpg
We all know what this is, comes with every standard size planes set of plans or SBK. And if you look closely you can probably guess where I am going with this. To help alleviate the delaminating paper issue i am extending the sides up a half inch to peel the foam from the paper, glue and wrap it over the edges to the inside of the pod, excluding the tabs, (mostly because I haven't got that one quite worked out yet), simple so far. The plan also says to do an A fold to form up the sides, which is what we are doing dimensionally but there is a twist, the cavities cut for the A fold are moved in toward the center of the bottom plate an 1/8" and fully cut out to a 1/4" in width, 1/8" on the bottom plate and 1/8" on the side cheek side, split half and half. This new channel now will house a BBQ skewer running the full length of the pod front to back once folded 90 degrees. Now you will want to dry fit this a few time on a scrap piece of FB to adjust for the diameter of the skewers you are using, I have bought skewers of different sizes so double check what you have on hand and how it fits, and if not, adjust the width of the channel you cut and remove. A full 1/4" worked for what I had. They should fit in as so:
BACK
20190820_142027.jpg
FRONT
20190820_142017.jpg
Here it is apparent that the skewers are fully sunk into the corners and surrounded in HG, now remember to dry fit this a few times before the gluing, you may have to work the side cheeks up a few times to get the foam to form into the diameter of the skewers. I had to, there was some tension to get the sides 90 degrees to the bottom plate so there was a little work to do. And on the top rail there are skewers that extend back to just the front of the first tab. For that i cut out an extra 3/16" for the paper to wrap over and down on the inside of the pod and maintain the proper wall height. Advantages... the corners and top edges are more resistant to twisting and bowing from handling, frames in the FB which is laterally weak by design, and most importantly, once the firewall is glued and taped on, any hits it takes from crashes, the energy is now transferred and distributed into the skewers and the whole body of the power pod instead of being localized to just the front inch or two. Disadvantages... adds a little more weight to the pod, how much exactly I am not sure of, around the same weight as just 2.5 BBQ skewers, and the build time is increased somewhat, depending on how many of these you have built before.
20190820_142046.jpg
Looks like a power pod
20190820_151918.jpg
Firewall installed
20190820_151929.jpg
Plastic reinforcements for the skewers glued in and taped over 20190820_153319.jpg 20190820_153333.jpg
Motor, ESC, and battery Velcro installed

That's the deal ladies and gentlemen. Now if you are on the side of the pod is the sacrificial lamb, I bet there haven't been very many times you have taken a decent hit to the nose and just replaced the pod without repairs to the airframe. I know its only happened to me once or twice, its usually a full surgery, ask my Bloody Wonder, and I felt like I won the lottery. And if you are on the I'm tired of building pods that just wear out from a handful of battery changes side, try this and tell me what you think. That's my 2 cents
 
Last edited:

PoorManRC

Well-known member
#2
Over the brief time I have been on this forum, or even in the hobby for that matter, I have noticed a consistent division over the power pods. Some are on the "love the power pod as a sacrificial lamb tp save the damage to the fuselage" side, which makes sense. Why not just build a new pod because of a nose in incident instead of doing surgery to the nose of the fuse or building a new airframe entirely. I can see how that point is appealing especially to pilots in training, or the weekend warriors who like the sport maneuvers and take risks any chance possible. But what I have found in my own experience, and others crashing as well, not naming an names... @PoorManRC, what ends up happening is that it isn't only the power pod that takes the damage but the nose absorbs some inertia tell tale by the crushed nose and the pilots groans and sighs. Hence surgery or a full rebuild of the fuselage is still required.

Other side of the fence is the good folks who don't like the power pod because in the action of switching it in and out of planes or just to change a battery the power pod wears out, gets weak, wrinkles, deforms, and just becomes less effective each time it is removed or installed. Another good point. Just like in the build vids where The Bix says "build your power pod first" then move on to the airframe, is something I do every time. But in the build process I tend to fit the power pod in a handful of time to check fit, squareness or symmetry, electronics placement, airflow, fitting landing gear, etc... the power pod is so far removed from new by the time it is ready to maiden. It will have been handled so much that it is misshapen, paper is frayed and delaminated on the tabs, skewer holes are worn out and loose, and I know there are other issues many of you have already experienced.

It's not that the power pod is a bad design or even a bad idea, it is the limitations to the medium we are so used to using. No matter how you prep it, cut it, tape it, seal it off, it is inherently weak. No ones fault, it is the material we use because it is easy to build with, and it is CHEAP. Crash, rebuild, repeat. There have been some really creative ways to help solve problems with FB by way of bracing, laminating, taping, types of glues, most of which I would have never thought of if it wasn't for being on this forum, all brilliant as they are we keep hearing the same issues floating to the top.

This thread is to help with our power pod woes to those who wish to try it for our beloved swappable airframes. If it is something you gravitate to because you think its a good idea then try it out and post here to provide feedback to others. If you think it's a bad idea, still try it and post your feedback and opinions here. It's just an idea we all can learn from albeit a positive or a negative to move forward with the idea machine. I watched a build vid from @nerdnic on his P-39 and noticed he used BBQ skewers in a way I hadn't seen before, he frenched in some sections of skewers around his battery hatch for strength and durability, knowing people are going to be handling this area a lot. So i played around with BBQ skewers in creative ways on my builds to see where it could go, my Baby Blender and Speedster Biplane both use skewers for wing struts and cabanes, and recently as control rods. Now i have integrated them into the power pod and I am super impressed. Check it out:
View attachment 140186 View attachment 140194
We all know what this is, comes with every standard size planes set of plans or SBK. And if you look closely you can probably guess where I am going with this. To help alleviate the delaminating paper issue i am extending the sides up a half inch to peel the foam from the paper, glue and wrap it over the edges to the inside of the pod, excluding the tabs, (mostly because I haven't got that one quite worked out yet), simple so far. The plan also says to do an A fold to form up the sides, which is what we are doing dimensionally but there is a twist, the cavities cut for the A fold are moved in toward the center of the bottom plate 1/8" and fully cut out to a 1/4" in width, 1/8" on the bottom side and 1/8" on the side cheek side, split half and half. this new channel now will house a BBQ skewer full length of the pod front to back once folded 90 degrees. Now you will want to dry fit this a few time on a scrap piece of FB to adjust for the diameter of the skewers you are using, I have bought skewers of different sizes so double check what you have on hand fits, and if not, adjust the width of the channel you cut and remove. A full 1/4" worked for what I had. they should fit in as so:
BACK
View attachment 140188
FRONT
View attachment 140187
Here it is apparent that the skewers are fully sunk into the corners and surrounded in HG, now remember to dry fit this a few times before the gluing, you may have to work the side cheeks up a few times to get the foam to form into the diameter of the skewers. I had to, there was some tension to get the sides 90 degrees to the bottom plate so there was a little work to do. and on the top rail there are skewers that extend back to just the front of the first tab. for that i cut out an extra 3/16" for the paper to wrap over and down on the inside of the pod and maintain the proper wall height. Advantages... the corners and top edges are more resistant to twisting and bowing from handling, frames in the FB which is laterally weak by design, and most importantly, once the firewall is glued and taped on, any hits it takes from crashes, the energy is now transferred and distributed into the skewers and the whole body of the power pod instead of being localized to just the front inch or two. Disadvantages... adds a little more weight to the pod, how much exactly I am not sure of, around the same weight as just 2.5 BBQ skewers, and the build time is increased somewhat, depending on how many of these you have built before.
View attachment 140189
Looks like a power pod
View attachment 140190
Firewall installed
View attachment 140191
Plastic reinforcements for the skewers glued in and taped over View attachment 140192 View attachment 140193
Motor, ESC, and battery Velcro installed

That's the deal ladies and gentlemen. Now if you are on the side of the pod is the sacrificial lamb, I bet there haven't been very many times you have taken a decent hit to the nose and just replaced the pod without repairs to the airframe. I know its only happened to me once or twice, its usually a full surgery, ask my Bloody Wonder, and I felt like I won the lottery. And if you are on the I'm tired of building pods that just wear out from a handful of battery changes side, try this and tell me what you think. That's my 2 cents
...... Your "2 cents" looks like an invaluable FORTUNE to me!!!
Absolutely trying this. Skewers may be one of the cheapest ancillary items we use to build our FT Foamies with. They're Bamboo (for the 2 or 3 that don't already know). Very light, flexible, exceptionally strong for its size!!

You're absolutely right in what you mentioned about my Tubby Cubby too. I wanted strength to withstand Crashes.
(AND yes, to quite a few, WITHSTANDING CRASHES is a very foriegn concept!!!) 😜

But it's something I'm constantly striving for. Ideas like yours are going to just IMPROVE the Hobby for the Minority of us who CARE how they Look, and REALLY care if they CRASH!! 😖
Thank you so much for this!
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#3
...... Your "2 cents" looks like an invaluable FORTUNE to me!!!
Absolutely trying this. Skewers may be one of the cheapest ancillary items we use to build our FT Foamies with. They're Bamboo (for the 2 or 3 that don't already know). Very light, flexible, exceptionally strong for its size!!

You're absolutely right in what you mentioned about my Tubby Cubby too. I wanted strength to withstand Crashes.
(AND yes, to quite a few, WITHSTANDING CRASHES is a very foriegn concept!!!) 😜

But it's something I'm constantly striving for. Ideas like yours are going to just IMPROVE the Hobby for the Minority of us who CARE how they Look, and REALLY care if they CRASH!! 😖
Thank you so much for this!
I so thought of you when I finished building mine like this. I remembered that you like to put a brace in behind your firewall on a couple of your builds. I think the pros outweigh the cons here. One thing that might be a concern though is it takes away a layer of crash crunch which may or may not cause more damage to your motor shaft on the right kind of hit. It's hard to say how it will work out as of now, needs to be tested. Hence the reason for this thread to get enough people to try it and gain the knowledge from actual field experience. I hope this gets a lot of varied attention and opinions. I know i like it as a idea, I wonder how it will act on a fuse in crashes, will it tear the skewer holes in the fuse and how much. I think this will ring bells for the guys who are more experienced pilots and want a power pod that doesn't fall apart when changing batteries or moving it from plane to plane.

When you are building do you do a lot of fit testing with the power pod or do you wait till the end to fit it in?
 

PoorManRC

Well-known member
#4
I so thought of you when I finished building mine like this. I remembered that you like to put a brace in behind your firewall on a couple of your builds. I think the pros outweigh the cons here. One thing that might be a concern though is it takes away a layer of crash crunch which may or may not cause more damage to your motor shaft on the right kind of hit. It's hard to say how it will work out as of now, needs to be tested. Hence the reason for this thread to get enough people to try it and gain the knowledge from actual field experience. I hope this gets a lot of varied attention and opinions. I know i like it as a idea, I wonder how it will act on a fuse in crashes, will it tear the skewer holes in the fuse and how much. I think this will ring bells for the guys who are more experienced pilots and want a power pod that doesn't fall apart when changing batteries or moving it from plane to plane.

When you are building do you do a lot of fit testing with the power pod or do you wait till the end to fit it in?
I do a FEW Power Pod fits. I try not to remove it too many times.

Of course the ultimate Power Pod fix are the FULL box, Nylon or ABS 3D Printed files from Thingiverse!
Removes the Foam from the equation for a Power Pod!!

I CAN tell you from my experience, my BBQ Skewer Firewall Cross Brace KEEPS the Firewall from popping off during the more frequent light bumps...
But STILL breaks away clean, saving the Motor in a high speed, high WEIGHT straight Nose Dive to hard ground! 😲😉
IMG_20190813_150523.jpg
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#6
I do a FEW Power Pod fits. I try not to remove it too many times.

Of course the ultimate Power Pod fix are the FULL box, Nylon or ABS 3D Printed files from Thingiverse!
Removes the Foam from the equation for a Power Pod!!

I CAN tell you from my experience, my BBQ Skewer Firewall Cross Brace KEEPS the Firewall from popping off during the more frequent light bumps...
But STILL breaks away clean, saving the Motor in a high speed, high WEIGHT straight Nose Dive to hard ground! 😲😉
View attachment 140203
Your cub will fly again.

What motor combos do you use on your Minis
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#9
@BATTLEAXE - there will be some nice structure to help eliminate nose crunching damage - I am still a fan of no-pod, but this could be nice in the actual fuse build! :LOL:
You have built a power pod or two I am sure, whip one of these together even without the firewall and see how much more solid this thing is, and let me know what you think.
 

bracesport

Well-known member
#10
I have previously used skewers glued into the corners of my fuse boxes to achieve the same results you describe - your idea is one step neater, although more time-consuming - I do like neatness though! :LOL:
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#11
I have previously used skewers glued into the corners of my fuse boxes to achieve the same results you describe - your idea is one step neater, although more time-consuming - I do like neatness though! :LOL:
In the corners of the fuse you say huh... very interesting. I am going to try that, thx for the inspirational tip (y)
 

Arcfyre

Well-known member
#12
I like this idea. Well done on the explanation and documentation, you made it easy for someone else to try this idea.

I actually do something similar on the leading edges of versa wing pushers that I build. The difference is that I use landing gear (piano) wire instead of skewers, as the primary goal is to add some ballast to the notoriously tail heavy versa pusher.

I also noticed that you have your ESC mounted outside and the battery inside the power pod. I understand that you do this to keep the ESC cooler by giving it more airflow, however by placing the battery inside the pod, you increase the amount of times that the pod needs to be handled. The battery is the most often swapped component of any aircraft, by keeping that out of the pod you can prolong the life of the pod just by not needing to handle it as much. You may also find that mounting the battery lower in the airframe gives you some pendulum stability, more noticeable on high wing planes
 

daxian

Well-known member
#13
the powerpod is designed to be the weak link in the chain...to break before anything else !
easy to replace and so on ...(or supposed to be) ...i have experimented with the usual reinforcements and found them to be mostly inefficient or a waste of time or causing more damage to the fuselage than needed !
only my opinion of course..
the most used (in my case )mods ,are the use of the gift card braces for the fuselage where the skewers pass through and reinforced packing tape to wrap the pod and removal of the fixing tabs ,which(only my opinion )are uneeded in most cases.
the most damage i get in a nose in crash/heavey landing, is the skewers break in half and have to be replaced...or the firewall mounting skewers rip out .
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#14
I like this idea. Well done on the explanation and documentation, you made it easy for someone else to try this idea.

I actually do something similar on the leading edges of versa wing pushers that I build. The difference is that I use landing gear (piano) wire instead of skewers, as the primary goal is to add some ballast to the notoriously tail heavy versa pusher.

I also noticed that you have your ESC mounted outside and the battery inside the power pod. I understand that you do this to keep the ESC cooler by giving it more airflow, however by placing the battery inside the pod, you increase the amount of times that the pod needs to be handled. The battery is the most often swapped component of any aircraft, by keeping that out of the pod you can prolong the life of the pod just by not needing to handle it as much. You may also find that mounting the battery lower in the airframe gives you some pendulum stability, more noticeable on high wing planes
the powerpod is designed to be the weak link in the chain...to break before anything else !
easy to replace and so on ...(or supposed to be) ...i have experimented with the usual reinforcements and found them to be mostly inefficient or a waste of time or causing more damage to the fuselage than needed !
only my opinion of course..
the most used (in my case )mods ,are the use of the gift card braces for the fuselage where the skewers pass through and reinforced packing tape to wrap the pod and removal of the fixing tabs ,which(only my opinion )are uneeded in most cases.
the most damage i get in a nose in crash/heavey landing, is the skewers break in half and have to be replaced...or the firewall mounting skewers rip out .
I think this feedback is exactly what I was looking for. Not only is this threads purpose to get an idea out to the community but also for me to gain all perspectives on how I can improve my power pod system by what others are doing. I really appreciate your replies.

@Arcfyre you make a really good point about where I place my battery and it is something I mentioned a couple times in the original post. I am susceptible to more removals and installs of the power pod just due to battery changes alone... but I also use the same pod in multiple planes and I find that this set up works best for all the planes for compatibility. The center of mass pendulum ballast effect you get with the battery hanging underneath makes a lot of sense as well. Although in my experience I haven't really noticed a difference either way on that one, but I am also not as fine tuned of an experienced pilot as most. Hanging the battery under is something I do with the Minis only because my 3s 850 mah won't fit in the tiny power pod.

@daxian your reply is so text book and one of the reasons I created this thead. I have my fair share of crashes just like anyone else getting into the hobby, and in the power pod taking damage I have usually had to fix the fuse anyway, especially on the standard size planes. The Minis airframes seem stronger just cuz they are less mass impacting the ground or objects so inherently they receive less damage. I did watch your maiden flights of your Spit the other day, and your first crash was light and still flyable, prop change and back in business. Your second crash though, from what I could tell, the damage you received wasn't just localized to the pod itself. The damage you did get in the fuse is really easy to fix but no 2 crashes are the same, ask @PoorManRC, he will testify to that lol.

All that being said I did get an awesome tip from @bracesport about using the same idea as I did in the pod, but in the fuselage corners to strengthen those areas. Now this one has me thinking and something I wanna try. By no means did I ever say this power pod thing was a time tested well experienced solution, but it is open to the community to try it out if you so choose, gives others options which is exactly what this forum is about.

Thank you again for your replies and comments, keep it coming
 

Keno

Active member
#15
Interesting ideas and your power pod concerns are real and sometimes frustrating to say the least. One of my problem was that it design pretty much dictated on some models that battery be attached to the bottom of the model. I have dropped a couple battery because attachment raping's failure. Then another issue was that the power pod holding skewer holes kept enlarging until they became useless. So I submit my attachment. It may offer some ideas. Happy flying
 

Attachments

Keno

Active member
#16
I do a FEW Power Pod fits. I try not to remove it too many times.

Of course the ultimate Power Pod fix are the FULL box, Nylon or ABS 3D Printed files from Thingiverse!
Removes the Foam from the equation for a Power Pod!!

I CAN tell you from my experience, my BBQ Skewer Firewall Cross Brace KEEPS the Firewall from popping off during the more frequent light bumps...
But STILL breaks away clean, saving the Motor in a high speed, high WEIGHT straight Nose Dive to hard ground! 😲😉
View attachment 140203
Where have I seen this plane before, it look very familiar?
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#17
Interesting ideas and your power pod concerns are real and sometimes frustrating to say the least. One of my problem was that it design pretty much dictated on some models that battery be attached to the bottom of the model. I have dropped a couple battery because attachment raping's failure. Then another issue was that the power pod holding skewer holes kept enlarging until they became useless. So I submit my attachment. It may offer some ideas. Happy flying
I have recently, in the past week or so, have downloaded these plans from you and I think it's a smashing idea. Do you have any pics of planes you have used it on. Pls share