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Sep 24, 2018, 10:34 AM
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WW1 L 30 RC Zeppelin

I plan to build a 1/48 scale Remote control R class Zeppelin. In 1/48th scale it would be 13 feet long with a diameter of 1.63 feet. However after looking throughout the forums ive decided size cant be a limit for a ridged like this. It would have 3-4 Mylar gasbags in a possibly balsa frame. I still am not sure about what materials could be better. Im currently just a 16 year old with a minimum wage job but I have about a thousand saved up. Building something like this has been a dream of mine for a long time but i probably don't know enough about making stuff like this. There isn't a whole lot of information about the R class itself or RC ridgeds in general. In conclusion i'm asking about the scale it would have to be to fly and what materials would best suit it. Im sorry this post is really messy and im sure i got a lot of info and ideas very wrong but i am willing to learn about what such a craft would take to build. IF it's even feasible. Thanks.
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Sep 25, 2018, 09:39 AM
Go small or go home
ruzam's Avatar
13 ft is a huge (and delicate) model. Do you have the space to build it? Do you have the means to transport it? The slightest breeze could easily snap something like this in half. Are you able to source helium?

Just spit balling some (very rough) numbers I'm guessing you might get about 500 liters of gas in this zeppelin for 500g of lift. The envelope itself will weigh approx (again, very rough numbers) 180g, leaving you with 320g for the entire airship construction. I don't really have any ideas if 320g of light balsa and tissue construction is possible for a ship this size. I want to say yes, but it will require some serious skills. I would strongly suggest that you practise on some smaller test projects. Construct a foot long section of frame, cover it in tissue, weigh it up so you can get a guestimate of wheat the entire shell will weigh. Calculate the final project before committing. I've found the best way to go at these projects is to account for the weight of every piece of material and construction method (don't forget the glue!) so you know in advance if it will succeed, then keep weighing things as you construct to ensure your calculations are still valid.

With airplanes, getting over weight isn't the end of the world. Just means you have to fly faster, maybe a bigger motor. It will still fly one way or another. With a blimp/zeppelin, you can't go overweight, be any amount. Once you cross the line from lifting to sinking you've just turned your model into a static display. You need to know before you start how it's going to end. You might find that 13 feet is too small.

One thought I've had on building small scale Zeppelins is to construct a gas envelope to the exact dimensions. Then attach balsa (or maybe foam board?) stringers directly to the envelope, and finally skin it in tissue. It will be a non-rigid blimp in every sense of the word, held in shape by gas pressure. But it will look from the outside like rigid airship construction. Anyway, just an idea I've been chewing on.

Now start building!
Sep 25, 2018, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for the info. 13+ feet was kind of my limit but i wanted to know what it truly would have to be. Since it would have to be 20+ feet long and i don't have the space, i will wait on that until I can get a place for it. Ill take your idea of working on something a bit smaller and simpler. Ill try to build a semi-ridged Wingfoot 1 and give it an old U.S. Navy zeppelin look. Should be a lot more feasible and fit in a much better place! Plus more control and slightly less weight constraints without a skeleton. Overall a much better idea with my current restraints. With your other idea of the ridged airship, a L 30 might still have to be pretty large to fit in everything. Ill most likely use it soon. Thanks!
Dec 23, 2018, 11:46 AM
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FokkerFox, that is an ambitious project. Possible but difficulty is high.

I built a 10ft long balsa rigid, it weighs 13 oz. and is light enough, stiff enough and strong enough to be a flying model, however I gave up when it came to putting gas bags in it and filling them with gas. Others have succeeded in other ways. It was a very fun project, and it still hangs in my office space. Maybe someday I'll pick it up and try again.

I like ruzams idea of adhering the frame to the gas bag, not sure what happens when it looses pressure but it would solve the problem of getting the bags inside afterward.

The one I made was constructed similar to a zeppelin with internal tension bracing:

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