Occasionally you may need to do some sanding or cutting of foam board using power tools. Doing that will certainly create dust. You can use a shop vac for your various power tools, but they are loud, bulky, and not easily transported from garage to basement. So if you have a handheld vacuum and a few hose accessories, you can make a relatively quiet, very portable dust collector. I used a Ryobi unit but I suspect that any brand can be adapted. I bought an extension hose and it came with extra connectors to fit various dust port sizes. I needed to make an adapter from some foam board wrapped with tape to fit onto the brush accessory. The brush itself can be easily removed from the plastic housing. I have a 5″ disc sander and a small hobby table saw that I connect to the dust collector.
Park Pilot is the Park Flyer magazine from the AMA – Academy of Model Aeronautics. Came across an interesting article on the use of various foams for model building.
It appears that Depron is gradually becoming scarce here in the U.S. I read somewhere that Depron is still being produced but not in the form that we use as modelers. That’s the bad news. The good news is that other foam board products are becoming available. And there are some products that we have come to love that are still available if you search around.
FliteTest has a new product available called Maker Foam. It comes in two thicknesses: 3/16″ and 8.5mm. Why mix fractional and metric measurements? Good question. When you look at the prices remember that you are getting folded sheets 30″ x 40″ bifold. Maker Foam is covered with white paper unlike the water resistant product that is brown. The white paper will certainly take paint better. Once I wrote FliteTest and asked if I could purchase a kit made with white foam board instead of the brown water resistant. The answer was a polite no. Wouldn’t you like to have the choice?
Model Plane Foam offers a 6mm thick product made from extruded polystyrene foam. It’s not paper covered but they do mention it being sandable (sandpaper), so if you miss sanding with the other products and 6mm is the right thickness for your project, this may be a good choice for you. When you get to the product page you will have choices of: Grade A, Grade B, Mixed Box, and Seconds.
There are a number of sellers on ebay that offer various foam model suitable products. I just recently bought a box of 12 sheets of 6mm Depron. It came from the U.K. so the shipping cost was high. But there are U.S. sellers, some that offer free shipping. The problem that you may run into is the size of the sheets. Many are 9″ x 12″ for smaller craft projects. But if you look around and don’t mind paying a bit more for shipping, you can find some of the original Depron in sizes good for model airplanes.
Amazon offers Great Planes Pro-Formance Foam in a few different sizes; 2 & 3 mm in the 47″ lengths. From the product details: “FEATURES: Ideal for building airframes as well as landscape scenery and buildings Edges and surfaces are sandable and can be painted with water-based.”
Foam board wheels are not very durable. The question is what to do about it. I came across some 1-3/4″ I.D. rubber O-rings recently and thought they might be useful to add some durability to the foam board wheels. The process begins with gluing the artwork to the foam board. There are places on the Internet where you can buy excellent art work for just a few dollars. Then cut the circles out. I used a Logan WA8001 FoamWerks Foamboard Circle Cutter available at Amazon. Glue the rubber O-rings to the wheel. Don’t forget to use the doublers behind the wheel for added strength. And you may find a Center Finder useful to find the exact place where the axle needs to go though. I bought the O-rings on ebay from Mr. O-Ring. Finally I used some rivet parts to act as a bushing inside the wheel. See my Rivets post HERE. The O-ring is 1/4″ thick so the finished wheel is 2″ diameter. Probably suitable for a smaller model such as the FT Minis. I am looking for larger O-rings or something similar. I fly from a grass field and have found that something more like a 3″ diameter wheel will allow me to taxi and get off the ground.
While I was working on the FT Speedster I was amazed to see the skewer fall out on the floor! This is the skewer that holds the back end of the power pod in place. Lucky I wasn’t flying. A couple of short pieces of tubing will hold it in place.
I needed to build a couple of the short power pods. There is a small oval hole just behind the firewall. My thought is that it is there in case you want to pass wires through to connect to the battery. Found a neat way to make the hole. Logan FoamWerks makes several products for cutting foam board. I used the medium sized hole cutter. Worked out really nice. Buy at Amazon.
The winner of the 2014 SEFF Southeast Electric Flight Festival Best New Aircraft is a model called the Giant Norman. It is a laser cut balsa and plywood traditional build with Monokote type covering and an 84″ wingspan and 12-18 lbs weight. The model was very popular at the time but the designer had many requests for a smaller version, which is how the Normal Norman was born. This one has a 49″ wingspan and is made from EPP foam. Normal is a 3 channel model but there is now a 4 channel version available called the Nifty Norman. This one appears to be a good candidate for a foam board scratch build project. The Giant Norman kit (balsa & plywood) and both the Normal Norman and Nifty Norman (EPP) kits are available at: http://lainesplanes.com/
I was having a hard time getting the turtle deck centered on the FT Simple Scout. Came up with this idea using some foam board scraps and painter’s low tack tape. Mark the centerlines, then it is easy to align the separate turtle deck sections while gluing. And the painter’s tape comes off easily without damaging the poster board.
In this post I used a small, hobby table saw to cut the 45° bevel in the horizontal stabilizer. I left the stab in the surrounding foam board to maintain a line parallel to the saw blade, but removed the bottom few inches to adjust the saw cut.
The table saw is small so I needed to extend the fence to accommodate the the foam board that extended far beyond the table. To do that I taped a couple of yardsticks together then hot glued them to the table saw fence.
After the bevel has been cut I find it easiest to apply the tape hinge while the entire horizontal stabilizer / elevator assembly is pinned down.
To get the tape hinge centered I put a couple of pins toward the end of the stab as guides. The tape is 3/4″ wide so I put the pins in 3/8″ from the hinge line. Works great.
This one is from the guys at Flite Test.