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Jun 25, 2009, 12:50 AM
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greenseaships's Avatar
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JU-52 out of cardboard??

Had the wildest urge to suddenly tackle a cardboard radio controlled airplane this afternoon. For years I have been building boats out of cardboard and recently saw someone building airplanes out of it. Until now, my only materials for building have been various types of foam board.

It did NOT take long to pick some perfect planes to model a cardboard plane after. Curiously, they were both Trimotors. (The FORD came close to winning it)

Settled on the Junkers JU-52.

Now to be sure, this is NOT the best way to build an airplane. I have a comprable fuselage that was made of fan fold foam about the same size. She came in at about 4 oz. The JU-52 is more like 7-8 oz Still, she'll be STRONG and powered by a single E-Flite Park 480 outrunner in the nose.

No working wing motors.

Besides strength, the other big advantage of cardboard is SPEED of construction. a little over 2 hours after I made my first cut, I had the fuselage, wings and tail assembled and joined.

A carbon fiber rod supports the wing which is well cambered despite the absence of formers.

Anyway, give it a few more days, and she should be RTF. The slowest part is gonna be waiting for the motor to come in if none of my LHSs have one in stock.

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Jun 25, 2009, 09:22 AM
Oh no, not again!
jhspring's Avatar
Hat's off you your ingenuity, Barrett. Now if you just peeled the outer layer off the cardboard, you would have corrugations like the original. :-)

Can't wait for a flight report.

Jun 25, 2009, 11:31 AM
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D-Rock's Avatar
Barrett, neat project! I work in Scottsdale, where do you fly at?

Jun 25, 2009, 11:57 AM
MotionRC Europe
Stuart Warne's Avatar
Nice, I'll be watching with interest. Look good thus far.

Jun 25, 2009, 01:41 PM
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Great idea. I used to make simple r/c car/truck bodies for my vehicles so I could play demolition derby with my friends and not destroy my abs or precious lexan bodies. Can you spray some waterproof coatings after your done building? Or are you going for the plain look?
Jun 25, 2009, 02:50 PM
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greenseaships's Avatar
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Originally Posted by jhspring
Now if you just peeled the outer layer off the cardboard, you would have corrugations like the original. :-)
I thought about that The problem is 2-fold. If you peel one side of the cardboard (time consuming) it signifigantly weakens the cardboard so you have to put another full sheet underneath it to maintain shape (if you are not doing bulkheads). That extra sheet is gonna double your weight.

But the real reason I didn't go ahead with it is that at 40 inches (fuselage length) the corrugation of the cardboard would be WAY out of scale with the airplane (listen to me talk about scale here. Good grief! )

D-Rock; I just sent you a PM.

Bluestar; I'm just gonna spray paint it and matte finish it. Till I know how it flies (which is questionable!) I'm not knocking myself out on painting. I want this thing to look dusty and weary, like a real WW2 JU-52, not a primo glossy painted museum piece like you see today. That fits the 'down and dirty cardboard' philosophy.

When I built boats out of cardboard, I covered them with epoxy resin, sanded and painted them. Worked great.

Stuart; thanks man! I'll try not to disappoint.

More pictures coming soon.

Jun 25, 2009, 02:57 PM
No such thing as overpowered
Wilit run? 353's Avatar
wow ill be watching
Jun 25, 2009, 03:41 PM
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In the paintshop

Got her painted so I'm ready with the next batch of pics.

I used a lazy trick to make the wing engine nacelles seem 3-D. I'd like to do something inside the wing engine cowlings to look like radial engines, but I don't want to increase drag anymore than I have.

The big coup was the landing gear. I have this strut/wheels assembly given to me by a friend a while back which turns out to be perfect for the 52 . Saves me even MORE time. Just epoxy a plate of 1/4inch bass wood to the bottom of the wings and screw it in.


Jun 25, 2009, 04:21 PM
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Wow. Impressive. Ford tri motor next please!
Jun 25, 2009, 04:26 PM
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I'll tell you what- with the time it would have taken to build a kit of one of these, I can build this, a Ford Trimotor, a Vickers Wellington, Short Stirling, Lancaster, and a good old Junkers F-13.

But I got kids on the way, so I'll stick with 1 Ford Trimotor. Wouldn't that be a cool formation flight for F.E.A.R.? (a local gathering of R/C fliers in AZ in October)

Thanks BTW

Jun 25, 2009, 06:47 PM
Team EJF >>>WHOOSH>>>
AceMigKiller's Avatar
Jeebuz Barrett!
Lol... looking good!
Jun 25, 2009, 08:11 PM
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Alllllmost there...

By the time I left the shop, her servos were all installed and hooked up, her belly was painted, landing gear attached and ESC installed. Tested all the control surfaces and they look good. All that's missing is a motor

I have one in the trunk of the car. Said car is in the shop being repaired right now

Will get said car back tomorrow morning.

After that, I'll stick some decals on, and get drunk before the maiden on Saturday!

Enjoy the pics.

Jun 26, 2009, 02:29 PM
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Got the motor installed. Not sure what the AUW is, but it's definately in the pounds. Good thing this plane isn't meant for aerobatics, cause that 480s likely to be MAXED.

Hoping the wing camber helps ease the burden on the motor in flight, once I get some speed. Her overall dimensions are as follows;

Length: 40 inches
Wingspan: 64 inches.

Installed to dummy props (painted them after I took the pics) and they spin real nice. Should look great in the air.

Maiden set for tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

Jun 26, 2009, 02:54 PM
No such thing as overpowered
Wilit run? 353's Avatar
good luck, I hope it goes well.

I like the 108 in the back ground, is that of similar construction?
Jun 27, 2009, 12:54 PM
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She..... FLIES!

Hehehe. It wasn't all smooth sailing though.

The 'unofficial' maiden occurred about 6:30 this morning when I first rolled her big heavy box down the gravel runway. She lumbered realistically as I advanced the throttle slowly. She lifted off with a little bit of elevator, and seemed to be climbing real scale-like. Then, quite suddenly and determinedly, at an altitude of about 5 feet, she rolled over to the right and as I held down on the left aileron, she rolled her nose into the dirt! (See the second picture) Maiden over. Plane wrecked.

As I got to the plane, I found her to be in remarkably clean condition. The wings were neatly broken from the fuselage at the attachment seams. The prop was broken and the gear was broken off. A little crunch to the right wingtip.

Back at the truck, we looked it over and scratched our heads. Did one of the dummy props cause uneven drag? That was the theory until we plugged her electronics in.

Now, I swear, I checked the aileron throws several times. However, when I plugged her in at the truck after the flight, sure enough, the ailerons were REVERSED. Must have been pre-flight jitters. So, I straighten out the ailerons, grab some CA, and get to work.

In less than 1/2 an hour, the airframe is back in one pretty piece, the prop is replaced and she's back on the runway.

THIS time, she seemed to leap into the air! Caught a nice headwind. I notice that when I throttle up on takeoff, the nose wants to pitch down BAD. So bad that I have to pull up elevator to keep the prop from hitting.

Pitch wise, she seems a tad tail heavy, leading me to trim the elevators down alot in flight.

Roll wise, she was getting pushed around a bit by the light breeze, (it IS a big cardboard box after all ), but I found it easy enough to keep pace with her in the turns. Don't get behind the power curve on this thing because she WILL fall out of the sky, particularly in the turns. That said, I found her stall characteristics to be gentle. She just gets a little "pitch happy", with that CG issue.

I was REALLY pleased and surprised by the Park 480's ability to lift this thing. I spent most of the flights on 1/2 throttle

I wish I had the first "official" landing on video. It was a BEAUTIFUL greaser, where the tail stayed in the air for the longest time.

I will post the video in a little while. I'm uploading my Messerschmidt Bf. 108 Taifun maiden right now.


P.S.- about the pics, sorry they are a bit blurry, I need a better camera, but anyway, please enjoy!

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