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Printing graphics directly on foam...

Old 05-20-2010, 03:40 AM
  #1  
dcwwcp
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Default Printing graphics directly on foam...

I'm trying some "new to me" building methods. basically printing graphics directly to 1mm depron foam using inkaid (digital graound in this case) and a canon printer.

the model started as a card model purchased from fiddler's green for about $4.00 this comes in pdf form in two different sizes and in 3 different colors, B&W, brown, and the ever popular green.

I diced up the pdf file in to sections so I could blow it up and get the scale I wanted. a 15" wingspan. the rudder is slightly over sized.

I used .118 wide CF flat bar split in half for wing spars and a small piece of .020" wire on the center section of each wing to hold the dihedral and I could set it where I liked it, making them all match.

the fuse is folded much like the cardmodel and the landing gear is made from .020" wire with the foam parts glued to it.

the landing gear is going to be re-done because it is too short. (the spreader bar is too wide) in the process I plan on using paper landing gear parts glued over the wire on both sides. should look better and weigh about the same.

still need to make the battery access hatch better. probably a removable top engine cowl.

took it out to fly at my indoor fly club right after I finished and it flys great! it tracks really straight and with two clicks of up elevator it can crawl along ever so slowly. it looks great in the air. MUCH easier to fly than the schuckert D.III

now that I feel confident with the process, I plan on making more WWI micro, direct-to-foam-print planes. I'm having a great time
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Last edited by dcwwcp; 05-21-2010 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:07 AM
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Rabbitcreekok
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That turned out really nice, DC. What is digital graround or inkaid?
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:40 AM
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it's a product that will absorb ink just like paper used to apply to just about whatever you can shove in a printer. both products seem to give good results. I'm using (and most people making planes do) the matte white version.

check out this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...on+foam&page=6

good stuff.

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Old 05-20-2010, 05:00 PM
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I looked over the RCG thread and some questions arose. Can you elaborate on the logistics of the proper printer and any modifications necessary to print on depron or durabatics. Some of the posters mentioned modifications to the printers to allow a straight through path for the foam.

Perhaps you could do a little thread as a guide to printing on foam with photos and we could make it a sticky in this forum.
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Old 05-21-2010, 03:34 AM
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well I didn't modify anything on the canon mp250 I bought. it has an almost straight through path. about a 55 degree bend? it works great with the 1mm foam.

you could use just about any printer that is similar, but this printer was recommened to me by Brent Slensker and it works great. it's only a $40 printer!!

first off I recommend learning to use 1mm material or thinner. that way you can buy the cheap printer to get started. also it helps, of course, to build as light as possible.

you want to buy either inkaid or Golden brand Digital ground. I purchased digital ground at the local art/painting store. you'll have to look for inkaid online.

the best way to apply it is an airbrush. you can buy an airbrush if you need to at the LHS or at a Michaels(they carry badger) or at hobby lobby(the carry paasche). either way go online and look for a "40% off a single item" coupon before you buy one.

I cut the digital ground 1:1 with water and ran the pressure at about 25-30 psi on the airbrush.

MAKE SURE YOU WIPE THE FOAM OFF WITH DENATURED ALCOHOL BEFORE YOU SPRAY!!!

if you don't wipe the foam down it will come out blotchy and have less than desireable printing results.

wipe it down and let it dry. apply a very light thin coat of the ink aid/digital ground. I helped it dry with a hair dryer which made a big difference. some people said they were getting it covered in one coat, but I am not that good with the airbrush yet, or the medium and the mix. maybe a different mix, or pressure, or just experience would improve my a persons ability to get it good in one coat. I put 2 coats on my first project here. sprayed in one direction, dried with hair dryer, then sprayed inthe other direction and dried..

I did the scaling of the card model images the old fashion way. I printed them as is, on graph paper. I scaled it up 158% of it's standard print size to get the size I wanted on the fuselage and most eveything. the wings I bumped up to 164% to give me an exact 15" wingspan and a little more wing area per the overall weight. the rudder is 175% because it just looked like it wasn't going to have enough authority for what I wanted. it doesn't really look all that oversized at all in the end.

once I figured out the actual measurements of what the parts should be when scaled up, I very carefully selected exact sections that were predetermined on the original graph paper print. and pasted them in good ol' fashion microsoft word processor. then formatted them to the exact measurements I determined were needed earlier. I arranged them on different sizes of paper according to what was needed. I formatted the the margins of the paper and made custom sizes like 8.5" by 17" for the wings and 8.5" by 14" (legal) for the fuselage. I had to make sure to set the margins properly, but as small as allowed. I did lots of test printing in grayscale and fast speed quality to check my work, but not waste ink.

I made the wings just like shown on the card model and then realized that really, it was going to be a ton of work and weight to do it that way. so I decided to attempt printing on both sides of the foam for the wings and tail feathers. so it seemed that using the butterfly wing idea was the best. I set the margins of the paper in Word proccesor to be the same on both sides. paste the top side of the wing on one page/file at the first or top line available and all the way to the left margin. then create another word file with the exact same page size and margins, and pasted the bottom side of the wing at the first/ top line and spaced or "perioded" in front of it to set it all the way to the right margin. double check the position and try it on regular paper, flipping the paper side over side(not back over front) to print on the back side using the second file. I lined up almost exactly!!

the elevator came out a bit off but only a 1/16" or so. this saves alot of weight in glue, alot of time, and alot of workin the end.

the end reult is wonderful scale looking details, or whatever you can design yourself, and an extremely light finish. you can always print another wing or whatever if you need to.
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:14 AM
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I would like to add some comments.

first -off, I of course, am not the one who thought of any of this, except my own silly way at scaling and printing on both sides.

MOdesigner really inspired me when I saw his DH.2 in action, and up close. truly a great flying plane with great scale looks.

this caused me to investigate more by searching the web for info. my search led me to a few threads, mainly this one:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...inting+on+foam

as you can see, Rguillot was printing on foam before sept. 2007.
so this is nothing new.

also the idea of using card models is in that very same thread.

most of the planes I'm interested in making are WWI scale-looking, foam, dimescale planes. so this method of printing scaled-up cardmodel graphics on foam really makes that possible.

So a great big thanks to MOdesigner, allan wright, gordon johnson, grahm stabler, brent slensker and of course rguillot
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:00 PM
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Hello there and very nice craftsmanship!!

I am now experimenting with a few of fg models that a coworker of me gave them as a
gift. However I would like to know how did you manage to sync the printing of parts(opposites) with such great alignment. And also, how did you scale up the printout?

Thanks for your prompt reply.

Turbopropdriver
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:00 PM
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read post number 5 in this thread again.

thanks
~dcwwcp
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:48 AM
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Thanks and Happy New Year, Sorry, but I think I was soooooo enthusiastic of this great Idea, that I flew over/(not really read post 5). I am now experimenting with a Monocoupte 70, Cessna 152/172 and a DH Beaver. I will let you know of the results, again thanks.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:58 PM
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Wow, very inspiring.

Really makes me want to go get a 2.4 radio so I can get this micro gear. I'm still on 72. Fine for the larger planes, but really limiting for this stuff.
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:24 AM
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Absolutely right on!! Now, I am also considering (very, very seriously) experimenting with used earphone coils and their tiny magnets for flying surface control as magnetic actuators. I finished (at least assembling) the fuselage/tail feathers and wing using a FG J-3 cub after gluing it to 1mm depron foam. This tiny model I forgot to include in the last post, and it was completely printed in a standard letter size page (approx 10 inches wingspan). I can't hardly wait for the final results!!
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:24 AM
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Turbopropdriver:

What type of earphones are you pulling the coils and magnets from? I've heard of building your own actuators but not doing it the way you're describing.

Frank
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:51 PM
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Turbopropdriver
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You are right Frank,
I removed the coil from one of the $2.00/airline headsets and found out the magnet is not in the coil but surrounding it. Now, I have a question, if the magnet is broken in smaller pieces, can I still use it if it fits inside the coil?

Or shoud I still buy those ultra micro magnets instead?

Thanks for your reply if you wish please send me an email.

Thanks.

Tpd
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:27 PM
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TPD:

I have never worked with fragmented magnets. My guess is that a fragment will be weaker than a whole one, but still react to the coil. The magnets I purchased (3mm diameter) were fairly cheap (25 of them for $6 or $7 on EBay). Plantraco sells a nano actuator kit for about $5.39 (without shipping) and you have to glue a rod (not provided) to the magnet.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:02 AM
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Turbopropdriver
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Frank,
Thanks for your prompt reply,

I just ordered two sets of 15 1/8in by 1/32 in and 3x5mm rare earth magnets also on ebay.

But I believe my three models are too heavy, one of these an FG DeHavilland Beaver weighs with everything more than 35 grams!
This is the planned configuration:
1 HK AP05 motor w 5in gws prop
1 HK spektrum compatible orange 410 receiver
1 Turnigy 1s 160ma lipo
1 2.4Ghz SuperMicro Systems - Brushless ESC - 3.5A from HK
Two Cox warbird series servo boards with 5kohm pot
Two earphone coils with the micro magnets/ the plane was made by gluing with Foam friendly CA the FG model to foam. Then cut and formed to shape.

I think I will have to go back to the drawing board, and would like to print directly to foam, but my printer a Lexmark X6650 can not even feed the .5mm foam sheets with peel back paper!, I would like to find out where I can get instructions to perhaps make an opening in the paper feeder without removing it and just using some kind of mechanism to use the original feeder wheels and see if the models can then be printed on 1mm depron (or .5mm peel back foam) foam sheets. In other words, make some kind of a slot in the rear of the feeder in order to feed the foam sheet through the original mechanism being practically a straight horizontal feed. If you can find this info, I will be more than grateful, since I have looked everywhere in the web, and the only thing I see is the user manual, no technical/exploded parts diagram, nothing, to see what I could do, (Of course this unit's warranty expired). So no worries on this side.

In the mean time, thanks again and Fly safe and happy landings!!

Tpd
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:38 PM
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TPD:

I'm not understanding why you're not using a smaller motor (maybe a geared 4mm motor with an appropriate propeller) and a combination micro receiver with a built in ESC. These may cut some of the weight off. I also don't understand the function of the pot in your design. Those floats must be adding a lot of weight.
I have not tried the printing process yet on my HP. I have some ideas about alternatives before you do anything to your Lexmark. First I would take some 220 grit or finer sandpaper and sand down the leading edge of your foam sheet so the copier has something to grab and pull. Be gentle, it doesn't take much to mess up foam. Another thought would be to tape a strip of paper to the leading edge (tape on front and back) Or take the file you want printed to Office Max (cheaper) or FexEx/Kinko ($ ouch) and see if they can run it through their printer. If they can't, then maybe a small sign shop may have something that could handle it. Another thought would be to print the design on adhesive backed paper or just paper (and use 3M photomount) and then apply it to the foam.

Let me know how it turns out. Good luck with the DeHavilland.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:44 PM
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Turbopropdriver
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Frank,
Again thanks for your reply.
The reasoning behind the 5k ohm pot is to substitute the servo pot since there is no feed back of control (magnet position) to the servo board. You may find a few diagrams in the rcg threads by looking into servo to magnetic actuator conversions. The motor is because this AP05 and other AP.. from HK can be used with a 1s lipo. Also I understand the AP05 motor has more power than a regular brushed motor of the same size.

Do you know where I can get info of weight/size rules of thumb? I guess I will have to go back to square one on the beaver because I think it is too heavy. Perhaps after maybe increasing the size (area) and removing some material like it is done with the ultra light 3d foamies that appear as a truss structure at one side I may have a lighter airplane. In the mean time fly safe and happy landings, I will keep you posted on the rebuild.

Tpd
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:49 PM
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Sorry, I forgot to tell you that one of the models is in fact printed on transparent label sheet bought at OffMax (letter size) and adhered to the foam, the other is a bigger (20in) span printed in paper and attached to the foam, this one might work perhaps better than the beaver. About the printing process in OffMax, well here they are quite expensive. But will keep checking. Thanks again.
Tpd

Tpd
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:20 PM
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Tpd:
Hate to see all that weight. You may want to consider looking at this website for some simpler and lighter alternatives. The receiver should allow you to loose the ESC and the pot. http://www.microflight.com/Online-Ca...-0-9g-Receiver

The site also has some other things that may apply to your projects.

When you're using the paper or transparent label, how much did these add to the weight of the plane?

I have not seen anything for rules of thumb or charts regarding weights, motors and propellers but have been looking. I think I remember seeing somewhere that a 4mm pager motor would drive a 28 gram plane. So maybe you're not that far off on the DeHavilland?

Thanks for the info on the servos and actuators

Frank
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:01 PM
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Turbopropdriver
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Frank,
Thanks for your reply.
Know what? I never weighed the paper vs transparent label, I did not have a gram scale then, but I got a HK electronic scale and I will check to see the main difference using the letter size paper vs the letter size label. I am still pushing the build on the Beaver, to see what comes out. I hope the AP05 can at least pull it to fast taxi speed (Ha, Ha!) and thanks for the links I'll check them later tonight. By the way I am building the B, as a land plane, no floats this time. The other feature of the B is that I traced the NACA airfoil shape printed in the FG model, and made a few depron ribs so the wing has the full thickness, Hope this helps accelerate some air on top of the wing and perhaps produce the needed lift. I'll keep you posted and perhaps if I can figure out how to take a short video with my cell, I'll give it a shot.

Thanks again, and as always, fly safe and happy landings!

Tpd
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:55 AM
  #21  
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Tpd:

I'll look forward to seeing your build on these. The website I gave also includes a page under their Knowledge Base which gives thrust in grams for their different engine configurations. Good luck with the work.

Frank
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:39 PM
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Howdy again Frank,

Checked the Plantraco website. And the stats on motor/amp/resistance/thrust info. Great info, however if Voltage was also included, I would be able to understand the tables . Normally my micros are using the Turnigy/equivalent 3.7v 1s lipo (HZ Aeronca Champ cells). I think I need to dig further to understand this data. In the meantime, I am using Spektrum/compatible receivers for my micro stuff. I got a DX8 for Xmas, so I'm fully committed to this type of gear. I may consider the Micronrc receivers in the future which are also compatible with my spektrum system. Advancing on the B, well I got into a closed alley this time. I checked the earphone coils but they are too tiny for my magnets, so I tried to wind some mag wire by hand but it is so thin that it breaks easily. I will have to get a cordless driver to be able to slowly make my coils. In my last two attempts, I ended breaking up the wire.
Oh! Before I forget, the regular letter size paper wt in grams is 4.3, the Avery transparent letter size label is 9.7 (including the removable backing) and the HP photo paper is 9.9. and 11sq inches (unfortunately I did not have too much depron left), of 1mm depron weighs .3grs! since the paper/label material adds so much weight to the 1mm depron, and has proven to be too delicate for my clumsy fingers, I will consider rebuilding the B next time but using Photo gloss paper with sprayed on protector. It seems to be quite strong, and weighs more or less the same as in the depron/paper/or transparent label combination. Also it ends up thinner than with the depron foam.
In the mean time Fly safe and happy landings!

Tpd
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:02 AM
  #23  
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Tpd
If you're copying to paper and sticking it on the depron, you may want to consider vellum (tracing paper).
If I can find any 1mm Depron locally, I'm going to try running it through my printer.
You might want to email Plantraco for the info you need, I've found them pretty responsive so far.
Good luck
Frank
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Old 02-04-2012, 03:09 AM
  #24  
Turbopropdriver
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Frank,

Can you give me more light with Plantraco?, Do they sell printable foam?
Thanks.

Tpd
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:22 PM
  #25  
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Tpd:

It's a little expensive but its supposed to be thinner, lighter and more flexible. Maybe you can get your floats and still cut the weight. Says you need a straight through printing path. Here's the website:
http://www.microflight.com/Online-Catalog/Parts-Materials/Durobatic-Foam-InkJet-Ready-3-Sheets

Frank
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