1. Post #1
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    So I ended up with a fancy RC transmitter a week or so ago. I went to Hobbytown looking for one of those cheap RC planes to mess around with, got this Flyzone Albatros D.Va. Only what they didn't tell me was it doesn't come with a controller, so I get home, unbox and find just a plane and a charger. So I head back and try to do a return after they wanted me to get this $150 transmitter, only they won't do a return because I opened the plastic package that contains the manual. So rather than have a useless plane I went and got the transmitter anyway, it's a Spektrum DX6i. The plane itself was $50, and it wasn't too bad either. Problem is I was out flying it in the wind, letting the throttle off so it'd hover/fly backwards when the rudder sheared off. The plane had no ailerons, all I could do was watch it fly off into the sunset, gaining altitude all the way until it disappeared. So now I just have the transmitter, and nothing to fly.

    But that's gonna change, I went to Home Depot and grabbed two sheets of 4x8 foot foam insulation. It's pretty tough stuff and very very light. I also grabbed some light weight masking paper which will form a hard shell around the already tough foam.
    The plane to be will be an F4F-4 Wildcat, one of my favorite airplanes from WWII. The Wildcat may not have had the speed and maneuverability of it's famous adversary the A6M Zero, but it was TOUGH, it could take punishment that would send most planes down in a ball of fire and the Japanese pilots hated them for it. It also carried a decent amount of firepower with six .50 cal machine guns.


    Look at that thing, how can you not love it?

    These are the raw sheets of foam I got, they have a plastic cover on them which I'll leave on until all the parts are cut.

    I used my CNC machine to draw the patterns out on the foam for me, this would have taken hours to do otherwise. Would have had to print out templates, transfer the printings to a large sheet of card paper, then trace each part onto the foam. I HATE doing that. So I invented an adapter for my CNC machine that holds a Sharpie, with a spring at one end to keep the sharpie pressed onto the work piece.

    Here's the sheet loaded onto the CNC table, the sheets are 4x8 feet.



    My table is only 4x4 feet, and the pattern is set up to fill the sheets so I had to draw up one half then scoot the sheet over for the other half.




    This is the adapter I made for the sharpie, the nut at the end unscrews and the Sharpie is loaded or unloaded without needing to raise the torch. The bracket on the side which keeps the pen from falling through is also removable, but doesn't interfere with the normal use of the Plasma torch so long as the pen itself is removed.




    There's one sheet 'printed'. The individual parts of the plane are made from several layers to create the proper thicknesses.


    The wings use 3 layers of foam, the fuselage 13 layers, and the horizontal stabilizer and rudder use 2 layers.


    Just because I could.


    Tune in next time for 'Cut and Dry' or 'Down in the Dumps'.

    I still have to get all the other components such as the battery, receiver, speed controller, motor and servos but just building the plane itself should take awhile. I do plan on making retractable landing gear too, I already have it designed in my head but I may add the gear later.
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  2. Post #2
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    Well, all parts are cut out and I glued them together with some spray adhesive. Even with all the extra foam on it, it's super light.




    It shouldn't take too long to shape everything, I'm gonna cut some aluminum templates for everything based on my patterns.

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  3. Post #3
    Gold Member
    Furioso's Avatar
    October 2006
    4,693 Posts
    This is very cool. Looking forward to the progress you make on this project
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  4. Post #4
    Gold Member
    Waffle99's Avatar
    July 2006
    2,233 Posts
    It must be nice to have your own CNC machine, it looks like itll turn out really nice. I think the most fun part will be making the electronics so it has flight control surfaces.
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  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    Just about done getting the lateral profile sanded out.


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  6. Post #6
    AlarinTaylor's Avatar
    June 2007
    636 Posts
    Can't wait to see this thing fly.
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  7. Post #7
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    13,086 Posts
    You are a crafty motherfucker you know that.
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  8. Post #8
    Gold Member
    RayvenQ's Avatar
    December 2004
    9,550 Posts
    I have to say I was somewhat dissapointed, I was kinda expecting Raptor to be building a life size F4F-4.
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  9. Post #9
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    Probably could too, problem is finding an engine, tends to cost more than building the plane itself.
    If it's anything like the Hellcat though, the internal structure is pretty simple.

    Should have made a Hellcat too, would probably be done by now. Carving out that hump on the back of the Wildcat is a bit of a pain, the Hellcat just has a smooth transition. The thing that made me shy away from the Hellcat was that slight gull-wing arrangement it has, the Wildcat just has straight wings in a 5 degree dihedral.

    I got one side of the fuselage done though, I'll post pictures once I get the other side done. I'm just a bit busy doing repairs on this guy's Shelby, has a big rust hole in the firewall I've gotta patch.
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  10. Post #10
    Serj22's Avatar
    April 2009
    1,333 Posts
    I tried R/C plane building one time. I just made it from scrap balsa and foam with Monokote over the whole thing for a fuselage. I flew it a grand total of two times. On the third day that I wanted to take it out, I leaned the 5 foot long plane against my house while I loaded the wing assembly in my car. I went inside again for a minute to eat lunch, and when I came back out, the plane had been stolen... so... that hobby was cut a bit short. Anyway, you mentioned motors being expensive; luckily i took mine out every time I dissasembled the plane so I still have it. Fired up about 10 times, just needs a glowplug and a rotor for your plane. I'll do $20 (that includes shipping) if you want it. Muffler is also included.

    It's an O.S. Max LA40. Propelled my 5ft plane nicely.

    I actually found the most expensive thing for my plane was the servos, receiver, and transmitter which were a $200 package. P.M. me if you want it. IF you look for your own though, Thunder-tiger and tiger-direct usually have them for pretty cheap, under $100.

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  11. Post #11
    Gold Member
    Buck.'s Avatar
    February 2007
    2,198 Posts
    Every time I see RR_Raptor65 thread I know we are in for a treat. Looks sweet, but how did you make sure you are shaping it correctly? How do you go about measuring it? Or do you go by eye?

    And that sharpie marking thing. Genius. Need to do something like this with chalk here at work for marking parts :V
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  12. Post #12
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    If that was an electric engine I'd go for it but I don't wanna put a gas engine in this little plane.

    Every time I see RR_Raptor65 thread I know we are in for a treat. Looks sweet, but how did you make sure you are shaping it correctly? How do you go about measuring it? Or do you go by eye?

    And that sharpie marking thing. Genius. Need to do something like this with chalk here at work for marking parts :V
    I made some aluminum templates, one lengthwise and a bunch of em that run down like ribs. That wireframe picture is what they're patterned off of.
    I haven't been out to work on this lately, I got a bit distracted by a rifle I really want to build now, the goal is to get the rifle done before November comes around so I can shoot competition with it.
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  13. Post #13
    Resident Raccoon
    kaze4159's Avatar
    January 2008
    8,969 Posts
    You should build a remote killswitch into this one, unless you want a repeat of the last plane's dramatic departure
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  14. Post #14
    Modelrator
    PLing's Avatar
    February 2005
    4,151 Posts
    You should build a remote killswitch into this one, unless you want a repeat of the last plane's dramatic departure
    Did RR make another plane? Is there a thread for it?
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  15. Post #15
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    No I bought a cheapy Albatros D.Va and the rudder sheared off when the wind picked up so I only had the elevator, the plane didn't come with ailerons. That thing was going bye bye whether the engine was running or not, kind of like a rowboat in a tidal wave.
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  16. Post #16
    Modelrator
    PLing's Avatar
    February 2005
    4,151 Posts
    Oh wait yeah he was referring to your description, stupid me. :V
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  17. Post #17
    Gold Member
    TestECull's Avatar
    July 2007
    6,940 Posts
    Oooooh. One doesn't see many F4Fs at the field. Looking pretty good too. Is it gonna have retracts and full 4-channel control?

    I tried R/C plane building one time. I just made it from scrap balsa and foam with Monokote over the whole thing for a fuselage. I flew it a grand total of two times. On the third day that I wanted to take it out, I leaned the 5 foot long plane against my house while I loaded the wing assembly in my car. I went inside again for a minute to eat lunch, and when I came back out, the plane had been stolen... so... that hobby was cut a bit short. Anyway, you mentioned motors being expensive; luckily i took mine out every time I dissasembled the plane so I still have it. Fired up about 10 times, just needs a glowplug and a rotor for your plane. I'll do $20 (that includes shipping) if you want it. Muffler is also included.

    It's an O.S. Max LA40. Propelled my 5ft plane nicely.

    I actually found the most expensive thing for my plane was the servos, receiver, and transmitter which were a $200 package. P.M. me if you want it. IF you look for your own though, Thunder-tiger and tiger-direct usually have them for pretty cheap, under $100.

    Nice little engine. Great for something that favors the engine running over the engine being able to pull the plane straight up.


    I always have been a fan of OS engines. I've got a 46AX in my 68" trainer, love that engine. Also got an 18 CV-RX in my touring car.

    If that was an electric engine I'd go for it but I don't wanna put a gas engine in this little plane.

    I don't think you could if you wanted to. The alcohol in the fuel would turn the plane to goo fairly quickly. 5-10 flights maybe.


    OS does have some stuff you may be interested in though. They recently introduced a line of brushless motors, and I believe speedos to match.

  18. Post #18
    My favorite NSA triggers are small pox cyber terror brown out
    Birdman101's Avatar
    November 2009
    7,322 Posts
    My dad used to be into RC planes. He had a piper cub RC (built it himself) until he let his friend fly it, who crashed it straight into the ground. It was one of my most horrifying childhood memories.

    The intact half of the fuselage and one of the wings is still in my attic.
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  19. Post #19
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    Yeah if I ever REALLY get into these things I'll probably go for a gas engine.
    If I do that though I'd be going for wooden framework and aluminum skins. To be honest I'd probably have an easier time building that since I have my CNC machine there to cut it all out for me.

    I haven't worked on this in awhile though, I'm gonna start over on the fuse from scratch, messed up on the nose a bit. Saw this 123D Make program by Autodesk too, should make it a lot easier to build the thing since I wouldn't have to sand/cut off several inches of foam.

    But right now I'm working on a .50 Flintlock Pistol, in the process of carving the stock at the moment. I'll make a thread on that before too long, it's just been so god damn hot out I haven't wanted to be working outside much and neither of these projects are the kind of thing you want to be doing indoors.

    It also comes down to cash since I want to get this Ruger SR-556 rifle before the jackasses try another "Assault Weapon Ban" and so far I'm not winning the race on that one, after that I really want to build a Wender to use in rifle competition/make the other shooters jelly.
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  20. Post #20
    Gold Member
    TestECull's Avatar
    July 2007
    6,940 Posts
    Yeah if I ever REALLY get into these things I'll probably go for a gas engine.
    If I do that though I'd be going for wooden framework and aluminum skins. To be honest I'd probably have an easier time building that since I have my CNC machine there to cut it all out for me.

    Nothing quite like an engine to get ya up in the morning, and OS is one of the best brands to grab.


    I'm not sure how well an aluminum skinned bird will fly though...perhaps you could build it as a monocoque instead? Nothing inside but enough bracing to keep it stiff and provide somewhere to bolt the servos? 'Tis something I've always wanted to try but I lack the tools to build one from balsa, let alone a metal.

  21. Post #21
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    I'd build it like an old Albatros. I did lots of reading on construction techniques of full sized aircraft like an Albatros.
    It was basically plywood bulkheads and I think fir longerons, then the skin was 1/8" 45 degree plywood tacked directly to the bulkheads and longerons by a couple hundred nails.

    A Fokker D.VII would be a neat build too, and fairly easy. Just weld up a tube frame out of steel or aluminum, apply wire struts and cover in a canvas skin laced up along the bottom.

    One could use 28 gauge steel sheet as well, granted the plane was big enough to offset the extra weight but even then you wouldn't have to go too big.

    A solid foam plane with a paper or fiberglass skin would probably be a fair bit stronger though, crash one of the above planes and they're likely to buckle. That's one of the reasons why I'm building one out of solid foam. Would love to put a 2-axis FPV system into one most of all though.

  22. Post #22
    Gold Member
    TestECull's Avatar
    July 2007
    6,940 Posts
    My main concern regarding an all-metal plane is the weight. They build them out of foam and balsa to cut down on it, I've always wondered if it was just a performance increasing thing or if an all-metal RC plane is just too heavy to fly worth a damn.

    The Fokker D.VII sounds like the lightest setup to use metal IMO.
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  23. Post #23
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    Well an aluminum skin in 24 or 28 gauge would be extremely light without being flimsy. Most planes seem to have skin ranging from 20 to 16 gauge so the skin would not be scale, and I've seen a Bede BD-5 that appeared to be made of steel 18 gauge in some parts.

    The benefit of using aluminum skin like that would be the ability to mass produce a plane, I could cut the parts out with my CNC in less than 10 seconds. With such thin aluminum the machine might be able to run at 600-800 inches per minute so it would be extremely fast.
    Then using wooden forms the parts could be stamped out in a hydraulic press in one process. Aluminum is a good middle ground between Steel and Copper in terms of workability and strength while being much lighter than either, each individual panel would weigh less than an empty soda can even on a large plane.

    The plywood bulkheads the framing attaches to could be half inch luan plywood sheets, sometimes called 'doorskins' at hardware stores, I use the stuff to make shields, it's both flexible and light, very good stuff.
    The longerons on the other hand could be anything from 16 gauge aluminum strips or pine molding which is available in long very flexible strips, I would tend to lean toward the aluminum for durability in the event of a crash however. The weight would not be all that different than if you used the pine molding.

    I've used wooden forms to make 3D parts out of 16 gauge steel before so I could probably get several hundred aluminum panels out of a single form before it'd need replacing.
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  24. Post #24
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    Gotten back to working on this, the weather is so nice right now I really want to fly it. At the current pace I'm hoping to get the maiden flight this weekend. Soda can for scale, as you can see it's not small. Even at a walking pace you can really feel the lift and the tail surfaces working.



    I have all the electronics now, the motor is an E-Flite .52 outrunner with an 80 amp ESC and a 5000mah 4 cell LiPo, so it'll be a real beast. Only thing holding me up right now is I'm waiting for a battery plug to get here so I can charge the battery when it comes time to test everything out and have a go at flying it.

    All that's left is to finish attaching the wings and ailerons, mount the motor, mount the electronics inside the fuselage, add the tie downs for the canopy, cover the rest of the plane with the masking paper and of course put a badass paintjob on because it's a warbird and it needs a badass paintjob.



    I'll probably paint it after the maiden flight though.
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  25. Post #25
    Gold Member
    clutch2's Avatar
    May 2005
    1,400 Posts
    This is extremely awesome! Nice work crafting that all up.

  26. Post #26
    007JamesBond007's Avatar
    April 2011
    962 Posts
    Gotten back to working on this, the weather is so nice right now I really want to fly it. At the current pace I'm hoping to get the maiden flight this weekend. Soda can for scale, as you can see it's not small. Even at a walking pace you can really feel the lift and the tail surfaces working.



    I have all the electronics now, the motor is an E-Flite .52 outrunner with an 80 amp ESC and a 5000mah 4 cell LiPo, so it'll be a real beast. Only thing holding me up right now is I'm waiting for a battery plug to get here so I can charge the battery when it comes time to test everything out and have a go at flying it.

    All that's left is to finish attaching the wings and ailerons, mount the motor, mount the electronics inside the fuselage, add the tie downs for the canopy, cover the rest of the plane with the masking paper and of course put a badass paintjob on because it's a warbird and it needs a badass paintjob.



    I'll probably paint it after the maiden flight though.
    Looks like something the Imperial Guard would use on a valkryie :V:
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  27. Post #27
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    Yeah, a buddy had me make a skin similar to that for a P40 a few years ago and since then we've always flown planes painted that way.

    The Kerbal pilot is all mine though.
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  28. Post #28
    Gold Member

    July 2006
    1,105 Posts
    How did you get your own CNC machine? Did you build it? Did you buy it? If you bought it how much did it cost (that's if you don't mind telling?)

  29. Post #29
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    It's a Plasma Cam machine with a Hypertherm 1000 torch, cost $10,000.

  30. Post #30
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    Got all the guts fitted in there now. Just need to fix the canopy to the fuse, cover the fuselage and glue everything in place. Might be able to fly it tomorrow.



    Also fired up the motor, only made it to 70% power before I decided that was enough for now, had a death grip on the tail trying to keep it from taking off. The CG feels like it's right where it should be too, I might not have to add any ballast at all, and it's all much lighter than I predicted.
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  31. Post #31
    Ask Me About My VW Beetle Fetish
    Ldesu's Avatar
    March 2008
    9,959 Posts
    That is really damn smooth and nice engineering


    After stumbling into this section for the first time in years I want to make, restore stuff on my own. I lack some tools but I got a dremel, a basic toolkit (I work on cars), and some spray painting skills so I guess I can do some stuff
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  32. Post #32
    woolio1's Avatar
    November 2009
    9,283 Posts
    You should vacuum mold a plastic casing onto the entire craft if you can... Add some rigidity, for not much weight.

  33. Post #33
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    I'd also be concerned about the foam crushing under the vacuum pressure. The heat would probably melt it as well.

    The paper covering does the same trick and is even lighter. It's glued on with watered down PVA so it forms a hard shell when dried. Uncovered, the foam is fairly soft and flexible, but once the paper is on and dried it becomes very rigid and hard. Some spots I've doubled up on the paper to further help with impact resistance such as the leading edge of the wings and tailplane, belly of the fuselage and around the cowling.

    I'm about to go glue in the mountings for the canopy and cover the fuselage, then I'll glue in the internal mountings and let it dry overnight. I'll do the final assembly tomorrow to be sure the fuselage is completely dry, so the first flight will probably be Monday to be sure everything has ample time to set and reach full strength.

  34. Post #34
    woolio1's Avatar
    November 2009
    9,283 Posts
    Ah, I didn't think about the vacuum crushing the foam...

  35. Post #35
    shrek yourself before you shrek yourself
    Duskling's Avatar
    March 2012
    830 Posts
    This looks awesome. You should post a video of it in flight.

  36. Post #36
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    Gonna be a bit longer for that, definitely gonna need to add some landing gear. Currently the plane weighs 4.25 pounds, which is good since the engine is more than powerful enough to haul it around. I did try to hand throw it but it's got a predicted stall speed of 25 mph so it made it about 30 feet in the air and the left wing dropped so it went into an unrecoverable stall and smashed the propeller and right wing in half. Propeller is toast but I fixed the wing no problem.

    It's also a bit tail heavy at the moment, so I'm gonna add some landing gear, I don't think I have enough room in the nose to add retractable landing gear but I'm gonna try anyway, if not it'll just be simple fixed landing gear which is a little disappointing but it'll get it flying. I should be able to add a camera to it too.

    I'll tell you though, that plane absolutely hauled ass when I threw it, it's got a lot of muscle.
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  37. Post #37
    Dennab
    September 2012
    339 Posts
    dude

    thumbs up

  38. Post #38
    Ruzza's Avatar
    December 2011
    1,137 Posts
    Whats the news on this, I want to see it fly :D

  39. Post #39
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts
    I just got the new props and wheels in yesterday so I can work on the landing gear now. I have to do some other unrelated work first then I can start sorting out the gear. I do have the retracts worked out, just need to figure out if I have enough room to fit a retract mechanism in there or not, and the best way to implement the operating mechanism.

    One way would be a push/pull system like the elevator, this has the advantage of being simple but it may not have enough throw to operate the landing gear. The other would be a rack and pinion, which has the advantage of not requiring a long throw but is more complex.

    How it all works, this one has a hydraulic rack and pinion, I will be using a servo:
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  40. Post #40
    Gold Member
    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,274 Posts



    So far so good.

    Also settled on two possible ways of operating them.
    One would be to use a pair of wing servos hooked directly to the upper struts. The downside to this is the servos may not have enough travel so the gear won't raise and lower completely, this can be fixed with some gears but that wouldn't be ideal as far as I'm concerned.
    The other would be to run a cable and use one single servo to pull the cable, this may be what I go with because it requires much less travel. The downside is there may not be enough room for the servo horn to pass through the firewall as the gear swing through their arc, though this is less of a problem than the travel distance for the servos.
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