Take the Challenge


Now you've seen the plans on this page, see if you can come up with something similar. The criteria is to fit the whole of the aircraft's main parts (fuse, wings, control surfaces etc.) on a single A5 (148mm x 210mm), A4 (210mm x 297mm) or A3 (297mm x 320mm) piece of 2mm, 4mm or 6mm depron foam, or another material of your choice.


If you're looking at 'non-standard' materials (by which I mean those not normally associated with RC build), the material should be freely available, and if possible recycle or reuse some material from its original use. There are literally hundreds of sources of material out there, so get looking and get creative. Email me when you've got an idea, just a 2 sheet pdf with the cutout plan and a picture or build plan. If you want to include it on the website, make sure you put your name on it, as I would rather not make any claims as to the ownership of others designs.


Wheels, decoration and control components are not normally included in my designs, though if you think you can create these as well, go ahead. One rule though - it has to fly straight and true (ish), with or without RC kit and/or power!


Good luck!


Some tips


Here are a couple of printable grids based on A5 paper size, scale them 1.41x to get A4 and 2x to get A3.

You can use them to get a feel for laying out the cutplans, and do simple draft sketches on the smaller blocks. They are deliberately this small to remind you that these are micro planes - if it looks too small to draw, the piece will probably not be practical in the 'real world'. Most of my starter sketches were drawn around matchbox size, for this reason. The template sizes are really just a starting point, go outside the template, but try to use mirror and rotated parts to minimise the edge waste you produce. Staying totally inside the template is difficult, but rewarding when you pull it off. For more complex and 3D structures, stick with 2mm board but use an A4 or A3 template.






After hand sketching, I use CAD to lay out the sketches, and this can be done using any number of free CAD packages. Search on Google for 'free cad' and you will get a page full. One of the better/easier packages for starters is LibreCAD, but many high end CAD houses are producing 'free' versions, and RS components has just introduced its totally free DesignSpark package, also many people are trying Google Sketchup for this kind of thing. For any designs like these, you basically need to be able to sketch straight lines and curves, and create circular arrays and mirror things. This will give you the opportunity to create similar plans to these, and try out designs 'on paper' before commiting to a 'real' build.


Make sure you include things like rudders, ailerons and elevators. These can either be cutout later or cut out and refixed with tape across the joints so that you can balance it for 'neutral' flight first. I've developed some fairly quick ways of putting these together, and the shortest time it's taken from pdf to plane is about half an hour, but this will vary with complexity and bonding types used.


See these links for build tips and photos of the principles used here, and come back occasionally to check on any new designs and updates.



Good luck and happy flying!





AirlightRC  2012