[Headline: Designing and building micro models]
Designing and building your own micro-size scale model can be a challenging and rewarding experience. You can use parts from a damaged RTF model, or purchase equipment based on the subject you are modeling.
The first step is to find as much documentation on the subject as possible—pictures, three-view drawings, or even a plastic model of the airplane will help you get the details right. It can be fun collecting documentation. I think about possible future subjects and plan trips to aircraft museums, air shows, and other events to take photographs. When you have your documentation gathered, you can work on drawing your design and start building!
One great feature of a scale micro model is they are small enough that I can draw my designs on my computer in Adobe Illustrator. I can then print the designs directly onto foam coated with inkAID using my inkjet printer.
Micro Laser 200 3D
One of my design goals was to build a good-flying micro 3-D airplane approximately half the size of the popular E-flite UMX Extra 300, but with similar flight characteristics. I decided on a Laser 200. I watched the amazing Leo Loudenslager wring out his Laser 200 at many air shows when I was a child. He was one of the best aerobatic pilots of all time.
For the 8.5-inch wingspan model, I started with a three-view drawing that I found online. I drew the basic aircraft outline in Adobe Illustrator then the fun began. I stretched the wing to give it more area and stretched the fuselage area to allow the model to easily fly knife-edge. I increased the size of the ailerons, rudder, and elevator for 3-D control.
When I was satisfied with the outline, I drew up the graphics. I used some of the original laser graphics and some from a Decathlon to make it my own. Building a prototype can be exciting!
I wanted the model to be as small and lightweight as possible, but have positive control. I used one of the new 1/2-gram Micro Flier Radio servos that I had and it was perfect for this project. I also utilized the servo on the ailerons and actuators on the rudder and elevator to save weight. Nick Leichty made me some powerful 400 mg actuators that I used with a DT RC Control Systems 2.4 GHz receiver that can drive the servos and actuators.
I wanted to use a simple brushed motor setup, so I chose the Ares 6mm motor, gear drive, and propeller. The completed model weighed 8 grams ready to fly, with a 30 mAh LiPo cell.
The model flew well for the first few flights, but needed minor changes to perform full 3-D flight. The Ares 6mm motor did not have adequate power to hover. I replaced it with one of the motors from an Estes Proto X Nano Quadcopter. The Nano Quad 6mm motors are 2.5 ohms and put out good power for their size and weight. I also increased the rudder size for more control.
Now that I have the model flying to my liking, I want to see how much smaller I can go. Maybe I will try a 7-inch wingspan version using all actuators!
New BSD Peanut-Series Kits
Bob Selman Designs (BSD) has released a new line of 13-inch wingspan Peanut Series kits, along with a 6mm gearbox that is perfectly matched for them. The Peanut Mite, Mambo, Bug, and Squire include laser-cut balsa parts for easy construction. Bob’s new Peanut Duster should also be available by the time you read this!
The new gearbox snaps together and can be configured for several mounting options including profile, front and rear bulkhead, and beam radial mount. The gearbox can produce more than 12 grams of thrust using the powerful 2 ohm 6mm ParkZone Ultra Micro J-3 Cub motor and the tri-turbo propeller. I tested the gearbox with the 2.5 ohm Estes quadcopter motor and got 9.5 grams of thrust. I plan to try one in my 10-inch wingspan micro Laser 200.
1/72-Scale Skyboss Corsair
I have wanted to build a full-fuselage version of my great-flying 1/72-scale profile Corsair design for some time, and finally got around to it! I used a highly detailed plastic model as a reference to get all of the panel lines, rivets, and other details correct.
The model has a 6.8-inch wingspan and weighs 4.3 grams ready to fly. The two-channel aircraft uses throttle and rudder for control. It was constructed from Durobatics foam. A Plantraco GB05 motor/gearbox and 30 mAh LiPo cell provide power.
The Skyboss Corsair is simple, yet fun to fly. I enjoy doing low, slow flybys a few feet in front of me on a nice, calm summer day!
I am considering selling the model as a custom-built BNF or RTF airplane. If you are interested, send me an email.
Indoor Night at NEAT
My wife, Cindy, and I will hold the Indoor Night at NEAT again this year. The event will take place during the Northeast Electric Aircraft Technology (NEAT) Fair from 2-10 p.m. on Saturday, September 13, in the Downsville High School gymnasium. It is open to models built from kits or scratch-built (sorry, no RTFs allowed).
We also will have the popular halftime show that allows everyone approximately 5 minutes to showcase his or her latest creations for the crowd! SKS Video Productions should be on hand to film the event.
Models cannot weigh more than 2 ounces and must have a flight envelope that allows them to safely fly in the high school gym. AMA or Park Pilot Program insurance is required!
The $20 registration fee can be paid at the event. All proceeds will go to Downsville High School’s education programs.
Check the NEAT Fair website for the latest information.[dingbat]
Micro Flier Radio
DT RC Control Systems
BSD Micro RC