I made a thread on another forum but they didn't have a section for electric scratch build. I found this forum and maybe thought you guys would like to take a look on something I made.
I always been a fan of Star Wars and have taken a liking to the X-wing Fighter and the Tie Fighter. But years ago I remember people making the x-wing fighter and they was beautiful models to back then. Gas engine used of coarse. A lot has changed since then with electrics and it has opened a whole new window of ways to make things fly.
I few months ago I decided to make myself a Tie Fighter. These things should not really be able to fly seeing on how the shape is and all. But I like a challenge. I always liked the Tie Fighter interceptor and found the shape of it maybe possible for RC. Maybe.
So I found a picture of the model used in the movie and started building a generic test model to beat up and try out. I wanted to try to keep it as close to looking like the real thing as I could. Boy was I in for it!!
So here is my build and what I learned though the whole thing
I started from plain white styro-foam i got from Home Depot. I cut out a few shapes guessing on all of it pretty much and started cutting and gluing. I used a glue gun for the most part since it was fast and easy.
I put some servos on and set it up as an elevon type wing as in deltas for the main. I put the motor on a stick and put it where I thought would be a good location and went with it.
Here is how it looked like.
For power I went with an E-Flight 450 20 amp esc and a 1320 11.1 Thunder Power pack.
I took my fully charged battery and went off to the open field. I throttled up and tossed into the air and it went up right away. It seemed to have plenty of power and gained altitude fast.
Then very quickly I realized I did not have any control at all. It just went up in air went inverted and started doing what looked like a flat spin. No matter what input I gave it just spun around. As I cut the power it slowly settle back to the ground. No harm was done. Was the weirdest uncontrolled crash I ever had.
I tried this a few times and every time had the same result. Slow motion flat spin into the ground. Odd. So my thought was the cg was way off. So I out some weight into the nose. I put a good bit into the nose matter fact.
Charged new battery and tried again. This time it flew a few seconds normal before going inverted and spinning uncontrollably. Hmmm I think I am making progress maybe...
Again I added more weight and tried again. I did this a few times each time crashing and as I kept trying it started to fall apart. I got the glue gun out and glued and taped back together and tried again.
So after tossing around my small model I found the darn thing flies pretty well. So I pick it up to find the CG and see how far off I was.
WOW!! I was off big time. The CG was about all the way in the front. I had no clue at all and was off by about 2 1/2 feet!!
So I grabbed my model and made some changes. I extended the motor out a good bit get some cg up front. I taped on some weight to the front wing until My CG was exact to my small model.
No to test it out. I charged my battery checked over everything and went out to try again.
I throttle up and tossed into the air and it climbed again very quickly. I thought " Oh gezz here goes again " but at that second it leveled off and started flying. The darn thing worked!! It actually flew.
Not only did it fly but it flew very well. Almost to the point to where I could cut the power and mush along very slow with not stalling. I got up cut power and no wing stall. It just came down right side up but in a slow manner. This thing is a no brainer to fly and after all those crashes was very relaxing. It worked!
So after a bunch of crashes I thought I flew good enough to make a better looking model of the Tie Fighter. And there was a bunch of crashes too. The neighbors got a kick out of me trying to fly some weird looking contraption and crashing over and over. So with me being stubborn I got lucky and found what worked.
Now to make a model that looked a little better than that thick ugly white foam. I headed down to Lowes and grabbed their blue 1/4 folded foam. I got a deal on it too since a few sheets was damaged. I grabbed the thicker 3/4 foam also. I think it was 3/4 hard to tell was a while back. It was the next thickness larger. Anyways I started to copy each piece from the white foam model to this one.
Then I got the the front wing. The canard part of the ship. That darn thing looked ugly and was it really needed to fly anyways? So I charged up a battery and removed the front canard wing. I throttled up and tossed into the air. I started to porpoise pretty bad up and down and I had no control and I crashed pretty bad. Okay so the question was answered. It was needed.
So I had some ideas in my head how I wanted to do this. The canard and rear wing I wanted to be invisible except only the shape that was correct the the model in the movie. I had a few ideas but decided to mess with that later.
I started with the main triangle wings first from the 1/4 blue foam
Okay so now it is starting to look like a ship. I am getting excited and then I fumble on the idea on how the heck am I going to make the main wing and canard...
My idea was to copy the ship as close as possible. But I did not want blue foam all over to make up the wing. So I decided to make the wing out of blue foam and half balsa. The blue foam was going to be the noticeable part and the part I did not want seen would be in balsa with clear covering over it.
This way It would appear to just be the canopy attaching to the main wings and not this fat blue wing. I would use the same idea on the front canard wing as well. The entire wing would be transparent.
Okay so now my canard wing was made up. I decided to use carbon fiber square rods for that and clear covering. I used monocoat. If I was to do again I would use Ultracoat. Its been years since I covered anything and forgot what works better. It was a headache but got it done.
On the main wing I painted the blue foam with Testors primer grey. I painted everything with Testors since it was foam safe. All the balsa I painted black very lightely then covered over with clear monocoat. In the end I think the idea of having main part of wing see through worked out well.
No came the next challenge. The actual canopy.
I had no clue how to do this but wanted to use a foam ball of some sort. I looked all over and found nothing that would work. So I found a foam type ball at Hobby Lobby craft store. It wasnt very smooth at all but it was round. Only down part it was a solid ball.
So I had to cut it in half and gut out all the foam with my dremel sanding drum. That took forever! But shaving a little at a time I eventually got there.. made it light enough to use.
All I had to do next was make the trademark cockpit window and paint it up. A few cuts on canopy and it would be done.
Then the thought of mounting the canopies to the wing. What would I use? I seen many other electrics using those strong earth magnets so I decided to order some and use the same. I found some on Thinkgeek dot com and ordered some of those.
They worked out perfectly since I had many sizes to choose from.
Okay so it is complete. I am pretty happy on how it came out but will it fly after all that?
I charged my battery once again and hit the field. I tossed in air and it climbed kind of. It was nose up but barely moving, eventually it started loosing attitude. I had to land. This model was a bit heavier and would need more power.
I tried a few different props but in the end decided to go up on the size of the motor and ESC. I just did not have enough power to fly this thing. So had to order new new motor and sit and wait until it got here.
So the 450 just did not have enough power. I ended up ordering a bigger motor and esc. The motor was a 3530-10 and 40 amp esc. No clue what the hell it was but from the specs it looked good and like it would work for my weight.
No the tricky part was to mount this thing to a round carbon fiber shaft. How the heck was I going to do this?
Brainstorm again and I came up with an idea. I went to Home depot in search of some kind of object to use for a motor mount. I hit every section then I seen these assortment of Funnels. Hmm...I think I can make use of these.
The funnels were wide at tip and very thin at bottom. I cut off the wide part and kept the thin funnel part at bottom for the mount. I made 2 foam funnel shaped rings a firewall and it it together. Oh and painted it again. I had too lol..
Anyways everything mounted up nicely so I Gorilla glues the mount to the carbon stick and was done. Motor mounted and all. It was just time to fly it again with new motor.
Okay so after all that It was time to fly again. Same ole stuff charged battery and hit the field. I pointed up and throttled and this thing took off. It accelerated going up. Okay power is not an issue!!
But I did find I needed a bit of down thrust. With power on it wanted to climb hard. Power about half or lower it flew normal. Okay so no biggie I landed and changed the thrust on the motor.
Much better!! Finally I can enjoy what I made. This thing is a joy to fly and very easy too. The front canard and main wing become invisible almost in the air and it serves its purpose. It looks pretty real in the air seeing the ship is not real..lol
After a long time of messing around with this ship the darn thing works and looks great and flies great. Next on the agenda is to put some bright LED's for the fake lazer cannons. Kind of give an effect.
Hope you guys enjoy a little bit of Star Wars RCing
Very nice build thread! I really respect people who make their own planes and especially those who make them look like the real thing! I really enjoyed reading your "learning through trial and error"- thread.
That Interceptor must be a one heck of a jaw opener at the field you are flying -->
Live long and pros... wait wrong saga... May the Force be with you
Hey guys thanks for the kind words. This has really been a fun build and glad the thing even flew! I was worried there for a few and almost bailed out.
I have a video my son took with my cell phone. The video quality looks horrible but it was my maiden flight on the second design. That is where I found that I needed down thrust. I plan to make a better video here sometime.
Right now I am trying out a few things for a nose gear. Anyone have any ideas? So far what I came up with is a bowed tube to run under the canard. So maybe it can settle on that.
Or I thought about some ELL shaped rods or something that stayed folded in. Then right before landing I could flip a switch and they flip out to the front. I been trying to think of something that wont be to bulky and noticeable.
I will take some pictures of it in the air this weekend. Would rather be a video but need to wait on that due to not having my digital camera here.
As for plans I would love to make some up but I dont have the slightest idea how to go about that. I can build it but drawing it out I would be clueless lol. I kept everything even numbered so was all multiples of 2. Nothing was ever blank and 1/2 inches. I tried to keep simple so I could make another and not have to try to remember the measurements of each part down to the 1/2 inch. Just 30", 36", 6", 8" all nice round numbers.
Like the main triangle wings are 3' long. I took a rectangle sheet 3' by 14". I measured back 12" from one end and marked one at 12" and the second at 6". From the 6" mark and drew a diagnol line to the bottom corner and cut off. That made the rear taper on wing. From the 12" mark I drew from there to the front bottom and drew a another diagnol line and that made my front slant.
Hmm got me thinking now. Maybe I can draw something up. I could try to make some drawings of the shapes and write the measurements down. The drawings could be for reference not scale but the numbers for exact shape.
I will mess around with that some when I get a chance. I still need to figure out my front gear. Once I get everything exactly where it should be I would feel better about it some.