I use a Spektrum DX9 transmitter to Fly RC models on my computer. The connection between this transmitter and and USB port is achieved wireless by a RX2SIM Wireless Multi-Sim Adapter (USB2SYS) from RCware together with a Spektrum AR610 receiver. For RC simulation of helicopters I using the HeliX simulator and for Airplanes I use Aerofly RC8.
For my fourth printed RC plane the Model Y from Eclipson. I would like to use this plane in the future for some camera work and/or FTV testing. This plane is also printed in PETG except for the landing gears and servo holders who were printed in ASA. Information about my 3D printing equipment you find in the post; printing the Kodo. For more detailed information about my printing experience with PETG, you can read my post; printing the Stearman. Printing this plane I tried to solve some drawbacks of printing RC airplanes in PETG. First, I tried to limit the higher PETG density leading to higher wing load by enlarging the main wing surface. This was possible to scale some wing part in one direction and create the main wing of 1.2 m instead of 1 m. Second, to reduce the flexibility in the four outer wing parts I used a small 2% vertical rectilinear infill This increased the weight only by 15 grams. I experimented also airbrushing the other wings and the sides of the fuselage in the red color. To be able to paint on PETG I used a transparent primer for all plastics in a rattle can.
MOD1: Modified STL files in the slicer Simpify3D to scale some part in one axis to get more wing surface (+ 2 dm2).
MOD2: Made some wing parts stiffer by using a 2% rectilinear infill.
MOD3: Printed a semi-transparent cockpit in PETG and airbrushed it black on the inside for the looks.
MOD4: Added A3super 3 Gyro from Hobbyeagle to improve stability and still to be able to use the ailerons as flaperons to reduce landing distance.
MOD5: After calculation with Ecalc bought an optimal Parkzone propeller instead of the standard available APC Electrical propellers.
Till now I did not maiden this RC Airplane. Al static tests were OK, the plane was certified for flying at or RC terrain in Lier and had a photoshoot. When the weather improves I will fly this plane.
Aircraft Characteristics after Configuration and modification
My third printed RC plane is this Stearman. I tested single layer printing on my printer in PETG for this aircraft. Information about my 3D printing equipment you find in the post; printing the Kodo. You can buy the STLs and Simplify 3D factory files from 3DLabPrint. I used Makerfill PETG for wings and fuselage, Polylite ASA for the black landing gear components, and some other smaller parts. PETG print filament is similar to PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) but with enhanced properties due to the addition of glycol (PET+G = PETG or polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified). Due to the excellent strength and impact resistance, PETG is appropriate for stress withstanding applications. Being amorphous in nature, PETG has good flexibility, machinability, and thermoforming characteristics, which allows the material to be hotline bent and welded. Here are some of its 3D print advantages; excellent layer adhesion, warp resistance, reduced shrinkage, high water-resistant, high temperature resistant. The temperature tolerance for PETG is around 75ºC. With PLA, on the other hand, you generally have to keep 3D printed parts below 55ºC to keep them solid. The cons of PETG for RC planes are higher flexibility can lead to twisting of the wings or fuselage during flight and the rather high density leading to a higher wing loading. To get good adhesion between the layers for single layer printing I had to give more filament material by setting the extrusion multiplayer 1.03 for the 0.25 mm layer height. Printing PETG material has some cons; PETG has a high density of 1.27 g/cc, so the plane will be havier than printed in ASA, HIPS, and lightweight PLA. There is also a tendency to have a lot of stringing and it's difficult to make bridges. To solve these problems and keeping printing time reasonable I had to print each part in more than one process. So I could change the print settings for some heights areas. For example for bridging, I had to slow down and reduce the extruder temperature on specific height areas. Also, to reduce the stringing I try tried to use a filament retraction distance as low as possible on my printer, and use some coasting- and wipe distances. To make some parts stiffer I had to print some heights areas of a part in a double-layer wall. My printer setting for PETG: Printing volume 200x200x180 mm, Extruder 0.4 mm, Layer Height 0.25 mm, Extruder Temp 245-235 ºC, Filament Speed max 40 - 15 mm/s, Bed 80 ºC, Cooling 60%-100%.
MOD1: Modified print processes to be able to make PETG bridges, avoid stringing, and to reinforce some part by printing some 2 layer bands.
MOD2: Modified motor section with extra an extra 20 mm motor shim, drilled holes in the 7 cylinders, and added approximately 70-gram lead to adjust the Centre of gravity.
MOD3: Modified the landing gear with metal springs and inox wheel shafts and copper tubes, and printed a higher infill in the front part of the PETG landing gear legs to get these stronger.
MOD4: Added A3Pro Gyro from Hobbyeagle to improve stability and the use of failsafe modes.
MOD5: To improve the looks I printed the plane in blue and red transparent PETG, the windscreens completely Makerfill transparent PETG, and the pilot chairs in Polymaker Polywood.
MOD6: Printed the tires in Makerfill Flex with no infill.
MOD7: The stripes on the ailerons, elevator, and rudder as are small pieces of red Oracover Transparent Fluorescent film ironed on the PETG.
Till now I did not maiden this RC Airplane. Al static tests were OK, the plane was certified for flying at or our RC terrain in Lier, Belgium, and I did a photoshoot. When the weather improves I will fly this plane.
Aircraft Characteristics after Modifications
Wing Span: Bi 1.2 m
Length: 0.9 m
Flight Weight: 2.7 kg
Wing Aera: 45 dm2
Wing Loading: 60 gr/dm2
Wing Cube Loading: WCL 8.9
Power: 4S 3000 mAh
Motor: Extron 2826/10 KV 860 Outrunner
Propeller: XOAR 1x 12x6 2-blade
Stall Speed: 34 km/u
Sound Pressure: 50 dB(A)/7m
This RC Acro Airplane was my second printed RC airplane. The Maripi is also an RC airplane designed by Kraga. More information about my printers and software you will find in my other post on the Kraga Kodo. To experiment when further with the 3D printed airplanes, I choose to make the second plane in another material HIPS - High Impact Polystyrene. The combination of carbon struts, covering film, lightweight design, and the fuselage with carbon reinforcement has proven to be successful. I choose the white and black Makerfill HIPS filament and Oracover Red Transparant Fluorescent film. High impact polystyrene (HIPS) is a material blend of polystyrene plastic and polybutadiene rubber. The mixture of these polymers results in a material that’s both tough and flexible. HIPS is very similar to ABS, but as the name implies, it’s capable of withstanding much higher impact forces. It’s easily painted, machinable, and works with a large number of adhesives. I designed some extra parts in FreeCAD 0.18 as battery support, a receiver-, and gyro support, wing base and wing ends. Some of my Printer settings are; minimum volume 200x200x180 mm, Extruder 0.4 mm, Layer Height 0.19 mm, Extruder Temp 245 ºC, Filament Speed max 40 mm/s, Bed 90 ºC, Cooling 0%.
MOD1: Modified the main wing connection with printed and glued HIPS base plate on the main wings and two super magnets and modified extra flexible safety connection.
MOD2: Modified tail section with extra HIPs elevator and rudder parts to close the surface ends
MOD3: Printed a semi-transparent cockpit in PET-G for the looks and to test this material.
MOD4: Added A3Pro Gyro from Hobbyeagle to improve stability and to test the auto hoover mode.
A successful maiden flight, but only with the help of the A3pro gyro's, because de Centre of Gravity was not forward enough. I had to add extra weight left and right of the motor and glued in with a hot glue gun. After more flights seem this plane performs well, but the HIPS material seems to crack easily when you hold the wing firm, probably because of the different material properties between HIPS and original by Kraga proposed PLA. Not done too much Acro till now. No crashes so, fortunately, I can not evaluate the HIPS resistance to impact forces.
Aircraft Characteristics after Configuration and Modification
This glider was my first attempt to print an RC airplane. Beginning 2019 I started to explore 3D printing. My first printer was a Da Vinci Jr 1.0 Pro from XYZprinting. The advantage of this printer is you didn't have to use only the filament from the printer manufacturer. The cons are small and not heated bed with limited slicer software. So I could experiment with PLA filament of different manufacturers and use other slicers like Cura. Finally, now I use the Simplify3D slicer, and mostly Polymaker and Makerfill filament. I try to keep the filament dry in some Polybox containers from Polymaker, use an Esun eBox Filament Dryer as a feeder. In September 2019 I bought a Balco Touchscreen 3D printer. This printer originated from a Wanhao Duplicator I3 plus. I did a lot of printer modifications, like a Plexi enclosure with some rpm-controlled fans, a glass plate on the bed, a Microswiss All metal Hotend with a Slotted cooling block, and a CNC Machined Lever and Extruder Plate. I Have upgraded the Balco firmware to ADVi3++ and use a Raspberry PI with Octoprint software and the Printoid App on my Android phone. To connect to my printer from anywhere I have a separate Raspberry PI gateway with OpenVPN.
Printing the Kodo
When looking on the Internet for 3D printed RC airplanes I was charmed with the design of the Kraga Kodo. Here you can read the story behind Kraga. The combination of carbon struts, covering film, lightweight design, the compact fuselage with carbon reinforcement, and carbon tail tube. Because of the rather low deformation temperature of PLA (55 ºC) and limited UV resistance I choose the white and black Polymaker Polylight ASA filament and Oracover Red Transparant Fluorescent film. ASA is light UV improved ABS with higher temperature (75 ºC) resistance before deformation than PLA. Polylight ASA has a lower specific weight of 1.04 g/cc versus 1.27 g/cc for PLA. I designed some extra ASA parts in FreeCAD 0.18 as battery support, a receiver-, and gyro support, some new tail horns, and winglets. Some of my Printer settings are; minimum Printing volume 200x200x180 mm, Extruder 0.4 mm, Layer Height 0.19 mm, Extruder Temp 245 ºC, Filament Speed max 40 mm/s, Bed 90 ºC, Cooling 0%.
MOD1: Modified the main wing connection with printed and glue base plate on the main wings and two super magnets.
MOD2: Modified the carbon control rods and newly designed ASA tail horns for the control surfaces of the V-tail to make steering directer and without play and binding.
MOD3: Added winglets to the main wings to try to improve the stability of the main wing and reduce the twisting forces when taking fast turns.
MOD4: Added A3super 3 Gyro from Hobbyeagle to improve stability and still to be able to use the ailerons as spoilerons to reduce landing distance.
A successful maiden flight. Good protection connection of the main wing, because I had a not so perfect grass landing, and on one wing part separated without any damage! There were some remarks from spectators about the flexibility of the main wing. They believed that the main wing would not hold, but it still does. A good gliding angle. I had to use the spoilerons to slow down the glider in the final landing phase to make it easier to land on the grass runway. After more flights and more wind, I experienced probably twisting of the main wing and in a low fast turn and had a crash, probable because of the twisting and some play on the V_tail steering. I had only to replace the tail carbon rod and glue some cracks in the fuselage and one of the wings. Impressive little damage after flying into the ground. I modified the steering for the V-tail and installed the HobbyEagle A3super 3 V2 programmable 6-axis gyro. Did some more test flying. This plane performs well but the rather large flexibility of the main wing in ASA remains a weakness, probably because of the different material properties between ASA and original by Kraga proposed PLA.
The Multiplex Heron is a high-performance electric glider with its efficiently designed t-tail, four-flap wing and streamlined fuselage bring precision to a broad spectrum of flying. Whether you enjoy lofty thermal soaring, high-speed aerial adventure, or spirited aerobatics, the Heron delivers the flying experience you crave. Its four-flap wing is equipped with an innovative CFRP/Aluminum tubular spar technology for extreme rigidity and stabilization, setting an entirely new standard for the 2.4-meter wingspan class. The glider has ultra-efficient brushless motor, servos, servo extensions. Designed of resilient Elapor® foam with a folding propeller, detachable wings, and tail wing for easy transport and stylishly designed cockpit with a clear canopy.
7 Control Functions: 2 Aileron, 2 Flaps, 1 Motor, 1 Elevator, 1 Rudder
Used Oracover ironing film on top of the foam to change the look of this model. Improved the smoothness of the wing edges and surfaces. Installed a Spektrum 9 Ch with AS3X gyro technology RX (3-gyro rate mode implemented) and voltage telemetry with voice alarm on the TX. Modified the canopy to contain the Spektrum Telemetry Vario and Altitude meter (voice and sound status in TX), Airspeed meter, Battery Voltage, Receiver Voltage, and Antenna performance (A, B, L, Lost frames, and Holds) for data logging in the TX. Configured 5 flight modes and 3 extra switchable mixes (Due to the software limitations of the AS3X receiver I had to use the Flaperon setting in the Receiver and 10 extra mixes in de Transmitter). A Take Off Mode (elevator a bit up), a Landing Mode (split throttle >50% a motor curve with Elevator compensation, <50% a Crow -Butterfly- setup with Elevator compensation), a Cruise Mode (with main trim settings) a Thermal Mode (the 4 flap surfaces a bit down -camber- and a relative Elevation trim), a Speed Mode (the 4 wing Surfaces a bit up -Reflex- and relative Elevation trim) and extra mixes for Full Span Ailerons (Aileron to flap mix), an Aileron to Rudder mix for more turn Coordination (easy to overrule manually) and Snap Flaps (some Elevator to Flap mix in Thermal mode).
The Second World War Bomber Liberator is one of the most recognizable WWII aircraft of all time. Serving in every theater of that global conflict, the B-24 fought to bring its brave crews home through unimaginable danger. With humility and reverence, Flightline is proud to introduce the world’s first foam electric B-24 Liberator, in remembrance of the crews who gave the ultimate sacrifice and those who carry on its memory. The FlightLine B-24 Liberator is approximately 1/16.7 scale, with a 2000mm wingspan and 1230mm length, and is constructed from EPO foam and reinforced with integrated aluminum, carbon fiber, plywood, and plastic structures. The FlightLine B-24 uses four 3530-860kv brushless outrunner motors, 30A ESCs, 9.5 x 7 counter-rotating propellers, and a separate 5A UBEC. A pair of 4s 14.8v 3400 mAh lipo batteries powers the aircraft in of 1000km/h, for 5-10 minutes based on a pilot’s throttle management. Mid-throttle cruising for 7+ minutes of scale-style flying. The outboard motor pair and inboard motor pair are powered by separate flight batteries, allowing for powered landings in the event of one battery losing a cell. A 70mm tall nose wheel and 85mm tall main wheels provide stable operation on grass runways and split flaps aid in low-speed flight and landings.
Used different types of Painting, Airbrush, and Weathering Techniques and used Oracover ironing film on top of the foam to change the look of this model. Added 3D printed interiors for the Turrets, Cockpit and Pilots, and additional Gunners. A Bomb space was created and two Bomb Doors were designed and 3D printed. The Top Turret can rotate remotely 360 degrees, and the Front and Back Turret are moving together with the Rudder control. The Bomb Space can contain 4 3D printed WWII Bombs or a Parachute with Soldier or Relief Supplies. Modified landing Gear with other tires. Added Spektrum Airspeed, Temperature ESCs, Flight Voltage, and Power Telemetry. Installed Spektrum 9 Ch with AS3X Gyro technology RX. Used a separate UBEC from Castle Creations and an Optipower Ultraguard battery with fail-safe switch PCB. Safety System with Fuse so the Battery Pair starts working separately when a problem occurs (Short Circuit or a Defective battery Cell). In normal operation, both Battery Packs are keeping the same Voltage. Installed a Sound Module Aspire from MrRCsound with two Dayton Audio DAEX25FHE-4 High-Efficiency Exciters and the B-24 Multi-Engine Sound to maximize the allowable sound pressure to 84 dBA at 7m distance. Added navigation lights and landing lights.
I bought this plane secondhand and modified it but after one flying season, this plane was taken out of service to make room for 3D printed airplanes. The Trojan was a good flyer but had a lot of problems with a weak nose wheel retract. I recovered most electronics as spare parts for my other FMS planes.
The North American Aviation T-28 Trojan is a piston-engined military trainer aircraft used by the United States Air Force and the United States Navy beginning in the 1950s. Besides its use as a trainer, the T-28 was successfully employed as a counter-insurgency aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War. It has continued in civilian use as an aerobatics and Warbird performer. The FMS 1400mm T-28 Yellow Navy Trojan V4 is a warbird with gentle flight characteristics and can be used as an RC-trainer plane. Equipped with shock-absorbing oleo struts, servo less retractable landing gear, working full-size flaps, bright LED navigation lights, scale details like chrome spinner and landing gear doors, secure ball links on pushrods, the multi-wire connector allows quick disconnect of wires for easy wing removal.
Modified landing gear, low bounce bigger tires, soft springs, use 4mm Align feathering shaft for the vertical axle in nose wheel, added Rare-earth magnets to reinforce the closure of the cockpit. Used different types of weathering techniques to improve the look of this model, used black trim line tape. Used airbrush techniques. Oracover ironing film on top of the foam to change the look of the model. .Added my own Decals ink-jet printed on Testors White Decal Paper. Finished with a gloss IR and water-resistant varnish. Added a Spektrum Airspeed pitot-tube, voltage, and Flight power telemetry. Put in a Spektrum 7 channel RX with AS3X technology. Used a separate UBEC from Castle Creations and an Optipower Ultraguard battery with fail-safe switch PCB.
The legendary P-38 “Lightning” revolutionized aviation history in World War II. Designed by a skilled team of engineers led by Clarence Johnson and Hal Hibbard, the P-38 was the only American fighter that was continually produced from before Pearl Harbor in 1941 to after the Japanese surrender in 1945. Over 9,900 P-38s were built, 3,810 of which were the superior P-38L variant. Revered by its foes as the “fork-tailed devil”, the P-38 excelled as a fighter, interceptor, reconnaissance platform, long-range escort, and as a ground attack aircraft. The aircraft also famously shot down Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s aircraft during “Operation Vengeance” on April 18, 1943.
The Flightline RC P-38L wingspan 1600mm is equipped with two 3748 brushless outrunner motors and two 12x7 3-blade counter-rotating propellers for the perfect scale appearance. With the recommended 4S 14.8v 5000mAh (one battery per side or a single battery with your series adapter), the P-38 boasts sufficient power for large consecutive loops and a level top speed of 125 km/u. A durable electronic retractable landing gear, five sequenced servo-driven landing gear doors, day-bright LEDs, machine gun details, plastic nose cone and cowls, four flaps, accurate canopy, and nacelle shape, and many other scale details. Each rudder is directly controlled by its own servo. The cockpit layout accommodates a wide range of 4S 14.8v Li-Po batteries with ample space for electronics. To ensure a high degree of structural rigidity, the entire model was designed around a special framework of carbon rods and reinforcement points. This framework strengthens the aircraft during high-speed maneuvers, while still providing a gentle and forgiving flying behavior.
Used different types of weathering techniques to improve the look of this model. The first time that I used airbrush techniques. Oracover ironing film on top of the foam to change the look of this model and added D-day stripes. Added my own Decals ink-jet printed on Testors White Decal Paper. Added Spektrum Airspeed, voltage, and Flight power telemetry. Put in Spektrum with AS3X technology 9 channel RX. Used a separate UBEC from Castle Creations and an Optipower Ultraguard battery with fail-safe switch PCB. Recently added a MrRCSound Aspire 4.1 Sound Module with Exciters in the two Motor Compartments.
The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most popular warbirds in history. This British single-seat fighter was used famously by the Royal Air Force and the Allies, earning distinction during the Battle of Britain and throughout World War II. Over 20,300 aircraft were produced with more than 24 variants. The Spitfire’s versatility and maneuverability in the hands of skilled pilots made it a lethal weapon against Axis forces. The timeless Spitfire continues to fly in modern times as a tribute to aviation history and military veterans.
FlightLine RC’s 1600mm wingspan Spitfire Mk.IXc is approximately 1/7 scale and an entirely larger beast with all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from aircraft in the 1600mm Class. This Spitfire is molded from EPO foam, featuring a scale shape and smooth surface. The main wing is assembled from hollow foam parts and an interlocking plywood and carbon fiber frame, providing lower weight and higher strength than a solid foam wing. The main wing and horizontal tail are attached with screws for very convenient transport, and proper ventilation is also designed to keep the electronics cool. The large battery hatch and removable battery bay floor provide easy access to an organized battery and receiver compartment. Grass capable landing gear with suspension struts and 5mm thick steel pin and metal trunion, scale four-panel split flaps, big 16x10 Propeller, 5055-390KV brushless motor, and 80A ESC, LED wingtip lights and dorsal signal light, and 17g digital hybrid servos, brass ball links, and nylon hinges on all control surfaces.
Used different types of weathering techniques, changed green camouflage color with a splashing technique to change the look of this model. Added instrument panel and a hand-painted pilot inside the cockpit. Modified landing gear with other tires. Added Spektrum airspeed, flight voltage, and power telemetry. Installed Spektrum 9 Ch with AS3X gyro technology RX. Used a separate UBEC from Castle Creations and an Optipower Ultraguard battery with fail-safe switch PCB. Installed a sound module Aspire from MrRCsound with two TT25 transducers in the radiators on the wings and put in the Merlin Rolls Royce sound and maximized the allowable sound pressure to 84 dBA at 7m distance.