Paper canopy building tricks, tips and techniques - RC Groups
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Jul 22, 2012, 11:38 AM
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Paper canopy building tricks, tips and techniques

Building canopy out of paper is a form of paper crafting, in particular...paper craft modeling. There's a wealth of info out there on the topic if you Google.
nCPX TDR out of color cardstock. $0.12
Here's good video tutorial on the basics of cutting, folding and gluing by Yamaha motors of all places. Once you've view those short instructional video, you will automatically have all the skills that I use and took time to discover on my own. Wished I had know about those videos early on.

Yamaha Motors: How to make Paper Craft Models
Last edited by Daryoon; Oct 11, 2012 at 07:20 PM.
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Jul 22, 2012, 11:39 AM
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v929 Canopy Prototype #1:

Originally Posted by Daryoon
Got paper-fu?

Paper canopy from Darsh.

FyreSG edited to remove the Blade logos over on this post.

You can view the more photos on my latest post:

Happy folding!
Canopy prototype #2

Originally Posted by Daryoon
Made another canopy. What's that written on top? Read my blog to find out.
Last edited by Daryoon; Aug 10, 2012 at 10:10 AM.
Jul 22, 2012, 11:40 AM
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I shared here in case you may have missed it:

Originally Posted by Daryoon

I used Darsh's template and had the CrafRobo cut it out of photo paper. Idea sounds easy. In practice, it's a bit of work. It usually is with consumer gear. Gotta get everything set up just right to make it successful. I currently have it set up to score and cut. So assembly is a lot more precise. Still tweaking things a little on my end and learning in the process better for refinement. (BTW, Cricut sucks. I have the Expression 2 and they have sued companies putting out software to interface with the computer. Additionally, it doesn't cut good circles. I have that too but it's sitting in the closet. I should really pawn it so I can buy more rc toys.)

One tip, get the cheap photo paper. I look for the thinnest one. It saves on the final weight of the canopy. Good thing the cheap photo paper goes on sale every now and then for free after rebate.

The glossy paper gives a good shine and structure. And the final weight is about 3.28g versus 3.20 of he original v929 canopy.

The first time I fold a new design, I like to cut out of regular copy paper. The thinness makes it easier to assemble. Thicker paper like photo paper gives more structure but you need better paper-fu to make it look good. I believe you can stiffen the copier paper with some type of spray. Haven't tried by perhaps a poly or shellac or laquer? Or safer alternative, get some and put on a thin layers. Or use their sealer spray:

I'll elaborate...

I am continuing to work on this to come up with the easiest, repeatable way to do it. You know I always like to share and I like to do it so it's easy for the end user. I am a noob at this. I've only made two canopy and you've seen both. So I am gaining a lot of experience as I go along.

FyreSG: You are asking for the template but the canopies you've seen from me are directly Darsh's canopy. I just get it printed on HP Everyday Photo paper and then have it cut. I glue together using the tip of a toothpick dipped in a drop of CA and then transferred to each tab. One by one. It takes but a second or two to fix and I move on to the next. It's allowing me to make very nice seams.

The seams are an art in itself, and I am getting better at it.

Keep in mind that I don't print anything on the paper. I don't know how to create the texture map so that when printed, the graphics that are along the split lines come together seamless. So I came up with a workaround for myself that serves two purposes.

Sheepishless, the workaround is nothing new as the TDR style canopy employs it already. Basically, I take some vinyl stickers and cut out pattern on them. The pattern then get applied wherever I want. In the eyes, I have the pattern fold over the seam. This serves to reenforce the seam and strengthen it. And it covers up any ugliness in my seam job. WIN-WIN.

The cut out pattern serves to give texture and 3d to the canopy. So that it doesn't look like it's made from printed paper. And because there are no prints, the glue up job is a bit easier cuz you don't have to line up the prints where the seams are.

The photo paper itself is pretty water resistant. And it has a good balance of weight and structure. So, once glued up, it is stronger than the stock canopy. Additional strengthening I did on my second canopy is paint on a layer of white glue all along the seam lines/tabs on the inside. The glue will level out and become clear when dry, but it serves to seal the seam from the inside. Further strengthening the canopy. I put a good extra pool at the nose, where I expect may get more damage. But I think this is because on a heli, the nose of the canopy usually suffer crash damage. On a quad, the canopy if relatively protected by the motor cage and booms and props. Therefore, the body doesn't need more strengthening than that. All up, the canopy weights 3.28g. Barely .08g more than the stock canopy. That's acceptable to me. You can get some sealer type spray and give it a coat or two. I am sure it will stiffen the paper up really well.

What else can I say....? Definitely ask if you have question. But I am hoping you guys discover stuff and share too. Cuz I am definitely learning along with you.

I just purchased some scrapbooking cardstock. It's a pearl white finish. So that glimmer/sheen should look nice. I can't wait to build my third prototype.

Beyond that, I am having fun doing paper crafting and also flying the quad. It looks so much more hobby like and awesome with this canopy on there. As always, expect more sharing on here and as I have always done in the past.

Thanks again Darsh for the canopy. I am using that to learn the pieces of the puzzle to making my own. I've always envision some hommage to Japanese anime mecha designs for my flying toy. The concept of a quad is a perfect base for these higher tech designs IMHO.

Originally Posted by Brandigan
Half-lamination is the best...
I find that the thicker or stiffer the paper, the harder it is to fold into shape. I like to start with regular white printer paper when I build a model for the first time. The thinness allows you to cheat and bend/coerce the tabs and seams into place. Once you gain experience from that, you can move on to something like photo paper which takes really nice print jobs.

For lamination, a process I've explored is using the crystal clear shipping tape. They come in 4, 5 and I think 6inches from specialty stores. If you tape that on top of your printed paper, minding not to put any air bubbles...what you effectively have is a half lamination. The tape gives a "gloss coat" and it gives good structure to the paper. Obviously, you have to think things through if you're going with this method. Such as how to glue the paper up cuz the adhesive may have a hard time sticking to the tape. Those are some of my thoughts on lamination.
Last edited by Daryoon; Jul 22, 2012 at 07:18 PM.
Jul 22, 2012, 11:40 AM
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Jul 22, 2012, 11:41 AM
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reserve 3
Jul 22, 2012, 09:29 PM
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For regular paper and cardstock, I find like Aleene's Tacky Glue. Or better yet, the Quick Dry version of Arleene's Tacky Glue.

For photo paper, I love the quickness of CA (aka Super Glue, Krazy glue). The thicker variety is easier to control. You only need a little. So I like ti squeeze a drop onto a scrape piece of cardstock. And then use a toothpick to dip into that CA droplet and transfer to the tabs on the paper craft model. Smear it around and then press the two halves of the paper together for 2-3 second. It should bond instantly like that.

Using CA on cardstock or regular paper doesn't work very well. The paper absorb the thin layer of transferred CA.

These are the best option I know of currently. I am hoping to come across something more foolproof in the future.
Aug 10, 2012, 10:57 AM
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Thanks for sharing the Yamaha link. It was really very useful!
Oct 11, 2012, 07:19 PM
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The following is a paper canopy I just folded, based on

Paper is a blue cardstock with a nice sheen/texture. Got it from Michael's craft store for $0.12. Each 12x12 can make at least two canopy.

The core of the paper is the same as the surface. So your cut lines are hidden and looks very finished.

Here are some photos:

Eyes are cut out of vinyl and I tried place over the seam to further strengthen it.

You can see the sheen the paper has. Looks nice and gives enough texture and pop that makes the canopy appear like it's, well...not made out of paper. I shot the flash directly on it to try and get the sheen to show through on the photo.

A close up for the panel lines. The core of the paper being the same color as the surface helps to hide the paper edge. Plus, I modified CyLLiKA's template so the gluing tabs all comes from the lower panel. This allow the edge of the top panel to always be facing down. Makes for a more clean look on the finish canopy.

A slightly different angle.

Thought up a hidden mount system to allow for no canopy mount holes and also to ensure the canopy clears the servo and servo rods.

A peek at the component of the hidden canopy mount system. Weight penalty of 0.08g per mount piece. Still need field test and crash/durabilities testing done.

And a bonus...

Carbon Fiber pattern printed on semi-gloss photo paper and then cut out, used chisel tip black sharpie to quickly go over the white edge. Then folded and eyes and side decals to finish. Looks pretty nice despite some bad gluing at a couple of spots.

Read original blog post here: Nano CP X mTDR Canopy
Last edited by Daryoon; Oct 12, 2012 at 05:56 PM.
Oct 12, 2012, 10:13 AM
Safety : practice & promote!
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Daryoon, your link to helifreak is malformed. Here's the unmangled address:;postcount=120

Oct 12, 2012, 11:27 AM
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Thanks for catching that Robo. Appreciate your help as always.

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