Many people prefer foam over balsa wood and other materials because it is lightweight, easy to shape, easy to repair and is fairly inexpensive. The foam used to create aeroplanes is durable and can be decorated with decals or paint. Model planes made from foam are not as complex to make as traditional plastic or balsa wood planes, making them a good choice for new hobbyists.
Locate a template or plan for your plane. There are many free foam RC aeroplane templates available online (see Resources).
Outline your plans on the ERP foam sheets. The fuselage may be as many as seven different pieces, depending on the style of the plane.
Cut out all of the pieces from the foam and sand any rough cuts around the edges.
Wire the engine, rudder, elevator and propellers together. Run the wires from the propeller, rudder and elevator servos to the engine and insert the wires into open ports on the engine. Use the measurements on your plans to determine how long the wires from the engine to the propeller need to be. Micro-RC engines work great with foam planes because they are extremely lightweight.
Put the fuselage together around the engine. Do not glue the pieces together yet. If the plan or template does not have a cut out or access panel for the RC engine, cut out an area large enough to remove the battery cover without disassembling the plane.
Use contact cement or epoxy on the mounting plate of the propeller to get it to hold. If the propellers are on the wings, place the wires in the location where the wings will be. Run the controller wires for the rudder and elevator through the tail of the fuselage.
Glue all the pieces of the fuselage together with contact cement or epoxy. Pay close attention to the propeller area and make sure the area is glued around the shaft, but the shaft can still turn. Cover every edge of the foam and hold them together until the cement or epoxy starts to take hold. Allow the cement or epoxy to dry.
Attach the rudder and elevator at the tail of the plane. These parts have to be at a 90 degree angle with each other. Use hinge tape to connect the rudder and elevator to the plane. Glue the controllers to the plane and run the control wires to the underside of the rudder and elevator. Attach the wires with the hinge tape.
Glue the wings to the sides of the fuselage with contact cement or epoxy.
Attach the engine antenna to the plane's fuselage, and wire it to the controller. Balance the aeroplane, if needed.
Things you need
- ERP (expanded polypropylene foam) sheets
- Craft knife
- Contact cement or epoxy
- RC engine
- RC propellers
- RC controller
- Hinge tape