Thread Tools
This thread is privately moderated by ExperimentalAir, who may elect to delete unwanted replies.
Feb 03, 2012, 03:32 PM
Ed @ Experimental Airlines
ExperimentalAir's Avatar
Thread OP

Foamboard Scratchbuild University

I have produced a series of 30+ how-to videos detailing some of the construction techniques I've found useful in working with "Dollar Tree Foamboard" (actually Readi-Board by RL Adams Plastics).

The goal of this technique is to create a construction system using foamboard, hot glue, packing tape, and plastic gift cards that easily produces modular components for scratchbuilt foamboard aircraft. These modules can be combined in a variety of ways to suit the needs of the builder. In their basic state the components are very simple, durable, and utilitarian, with all straight 90-degree cuts. No plans are needed. The builder has the ability to modify this design to their liking. The techniques are intended to be easily mastered by new scratchbuilders and hopefully also useful to some more experienced builders.

The three main modules are:

1. a true, cambered airfoil wing, easy to make and join sections as needed
2. a one-piece tubular fuselage, also joinable for additional length
3. a simple unitary vertical and horizontal stabilizer assembly

Additional information on motor mounts, finishing edges, etc. is also posted.

After having compiled these videos I will begin to post more designs that have been constructed with the system. Currently I have made 10 different aircraft designs from 30" to 90" wingspan, from a little chucker EDF to an FPV pusher canard.

I hope this information can be useful to other builders and I would be very eager to see your designs posted on this thread.



Foamboard (XPS extruded polystyrene, must have thin paper facing, easily peeled):
US & Canada - "Readi-Board" from Dollar Tree Stores
Australia - from Riot Art,
Europe - "KAPA line " by 3A Composites. May require application of mild heat to separate paper.
UK - search eBay UK for seller: bargainartistshop, A1 5mm art board or foamboard

Packing Tape (aka "sealing tape", "carton tape") (also search RCGroups forums)
US -,,


SYNAPSE - Flying Wing with detachable fuselage pod

SYNAPSE Foamboard Flying Wing - Intro Video (10 min 9 sec)

PHOTON - Motorglider

PHOTON Motorglider - Flight Video (7 min 38 sec)

AXON - Trainer/Light FPV

AXON Foamboard Trainer and Light FPV Platform (10 min 0 sec)

NOOB TUBE - Easybuild Funflyer

NOOB TUBE Foamboard Fun Flyer (13 min 31 sec)


FUGLYJET EDF Scratchbuilt Foamie (4 min 30 sec)


This is the whole process start to finish with links in the video to other more detailed videos along the way:
(note: the original individual wing videos are accessible from within this video or from my YouTube channnel)

ARMIN WING CONSTRUCTION: start-to-finish process with links to detail videos (19 min 56 sec)

This is the very basic version, mostly for conceptualizing the folding and forming technique:

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


Foamboard Building Techniques: Fuselage Tubes (14 min 55 sec)



STABILIZERS (Horizontal and Vertical, with Control Surfaces)

Foamboard Building Techniques: Stabilizers #1 - Leading & Trailing Edges (15 min 16 sec)

Foamboard Building Techniques: Stabilizers 2 - Control Surface Hinges (9 min 12 sec)

Foamboard Building Techniques: Stabilizers 3 - Assembly (7 min 36 sec)

Foamboard Building Techniques: Stabilizers 4 - Servo Installation (4 min 34 sec)

Foamboard Building Techniques: Stabilizers 5 - Control Horns & Pushrods (9 min 58 sec)


Foamboard Building Techniques: Metal Motor Mounts (8 min 23 sec)


Foamboard Building Techniques: Hatches (17 min 16 sec)
Last edited by ExperimentalAir; Feb 28, 2013 at 06:55 AM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Feb 03, 2012, 06:31 PM
Winter Haven FL
Byrdman's Avatar
Great Videos. I have used your wing building technique on a few planes. Thanks!!.
Feb 03, 2012, 06:32 PM
"Fly, yes... Land, No"
OutcastZeroOne's Avatar
Very nice videos. i've watched most of the ones on the wing building.

I also use a lot of the Readi-Board for my planes. One thing that concerns me though is that you leave the paper on. The last few times I've gotten Readi-Board, it seems that they have changed the glue they use from a year ago, and it is now very easy for it to peel off. It dose add a good deal of regidity to the foam, I worry that the newer stuff may come apart in flight, especially if the plane lands on some wet grass.

Im not sure about what tape you use, but I've never had an issue with tape sticking right to the foam directly.

Very nice videos. Ill have to make time to watch more of them.
Feb 03, 2012, 06:54 PM
springer's Avatar
OZO: Readiboard has no glue holding the paper on, never has. It's just heat set to the heated foam in the final stage of their process. That's why there is variability in adhesion. But basically, the paper will eventually come off the old or the new stuff. (not really old or new, but just process variation. we all have to remember that just like fff, this material isn't "built" for us, but rather for garage sale posters or kids making posters for the local science fair where long term adhesion isn't an issue) If one lives in Phoenix, one might get away with paper on, but I'll guarantee that here in MI, we won't!
Feb 03, 2012, 07:13 PM
Total Noob
bkboggy's Avatar
He also covers the foam in tape, so it's not much of a concern.

Fantastic videos btw.
Feb 03, 2012, 09:29 PM
Ed @ Experimental Airlines
ExperimentalAir's Avatar
Thread OP
Ironically getting the foamboard wet is a large consideration in Arizona, especially in the summer when we fly in the morning. All the grass out here is sprinkler the morning of course. I've found ways to diligently tape and seal up susceptible areas so peeling doesn't occur. Leaving the paper on in some areas is necessary for forming and for strength otherwise I would take it all off. Covering with packing tape seems to give a nice balance of strong and water resistant.
Feb 03, 2012, 11:23 PM
Space Coast USA
hoppy's Avatar
Hi Ed,
Great new videos -
Concerning the motor mounts, what are the largest motors you've used the L shaped mounts on? The motor weight would zero it in for me.

I always learn some new tricks watching your videos - tonight it was the magnet on the screwdriver trick.

Thanks for taking the time to prepare and post the videos.


PS - Ref your IR testing. Bought 9,20W halogen lamps and 5 switches to make a variable load - now if I could only remember how you set your system up.

Feb 04, 2012, 08:45 AM
Ed @ Experimental Airlines
ExperimentalAir's Avatar
Thread OP
Oh hey, nice to hear from you hoppy. Glad you're liking them.

The motor mounts I've pushed to the 100g motor size, about 500 watts, and I wouldn't feel comfortable going beyond that without a reinforcement. The 1mm titanium flexes about 10 degrees on full throttle on the ground. It flexes up (so downthrust) which may be better than the other way around, but I still don't think I'd push it. 250 watt and down shows minimal flex.

Sorry about the IR testing thing. Remaking that video is on my list. Essentially just hook up all the bulbs in parallel, individually switched if you desire, and hook that up on the load side of your wattmeter, just as you would a motor, and fire it up.
Feb 04, 2012, 11:54 AM
Registered User
I'm loving making wings with your technique. Been stocking up on foam board. Today I tried blue fan fold. Didn't work out so good. If you don't have tape along the leading edge it will split when you bend it. Also I found I have to be more patient to allow the hot melt glue to harden between steps.
I think I'll just stay with the Dollar store foam.
Feb 04, 2012, 06:27 PM
Space Coast USA
hoppy's Avatar
Hi again Ed, I've recommended this thread be made into a sticky. It is by far the best "how to" foam building thread I've seen and needs to be up where it will be of continuing value. Hope you agree with me. If you do, request that in the "Report" box on OP.

(And I don't want to go hunting for it when I need to see it.)
Feb 04, 2012, 06:31 PM
Registered User
Wooho you made the hatches episode ...

Now we need to see an update on all the planes you made in the meantime
Feb 05, 2012, 04:08 AM
Total Noob
bkboggy's Avatar
Almost done watching all of them, just a few left. Man, so many wonderful techniques! This has to be stickied, definitely!
Feb 05, 2012, 09:06 AM
Ed @ Experimental Airlines
ExperimentalAir's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks y'all, sticky has been requested.

Yeah, Dollar Tree foam seems to be the best by far for using this particular build technique.

Sorry to be a little vague on the magnets-for-hatches episode, but it really takes some voodoo to get 'em to go in right. I'm still working on that myself.

As soon as I can get a reliable videographer I would really like to include more flying videos. That's my main limitation. I have no shortage of planes in the hangar.
Feb 05, 2012, 09:37 AM
Registered User
Or you can strap the gopro to your head
Feb 05, 2012, 09:52 AM
Out the Window
High Flyin''s Avatar
Thanks ExperimentalAir for taking the time to make all of the videos. I know it is a lot of work!

I also put in a request to make this a sticky. It has a lot of information for beginner or more experienced builder.

Thanks again,

Quick Reply

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Build Log SEW-SLO 30" Foamboard Wing Atx_Heli Foamies (Scratchbuilt) 84 Apr 25, 2020 02:02 PM
Discussion EDF/Motor for University Design Project uwpropulsionguy Electric Ducted Fan Jet Talk 2 Oct 14, 2018 04:51 AM
Build Log SEW-SLO 30" Foamboard Wing Atx_Heli Flying Wings 0 May 19, 2011 09:47 PM
Question So I have a sheet of $Tree foamboard... what to build? Bomb Dropper Foamies (Scratchbuilt) 15 Mar 23, 2011 02:49 PM