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Old Aug 03, 2012, 03:53 PM
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Build Log
The Pink Tank: 30 Min Aileron Trainer (Cessna 172)

My first scratch build (second build ever) and I was looking for a quick and easy, slap it together aileron trainer but didnt want to contend with airfoils, hiding electronics, detailed fuse builds and whatnot, as experience with my first model, a "beginner's" 3D kit indicated flight times above 2 minutes seemed highly unlikely... Enter the Pink Tank.

I used a scale drawing of a Cessna 172 as a dimensions reference and went to town creating something similar--quite convinced this brick-like creature more than likely would not fly without an airfoil... But boy I was wrong!


It aint the prettiest bird out there, but it can be built QUICKLY and CHEAPLY as it has no carbon, bamboo or fiberglass. Just some pink foam, 8” of dowel rod, a couple of pieces of balsa and some packing tape.

[IMG][/IMG]

I didnt bother running wing supports to the fuse either, as I didnt really expect this thing to fly, but surprisingly enough, it flies great, AND it hasnt needed them… As you can see in the photo above, covering the wing spars and electronic wires with packing tape on the underside of the wing created a subtle downward arch to offset wing load…



The elevator was originally connected by just a balsa strip along the leading edge of each half of the control surface, but it broke on its first flight. So now, reinforcement is provided along the trailing edge with a dowel rod. Cut a small V halfway through the dowel and “bend” it to a tail matching angle. Add thin CA to the bend and affix the dowel to some carved out grooves in foam along the trailing edge of the elevator halves and VOILA!

[/IMG]


The fuselage is a solid chunk of 1.5” foam, with compartments carved out to flush mount and secure the electronics

[/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

The solid 1.5" foam fuselage can really take some hits and this flat-winged brick is actually pretty stable in gusty/stronger winds too
but dont get over-confident.

We actually lost her in a huge overgrown field when some pretty strong winds took it. Plane was stable enough to control and she maintained great airspeed, but negative ground speed kept pulling her farther and farther away...440 yards away, actually. We didnt find her until the next day during our second search, which, being hooked to the Rx for so long, killed one of the LiPo Cells in my 3s pack.


Otherwise, aside from missing a rubberband, the plane was still in perfect shape! Nonetheless I learned a big lesson about respecting the power of the wind, no matter how docile a plane can be


SO I TOTALLY REALIZE THIS IS A VERY UGLY, BASIC, NO-FRILLS PLANE; that was the whole idea when I set out to build it. But if you’re looking for an easy to build aileron trainer, this turned out to be a really sturdy, great flying plane! In the end, if there’s any communal interest in recreating this slap-together aileron trainer, let me know and I’ll happily create and post some plans for folks.

If not, no offense taken. I’m just an RC newbie with a success story I wanted to share. Thanks for reading! I am going to try to get a video up here in the next day or two.

Technical Data:

Wingspan: 44” (which is slightly larger than scale)

Fuselage: 33”

Weight 14.6 Oz (includes plane + electronics + battery):

Channel: 4

Motor: Grayson Hobby 2208-17 (1100KV)

ESC: 18A

Prop: 9x5 (works well with 3s pack, but requires constant >85% throttle on 2s pack)



Flight Video:
Flight Video (3 min 52 sec)
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 04:04 PM
If I build it, it will fly
United States, NY, East Rochester
Joined Jan 2012
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What's the wing chord? Looks like a fun quickie. I'm still tinkering with foam cutting but this looks like a much easier alt lol.

~psguardian
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by psguardian View Post
What's the wing chord? Looks like a fun quickie. I'm still tinkering with foam cutting but this looks like a much easier alt lol.

~psguardian
It's about as simple as physics will allow, I think... The wing chord at center is 7.25"
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 06:06 PM
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Dallas Tx USA
Joined Apr 1999
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Congratulations on your Pink Tank. It's very cool. Well done!

I think I'm going to bookmark this thread and use it for motivation the next time I start sweating the details of a new scratch project.

I'm looking forward to a video!
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 11:44 PM
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Are these the rough dimensions? I used the given wingspan to set the units of measure on a 3-view I had on file...

(I set the dimension call-out precision to 1 to avoid fractional addition issues)

Also, what's the wing thickness? Looks like 3/4" but I can't be sure.
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Old Aug 04, 2012, 01:25 AM
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My guess is your version will be much more accurate. That would be a pretty cool program to have! I essentially did the same thing you did, but did it the old fashion way, with a ruler, some scaled math and lots of eyeballing. I wasn't too concerned with matching the exact dimensions of the fuselage silhouette, but paid more attention to wing, elevator, and rudder measurements, trying to keep similar proportions while adding just a bit of extra surface to wings and elevator.

I'm sure your diagrammed dimensions would work just as well, but if you want my "exact plans", I could certainly draw them up.

Everything except the fuselage is 1/2" foam

My Dimensions:

Wing chord at the center 7.25"

Ailerons are 9.5" x 2"

Tapered ends of wings run 10.5" from the tip

Elevator (symmetrical) is 16" x 5.5" with 3.5" tips and 2.5" control surface

Rudder is 6" tall with 3" up top and 1.5" control surface (although I would increase the control surface a bit if I were to build another one)
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Old Aug 04, 2012, 02:13 AM
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Dallas Tx USA
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I have plenty of 2" and 3/4" board (blue, but the same in strength and weight). For 1/2" I'll have to cut down some with a hot wire.

Also, the fins and wing look closer to 1" thick. Is the fuselage still 2" thick or was it thinned? It was the relationship between the fuselage and fin in the pictures that made the fin and wing look thicker than 1/2".
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Old Aug 04, 2012, 02:30 AM
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Just use the 3/4" blue then. I'm sure it'll be fine if you have a decent motor. With the 1/2" foam AUW was only 14.6 Oz. With the blue, you'll probably come in at 17 Oz tops


**CORRECTION** Fuselage is, indeed, 1.5" foam NOT 2" foam . . . Sorry for the mix up
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Old Aug 05, 2012, 08:54 PM
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Looks awesome. What did you use to make your cuts? They look really clean.
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Old Aug 05, 2012, 09:16 PM
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Looks awesome. What did you use to make your cuts? They look really clean.
Thanks. I just use a razor blade...
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Old Aug 06, 2012, 10:08 PM
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Alright! Mother Nature finally chilled with her non-stop Great Lakes winds for a minute. She graced us with some calmer breezes to fly in! I'm kind of new to flying, so my turns arent picture perfect yet... I'm working on it

Sorry for the shaky camera moments here and there. It was my son's first try at videography

Do the birds fly up on any else's planes?
Every time I fly this thing I get a whole ton of birds swarming around her, checking it out. It's pretty comical. I think they're just curious. Once in a while I'll turn and chase them, which you'd think would scare them off, but they're WAY more agile and it's kind of turned into a game of sort. It's weird.

Anyways, here's the video I promised... ENJOY!

Flight Video (3 min 52 sec)


You gotta love all the ambient sounds... Trains, diesel trucks, my cat, the wife telling me, "Do a flip!" . . . "Barrel roll it!"
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Old Aug 06, 2012, 10:30 PM
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She sure does fly... no doubt about that. Looks very relaxing and comfortable too. Yup, I need to add this one to my list.
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Old Aug 07, 2012, 12:50 PM
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She sure does fly...

Yeah, who knew?!
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Old Aug 07, 2012, 10:19 PM
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Congrats on a nice-flyin' plane! You essentially captured the heart of scratch-building to me with this Pink Tank. You knew what you wanted it to do, you used available components, and you designed and built your own flyer! That's what makes this stuff so cool to me. Again, congratulations.
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Old May 01, 2014, 08:23 PM
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Pink Tank v2.0

Well, i got bored this spring and was itching to fly something, so my pink tank was sitting there with a busted up, yet fixable nose. But rather than fix it I decided why not just build another one real quick?

Well, sometimes real quick becomes a 3 hr project... but i figured if im gonna do it a 2nd time, why not up the aesthetics a bit?

So i reused the wing rudder and elevator, taped them up to look purdy and went flying the next day...

Flew fine but it turns out that tape and an extra 1/2 " thick foam on the fuse can really add some weight! (Duh!) Only way to keep afloat was with full throttle.

So that wasnt gonna work, and i wound up building a new wing "real quick"

Well, sometimes real quick becomes 3 hrs and the next thing i knew i was hand sanding a Clark Y inspired airfoil into the thing...

Long story short though it would seem 35% more surface area and an actual air foil can do wonders for a plane! LoL

Now she glides just like she used to while looking the part a bit better
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