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Old May 01, 2012, 08:23 PM
High School Project
Joined May 2012
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High Tech High Senior Project - Looking for Help & Suggestions!

Hello, My name is Jaron and my partner Tony and I are working on a high school senior project. We decided that we wanted to build a UAV or RC plane for the project and we are still in the early stages of planning for the plane.

We started off by visiting local parks and places where people frequently fly airplanes, we first found the Silent Electric Fliers of San Diego and a few very nice people recommended this website, we are here now to ask for help in any way, suggestions, donations, ideas, etc.

For the plane, we want to make a fixed wing aircraft that would hopefully have a camera onboard for video surveillance (possible FPV). We want autonomous features for the aircraft however that’s probably a luxury goal. We are still open to what the plane will eventually look like and what control board we will be using. We are on a bit of a budget, around $200 so far, but we are looking to get more still. Ideally we are looking to get mostly everything needed to get a basic plane flying. We have been looking at making our own custom airframe from probably foam board or something similar but we are still open to ideas for a cheap airframe that we can use.

EDIT : We have 6 weeks to complete the project, starting this week (May 1)


UPDATE (May 15) :
We have tried constructing our own airframe and we are fairly satisfied with it though it is slightly heavier than a plane you can buy of similar size, we have created it using some foamboard scratch build techniques that we found to be helpful in reducing cost. Right now our main concern is the Transmitter and Reciever system. We had something donated to us by a friend however its really old so it does not work anymore. We have a few servos however its difficult to tell if the servos will work because we cannot test them without the Transmitter currently. We also may end up switching up to a bigger motor because we visited a couple hobby shops who told us that the motor we had donated likely wont be big enough.

Looking for Help and advice about the Transmitter and Reciever.

Heres a picture of our frame : The top wing is not fully attached yet in this picture but you can tell what the plane looks like roughly. This frame is more of a practice frame that we built. We are not sure what to expect from this frame.
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If you have any suggestions, donations, ideas, comments etc you can contact us at

hth.uav@gmail.com

Jaron C.
Tony N.
The Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High, Point Loma
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Last edited by hth.uav; May 15, 2012 at 01:12 PM.
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Old May 01, 2012, 08:30 PM
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United States, NY, Syracuse
Joined Oct 2008
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What kind of time frame are you looking at? This is a very large undertaking...
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Old May 01, 2012, 08:44 PM
High School Project
Joined May 2012
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Originally Posted by ChillPhatCat View Post
What kind of time frame are you looking at? This is a very large undertaking...
Oh sorry, I forgot to mention the time frame. Its about 6 weeks, starting this week
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Old May 01, 2012, 11:06 PM
Fueled by Arabica Beans
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United States, NY, Syracuse
Joined Oct 2008
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I think you should just shoot for a scratch built R/C plane and do a report on what you learned in order to build the plane from the ground up... there is a lot of complicated math that goes into the actual design of a plane, but there are some rules of thumb that can get you a plane that flies pretty well on a small scale. It would probably be best to find a book on designing R/C planes as a spring board, I'm sure somebody can recommend something.

The other route is to take an already existing design and modify it for a specific mission.

For my HS senior project I built a large R/C plane and modified it to take pictures with the flick of a switch on the transmitter... I started with a production kit and modified it to handle a 35mm film camera (digital cameras were very crappy back then). That alone was three months of my time, granted I was building a 1/4 scale super cub so it wasn't exactly a small plane, but I already had several planes under my belt by then.
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Old May 02, 2012, 07:58 AM
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United States, CA, San Diego
Joined Jul 2009
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Does the plane have to be your own design? Check this forum. Cheap airframes are very possible.

http://www.rcgroups.com/foamies-scratchbuilt-428/

I don't think FPV is possible within your budget.

I think I still have my original RTF EZ Star radio/receiver around. You're welcome to it, but it's only 3 channel, so control of photo/video wouldn't be possible. You'd have to turn on the camera before launch.

I wouldn't launch from your school. You guys are right in the Lindbergh departure path. But I guess you know that. It's a shame because otherwise it'd be a great place to fly. I went to boot camp there BTW.
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Old May 02, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Joined Feb 2012
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I don't think FPV would be in the cards either. Without knowing anything about RC or FPV you are stretching yourselves thin. It could take you 6 weeks just to iron out all the bugs. As for autonomous I think that may be against FAA regulations.
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Old May 02, 2012, 09:36 PM
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United States, TX, Houston
Joined Nov 2003
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Back in 06 I did this exact project with a few friends of mine. Scratch built balsa airframe, digital camera with shutter and tilt control, video down link, and FMA co-pilot.

I had been into RC for a while and the LHS owner sold me building supplies at cost. I still had well over $1000 in the airframe when we were done. Prices have dropped quite a bit, but $200 is still a stretch, especially since you are starting from zero (I had lots of equipment on hand when I started).

That being said, its possible to get a camera platform in the air for $200, but without the video down link and auto-pilot. You will still have to learn to build and fly airplanes in 6 weeks, which is a pretty tall order.

Do you have any RC aircraft experience? Do you have any RC equipment? Having a transmitter and battery charger would really open up some options on a $200 budget. Do you own a camera you are willing to put on an aircraft?

People will suggest Hobby King to save on equipment, and they take about 3 weeks to ship.
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Old May 15, 2012, 12:50 PM
High School Project
Joined May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onewire View Post
Does the plane have to be your own design? Check this forum. Cheap airframes are very possible.

http://www.rcgroups.com/foamies-scratchbuilt-428/

I don't think FPV is possible within your budget.

I think I still have my original RTF EZ Star radio/receiver around. You're welcome to it, but it's only 3 channel, so control of photo/video wouldn't be possible. You'd have to turn on the camera before launch.

I wouldn't launch from your school. You guys are right in the Lindbergh departure path. But I guess you know that. It's a shame because otherwise it'd be a great place to fly. I went to boot camp there BTW.
I think we may want to use the transmitter and reciever , we will keep researching on some other aspects but we may want to contact you later about the radio/reciever.
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Old May 15, 2012, 12:57 PM
Balsa builder and balsa basher
RC Trainer plane's Avatar
Joined Apr 2012
683 Posts
try this http://www.ebay.com/itm/zd-fly-T-6A-...item3a74240650

We would be able to help you more if you have a pic of the plane
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Old May 15, 2012, 01:10 PM
High School Project
Joined May 2012
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Originally Posted by RC Trainer plane View Post
try this http://www.ebay.com/itm/zd-fly-T-6A-...item3a74240650

We would be able to help you more if you have a pic of the plane
Updated original post with a picture.
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Old May 15, 2012, 01:15 PM
Balsa builder and balsa basher
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Joined Apr 2012
683 Posts
Thanks, looking good. do you know what camera you want to use because they cost quite a bit and to set them up and install all the servos in a 6 weeks would be a challenge ??? Keep going though
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Old May 15, 2012, 10:57 PM
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United States, CA, San Diego
Joined Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hth.uav View Post
I think we may want to use the transmitter and reciever , we will keep researching on some other aspects but we may want to contact you later about the radio/reciever.
I checked, and I still have it. And there's an elevon switch on it. Never noticed that before, but good for a wing if it works. I'll fire it up and see.

Will
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Old May 16, 2012, 12:40 AM
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United States, KY, Paducah
Joined Mar 2011
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Of you want to save money on RC electronics but have faster shipping than HobbyKing look at HobbyPartz. I like them - free shipping over $50, good prices, fast shipping

I'd take onewire's advice and go over to the foamies scratchbuild section. See if you can't find a plan that won't work for you.
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Old May 16, 2012, 07:32 AM
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United States, CA, San Diego
Joined Jul 2009
386 Posts
Try this. Fast and cheap. Use Fast Gorilla glue (a little slower, but stronger) or low temp hot glue (faster but heavier). If you choose the gorilla glue, practice with it a little. A little goes a long way. You'll see.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...ighlight=divin

And I agree with the HobbyPartz recommendation. I've gotten orders, made in the morning, overnight with regular shipping. They do seem to have a problem keeping things in stock, however.

You could have your wing flying this weekend.

There's a Divinity 1, also, that might be an easier build. Not sure, as I haven't built either, but the 2 was improved as a camera platform.
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