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Sep 12, 2011, 12:46 PM
Ed @ Experimental Airlines
ExperimentalAir's Avatar
Thread OP

Easy Foamboard True Airfoil Wing Construction

I just wanted to share a simple method I've been working on for making a real, cambered airfoil out of Readi-Board foamboard from Dollar Tree, packing tape, and hot glue. They are very easy to build in 20" and 30" lengths and different chords and use singly or join together (with carbon arrow shafts, dowels, etc.). I've used with good success up to 90" wingspan. It's good for cargo, FPV, trainers, and casual parkflyers. It would be great to see what other guys can do with it.


Video build series here. The end of each video will link with the next in order:

Easy Foamboard Wing Airfoil: the Basic Version (8 min 1 sec)

the Armin Wing: part 1 - TAPE COVERING FOAMBOARD (6 min 1 sec)

the Armin Wing: part 2 - Cutting, Beveling, Bending the Airfoil (5 min 59 sec)

the Armin Wing: part 3 - Forming and Gluing the Wing (5 min 54 sec)

the Armin Wing: part 4 - Making the Control Surfaces (4 min 33 sec)

the Armin Wing: part 5 - Spar Selection and Planning (5 min 26 sec)

the Armin Wing: part 6 - Wing Joining Concepts (6 min 26 sec)

the Armin Wing: part 7 - Servo Installation (9 min 54 sec)
Last edited by ExperimentalAir; Oct 10, 2011 at 07:27 AM. Reason: added videos
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Sep 12, 2011, 04:10 PM
skumgummi dave

Thank you for a very fine series of "How To" videos. I love to learn simple and elegant ways to do things.

Sep 12, 2011, 04:23 PM
gbmarsh's Avatar
Wow Great videos and awesome method for building an airfoiled wing.
I've been building foamies with KF airfoils but have wanted to try a more 'conventional' airfoil for my next build. This looks like a winner, thanks Ed!

Sep 12, 2011, 05:36 PM
Registered User
Bill Smudge's Avatar
Great video series Ed....

Have you ever tried this method and removed all of the foamboard paper on both sides to save weight?

I have read on other threads that a very light dusting spray of 3m -77 orm something similar makes the foam very clingy to the colored tape.

I have been using KFm3 on some of my simple builds and I will have to give this a shot.

Great Job!!!

Sep 12, 2011, 06:15 PM
Foam Av8r
RogueTitan's Avatar
Very nice first post
Welcome to The Scratch Built forum
Sep 13, 2011, 01:20 AM
Registered User
rcta15's Avatar
out chuffing standing, well done super easy super simple.
Sep 13, 2011, 06:34 AM
Unicorn Pilot
ReikiMaster's Avatar
I'm waiting for the wing joining video. These videos were great. Now if I can just see a method for joining the wings to the fuse (with dihedral) I'll be a happy camper. ..... not that I'm not already happy... just sayin'
Sep 13, 2011, 08:23 AM
When pigs fly rc
rcrich's Avatar
Very helpful video! What plane did you make with the wings? I would love a picture.
Last edited by rcrich; Sep 13, 2011 at 10:51 AM.
Sep 14, 2011, 12:29 AM
Watt Waster
Tsavah's Avatar
Very nice! I have only watched the first video, so I cannot say much just yet about your very slick method and the one I have been using that normally includes thin, cheap balsa sheet strips. I will add more later after I have seen more of your excellent work. It sure is nice to see someone else sharing what they have learned and you are clearly able to make very educational video tutorials.

Wow, like what more can I say? You seem to have a very natural talent for making video tutorials and a great voice to boot! I sure hope you make more video of your projects. The only thing I have been doing different is I have been standing 1/2" foam board (comes in 4'x8' sheets) on edge and gluing very thin, hard balsa to one side before I glue the compost spar at around the 1/3 point from the leading edge. I normally put the thin, hard balsa on the side I think the COG will be on the finished and ready to fly RC model. I have made wings using 1/4" thick fan fold foam (FFF) board as two planks, a top and a bottom. I used square balsa sticks for the leading edge and a strip of balsa for the trailing edge. The trailing edge is normally less than 1/2" wide, but the balsa provides a very good material for hinges that are "cut" in later. I like your idea of using packing tape as the hinge material and for some of my lite weight projects, it would be a better method.

I had been wondering about packing tape as a color and monokote like skin for the foam board wing surface, but haven't adventured into this part of the hobby yet. I did purchase a small collection of various colored tape over the Internet since the local stores here didn't seem to have much of a color selection. The one concern I have is the Readi-Board (Dollar Tree store) paper skins tends to come off really easy, so I dare not leave it on. Even a hint of moisture seems to cause the paper skin to swell and start to remove itself. I have read a very lite misting of just about any foam safe spray glue will ensure the packing tape, or another thin, lite weight plastic film, will stay put well on just about any foam board type. This has caused me to believe I have better options than to leave the paper on the Readi-Board and chance it coming loose, or off later.

I'm not sure of your interest, but I did make a short Youtube video about how to cold roll foam board up to 1/4" thick with simple tools commonly available on the cheap. I also have said in a number of prior posts nearly any aircraft type can be modeled using the cold rolled foam board if one knows how to make the proper cuts to glue edge-to-edge like is done with scale paper airplane models. Others have already used FFF board and made all sorts of very nice scale and near scale RC Flyers that were extremely lite weight. By keeping the weight down, less powerful motors, ESC, battery packs, and servo can be used, but the trade off is the lite models need calmer winds, or a rolling take off and landing can be a challenge. A cross breeze can flip a high wing trainer style model on it's back very quickly and sometimes this will cause enough damage to require repairs.

Let me say one more time how impressed I am over your video tutorials and the method of making very lite weight wings covered in packing tape. I must use this method on the next extremely lite weight project. Thank you again for sharing.
Last edited by Tsavah; Sep 14, 2011 at 01:22 AM. Reason: spelling ...
Sep 14, 2011, 06:52 AM
Ken's CAD Models
dz1sfb's Avatar
Experimental Air,

Thank you for a well done video "How To" series. I know the video work is usually at least if not more than doing the actual building.

Hats off to you,

Sep 14, 2011, 10:03 AM
Registered User
Bill0's Avatar
Great Videos,thanks so much for taking the time and effort. Really great.
Sep 14, 2011, 10:36 AM
Great series of Videos. I'll be waiting for more.
Sep 14, 2011, 12:31 PM
Registered User
RWCLOUD's Avatar
" true, Clark Y ". Is what you state above. How are you checking the coordinates? The Clark Y airfoil is 11.72 % thick and has 3.56 % camber. And is not flat bottomed. According to Compufoil3D the lowest point occurs at line number 16 and is .0931800. Is this the lowest point on your airfoil? Are you making some sort of leading edge template to check the accuracy of the airfoil after making it?

Or is this some sort of " generic " airfoil?

Blue Skies..................Tim
Sep 14, 2011, 12:57 PM
Flying high
billwhit's Avatar
Nice videos!

Very similar to the wing construction I've been doing for a while, it's even outlined in my Edge 540 thread. I've been flying this one for a while and it works great, did my ailerons a bit different though.
Sep 14, 2011, 02:13 PM
Watt Waster
Tsavah's Avatar

Similar Construction Methods

Originally Posted by billwhit
Nice videos! Very similar to the wing construction I've been doing ... Edge 540 thread.
Interesting thread for an Edge 540 model design. The way the back half of the wing side view looks, I would swear there is a strong hint of a KFm1, which would suggest a very high lift design. Very nice!

It does appear more than a few of us have similar construction methods using Readi-Board and I am sure many of us use the same concept with fan fold foam (FFF) board for bigger projects. I am still in "auwwh" over what has been shared in the tutorials, and what is coming out from others doing similar things with the same foam materials. Newbies to scratch building will benefit in ways we didn't and I believe that is what we do when we share. Nice work!
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