Suggestions for my first scratch-build - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Oct 05, 2010, 05:45 PM
Registered Loser

Suggestions for my first scratch-build

Hi folks!

Up until about a week ago, I had NO IDEA that people were building these awesome planes out of simple materials like this!! I'm new to the hobby, and I've got two EPO foam planes (a Cessna and a glider) and they're fine, but of course as a new pilot I spend WAY more time fixing them than I do flying them

Anyway, after a particularly bad crunch up... I realized sooner or later I'm going to have to replace this thing, and while $100 for a plane seemed cheap at the time, $100 replacements sure don't!

Then I stumbled onto fanfold foam (FFF) plans and it opened my eyes to a whole new world!!

So I've got a couple questions for you sagely types before I jump in:
  1. Is there a really great first timer plane that people tend to start with? One that builds and flys easy?
  2. It appears most people use some version of FFF, right? I found and those plans call for foarmcore board. Are the two at all interchangeable? Being in Canada, it is apparently very difficult to find FFF but I've found a good cheap local source of 4x8 foot sheets of foamcore (with the paper on both sides). That's fine if I start with the Mikeysrc plans, but is it OK to substitute this product and use it for any of the plans I might find?

Any other tips?

Thanks folks!

- Steven
Last edited by s_mack; Oct 05, 2010 at 06:37 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Oct 05, 2010, 06:04 PM
Concept Builder
Vanish's Avatar
Some Foamcores work, but I've never heard of it that large! That foamcore will probably work, but it all depends on the stiffness. Some foamcores, once the paper is removed, are too flexible for the flat plate style planes without a lot of reinforcement, in my opinion.

BTW, I went to a local archery club (bow shop might work too) and picked up 50 carbon arrows for some excellent free spars! Give it a shot if youre playing on the cheap.
Oct 05, 2010, 06:36 PM
Registered Loser
But why remove the paper? Weight? Because it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to remove it for weight only to add reinforcement (weight) to compensate. But that's why I'm asking, because I have zero experience with it. Mikey's doesn't seem to suggest any paper-removal at all.

Btw. All foam core starts as 8x4 feet I think. When you buy it in the store, you're just paying a premium for a company like Elmer's to sell it to you smaller and with a nice sticker on it The trick is finding the places that bring it in full sheets. (no experience with scratch built rc's... but lots of experience shopping!)

- Steven
Oct 05, 2010, 06:54 PM
RC Adddict
Wilfor's Avatar
remove the paper , you can reinforce it for way less weight aswell if it gets wet at all it will start to peel . there are 2 threads i'd recomend looking at 1 is the Blu-baby thread nice little trainer and the other is the osh kosh special i really like the build techniques used on the 40" Oshkosh

heres the BB

Ant the Osh kosh

oh and heres the ezfly
Oct 05, 2010, 07:08 PM
Kiwi in Germany
whakahere's Avatar
I built the Osh as my first plane. Now I have built three of them .. watch out once you start building ...... you can't stop.
Oct 05, 2010, 07:14 PM
Registered User

I've found two problems with foam core.

1) On a crash, with the paper still attached, the material bends and creases. It's very difficult to repair a bend or crease in foam core.

2) If your plane is the type of design that you have to land in the grass, the dew from the grass will infiltrate the paper causing the plane to warp not to mention get heavier.

In any case, removing the paper is such a hassle.

Here's a link to an excellent source for foams.

I've built in Blue Core, FFF, Depron, Foam Core and EPP.

Blue Core is great for sanding shapes. Use Epoxy to glue together.

Depron is the foam of choice for building foamies. It's rigid and doesn't need as much carbon fiber to support it. However when you crash, confetti city! Use foam safe CA or Epoxy to glue Depron together.

FFF can be floppy but the material is cheap and will let you build large planes. I have a friend who built an 80 inch wing span glider with large sheets of FFF. Use foam safe CA or Epoxy to glue Depron together.

EPP is crash friendly. It's tough, rubbery and forgiving in crashes. Use something like Welder's Glue to glue pieces together.

Blue Core, Depron and FFF can be used together.

EPP is stand alone.

For a starter plane, this was my favorite. I built many versions including a full body out of foam.

This is a link to two different versions of the STC that I've built. See the first two posts for pictures:

Here's a link to a fun plane to make out of EPP. Very fun. Very aerobatic, and very forgiving in a crash.

Very easy to build. I included a picture of my Edge 540 almost finished with the paint job.

Hope this helps.

Oct 05, 2010, 08:59 PM
Hillary Lied, 4 Americans Died
Dave Barrow's Avatar
First time build for a newbie to RC flying I would suggest the Trainer 1 by gpw. Easy to build, easy to fly and easy to repair. Flys slow so you can build your radio control skills.

As for foams, I have found they are pretty much interchangeable. I like FFF because it's cheap and more duarble than the foam core board I've tried. Depron makes a nicer looking plane, but it's too expensive at the rate I build planes. Try a few different kinds and find your favorite.
Oct 05, 2010, 09:23 PM
Foam Av8r
RogueTitan's Avatar
Here is a good plane to get some building experience with
Oct 06, 2010, 08:20 AM
It's just a plane.
ZackJones's Avatar
Russ40's Trainer Type Plane -- Love this plane. I built the larger version first and now I'm building the 33" version. For the pod I just laminated several layers of FFF until I got the appropriate thickness.
Oct 06, 2010, 02:25 PM
springer's Avatar
Another vote for the Blubaby, as you have already flown a couple of planes, and i assume you have the basic skills down fairly well. The beauty of the BB (and the OK special for that matter) is it's so easily upgradeable. Start with an undercambered wing, then upgrade to a KFM wing (maybe with ailerons like I did). upgrade the motor, add a camera for aerial photography, floats for water and or skis for snow flying. It'll keep you going for a while. Depending on how much flying area you have, try starting with a 33" BB or 30" OKspl if in small area. If you have lots of space, a 42" BB will fly quite realistically, and things happen a bit slower so better while learning the new plane. If you want a little screamer, do a 24" span BB with C20 motor - it's been my windy day flyer for some time.

Another foam type that you might consider is the Dollar store foamboard, usually branded as Readiboard. It's white, kraft paper on both sides, Costs a buck (usd) and the paper comes off easily if you either soak it with Awsome spray cleaner (also bought at dollar store), wet down with water and let dry, or on some pieces, just carefully peel it off. (Awsome gives the cleanest surface in my experience). It's 3/16" thick vs the 1/4" thick nominal for FFF, so may need to make some small adjustments. But it's as tough as blucor without the plastic skin.

Welcome to the addiction! (40 foamie scratch built planes and counting!)
Oct 06, 2010, 04:13 PM
Always Ready!
warhead_71's Avatar
The $1 foamboard is easy to peel if you soak it in water for a few hours... it just rolls off. If you have a kiddie wading pool, you can dunk several pieces at once and leave them overnight.

I have also experimented with taking the paper off just one side... leaving the paper on the outside for strength. This makes really strong constant-chord wings or box-type fuselages. Tapered wings or round-tips require some creative problem-solving. Also, leave the paper on ailerons and empennage for reduced twist.

Check out the Beaver in my blog. It is foam covered with paper and clear packing tape... very strong.
Oct 06, 2010, 04:30 PM
Roll on Two !
Chophop's Avatar
Up in Canada, you are probably starting into a long snowy winter. If you have enough daylight to fly outside, the Polaris looks like a good way. It takes off and lands on water, snow or grass. There are build threads here at RCG. I'm thinking of building and painting one up for the snow.
This thing could get touchy on the controls, so use the minimum control movement recommendations. Other than that, it's very practical. Be sure to look for the video where a Polaris is flying along with, in front, and behind a boat as it goes across the water. Looks like a blast.

I found 'em :

Polaris RC Plane + Boat = Too much fun! (4 min 32 sec)

2 Polaris Seaplanes attempting to fly formation from a moving boat. (7 min 8 sec)
Last edited by Chophop; Oct 06, 2010 at 04:42 PM.
Oct 06, 2010, 06:50 PM
Registered Loser
Thanks for the responses and suggestions everyone! Very helpful. Thanks so much.

Some general comments/responses:

1) Yes, I am comfortable with flying in general. I think I took to it pretty quickly. I still do crash more than I should, of course

2) Foam core is the only thing I can find here easily. I'm not going to order it online and have it shipped - the point of this, to me, is flying on the cheap. $30+ to ship a < $3 piece of foam doesn't qualify. I found ONE supplier of Blucor, but I have to get 200 SF of it for about $100 and I have to drive about 8 hours round trip to get it. So I think I'll try some designs with the foam core, both with and without the paper, and see for myself. I think that's the only way I'm going to really appreciate what you're saying.

3) Snow?? It has been beautiful and sunny here all week. Shorts and t-shirts still for at least a few weeks. Won't see any snow until mid-November probably. I live in Canada's only (technically speaking) desert. I know most people equate cold and snow with Canada... but not here! (then again, I can't figure out for the life of me why Canadians live anywhere BUT here!)

Thanks again everyone!

- Steven
Oct 06, 2010, 06:59 PM
RC Adddict
Wilfor's Avatar
I almost moved that way 10 years ago steve , to many grump old guys down there for me Take a look for a Dollarama store down there thats where i get my redi board $1.25 a sheet 20" X 30 " Works great for just about anything . ohhh and you dont live in an igloo like the rest of us ???
Oct 06, 2010, 08:16 PM
Registered Loser
See... in 150 mile house I'd BELIEVE you live in an igloo

You are right about the grump old guys. I swear the average age here has got to be pushing 55. But the weather and scenery is so nice, I'll deal with it.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion My first scratch build, EP trainer build/advice thread. WLJayne The Builders Workshop 25 Oct 05, 2010 04:05 PM
Build Log My first scratch build dirtslinger321 Scale Boats 12 May 24, 2010 09:41 PM
Discussion My first scratch build Ranandar Foamies (Scratchbuilt) 1 Dec 17, 2009 07:44 PM
Discussion First Scratch Build Suggestions ? slippy_fish Slope 0 Oct 02, 2007 04:19 PM
Discussion My First Wing, and My First Scratch Build Shazbot996 Flying Wings 9 Aug 25, 2007 06:33 AM