How to Build Styrofoam RC Airplanes

Written by kristie dailey
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How to Build Styrofoam RC Airplanes
Playing with RC Planes can be a fun hobby. (Rc plane about to take off image by macegraphics from Fotolia.com)

RC foam planes are light and have very little surface area resistance, so they fly well. These planes are a great craft for both children and adults due to their popularity of being both robust and lightweight. They can also handle rougher landings as you are learning to fly radio control. Using foam as a building material cuts down on both costs and complexity while creating a sturdy, easily-maintained model plane. Decide what type of plane design you wish to make. While you can design your own plane, there are plane plans available online (see Resources for website). Print out the free full-scale design to begin.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 1/2 inch thick foam board
  • Small screws, 4
  • Marker
  • Cutting mat
  • Utility knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue
  • Packing tape
  • Servos
  • Control linkages
  • Block of wood (approximately 2 inches by 4 inches)
  • Folding prop motor
  • Battery
  • Radio
  • ESC
  • Screwdriver

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut out the plane design with scissors and trace it onto the foam board with a pencil or marker.

  2. 2

    Cut your plane design out of the foam board with a utility knife.

  3. 3

    Cut both ailerons at a 30- to 45-degree angle where the control surface meets the wing.

  4. 4

    Attach the control surface to the main wing at the cut angle to make the hinge, using tape along the length of the wing.

  5. 5

    Slide the wing through the slot in the airframe.

  6. 6

    Apply glue to the centre of the wing, allowing the glue to dry.

  7. 7

    Repeat above procedure for the second wing controller.

  8. 8

    Cut out the slots in the airframe where the tail piece will go at a 30- to 45-degree angle.

  9. 9

    Slide the tail piece into place and glue.

  10. 10

    Add the elevator to the tail piece in the same manner that you added the controller to the wings.

  11. 11

    Install the servos and control linkages. The length of the control linkages dictate where the servos should be mounted. Insert the servos into cutouts in the airframe: one to control the wings and one to control the tail elevator. The control linkages are attached to the servos. Attach to the wing and tail elevators with hot glue.

  12. 12

    Repeat this process for the tail elevator.

  13. 13

    Cut out a slot in a block of wood to mount your motor using a table saw. The slot will be approximately 1/2-inch thick.

  14. 14

    Glue the block to the airframe.

  15. 15

    Mount the motor to the block with the screws, using a screwdriver. You will not need landing gear if you use a folding prop.

  16. 16

    Mount the ESC (Electronic Speed control), radio and battery to the plane body with tape. It is a good idea to use the battery to balance the plane. Make sure the plane balances about 1/3 to 1/2 the wing length back from the leading edge of the wing.

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