By way of introduction, I am an experienced pilot, aircraft designer and builder of fullsize aircraft - and brand new to RC.
What I SHOULD have done was to buy a kit, build it and learn how to fly. Instead (because I'm broke), I have spent the last week or so designing a number of rather neat looking RC planes. They are similar to existing designs, but each has its unique RTFM character. However, I am now at the stage where I need to buy some electrics, and I am completely overwhelmed by the choices available.
I've read tales of guys buying a receiver, ESC and motor, and finding out that none of the connectors correspond. So they have to start soldering different connectors to the wires. I can't even spell "soldering iron". So I'm trying to source a set of components which plug into each other.
The plane: Name: RTFM Fireball Span: 500mm (20 inches) Construction: Blue foam. Basically solid foam, suitably shaped. The wing is braced (top and bottom) with CF rod, and is a single piece. It fits up under the cutout in the fuse, and is hollowed out (central section) to take all the electrics. In other words, the wing IS the plane, with the fuse magnet-bonded to it more for good looks than anything else. And to hold the vertical tail up, of course... Wing: Full airfoil Weight: Dunno - Check out the sketch of the plane. Maybe you're in a better position to estimate its finished weight. Mission: SLOW flyer - I'm NOT looking for a fast plane here. I'm just learning, after all, so I want to keep it slow and easy.
But they all need to be able to plug into each other. I've searched the Internet looking for compatible components, and am more confused now than when I started. Perhaps I had better just go into one of the hobby shops and get the guys there to kit me out with compatible components.
the hobbyking motors and speed controls I have purchased all required soldering as they do not have connectors attached. Keeps the price down. Often no connectors are included. Headsup rc would be a better choice along with plug and play packages from Grayson hobby. No more expensive after shipping, connectors and soldering are added to the cost.
My other recommendation is choose another plane. Just the name "Fireball" suggests that your attempts to make a slow flyer out of this design may not be possible. Look up "Blue core trainer" . Something that looks like a Cessna 172 will serve you better at the start.
Servos and esc's will be able to plug into any receiver. A lot of people use the Lemon or Orange receivers for low cost alternatives.
The hobbyzone champ is a 20 inch span plane that can be a great starter plane, but also it has the same span as your plane. To make your plane a slowflyer you will have to match the champ for power to weight ratio. As you know if your plane is heavier it will have to fly faster.
A 10gram motor from Heads up is plug and play with their 7 amp ESC and 2 cell battery. I use this combo in my Micro scale models from Zeke's Parkscale models like the Squire or the SE 5 in my profile.
I really like the looks of the plane. Keep it light to go slow.
Flying is like ... ah well ... I can not think of anything it is like...
Thanks for the help. I've just been to HeadsupRC and they seem to have exactly what I want. Excellent.
As far as the plane is concerned, I'm planning on doing this at no cost, so buying something like the Hobbyzone Champ for $150 (here in Australia) isn't really feasible, although undeniably good advice. Another option I'm considering is to build the "Slowly" - a German "cartoon" plane. Very cute, very slow flying and forgiving. I have the plans for it and from what I can see in the online build videos, is very easy to build. Another option is the Slow Bipe (available from HeadsUp, but easy enough to build from scratch). This one is nearly indestructable - I've seen videos of the designer deliberately crashing it hard into the ground, and the only injuries were to the prop. The plane literally comes apart on impact (held together with magnets).
Head's Up doesn't ship to Australia, though otherwise they are a great site. It is still excellent for getting motor/RX/battery/ESC info and combos that work. Jeff does excellent work.
The slow bipe is not quite as indestructible as it looks. I watched one 'come apart' in the air at 100' when the magnets didn't hold on a hard loop. That was the end of that plane. OTOH very little would survive that kind of insult.
Build something S L O W, easy to build, easy to repair, and simple. Consider it disposable. AFTER you learn to fly you will have a lot more knowldege to know where you want to go with this.
Note - your real flying experience will not offer much if any advantage and can sometimes be a disadvantage. I've trained real pilots in RC. Don't count on it.
If you're going to learn to fly them, you have to learn to fix them.
First, thank you for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it.
Right. I will shelve my instinctive desire to design, and build an established design. Point taken.
Second, I really don't need to be reminded that my flying experience will provide no advantage, and may even be a hindrance to learning RC. I have been told that by just about every person to whom I've spoken at the local RC club - till it is starting to sound like a tired old mantra. I have experienced how difficult RC flying is. I find it extremely difficult. I've crashed my Realflight v7 planes so often I think the simulator is starting to cringe when I power up. I have no illusions about any transfer of previous flight skills. I've had a few hours instruction down at the RC field, and I'm starting to get the hang of it - but I was flying a "Boomerang" which while no speedster, still goes pretty quickly for a noob. Some of the guys have Bixlers and have offered to give me a buddybox ride. Once I get the hang of the spatial disorientation, my flying experience might help, but not at the moment...
So today I am off to the workshop to attempt a build of another contender - the "Judi Jetstream". It is small, very gentle in the air, and easy to build. I have plans in hand, foam on the bench and a nice sharp blade. It is nice and small, which means I can build it out of scrap. Then I'll take it to the local hobby shop and get the guys to suggest motor/ESC/receiver/servos/battery.
Thanks for your help and your interest. I'll post photos.
If you have a local Club your best bet is a buddy box session with their trainer and an instructor, assuming such is available.
You didn't indicate you've been 'advised' about your experience.
Sorry. Yes, I have had a few hours' instruction, and it is getting easier all the time. I guess the guys are just pulling my chain more than anything else.
As for soldering...
I followed Chellie's advice, and checked out some web demos. Then I went out and bought a soldering iron etc from the local JayCar electrical store and gave it a go. Pretty simple when you know how!
Well, I took the plunge and sent away for my electrics, as follows:
Receiver: Lemon 6-channel (DSMX)
ESC: Turnigy Plush 10A
Battery: 800mAh 2s 20C (ordered 3x of these)
Motor: Turnigy 2204-14T
And then last night it struck me that my DX4e TX isn't programmable. Bugger. I was going to use it on the planes I am having CNC'd by a mate, all of which use elevons. So suddenly I'm looking for a transmitter also. This is a setback. Gosh -I wish there was a place complete noobs could go to find out all this stuff. Having to ferret out these basics is frustrating and time consuming. Not to mention potentially expensive.
I really had my heart set on a Hitec Aurora9x - but not yet. I don't have the money. I was assuming I could just use my little (inherited) DX4e till I was ready. Bugger.
So it looks like my flying days are going to have to be postponed till I can afford a better radio. Or I have to find another plane to build. Perhaps I need to look again at the Slow Bipe (uses rudder and elevator only).
Maybe check out some of the offerings at http://www.flitetest.com .
The have a great selection of free plans and excellent build videos to go with them.
Everything they have is built from low cost dollar tree foam board.
I have built and flown 10 or so of what they have and their designs are very good.
This is a fact, you have never been in an empty room.
Your DX4 will do fine. How do you think we all got on (and I still do) before the days of programmable TXs!
Depending of what you fly full size your experience should have some benefit as you should better understand why you crashed but crash you will just the same.
In many ways flying a simulator is rather harder than actually doing it but it is a lot cheaper.
Finally remember your basic 'light aircraft' type model will fly relatively slowly so even a 5mph gentle breeze is like the flying full size in a gentle gale!
Initial test flights are best done in calm conditions.
Pictures of the plane please and do keep posting on how you get on.
The electrics kit arrived (3 days) and my first reaction was that they are TINY... So small... I had no idea.
I also put in an order for a Bixler 2 kit. I decided on a kit rather than the RTF or ARF, simply because I like the building process. The B2 should arrive before the end of the week.
In the meantime, I carried on working on the RTFM Delta wing.
Today I cut out the wings, bonded them together at the root, and added some rakish flared tips. Looks quite fetching. I also created a recess at the base of the wing so that the battery, receiver and ESC can fit there out of sight. I'll have to add some ventilation, but that shouldn't be too challenging.
Sorry, I forgot to take any photos, but will do so tomorrow. Promise.
I have re-drawn the templates. Wing span = 1.8m, fuse length = 848mm. I think this will be a lot easier to build now.
Also, I'm going to "layer" the fuse. The inner layer (DOW blue foam, 5mm) will have the electrics compartment cut out, and include the integral tail. The next layers (white styrofoam, 20mm) will have the electrics cutout, (but no tail), and the outer layers (blue DOW foam, 5mm) will have no electrics cutout. It will come down cleanly onto the wing top surface. This will give me:
An "automatic" electrics compartment without having to retroactively cut out the foam. Far easier and tidier.
An "automatic" tail - so no need for secondary bonding. This assures the tail will be perfectly aligned, and it will be very firmly attached to the fuse.
This will result in a 55mm wide fuse. I think I will also create a hotwire template to give the nose and tail a bit of shape. I'll lay the foam on its side, and hotwire the curve. I should end up with a fuselage which only needs a bit of sanding of the edges. I'll see how I feel later today about this.
I have some CF ribbon lying around the shop (10mmx1mm). I'll surface bond a strip of this to each side of the tail - after recessing a 1mm slot, of course. I'll also cut a 2mm groove along the sides of the fuse and bond in some 2mm CF rod (need to buy this).
I hope to have this finished today, so I'll post some pictures this evening.
Update (2) - at the end of the day
Well, I spent a very productive day at the workshop cutting templates. I am extremely pleased with how they turned out. But it is a LOT of work without access to a CNC router... I am placing an order with Openbuilds.com for the hardware to build a CNC hotwire system, and if all goes well, I should have that going within a month or so. But until then, it is still a matter of printing plans on paper, cutting out, gluing to 3mm MDF, bandsaw and sanding. Oh well...
Tomorrow, I need to slice my 50mm blue foam sheets into 12mm slices. This should be do-able with the hotwire. Then I'll use my new templates to cut the fuse. I will also make a plan-view template so that I can cut the fuse vertically. I'd like to end up with something approximating a full-body fuselage if possible.
Well, it doesn't look like anyone is reading these posts, but I like to document my builds, so I'll just continue... :-)
Today I sliced my 50mm blue DOW foam into 12mm slices with the hotwire. Then I sliced some white foam slices. I used the templates to hotwire the various pieces, and sandwiched them together. Finally, I lay the sandwich on its side, put some weights on it, and cut the plan view so that the nose comes to a nice point, and the tail tapers also. One half of it is now busy gluing (using WBPU). I also put a layer of the lightest glass fibre I have ever seen - like tissue paper - on the one side of the tail. I decided not to brace the tail with a CF rod, but to do the entire tail in the GF tissue. Looks great.
Tomorrow I'll bond the 2nd side.
That will do for the fuselage.
I was going to hotwire the foam cores for the wing, but somehow got my measurements wrong, and so have to redo them tonight. The root chord is 43 inches, and for some reason I had drawn a 51 inch chord. Weird...
I'm not sure that my layered approach is optimal. I have all 5 layers bonding at the moment, but it is all a bit messy. I might have been better served with a single solid foam block, and retroactively cutting out the battery/ESC/RX cavity. Less messy. Less gluing. I'll reserve judgement till tomorrow when I go check on the bonded fuse.
One good thing about the layered fuse technique, is that the vertical tail gets built "automatically", since it is part of the central layer. Perhaps 3 layers is better. A central layer incorporating the tail, and then I cut out the ESC/Battery/RX recess afterwards.
I also got the wings wrong. As they stand (15% thickness), the root is way too deep for the 50mm foam I have. So I've reduced the thickness to 11%, and my root chord thickness is now 48mm. Voila!
So tomorrow, I'll cut the blanks, and hotwire the airfoils.
Well, disaster struck. I decided to smoothe out minor imperfections in the foam by using a bit of spackle (they call it BOG here in Australia). However, I must have been daydreaming, because instead of using epoxy and QCell, I used Polystyrene resin. The result was a horror show at the waxworks. The foam started melting away before my eyes.
I left it in disgust, and this morning returned to the workshop to see what had become of it. A sorry mess to be sure. To vent my frustration, I threw the fuse nose first straight into the cement floor. It bounced about a foot into the air, unscathed. So I redoubled my efforts, putting some real grunt into the throw. This time, it bounced back into the air quite entertainingly. But still no actual damage.
And then it occurred to me that I could use this Frankenstein model as the perfect testbed. It would take terrible abuse, and if I did manage to break it, no worries.
PS I'll take a photo of the sorry mess tomorrow...