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Old May 30, 2014, 07:22 AM
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Australia, QLD, Gold Coast
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Build Log
3D Printed Bristol Beaufighter

Hi All.

I have been searching for a model of a Bristol Beaufighter and have been unable to find anything to my liking. Either materials or size have been the problem. So I have decided to build my own. I will be modeling the aircraft and building the prototype using my 3D printer. (Makerbot Replicator 2X)

Here is my progress so far. Hope you enjoy the build.

Steve

The Bristol Beaufighter - 'Two engines, closely followed by a plane!'

The Beaufighter was and is a much loved warbird for the RAAF, and served in the roles of night fighter, ground attack aircraft and torpedo bomber. Heavily armed with four 20mm cannons in the nose and six .303 browning machine guns in the wings, it was used with great effectiveness against the Germans and Japanese, earning the nickname of 'Whispering Death' thanks to its very quiet twin Bristol Hercules radial engines. With each developing 1600 hp, it was reasonably quick too.

A history of the aircraft can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Beaufighter

A long, but very interesting video about the Beaufighters service in the RAAF during WW2 can be found here:
Beaufighter - Whispering Death, The Forgotten Warhorse (1 hr 28 min 55 sec)
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Old May 30, 2014, 07:58 AM
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Canberra Australia
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Sounds interesting. Knowing very little about 3D printing (aside from seeing it demonstrated at Swinburne University nearly 20 years ago) - will the airframe be printed of just the buck (mold)?

What size are you doing? I reckon my next new plane will be the Alfa Beau with at least retracts, possibly flaps as well.
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Old May 30, 2014, 08:16 AM
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The airframe will be printed in sections and then bonded together. Once the major parts are assembled they will either be glassed with a very light matting or coated in liquid sheeting (styrospray 1000). This will make it very strong and still be reasonably light.

The parts will be printed in ABS plastic and when done correctly are very light.

This first prototype will have a 1200mm wingspan and will be powered by two 3536 750kv motors. The same motors that are in the Durafly 1100mm P-51 etc. Because most of the weight in this plane is located right up front, The battery will need to be located towards the center rear of the plane. I'm aiming for a 3s 3000 or slightly larger.
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Old May 30, 2014, 08:42 AM
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I've a old HVP Beaufighter nib that'll make it to the board some day. Like to see how yours turns out.

Woody
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Old May 30, 2014, 10:10 AM
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Good stuff - very innovative. About 170mm larger then the Alfa. They recommend 2208 1100kV motors for 650g max flying weight - maybe slightly more with u/c. The battery goes behind the cockpit - 1500mAh 3S.

Will be watching with interest to see how yours goes. Will it be going into production?
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Old May 30, 2014, 10:22 AM
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Perhaps. It depends on how well the prototype performs. This plane will be a lot heavier than the Alpha version. My prototype flying weight is so far calculated at approximately 1.5kg (3.3lb). This can definitely be made lighter with foam construction etc, but to be honest I think it's an acceptable weight for a twin engine plane this size.

As far as the CG is concerned, I have calculated that it will be approximately 73mm back from the leading edge. I also played around in my design software and discovered that I can easily fit a 3s 4000 into the fuselage. There is so much room in there that a 5000 would also be no problem. But then the flying weight starts to get heavy.

I've decided to add the flaps to the feature list. More design work, but will look great.
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Old May 30, 2014, 04:34 PM
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Be looking forward to following your progress on this.
Is your 3d printer restricting your size? Having had both 1200mm and 1500mm Bf110's the difference feels much bigger than the 300mm between them. One more like a big toy the other looks like a RC plane.
By the way good Max work you are doing there. nice and clean.
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Old May 30, 2014, 06:08 PM
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Here's what one of the artisans on the Alfa pages did
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Old May 30, 2014, 07:02 PM
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... watching with interest
... do keep us updated.
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Old May 31, 2014, 01:19 AM
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Ok, not a lot of obvious progress done today. I have started on the control surfaces for the wing and have done the basic canopy. I am also starting to work on the internal structure and layout for the model. Airflow, electronics placement etc. I will begin work on the empennage soon and other detail parts (cowling scoops etc)

I think I should be able to print this in 1:12 scale giving it a wingspan of 1500mm. Will take some clever sectioning of the larger parts in order to fit in the printers build space, but I should be able to manage it. Will be great to have this in a decent size.


Anyway, time to go out and have a fly
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Old May 31, 2014, 01:59 AM
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Good to see you are looking into the 1500mm. I will look forward to see it fly for real one day. You must like flying in the rain.
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Old May 31, 2014, 03:12 AM
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Yeah just got back from the field. Rain cleared long enough to get about 3 batteries in.

1500mm is a good size for a twin, and the total weight increase is negligible compared to the 1200mm version.
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Old May 31, 2014, 05:52 AM
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Ok the first part has started printing. I'm doing the engine cowlings first up. Computer estimates a build time of approximately 8 hours each, using 100g of ABS filament.

This might take a while
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Old May 31, 2014, 06:19 AM
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looking forward to seeing this, always liked the Beaufighter.
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Old May 31, 2014, 09:14 AM
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Here is a short video for those that are interested showing my printer in action.

Printing the Engine Cowling (1 min 22 sec)
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