fan-fold wing forming -- on the cheap - RC Groups
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Apr 06, 2002, 02:22 AM
aka ben wilson
thelocust's Avatar

fan-fold wing forming -- on the cheap

hey all -- i'm currently working on some wings for a fan-fold edf plane, and i'm wondering about how to form different wing foils, or if you need a "foil" at all with some designs. I really don't have the time or materials to make a proper jig (like the ez-bake design in the big ol' "so i bought..." thread).

so -- what household items can be used to make uniform (reasonably) wing foils? do you normally use heat? also, the more pics and details the better! thanks a bunch in advance.
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Apr 06, 2002, 02:59 AM
G G Ghost Pirates !!!
Vyceroy's Avatar
for me i dont believe there is a better way than baking em locust.. try it ya may like it.. Take Care and Keep Em Flying.. Vyceroy
Apr 06, 2002, 08:25 AM
Registered User
emoone's Avatar
I made a jig out of fan fold and zapped it with my hairdryer. Took a LONG time to get any kind of true foil shape that would stay. I tossed the same setup in the oven on a disposable aluminum baking pan and it did much better in 5-10 minutes at 175 degrees.

The jig only lasts a few times this way because the heat of the oven deforms it over time but I got 3 sets of matching wings out of it before it was retired. I basically just took a flat base sheet od foam and taped a spar to it to fold my wings over. I also ended up cutting out a cover sheet to place over my wing. I simply use dollar store spring clamps to hold everything down.

I'd still like to make a real jig though ......
Apr 06, 2002, 06:53 PM
Registered User
You can get a pretty good airfoil on the fly with a hobby heat gun and a mailing tube. Heat the foam and hold it over the tube until you get about the shape you want. You need to be careful with the hot foam or wear gloves (or both). Apply a little patience along with the heat. I think my first wing took ten minutes, longer than it would have with a jig.

BTW, my first wing took on a nice dihedral without any effort on my part, apparently as a result of shaping the airfoil.

Although I was totally satisfied with the trial wing, I intend to build a jig someday. A concern is whether one size jig will fit all wing applications. I can see how it might fit most. I really don't want to build a jig for every plane.
Apr 06, 2002, 08:57 PM
G G Ghost Pirates !!!
Vyceroy's Avatar
dont have to build a jig for every wing type.. the ribs used to get airfoil are removable for changing .. take care.. Vyceroy
Apr 06, 2002, 10:07 PM
Registered User
I would love to see some of those jigs you guys have made. Any pics? Getting ready to make a fire in the wifes stove
Apr 06, 2002, 10:49 PM
Registered User
I've really had good luck just gently hand forming an airfoil using a heat gun and a foam vise. My Black & Decker Workmate makes a dandy vise, but two pieces of dowel in a two 2" x 4"s will allow you to bend foam pretty uniformly with a heat gun. With a little practice you can get some repeatability. OK, you guys are gonna make me post a design.....

Apr 06, 2002, 11:15 PM
G G Ghost Pirates !!!
Vyceroy's Avatar
Epoxy here is the thread that has pics of my jig and Hippos jig..
(credit where its due) hippo is the one that got me interested in the jig.. and gave me the dimensions and all.. you will have to sift through the pages .. but trust me its well worth reading the thread and rereading it.. i still go back through and look at it and all the progress made..the best thread on the zone IMHO.. Take Care and Keep Em Baking.. Vyceroy
Apr 06, 2002, 11:23 PM
Registered User
OK, I'll have to post this in three pics, but here goes....

Apr 06, 2002, 11:24 PM
Registered User
At least they're really small pics....

Apr 06, 2002, 11:26 PM
Registered User
And this gives you a "form" to bend your wing over while you heat it. All materials readily available from your friendly Ace Hardware man and your wife doesn't get P.O.'d when you accidently forget about your wing in the oven and polystyrene drips all over the rack and the bottom.

Apr 06, 2002, 11:30 PM
G G Ghost Pirates !!!
Vyceroy's Avatar
Umm centex .. did ya forget a wing and leave it in oven?? lmao .. i left one once.. but no drip.. just a very brittle wing.. hard as heck but very brittle.. Take Care and Keep Em Flying... Vyceroy
Apr 07, 2002, 01:24 AM
aka ben wilson
thelocust's Avatar

dowel idea

wow! i love that dowel idea! 'cause i'm thinking about making some wings that aren't just the rectangular type -- more towards regular plane-type wings. though, i may just go the wal-foamie way.

thanks a bunch for all the tips!
Aug 12, 2002, 07:16 PM
Registered User


Man, that has got to be the longest thread. I searched for your pics on the wing jig but was unsuccesful. Honestly, i couldn't bring myself to search the entire thing. All i can say is "Holy Moly" that thread is out of control. Any way, found some miscellaneous tidbits about you using .020 aluminum for top and bottom and how you mentioned changing ribs in jig for airfoil to compensate for building entirely new jigs. Can you please display how you achieve this. Or point me out to what page specifically demonstrates it so i can skip ahead. ( I quit on pg50something) Is the aluminum flimsy enough on the top that it will sandwich the foam on the airfoil you have chose and not have to make a new top aluminum peice for each wing?

I may be on entirely the wrong track here but would like to build one of these jigs that wil work for all applications.

Aug 12, 2002, 09:08 PM
The effect is sadly temporary
Hippo's Avatar

Latest wing jig design...


I've had really good luck working with my original jig design. Here's some pics of it.

With the help of Vyceroy, and some listening skills, I've come up with the latest design. I don't have pictures of it yet, but I think it's going to be really big. The new Jig has FULLY INTERCHANGEABLE AIRFOILS. It still comes with the standard Frog, and Mini-Wing airfoil installed, but I'll be selling "airfoil packs" on the site: once I find out which airfoils people actually want...

Enjoy, ask questions if you got 'em.