Millennium RC Micro-3DX Review

The Micro 3DX offers a super high fun-loading per square inch in a builder's package. Clear the bench, we have some building to do before getting our micro 3D aerobatics on!

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:22 in.
Wing Area:12 sq. in.
Weight:under 7oz
Length:19.5 in.
Wing Loading:7.63 oz/sq. ft.
Receiver:micro (Futaba R6106HFC used)
Battery:2S-3S 300mAh lipo
Motor:19-20g outrunner
ESC:~10amp
Manufacturer:Millennium RC
Available From:Millennium RC
Price:$74.95

Few things in this hobby inspire the child in us like a small plane flying aerobatics. Modern micro radio equipment has made this very attainable, but as yet there is a void of available aircraft, and less again if you're the kind of modeler who enjoys building.

Building season is upon us, so what is out there to satisfy this urge for nimble diminutive planes in kit form? The answer is not many. If you want one that can 3D, the number is zero. The one exception, however, would be from Millennium RC, the Micro 3DX. This tiny plane presents itself as being quite ambitious: It's certainly small enough to be micro, and it has "3D" in the title so it's not just aerobatics but 3D aerobatics. It also has features like a split removable wing. Yes, removable!

I boil this little offering down To satisfy three key areas of interest: building, micro, unlimited aerobatics. So let's clear that building bench and get into it.

Kit Contents

The kit for the Micro3DX arrives in a form that all good RC planes should, a nicely presented stack of balsa and plywood. Along with the laser cut wood parts is a bag of hardware that includes everything required to complete the model less electronics.

The kit contains:

  • 16 sheets of laser cut balsa parts
  • 6 sheets of laser cut plywood parts
  • Assorted balsa stringers
  • Control horns
  • Landing gear wheels
  • Shaped wire landing gear
  • Mini quick-links
  • Clear vacuum molded canopy
  • Wing mounting hardware
  • Shrink tubing, carbon rod and wire to make pushrods
  • Double sided foam tape for servo mounting
  • Magnets for canopy attachment
  • Various screws and nuts

Required to complete:

  • Cyanoacrylate glues (thin and thick)
  • Small wood working tools (hobby knife, screw drivers, pliers, wire cutters, razor saw, etc)
  • Sand paper (~220 grit) and sanding block
  • Hinge tape (recommend 3M Scotch transparent tape)
  • .046 and 1/16" drill bits and something to drive them
  • Straight edge and square
  • Light model covering such as the new Parklite from Ultracote or Solite

Required electronics:

  • Micro-receiver (anything that fits, Berg 4L, Spektrum AR6100E or AR6300, I used a Futaba R6106HFC)
  • Motor (Hacker A10-7L or Fury 21/22-2200. I used a Dualsky Xmotor 2812CA-27T)
  • Speed control (Castle Thunderbird 9 or equivalent)
  • Propeller (the prop best suited for the motor chosen)
  • Four servos (under 6g, I used Dymond D47 and Arced digital micro servos)
  • Battery (recommend 2-cell lithium polymer battery, 450-730 mAh. I used 2S & 3S 300mah Dualsky GT packs)

Assembly

The instruction manual provided is well illustrated with clear descriptions. If you do follow the instructions, your build will go smoothly. It's also handy to be able to dry fit the laser cut components; everything should line up before you commit with glue.

The Micro 3DX can be built without a formal building table. I built mine right in the area in which I was photographing it, which was only about three square feet of flat table. You wont need a formal pin board, it can all be assembled loose without pinning down. You will need some parchment/teflon paper so that what is being worked on doesn't become part of the landscape when you make sure the flat bits are flat. Having an area to space out the kit parts is also handy as you search through the wood sheets for the various parts (some parts are very small, a few without labels, can take some finding).

You can have the Micro3DX framed up and possibly covered if you set aside a day. It's a very easy part-time build if you wish to stretch it over many nights. There are no particularly complicated steps that would make it a challenge to pick up again if you need to set it aside for a while.

Fuselage

I started with the tail because it's a great warm-up to the rest of the build. It goes together simply and gets you used to the enjoyable puzzle that James has laid out in the design. Next is on to the more involved build of the fuselage. It uses two plywood sides and a center crutch to key everything and some of the formers use a very original and effective way of being mounted. It's pretty clear that the design is thinking outside the box. It's a simple process of building the formers against one side of the fuselage before introducing the other. Add the built-up tail block and the rest is stringers.

 A great warm-up to a fun build.
A great warm-up to a fun build.

 Ply fuselage parts
Ply fuselage parts

 Twist-in fuselage formers
Twist-in fuselage formers

 Build against one side,
Build against one side,

 then add the other.
then add the other.

 Separating parts from the sheet
Separating parts from the sheet

 Building the tail block
Building the tail block

 Built fuselage
Built fuselage

 With a wing tube!
With a wing tube!

Wings

Most of the plane can be built off the bench and in your hands, but this is one of the few times you need two square feet of flat space to make sure things are straight. The wings are a simple build with solid technique: Assemble the frame without glue, and just tack glue the corners of the structure with CA. Then, as you hold the wing flat on the surface, apply the CA and allow it to cure. Ailerons are done in similar fashion. The result is easy and accurate.

 Center wing ribs
Center wing ribs

 Slide ribs onto main spar.
Slide ribs onto main spar.

 Tack glue ends of trailing edge.
Tack glue ends of trailing edge.

 Basic wing frames
Basic wing frames

 Trailing edge cap strips
Trailing edge cap strips

 Cut the aluminum wing tubes.
Cut the aluminum wing tubes.

 Time to start making airplane noises!
Time to start making airplane noises!

 Keep aileron flat while gluing.
Keep aileron flat while gluing.

 Completed balsa airframe
Completed balsa airframe

Covering

This step is like all other planes, fix loosely around the edges, and then stretch out with a heat gun. Any warps introduced by covering can be removed in the same fashion. Happily, I didn't have to battle any warps and it all went smoothly. I covered my 3DX with white SoLite covering as the base to add a more colorful trim over the top. As with any kit versus an ARF, this is where you can get creative and really make your plane unique.

 Loosely cover one side.
Loosely cover one side.

 Cover fuse and fin as one.
Cover fuse and fin as one.

 Wings and ailerons covered.
Wings and ailerons covered.

 Now we have a Micro 3DX ARF!
Now we have a Micro 3DX ARF!

Radio Installation

Radio installation is very simple and easy. Servos screw right into the servo trays in the wings, and the elevator and rudder servos tape into recesses in the fuselage. Fancy doors are designed into the model, though I simply placed the door and covered over it as I'm happy to commit the servos to the project. The doors are easy to make though: Simply cover and use clear tape to hinge and fix in place.

The only deviation I had to the radio installation was in the shape of the pushrods. The plans show the addition of elbows in the wire so the pushrod can meet the control horn. Instead, I simply relied on the flex of the carbon pushrod, the lack of elbows making the pushrod stiffer. This does initially make the pushrod bind in the plywood standoffs, but after a little manual persuasion (pushing the pushrod back and forth) the carbon will smooth off the plywood and will have the pushrod run smoothly.

Electronics selection is a factor. It requires a micro receiver with inline pins: Berg 4L, Spektrum AR6110e, Futaba R6106HFC as an example of each flavor. I used the Futaba and was happy with the results. A lesser fitting problem is for batteries. No problem if you use a 2S power system, however my motor really comes into its own on 3S. After very lengthy searches, the Dualsky GT 300mah pack is the only 3S pack I've found that is flat enough to fit the Micro3DX.

 Fold aileron and add tape hinge.
Fold aileron and add tape hinge.

 Tape hinge the elevator.
Tape hinge the elevator.

 Make sure stabilizer is square.
Make sure stabilizer is square.

 Covered and assembled airframe
Covered and assembled airframe

 Fix servos with double-sided tape.
Fix servos with double-sided tape.

 Setting servos into place.
Setting servos into place.

 Add the servo door.
Add the servo door.

 Add trim, and bolt on the motor.
Add trim, and bolt on the motor.

 Set up the pushrod parts.
Set up the pushrod parts.

 Shrink a small piece of tubing.
Shrink a small piece of tubing.

 Position and shrink larger piece.
Position and shrink larger piece.

 Servo setup complete
Servo setup complete

 Pushrods to the tail
Pushrods to the tail

 At the control surfaces
At the control surfaces

 Completed connections at the servos
Completed connections at the servos

Completion

With covering and trim from flair all your own, it's hard to be more proud of something you just built from a stack of wood. I've built a lot of planes, but no less proud of the building results of my little Micro3DX.




Flying

Basics including takeoff and landing

I built my 3DX without landing gear, so mine is all about the hand launching. Grip the top of the fuselage, bring the throttle up to anything over half, and give a gentle loft forward. The 3DX happily flies away, and there's no great rush to get to the sticks. It's an easy hand launcher. With its flying characteristics it's easy to say that rising off ground with the landing gear would be a non-issue also.

For landing, the 3DX likes a little speed, and if you have a 3D balance point you'll need to make sure you keep the nose down. If you kept this in mind, landing with the landing gear on a sealed surface would be no problem. As with all small planes, landing gear and grass results in an ungraceful nose-over. Without the gear, gentle flops into the grass is the happy way to end a fun-filled flight.




Aerobatics

The Micro 3DX is as highly maneuverable as its large control surfaces suggest. With a motor of recommended power, there is plenty of thrust to do all manner of aerobatics without restriction. With some speed, the 3DX tracks well for its size, and large lofty loops, immelmans and split S's are very enjoyable. Stall at the top of a vertical with some rudder, and you'll see about the cutest stall turn you've ever seen.

I was initially worried about "3D" being added to the title of such a small plane; they have their work cut out to meet the grade simply because of their size. But the 3DX was a happy surprise with its aerobatics. The 3DX has abilities closer to larger built-up models than smaller or lighter foamies, and the result is a very unique and energetic performance.




  • Knife edge - A very pleasant surprise was to see such a small plane being able to knife edge so well with no coupling problems. It does get pitch sensitive with a higher angle of attack, but it's manageable. Flying from knife edge to a hover is a challenge which needs calm air.
  • Knife edge loops - It needs all your throttle coming down the back half of the loop, and introduces the pitch sensitivity, but overall knife edge loops are quite tight and sound.
  • Snaps - The 3DX carries energy into snaps very well. Once you get used to the slight over-rotation you will certainly have fun with them.
  • Harriers - The 3DX can fly slow and high-alfa harrier okay, but the transition between the two would be the one of the lesser abilities of this plane. The wing design attempts to prevent stalling so the stall transition into 3D flight is unstable. Harrier happiness with the 3DX, in short, comes from moving through the stall as quickly as you can.
  • Rolling harriers - Rolling harriers are happier as there is an added stability from the rolling. Once again, micro planes flying rollers is awesome fun.
  • Hovering - Short hovers are easy though sustaining it is generally hands-on. Torque rolls wind up fast so it takes some practice to stay ahead of it, but they look awesome. Hovering and torque rolls where you're looking down on the plane are genuinely fun.
  • Spins - Spins are off-limits to small foamies, but are a great attraction to the 3DX. Flat spins are very doable especially wound up in a blender fashion.
  • Blenders - Yes, blenders. Ever seen a plane this small do a violent and solid blender?... it's awesome.
  • Knife edge spins - Along with the blenders, knife edge spins are probably the hallmark of this little plane. The cavitation of the prop through the birdcage airframe makes a sound that is exactly like that coming from a much larger electric in the same maneuver. It's a beastly little thing, and it winds up the KE spin so well it makes you laugh.

The flying summary is that it flies very well with a lot of energy in both traditional and 3D flight. However, easing through the transition past stalling into 3D flight is a little muddy. To get the most enjoyment from the Micro 3DX, keep some speed up and fly some great aerobatics above the stall speed, and when you want to go all 3D, break into it quickly. It will take some getting used to if you're the kind that likes to hover around harrier speed, but no other plane is this small, this portable, this aerobatic or a kit. To this degree the Micro3DX really is without peer.

Durability

The Micro 3DX is quite a robust little plane, and in this regard I'm very impressed. The start of its career was actually the end of my 72Mhz career, and the plane was suffering through some hits that really smelled of interference. This caused some very hard strikes, and all the plane suffered was popping the ply catches which hold on the canopy. Moving to the Futaba R6106HFC receiver cured all problems, but the weakened canopy setup is what caused the canopy popping off in the violent blender shown in the video.

Other than that, the worst damage it has sustained is a slightly crushed wingtip It caught in a low rolling harrier, breaking the ply elevator joiner in subsequent cartwheel. Both were easy repairs. Most of my flying is over grass, and as such you will find it able to shrug off some very hard arrivals. I do fly higher when flying over hard surfaces as naturally much of the bounce is lost.

Is This For a Beginner?

Micro 3DX is not for beginners, mostly due to its spirited and highly aerobatic nature. I doubt beginners will have the much fun or get the most out of the build. If you're a seasoned pilot, it would certainly make a great first kit build.

Photo Gallery













Downloads

Micro3DX_review.mov  85.70 MB

Conclusion

Hovering, torque rolling, blendering, knife edge spinning, fast flying, highly aerobatic plane of a 22 inch removable wingspan. It's quite the resume, but I'm happy to serve as a character reference.

The Micro3DX from Millennium RC is a great little package. It allows builders a great easygoing opportunity to practice their craft. The hardest part of building the plane is searching for the parts in the box, so it's the perfect casual side-project to while away the cold winter months.

Once built, the 3DX has genuine performance. Low energy 3D maneuvers take a little effort to come off, but the higher energy aerobatics is where it comes into its own, and it is a very engaging and rewarding plane to fly. I have yet to fly it without openly laughing at it's high energy attitude. Flying a knife edge spin or a blender will soften the heart of any hardened spectator. It's size and the fact that the wings are removable means that it's the perfect plane to leave in the car and fly whenever the need arises.

Pluses

  • High quality laser cut kit that is an easy and enjoyable build.
  • Easy flying and highly aerobatic.
  • It's so very enjoyable to watch such a small plane fly such high energy aerobatics.

Minuses

  • The stalling point into harrier flight brings some instability,
    it needs to be pushed through this point with some urgency.
  • Small number of parts are unmarked and can take some finding.




Last edited by Angela H; Jan 17, 2010 at 02:40 PM..
Thread Tools
Jan 17, 2010, 02:17 PM
Pro Bro #1008
birdie_in_texas's Avatar
I love it when things work out like they should!
Last edited by birdie_in_texas; Jan 26, 2010 at 01:32 PM.
Jan 17, 2010, 03:38 PM
Just above a newb
Wrathchild's Avatar
Looks like a fun little plane. Did you get any flight time in wind - I'd be curious how well it handles 5-7 mph range.

I had my eye on the Ultra-micro 4-Site but after holding one in my hands I think it's exclusively an indoor flier, and I don't get many chances for indoor flying.

Nice review.
Jan 17, 2010, 04:07 PM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrathchild
Looks like a fun little plane. Did you get any flight time in wind - I'd be curious how well it handles 5-7 mph range.

I had my eye on the Ultra-micro 4-Site but after holding one in my hands I think it's exclusively an indoor flier, and I don't get many chances for indoor flying.

Nice review.
In the video if you listen there's some wind through a bunch of it. There's some torque rolls that get carried by the wind, etc. The Micro3DX is pretty darn good in light winds, as its forte is high energy maneuvers anyway. The low energy maneuvers get even harder though. If the wind is turbulent, you're in for a bumpy ride at anything less than two thirds throttle. If you fly over grass, take the gear off and go nuts in the wind... if the grass has any length at all you'll have to something quite horrid to break it, so it makes the wind a bunch of fun.

I've flown the 4-Site also and they are very different planes. The 4-Site is a micro F3P plane and as such is very much a slow foamy... can't flat spin, doesn't like tight balled up snaps, can't KE spin, etc. The 3DX flies like a larger plane and has the maneuvers that typically come with larger planes with more energy, which makes it very unique. I don't think there's any other plane on the market with a two foot wingspan that can KE spin and fly blenders that tight and violently. The knife edge spins and blenders are towards the end of the video. The KE spin is also easy to enter: get it up high, start a stall turn to the right... as the wing comes over the top, boot in full left rudder, full down elevator, full throttle... the plane will do the rest


...two very different planes with different styles and sets of maneuvers.
Jan 17, 2010, 04:27 PM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by birdie_in_texas
This guy needs to change the name...
James is not an evil guy, in fact he's terribly nice. He makes the "SlowStick-X" that is commonly shortened to "SSX". He then produced a micro size 3D plane, "Micro 3DX" fits really well. He wasn't out for blood on a foamy vendor. Either way, review threads aren't the best places to purge conspiracy theories on the evils of humanity... you may find better traction in contacting James or taking it up in the vendor threads.
Jan 17, 2010, 04:41 PM
Pro Bro #1008
birdie_in_texas's Avatar
The review was great, as always, you did a great job Arron, and as usual, you are probably right, but great guy or not, he is out of line using the name. And I am very sure he is not "evil" bro..I hope that he is as nice a guy as Tim is..and I hope they can get something worked out.
Jan 17, 2010, 04:57 PM
Flippin Multirotors
Get Real's Avatar
Nice review,Really like the video.. ive only seen a couple videos in reviews that have been real world including crashes or in flight failures. Hope the trend stays and videos continue to be forthcoming good or bad based on what the reviewers experience with the planes in the air and on the ground or during the build.
Jan 17, 2010, 06:30 PM
Registered User
livinma1's Avatar
Hey Arron - Once again dude excellent review. Is that a similiar one I saw at the neat fair.. Awesome little plane man. If I wasn't so chicken about building from balsa I would take a hack at it.
Jan 17, 2010, 08:16 PM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by livinma1
Hey Arron - Once again dude excellent review. Is that a similiar one I saw at the neat fair.. Awesome little plane man. If I wasn't so chicken about building from balsa I would take a hack at it.
yup, it's the very same plane I had at the NEAT fair...



...although, taking photos of tail touches with the 3DX, you'll rarely get something you can recognise in the background... but boy, that grass has catskill mountains all over it don't it?

People are more scared of kit building than they need to be. Read the destructions, take your time, ask questions, everything will be fine. You know what they say about long journeys and first steps.
Jan 17, 2010, 08:21 PM
Registered User
livinma1's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theKM
yup, it's the very same plane I had at the NEAT fair...


...although, taking photos of tail touches with the 3DX, you'll rarely get something you can recognise in the background... but boy, that grass has catskill mountains all over it don't it?

People are more scared of kit building than they need to be. Read the destructions, take your time, ask questions, everything will be fine. You know what they say about long journeys and first steps.
Thanks Dude.. I remembered asking you about it when were at neat and I would of purchased it on the spot if someone was selling it has a arf. But your right. I need to try it.. I will purchase it once I get some other builds done.
Last edited by livinma1; Jan 17, 2010 at 08:51 PM.
Jan 17, 2010, 08:49 PM
Just above a newb
Wrathchild's Avatar
Might be the trick for cold weather building as you suggested. Thanks for the info.

-edit- Sorry one more thing. Do you have any thoughts on the equipment you chose to complete the kit? Any areas you found lacking or where better options might be found?
Jan 17, 2010, 11:18 PM
Registered User
disregard.
Last edited by gapagod; Jan 17, 2010 at 11:21 PM. Reason: nA
Jan 18, 2010, 12:07 AM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrathchild
Might be the trick for cold weather building as you suggested. Thanks for the info.

-edit- Sorry one more thing. Do you have any thoughts on the equipment you chose to complete the kit? Any areas you found lacking or where better options might be found?
I had regular dymond d47 servos on the tail. I recently found they now have a "speed" version which I'll be trying out in an upcoming project... they seem better for the tail going by the spec sheet. But certainly keep the gear as light as possible. I had micro Arced digital servos on the ailerons, they seem quite spritely.

My motor had a Kv geared for 3S on a 7x3.5 prop. On 2S it was a little lethargic, a beast on 3S. 3S is fine, but only the 300mah 3S Dualsky packs from 2DogRC, or Vampower Pro packs will fit this narrow a fuse (at this size, all other packs are fat it seems). I also had to trim a little wood around the "cowling" area to get the large stator to fit (it fits like a glove, but like all good gloves you need to convince it ).

Now, MillenniumRC recommends the Hacker or the Shulman... these are longer motors, easier to fit. I didn't try these myself, but I flew Jame's prototype at SEFF '09, and it had plenty of poke.

I also used a 6 channel Rx, some weight could be saved with a Y lead to a 4 channel, or them weeny little spektrum deals that are out there if you have DSM2.
Jan 18, 2010, 11:27 AM
3DHS 'native'
going4speed's Avatar
Thanks for the great review.


while I would like to add this to the hangar I cannot get over the price of this plane.

Too rich for my blood!
Jan 21, 2010, 10:25 AM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by going4speed
Thanks for the great review.


while I would like to add this to the hangar I cannot get over the price of this plane.

Too rich for my blood!
I think the economics of things have changed... building is now a hobby in and of itself, and not a way to get a plane cheaper. Overall, for the enjoyment of the building and the flying, it's actually a pretty good bargain methinks.


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Article Millennium RC Micro SSX and Micro SSX Biplane Kits Review Doctor Who Parkflyers 17 Oct 22, 2008 08:11 AM
Article Millennium RC Micro SSX ARF Review Tram Parkflyers 23 Dec 14, 2007 12:48 AM
Article MRC's XRB RC Micro Helicopter Review Michael Heer Electric Heli Talk 40 Aug 03, 2007 09:00 PM