Saturday 7 March 2015

RC plane building materials

Latest Update Feb 2021

Carbon fibre
Skyshark P4X woven tubes - Wing spars and tail booms
7.54mm OD x 825mm (32.5") - Kites and fun things                
US$3.50 each. Freight is about US$45 to Aus. These are woven carbon fibre tubes, which are lighter than pulltruded tubes and less prone to splitting. Great for big kite spars also.

6 x 1mm and 3 x 0.5mm CF strip - light weight spars and reinforcing
2 to 5mm CF rod and tube - wing tie downs rods and elevator axle
12k CF tow (ribbon of unwoven fibres) - reinforcing and repairs

Rubber bands Size 64 (87 x 6mm) wing tie downs - Officeworks
Buy a 500g bag, they need frequent replacing. Dont buy the coloured version, they are weaker and fail sooner.

Laminating film and Packing tape
Iron-on document laminating film (covering)
3 mil (75 mic) is the most useful thickness, you can also use 1.7 mil (42.5 mic) for lighter builds. I bought 305mm wide rolls of GBC EZLOAD Lamination film but it may no longer be available

This laminate from Bound to Impress may be suitable but not tried by me 75 micron laminate

Scotch heavy duty exterior double sided tape (motor mount, servos) - Bunnings
Norton Bear cloth tape (reinforcing) - Bunnings
PPS clear 43 and 60 micron packing tape (covering, hinges) Officeworks

PPS coloured packing tape (covering - 5 pack) - Officeworks
UPDATE: October 2015 - Looks like this coloured packing tape is no longer available at Officeworks. Need to buy Hobby King covering tape or Ebay from now on.
UPDATE: Jan 2016 - KMart now sells coloured packing tape (Thanks Joe)

Scotch Transparent Tough Tape (joining, reinforcing) - Bunnings
This is my favourite reinforcing tape but it's more expensive. Strong holding, flexible and lighter than cloth tape. Used to join wings, hold landing gear on and to reinforce control horns and hinges. Use cheaper Bear cloth tape where weight and strength are not as crucial.

3M Blenderm Tape for hinges - HobbyKing, Medical Supplier

Hot glue gun - Crescent 60W Bunnings and this 12V battery one from Hobby King
Brown Gorilla Glue
Accent Polyeurethane Glue - Mitre 10
Z-Poxy Epoxy finishing resin - ebay and Tates Hobbies Geelong
Foam Safe CA - Hobby King
Thread locker (Blue = releasable) for motor bolts - Supercheap Auto
UHU Por Foam safe contact glue - HobbyKing

If you cant get Flite Test or Adams foam board (only available in US), then depron is the best alternative.
Genuine depron is stiffer and stronger than other uncovered foamboards.

Beware - Paper-covered foam boards in Australia, like Quill from Officeworks, are much heavier and way more expensive than Dollar Tree foam board used by Experimental Airlines and Flite Test. Dollar Tree foam board is not sold in Aus so I use depron with tape or laminate covering. Depron is waterproof and lighter and much more durable than paper covered foam board.

Hot wire cutting bits
Knauf XPS insulation foam 30mm and 50mm thick - Bunnings
Hotwire wire - 40kg (90lb) single strand SS fishing wire
Template aluminium - 0.3mm Weatherflash window flashing

Bits and pieces
Blank ID cards - Search Ebay for CR80 blank ID cards
Piano wire for Push rods (0.047" or 1.1mm) or Landing gear (2.5mm to 3mm) - Tates Hobbies 
Linkage stoppers - Hobby King
Z-bend pliers (worth having) - Hobby King
DuPont connectors useful when you need more or less pins than three (servo style connector kit) - Search Ebay

Tuesday 3 March 2015

FrSKY Lipo voltage sensor

This sensor (cost about A$22) enables telemetry for the total battery voltage and individual cell voltages. Also called the FLVSS sensor.

It is small and lightweight and has a very clear OLED screen which means it can be used as a stand alone battery checker.

It plugs into the balance lead of the battery and connects to the X series receiver via the Smart Port.

This video covers connection and setup directly on the Taranis Plus transmitter. Spoken values and on-screen display of total voltage and the lowest individual cell voltage, with a little flight at the end.

FrSKY 40A current sensor

This sensor (cost about A$27) enables current, voltage and consumed mAh telemetry. This is one of the most useful modules for flying powered planes because it means you don't need to keep landing to check the battery level.

It plugs in-line between the battery and ESC and connects to the receiver via the Smart Port.

This video covers connection and setup using OpenTX companion, Taranis Plus transmitter and OpenTX 2.0. On-screen display and spoken voltage and mAh consumption values. Viewing of recorded logs in OpenTX companion.

Sunday 1 March 2015

FrSKY GPS sensor

This is the FrSKY GPS sensor which enables position, altitude, speed and distance data on the Taranis. Cost about A$49.

The UP side must face upwards with a clear view of the sky, under foam may be OK.

Once connected it takes a few minutes for the sensor to acquire satellites. 
When it is ready the red led will change from fast to slow flashing and Lat and Long will appear on the telemetry screen 3.

This video covers connection and setup, how to enable spoken altitude, speed and distance values, telemetry logging and displaying flight tracks in Google Earth.