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Cheap electronics for scratch build middle school education?

Old 03-07-2016, 07:06 PM
  #1  
flyingpastor
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Default Cheap electronics for scratch build middle school education?

Looking for the cheapest (decent quality) components to get middle school kids in the air with a scratch built foamy. I've been looking around but I know i'm not the first person to do this sort. I've done some building in the past but mostly kit stuff for electric and a few .40 size nitro planes. I don't think anything that I'd be asking middle school students to do would be too expensive. I'm looking for grants and considering asking some local businesses.

This is the brain child of myself and a science teacher who have noticed that a lot of the kids that don't want to learn from a book are on point when they are working hands on. The goal is to get these kids learning and asking questions about how the world works using RC planes as a starting point.

I'm looking at this model for the starting point... assuming I can fly my demo easily in the gym. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=354237


During the build progress we'll work on the vocabulary / definitions necessary for flight, the build, and basic understanding of the electronics.

As they progress we'll start talking about the math involved with the design, thrust, lift, weight, and drag relationships, etc.

As much as possible this will all be done organically instead of in a "sit down and listen" pedagogy. Getting the students to ask questions rather than forcing them to listen to answers before they know why they would care in the first place.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:32 PM
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I go here for budget stuff. They don't gouge on shipping either.
http://www.headsuphobby.com/

If I want really low budget its Hobbyking.com but I have more faith in the data supplied by the first site.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by birdDog View Post
I go here for budget stuff. They don't gouge on shipping either.
http://www.headsuphobby.com/

If I want really low budget its Hobbyking.com but I have more faith in the data supplied by the first site.
Thanks. If the prices are even close I'd rather support the little guy. But in the end it will depend on how much funding I can drum up. I'm scratching the bottom of my barrel just getting my own gear up to snuff.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:58 PM
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Bald Paul
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You may also want to check http://store.ftstem.com/

They offer discounts on supplies for educational use.

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Old 03-07-2016, 08:05 PM
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Contact the nearest RC club...
You might find someone with boxes of old stuff from RTF models that they'd donate.

I give away the radios from RTF packages.

Building from cheap foam or from discarded coroplast political signs can do wonders for your budget.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by fhhuber View Post
Contact the nearest RC club...
You might find someone with boxes of old stuff from RTF models that they'd donate.

I give away the radios from RTF packages.

Building from cheap foam or from discarded coroplast political signs can do wonders for your budget.
We don't have a "local club" in my area... i'm actually hoping that this will spawn that as well... However, I know a few guys from the area I moved from and one guy has already offered some stuff he's not using. Most of it is outdoor stuff but I'm hoping some of the guys from the KC area can hook me up with indoors stuff. I really need to decide what design I want to start them with and decide exactly what I'll need for motors, SC, batteries, and Servos. For my own stuff I don't mind hacking together but with the kids, unless I'm only working with one or two, make it work as you go isn't my preferred starting point. BUT, anything can be used once I get them flying and looking for their own plans.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:57 PM
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Spot on. A capable trainer can be built using a couple dollars worth of EPS foam, tape, plastic tie-wraps, Velcro, Bar-B-Q skewers, and scrap woods.

The largest expense would be the RC and power components. This model used approximately $50 in components, but when the aircraft itself is destroyed the components can just be moved to the next plane.

These types of models teach tons about aerodynamics, weight-and-balance, construction techniques, which props motors, ESCs, LIPOs, etc. work well together.

Flight training with a plane like this can easily and quickly get a student to the point of solo. The limited weight and power teaches energy management, Yet there is enough power for limited aerobatics, and a student can quickly become comfortable with takeoffs and landings. They can also develop situational awareness - How not to let a plane get too far away to see, or too far downwind.

By the time you can build and successfully fly a plane like this a student will have enough skill and confidence to deal with a first factory plane by themselves.
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by maxflyer View Post
Spot on. A capable trainer can be built using a couple dollars worth of EPS foam, tape, plastic tie-wraps, Velcro, Bar-B-Q skewers, and scrap woods.

The largest expense would be the RC and power components. This model used approximately $50 in components, but when the aircraft itself is destroyed the components can just be moved to the next plane.

These types of models teach tons about aerodynamics, weight-and-balance, construction techniques, which props motors, ESCs, LIPOs, etc. work well together.

Flight training with a plane like this can easily and quickly get a student to the point of solo. The limited weight and power teaches energy management, Yet there is enough power for limited aerobatics, and a student can quickly become comfortable with takeoffs and landings. They can also develop situational awareness - How not to let a plane get too far away to see, or too far downwind.

By the time you can build and successfully fly a plane like this a student will have enough skill and confidence to deal with a first factory plane by themselves.

any chance you have a link to the build plans / gear list for that?
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:44 PM
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Plans were available (and videos too) at "that other forum." Search for Charles Pirkey and/or Pirkey Park Flyer. It's from a few years back.
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:13 AM
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Take a look at FliteTest and their free plans using Dollar Tree foam boards.

http://flitetest.com
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Old 03-08-2016, 04:10 AM
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Plans?

We don't need no stinkin plans.

Get up front and build a plane in under 30 min and fly it... don't tell em how you figured out what goes where or why... and let the experiments begin.

Someone with just a modest amount of experience can use "TLAR" (That Looks About Right) and make a plane that flies. (maybe not a great plane...) We KNOW what a plane should look like and about where it should balance after following the instructions a few times.

The questions about "why won't mine work?" are the introduction to using math.
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Old 03-08-2016, 08:53 AM
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X2. get some glue guns and some dollar tree foam and make some gliders. Let's face it, kids, and adults will crash. Build a glider then convert those that stick out the repair and trial and error over to electrics. Some of my fondest memories are my grandpa helping me fix a cheapie foam glider and throwing off his deck.

However I also second flite test. They take the community angle to heart and often do public displays and visit schools. They might even respond to an email and help you set everything up.

Hobby king is the harbor freight of rc. Some stuff is crap some stuff is okay, but I know just about everyone has at least one harbor freight tool, or hobby king battery.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fhhuber View Post
Plans?

We don't need no stinkin plans.

Get up front and build a plane in under 30 min and fly it... don't tell em how you figured out what goes where or why... and let the experiments begin.

Someone with just a modest amount of experience can use "TLAR" (That Looks About Right) and make a plane that flies. (maybe not a great plane...) We KNOW what a plane should look like and about where it should balance after following the instructions a few times.

The questions about "why won't mine work?" are the introduction to using math.

Sorry I offended you with my suggestion.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:35 PM
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I think flitetest models may be a little advanced for people just starting out. Formers and bulkheads can be a little overwhelming for a beginner. Personally, I would stick to a profile model such as the STC listed above
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=354237

or the Birddog, because Birddog
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=168065
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by maxflyer View Post
Plans were available (and videos too) at "that other forum." Search for Charles Pirkey and/or Pirkey Park Flyer. It's from a few years back.
I found it, Thank you.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:08 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by fhhuber View Post
Plans?

We don't need no stinkin plans.

Get up front and build a plane in under 30 min and fly it... don't tell em how you figured out what goes where or why... and let the experiments begin.

Someone with just a modest amount of experience can use "TLAR" (That Looks About Right) and make a plane that flies. (maybe not a great plane...) We KNOW what a plane should look like and about where it should balance after following the instructions a few times.

The questions about "why won't mine work?" are the introduction to using math.

I think I'll use that plan... I can't be quite that un-structured and get the school on board or get the grant money i'm hoping for but I will think about how to let them find the questions on their own... Thank you for the suggestions.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Abuelo View Post
Sorry I offended you with my suggestion.
I don't think he was slamming the use of plans, just suggesting another teaching method. Either way I think the statement was probably aimed at me rather than your response to me. I appreciate your suggestion.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by flyingpastor View Post
any chance you have a link to the build plans / gear list for that?
What is your zip code?

The AMA has a list of the RC clubs in the USA, searchable by zipcode. Many RC clubs in the USA are looking for new younger members.

50% of my club members are retired!
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:50 PM
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I forget that some people aren't as old...
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:58 PM
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Hi Pastor

I can help you with programs and activities to get the kids building and flying. I usually start with something everyone can build and fly then work towards more complicated aircraft. PM me if you are interested.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
What is your zip code?

The AMA has a list of the RC clubs in the USA, searchable by zipcode. Many RC clubs in the USA are looking for new younger members.

50% of my club members are retired!
I'm in SE ks. The closest club to me is the RCBarnstormers... once upon a time they taught me to fly. I contacted the old pres. today and he's going to see what he can scare up.
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Old 03-08-2016, 04:06 PM
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"Don't need no stinkin plans"..........would it not depend on the academic environment.....?

If it's an art and crafts class, after school recreation, or a study hall, maybe not. But if it's a science type course and each student will be building their own modest model, a "put together diagram" for each would stimulate reading (following instructions), math (measuring). and other cognitive skills (putting the parts together)..........in an academic environment (even for short attention span middle schoolers), isn't that what formal education is about........or has that also been lost in todays "education" environments........
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Old 03-08-2016, 08:53 PM
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The Pirkey flyer is a very generic planform that can be modified in many ways. As long as the general areas and dimensions are retained, a great deal of customization and creativity can be applied so that each person can end up with their own version.

The butt-simple structure allows even those with only rudimentary building skills to successfully complete one, while allowing room for innovation. It can be decorated with markers and packaging tapes, and in the air, most flyers will not even be conscious of the fact it's a profile model.

It's undercambered airfoil adds a great deal to it's flying abilities, allowing some pretty impressive aerial maneuvers on only 3 channels. It also allows a flyer to really get a "feeling" of the air mass they are flying in, revealing the dual nature of RC flying...awareness of the plane and it's control inputs, and also the ocean of air surrounding it and what it seems to be doing at any one time. This is an often overlooked positive aspect offered by a very light, but also highly maneuverable airframe. A 7 oz. model also quickly makes one aware of just what the wind limits are and why you need to be aware of them.

Parts requirements on a model like this are also minimal, allowing use of cheap props, wheels, etc.

IMO the most useful aspect of starting with this type of model is what it teaches about proper construction and alignment of flying surfaces and how CG affects flying characteristics, and also becomes invaluable for introducing beginners to RC components, what they do, and how they function as a whole to power an aircraft.

This simple airplane could easily become the centerpiece of an extensive and useful model airplane curriculum. A little creativity could extend a course like this in many areas. I guarantee that any student who successfully completes a course like this will have a major leg up on the beginner-types who run out and by a factory trainer with no prior experience. There's a gold mine here.
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:19 PM
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Another free Dollar Store Foam plan:
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Print Plan Sheet.pdf (30.1 KB, 52 views)
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Old 03-09-2016, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by flyingpastor View Post
I'm in SE ks. The closest club to me is the RCBarnstormers... once upon a time they taught me to fly. I contacted the old pres. today and he's going to see what he can scare up.

FYI, check out this website.

http://www.modelaircraft.org/clubsearch.aspx
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