How to Build a Foam Model Airplane

Written by grahame turner
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Styrofoam packing material and foam meat trays don't immediately bring to mind a flying model aeroplane, but styrofoam is actually a very useful material when it comes to building model aeroplanes. It is a lightweight and fairly strong material which can be cut to nearly any shape. Many model aeroplanes are made from wood or plastic, but you can fairly easily build some from a foam board, styrofoam or similar material.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Styrofoam or foam board
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Utility knife or hot cutter
  • Glue
  • Airplane battery
  • Motor
  • Cable ties
  • Radio receiver
  • Servos

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Find plans for your aeroplane online and print them. If your plans include part templates, cut these out.

  2. 2

    Draw or trace the parts of your aeroplane on the foam board. Use the ruler or template pieces to measure the dimensions of each piece and mark the parts' outlines.

  3. 3

    Cut out the parts of the aeroplane with the utility knife or hot wire cutter. A hot wire cutter makes smoother cuts and is better for this type of project.

  4. 4

    Glue the model plane together following the directions on your plan. Lay dabs of glue along the edges of the pieces of foam, and stick them in place. Leave the glue to dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Wire the motor and propeller to the receiver and the battery following the included instructions. Attach both to the plane with glue and cable ties.

  6. 6

    Glue the body of a servo to the wing or tail of the aeroplane. Hook the pushrod into the styrofoam of one of the flaps. Connect the servo arm to that pushrod. Wire the servo into the receiver according to the directions included with your servo.

Tips and warnings

  • Check that the motor turns, the battery is charged and the servos turn the flaps of the aeroplane before each flight.
  • Examine the aeroplane before each flight to be certain that none of the parts of the aeroplane are cracked, damaged or broken. If a piece of the plane is broken, replace it immediately.
  • Foam board is less sturdy than many of the alternative plane materials. If you crash land the aeroplane, or hit a wall or tree, you may damage your plane. Damaged planes may not fly as well, or not fly at all.

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