EPP Sources, building tips, tricks, links and free plans
EPP can make a great and durable plane. It is different than working with sytrofoam and depron. There is a lot of expertise and experience out there.
Index to this thread:
Post #1 Introduction
Post #2 Gluing and taping EPP
Post #3 Cutting forming and shaping epp
Post #4 Links to epp plans and FOAM SUPPLIERS
Post #5 Stiffening and reinforcing epp
Post #6 Other links working with epp and epp scratch builds
Post# 10 Hinging control surfaces; attaching servos, horns, motors
Post# 11 Coloring and painting and decorating epp
For those of you not familiar with the amazing resiliency of epp have a look at this: [
Steve's thread on epp is here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=514560
Below are just a few pictures showing the range of planes that can be built with epp.
Hey guys, post your ideas and knowledge; gluing, taping, dos and don't s; about getting the most out of this great material.
I started the first few replies so that they can be updated. I'm hoping this will make it easy for people to find the information they need without searching a long thread.
Gluing and tapeing EPP
Will be updated on an on going basis.
Epp is more resistant to solvent than is eps (styrofoam, depron, fanffold, bluecor), but some solvents will attack epp. Solvent free glues are the safest to use. Epp is harder to stick to than is styrofoam.
These glues work well:
Beacon's Foam Tac, Similar to Welders Glue but doesn't yellow with UV exposure.
Welder glue. Sloper Steve says "It is the goop type. Has outdone all others tested and costs less too."
Hot glue - the quicker sticker, strong bond.
Urethane glues (Sumo, Gorilla, Probond) - strong bond, light weight, slow setting. Fills gap due to foaming
CA, foam safe or regular - good bond, sticks epp to fingers very well, quick, more expensive. Spray a little accelerator on one piece, a thin bead of CA to the other, bring together for a quick bond.
3M spray 77 contains some solvent. Use as a glue or as a primer for film or colored tape covering. Also spray both foam parts and let dry then bring together as a contact cement type bond.
Goop Good bond, more flexible joint. Here is some good info on the various Goop products. http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infadh/infgoo.html
Epoxy. Any comments from experienced user of this glue?
UHU Creative/Por Good contact cement for epp and slightly flexible
Glues that don't stick too well:
Water based wood glues like Elmers glue
Glues that may eat the foam:
Glues that are made with really strong solvent may eat epp or may cause it to swell. Sometimes if you use these types of glues sparingly you can get away with it.
RCMann glue test with various glues. Check out his work: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=278613
High Flyin's glue test:
I use the urethane glues as much as possible; low cost, low weight, good strength. The trade off is that it cures more slowly and foams a little. The foaming can be a good thing in that it will fill gaps.
Firetrappe's tip for slow curing glues: "Another thing that's obvious to scratch builders but is sometimes overlooked by newbies : When you're using a slow drying glue use sewing pins to hold joints together while they dry. You can often carry on working on the model without having to wait overnight for the glue to dry, and the holes magically disappear in EPP when you remove the pins."
I have a similar trick. Instead of pins I use a very little bit of CA at the ends iof the glue joint to hold the foam during curing. When applying the slow glue, leave a little bare spot for the CA. Apply the CA to these bare spots. Spray a little accelerator on the mating piece where the CA drops will contact. Bring the pieces together and hold for a few seconds while the CA sets up and 'voila' its held together securely while the slow glue dries and no worries about the pins coming out or the foam moving.
More recently I tried the same technique as above but I substituted little dabs hot glue for the CA and kicker. Worked very well.
Priming the foam with glue: By spreading a very thin layer of Welders glue, Beacons Foam Tac or similar to the epp, tape, hinge tape, double sided tape, Velcro and other stuff will stick much, much better.
http://www.fast-pack.com/colored_tape.html You my need to apply a light coat of 3M Spray 77 to the foam to get these tapes to stick well.
Previously available from Slofly. Strapping tape with an adhesive that bonds pretty well to epp.
The 3M bidirectional high strength strapping tape seems to bond very well. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=125
GPW says "MS has informed us of Office Depot house brand filament tape...Super Sticky !!!...60 yards for $7.00...Cheap
Double sided tape (really sticks well)
Cutting forming and shaping epp
Will be updated on an ongoing basis.
Like anything else, epp will cut better with a sharp tool. Razor blades, utility knifes, scalpels are all good tools for cutting epp foam. If they are dull, the knives will tear the foam rather provide a clean cut.
I use a finger nail emery board to sharpen my utility knife blade. I can sharpen it in a few second; faster than replacing the blade and cheaper!
Use a metal straight edge to get nice straight cuts.
To cut large blocks of epp such as for a fuselage, a band saw is great. You can mark and then cut the top and also the side profile. Saves a lot of sanding.
Epp can be tougher to sand than styrofoam. If you use to much pressure when sanding, the foam will tear. For fast work, I use a belt sander or a disk sander with a medium or coarse grit. Mount the belt sander somehow. Handle and manipulate the foam not the power sander. Don't use too much pressure. For finishing touches I hand sand using sanding blocks, emery boards etc. You need to experiment to find out what works best for you. If you find a technique that works really good for sanding/smoothing epp, share it with the group!!
My personal favorite hand tool:
Cheeker's tip: "You can sand EPP with sandpaper or power tools such as a belt sander, but often times will be left with a peach fuzzy surface. I use a sealing iron (like the ones used for covering models with Monokote and such) to gently remove the fuzz. I start out at a low temperature and slowly raise it until the fuzz starts to disappear. If the EPP beads begin to swell, I just press them down and smooth them out with a cold, flat piece of metal."
I've also read where some people do the rough shaping by carving the block of epp with a sharp knife.
Rounding the leading edge; tip from GPW: "We round our Le's with the hot tip of a hot glue gun held at a 45degree angle...secures the skin too , actually we do it to the whole plane ... especially the hinge areas with skin ...
Sandpaper will work on FFF but leaves the skin edge ... "fuzzy'' ... glue gun tip takes care of that too ..."
Hot wire cutting: Epp can be cut with a hot wire. Beautiful airfol shaped wing cores can be cut with this technique. EppHobbies has good step by step instruction on cutting wings this way. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=277901 There are tons of other sites with information about hot wire cutting also. A google search for "hot wire epp" will give you hours of reading on this subject.
Don't want to hot wire your own wings, but still want an airfoil epp wing?? These guys can hot wire cut wing cores for you. http://www.flyingfoam.com/CustomMain.html
A soldering iron can be used to poke holes or gouge out battery bays. Do this in a well ventilated area, it does create some fumes.
Here is another tool posted by Rampman that is half excato knife and half soldering iron. Check out this link for a clip of the tool in action.
Drilling holes, even really long holes is possible. Make a foam drill bit by selecting a thin wall metal tube of the required diameter. Cross cut one end at a small angle. File this end of the tube to remove any burs. This "drill bit" will easily cut the foam and produce a nice clean hole.
Dremel tools have been used to shape epp, especially for cutting groves and channels. Here is a good link showing many available bits. Pick one that fits the size of your reinforcing tube/rod. http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/central/
Here is a soldering iron technique by TaSaJaRa for making a spar tunnel:
Milling epp to create really light weight airframes can also be done pretty easily and without sophiticated tools. Check out Adreher's thread on epp milling
RCSuperpowers has excellent on line video building instructions. His technique for creating the tunnel for the reinforcing rod works well with epp also and doesn't require any special tools and is quick. This the technique I use. Look at his video, F-22 Raptor build, video #1, steps 1-4, starting just after the three minute mark. http://www.rcpowers.com/F-22/F-22videos.htm
Here is his Youtube "how to" videos. It makes finding the video you need a bit easier. http://www.youtube.com/user/RCSuperPowers
Here are several more videos created by tallflyer for cutting and assembling epp planes. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=365
The SloFly build instructions also has very good information about tunneling the foam to embed rods or tubes into epp. http://www.slofly.com/mini3d/spars.html
Links to epp plans and supplies
Will be updated on an ongoing basis.
LightRC 1.3#, 1.9#, 24" x 36" sheets, 3mm, 6mm, 9mm sheets
Plans for EPP planes:
...Web sites with multiple plans
Mark's web site for free plans
Sloper Steve's plans
GPW when asked about his huge array of plans: "Lead , they ALL were built out of EPP..... ever since blucor became scarce... I started building with Sloper Steves brand of EPP... All of these worked just fine in EPP... the EPP Dart however , does have an AquaRider fuselage...
The new Skyray is a super EPP flier..."
.... BEGINNER PLANES
Motorheads EZ-Fly a very easy to fly and rugged beginner plane
Hughberts' Epparasol. A nice looking RET high wing airplane. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=889360
Gene Bond's EPPiper, Modified from his BluCub2 plans.
Gene Bond's Smart Dart. Not originally designed as an epp plane, but several have built this design from epp and have loved it.
Here is a link to the plans with several variations:
Here is a link the the Smart Dart's thread. Contains some nice video links.
Eruji's very nice looking EPP Outrageish Bipe
Sq2 A simple RET (rudder elevator throttle), nice flying plane
Nutball Very aerobatic 3ch front yard flier
Fidgit 3D very capable aerobatic plane for small spaces
Sumo 3D; plans, build log, video great indoor plane, many sizes now
Flopsalot Quick build good flyer! http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=700681
SFO, Slo Flying Object Nice flyer, great video! http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...&highlight=sfo
VectorX Cool, hovers!! http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=680672
Puff - The Magic Dragon, a flying dragon!!
PurFoamance Extra, Nice looking aerobatic plane, some unique building techniques!
FireFly, Indoor and outdoor capable simple delta, easy to build.
M-ofo by Tomgirling; an epp version of the successful IFO design.
Boxhead and Dekans' Innovative "Delkan"; KF step, no vertica fins!!
Mig 29 John Bright plans built in epp
F-15 from Steve Shumate's plans built in epp
F-22 by Dekan A nice simple Epp build, 22" span. Full page and tiled pdf plans drawn by Firetrapp. Based on a proven depron version by Kosh.
Here are very nice some semi scale epp slope glider kits... convert to electric.
Here is a good plane for a first timers. Really cheap FIK EPP gliders. You add your own electronics
http://www.ncweb.com/biz/dan/Planes.html and another...
...Indoor and 3D
EPP Edge 540 T Indoor/outdoor 3D and freestyle plane.
"EPPYAK55" Indoor 3D and freestyle plane, also outdoor
"Tiny 3D" Epp Flyer originally designed by DynoMike, thread by Gramps:>)
EPP Axis by Signflyer, great looking indoor pattern plane
Mini Cassutt, full fuse scale indoor pylon racer...beautiful build.
540, Full fuse semi scale monoplane
Yak 54, Semi scale 3d monplane
Bounce 3D, Nice monplane
Ulltimate, 3d park flyer, plans and videos
Silent Mite, beautiful epp monoplane
SuperSlo 28, a classic and one of the original indoor/3D by Sloper Steve. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=959721
Infineon, plans, videos and buid log
Yuk 54 This site includes plans and video.
Here is the post from this thread with an epp version.
EPP clone of the Great Planes VFO, a tail sitter modeled after the Pogo. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1175978
Firetrappes' Japanes links: "Ok, here's a few links for inspiration and they also show some EPP building techniques (mostly in Japanese but lots of pictures).
The Japanese are big fans of EPP and have been developing their methods for years. There are two main EPP kit manufacturers in Japan, Carden Aircraft (www.carden-jp.com) and Hokusei Models (http://www.hokusei-kobe.co.jp/products.htm).
Carden manufacture the Eclipse (amongst others) which Jason Noll flew at the 2006 ETOC. Build pictures here : http://carden.zouri.jp/ECLIPSE/ecbuild.htm
Hokusei manufacture lots of different EPP models, but one of my favorites is the Silhouette. Build pictures and videos here : http://www.hokusei-japan.com/ikecha...tte-prt1-2.html
The Silhouette uses some complex carbon spars for strengthening, but for anyone that fancies a challenging build then 'Just Shootme' has drawn up plans which are available here : http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...740&postcount=7
Oh, and for those of you who prefer jets to bipes, have a look at A-Crew's website for ideas : http://www.gcpcorp.jp/a-crew/catalog.html
Stiffening and reinforcing epp
Will be updated on an ongoing basis.
Epp is a pretty flexible foam. Stiffening is often required to get an airworthy plane built with epp.
There are a few techniques for stiffening:
Embedding rods/tubes. Typically carbon fiber tubes and rods are used. Another good choice is bamboo "natures high strength composite". Light, almost as stong as carbon fiber, and commonly available from bamboo skewers, window blinds, chopsticks,floor mats, and others?? To make a nice clean job, make a tunnel for the rod to fit in. For a quick and dirty reinforcement, just tape the rod to the foam.
Thicker foam will be stiffer than thinner. If you don't have thicker foam, you can laminate thinner layers together. One technique is to laminate a second layer in the front half of the wing. The KF wing builders do this for better flight performance and gain strength and stiffness at the same time. Typically the front 50% of the top wing of the front 40% of the bottom of the wing is doubled.
Using strapping tape to form a truss. By using fiber reinforced strapping tape on the top and bottom of the foam (make sure they line up well) you will form a sandwhich composite truss. To work well the tape has to stick really well to the foam. Sloper Steve has found strapping tape that sticks really well to epp. http://slofly.com/cart/index.php?cPa...d3c8fd0202b977
Here is a visual demonstration of what the tape can do. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...8&postcount=64
Curving a flat sheet will add a lot of stiffness. Cambering the wing to give it an airfoil shape for instance will add to the wings' stiffness. It may not replace the need for other stiffening but it will help.
Epp stiffneres can be glued on to a wing to stiffen it in the direction of airflow. The SFO shows this technique and incorporates the stiffener as part of the twin vertical fins.
Here is a very good post by Sloper Steve on the strategic use of strapping tape for reinforcing and stiffening:
GPW's trick: "Here's a cheap trick ... on the high stress areas like fuselage bottoms ,noses and wing LE's... run a tiny bead of hot glue along the edges, and smooth out with a wet finger, careful, it's HOT...the hot glue really strengthens the edges and is a lot easier than a strip of some kind... did you ever try to pull a strip of Hot glue apart ... strong plastic..."
Building hollow box sections or tubes will also add stiffness. This technique is used in building fuselages. One advantage of this type of construction is the extra torque stiffness that is produced...good for avoiding fuselage twist induced by the propeller. Have a look at the Silent Mite plans for really light well built hollow epp fuselage.
Goldguys tip: The next time your in a hardware store, buy a spool of white cotton string.
If your using hot melt hinges, you can add sheer strength by cutting a slot across the hinge line at each end and hot melt in a short piece of string.
To stop tearing at wing leading edges, etc., cut a shallow slit, insert the string, pull tight, run a bead of hot melt and smooth with the side of your gun tip or use a Monokote trim tool.
These methods have been 'combat tested' in the real world. Guaranteed to work, or double your money back......Foamin' Frank
RdJay's idea is to use plastic strapping material to toughen up the leading edge. More details here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=137
Other links working with epp and epp scratch builds
Links to working with epp
Sloper Steve's "Why aren't you building with epp" thread, loads of good info: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=514560
The DIY'ers list of free plans: Not dedicated to epp, but lots of good information there, just search for what you need. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=554951
Wikipedia link on working with epp foam. Included are some videos of epp projects. http://www.eflightwiki.com/eflightwi...rking_with_EPP
chambo88's epp B-25 build log with epp buiildingtips
Rab's 30" span epp Gee Bee
Cut with new sharp utility knife ,preferably on a large cutting board/plastic,large metal straightedge helps
Glue with Hot-Glue
Stiffen with bamboo skewers of various sizes, spot glued on ,for quick change ,if necessary.
Use Sloper Steve's extremely sticky filiment EPP tape for tape spars(parallel ,opposed
pieces of tape on top and bottom of the wing/structure) and hinging
Chopstick motor mount still works the best for us , is light and reinforces the whole nose area. Spot glue on also.
Terrific idea! I've often lamented that EPP has not made the mainstream. I've wondered if there's a misconception out there that it's only for cutting edge builders. (It's not or I wouldn't be using it!)
Sloper Steve at Slofly.com is an a great source for EPP and related supplies. Great customer service and quick delivery. Steve is a real pioneer with EPP and is a prince of a guy. He has lot of good info on his web site.
EPP hinges are easily created using hot glue. Example: Run a thin line of hot glue where the elevator meets the horizontal stabilizer. While the glue is still hot, "wipe" (spread) the line of glue along the joint to create a very thin layer of glue that covers the joint and extends onto the edges of the elevator and stabilizer.
Don't do too long of a run. I work with about 1"-2" inches at a time. If it's a long run--esp with something as long as an aileron, made several short hinges rather than one long hinge. A long hinge may be too stiff. I use a scap of blucore as a "brush" to spread the glue. Experiment with scraps before you try it on your plane. These hinges are incredibly easy and very durable.
While hot glue is my overall favorite, UHU foam safe rubber cement works great on EPP, esp in joining edges. Spread a thin layer on both pieces. Let dry for a few minutes, then press together. If the edges are clean cuts you'll hardly notice the joint.
Use with Blucor or Depron:
EPP isn't just for 3-D and cutting edge designs. EPP makes a wonderful fuse for a more conventional plane and can easily be combined with a Blucor or Depron wing (and tail feathers if you prefer). It's usually the fuse that is damaged in a crash, so that's the place to put the EPP.
I've found that clear Duct tape works well on EPP. I've had difficulty getting any tape to stick, but a thin layer of UHU adhesive on the foam (let it dry a little first) causes the duct tape to hold tightly. This tape is heavy, so use sparingly. Works great on the nose of a profile plane or any surface that may experience "ground rash." If applied over UHU, the tape is hardly visible, even on painted surfaces.
Hinging control surfaces, attaching servos, horns, motors
Will be updated on an ongoing basis.
1 SuperflyRC has good illustrated instructions on the hot glue hinge method.
http://www.superflyrc.com/pdf/SuperFly.pdf section 8.
2 Logical Psycho's Flopsalot thread has a build video with an epp hinge, no tape no glue.
3 Cut and bevel the control surface and then tape it in place with SloFly super sticky epp tape... forms a good solid hinge. Here is a good technique for cutting the bevel for your hinge. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...postcount=5003
The RCSuperPowers on line instructional videos also have another good technique for cutting bevels. http://www.rcpowers.com/F-22/F-22videos.htm
4 Tallflyers's hinging tip http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=103
5 Goldguy's hinging tip http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=114
The easiest way to attach a servo is to simply stick it in position using glue. The quickest glue for this is hot glue. I've also found that when it is time to move the servo for the next project, the hot glue can carefully be peeled from the servo. Apply the hot glue to the servo then press the servo into position on the foam.
Dekan says: " UHU Creativ/Por this a good contact adhesive for Epp and is slightly flexible. Usefull for attaching servos.
Put a patch of Blenderm on the servo and glue to the plane; can be removed and the servo recycled if needed with no damage or marks on the servos."
I have had some success with using double sided tape. It has to be very tacky tape to stick well enough to epp. I have been using 3M VHB doule sided tape. I don't know how long this bond will last. With epp planes, you can count a longer life for your airplane so long term bonding is important. The double sided tape I use has a bit of a foam core. By stretching the tape, it comes off the servo fairly easy and cleanly.
To get a really aerodynamically clean and strong servo install, cut out a snug fitting servo bay in the foam. Trace your servo onto a piece of cardboard to make a template. Leave room for the servo arm movement. Use this template to mark out the servo bay on the foam. This will allow you to cut out a nice precise fitting bay. After pressing the servo into the cut out, use some glue to prevent it from working loose.
Attaching control horns
Here is what I do regardless of the type of horn I'm using. This technique works well, is strong, and is quick.
1) First carefully mark the position you want to set you control horn in the foam.
2) Then poke the holes, cut the slot or whatever is required to allow your horn to fit into the foam.
3) Dry fit the horn into the foam.
4) Remove the horn and spray some CA activator directly on the control horn. Make sure not to spray the activator on the foam.
5) Put a drop or two of CA on the horn postion on the foam.
6) Press the horn into place and hold for several seconds unti the CA sets up. The pins or slats that end up embedded in the foam will drag CA into the holes/slits as you press them in place.
You can use other glues too. Just do steps 1 - 3 and apply your favorite adhesive.
Coloring and painting and decorating epp
Will be update on and ongoing basis.
Any water base paint should be safe to use on epp. Krylon H2O spray paints and similar products will work. Brush on acrylic latex (water based) craft paint also work.
Many solvent based paints can be used on epp if they are applied sparingly. Always test your paint and technique on a piece of scrap epp.
You can prime and seal the epp with water based products such as water based urethane clear finish, either spray or liquid. Once you have sealed the foam almost any paint can be used.
Here are some great painting techniques for those special effects:
Sharpies/magic markers/felt pens are another wary of adding color to foam. They are great for detail work and are one of the lightest ways of coloring foam.
Epp foam can be coated with products such as monokote and other films. I don't have first hand experence, but the little reading I have done indicates you can geta really nice finish, and the film adds strength to the build.
Colored packaging tape is a poor mans method of covering epp with film. Typically, in order to get the colored tapes to stick, a light coating of 3M spray 77 is applied to the foam. This is a common way of covering the epp flying wings such as Zagis etc. The tape adds strength to the build.
SDParkFlyers' water slide decals for epp
Firetrapp's thread for making these decals for epp: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=582939
Shaping and sanding is done more easily with a dremel - a little practice and you can make just about any shape.
GOOP can be used on EPP, and is very strong. Use a dab on a strip of velcro and let it dry for 24 hrs.
Check the "Why aren't you building with EPP" thread for an incredible amount of info and scratch designs.
Thanks for the input and feedback so far guys. It'll take a few days to get the basic topics filled out, but I think it'll be worth the effort.
This thread will be as good as the input from all the experienced and creative builders out there. Please post your good ideas! Thanks!
Joined Jul 2006
Dan, good idea to start a thread specifically from tips for EPP modeling
Here's a link to my EPP decal thread : http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=582939
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