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.
My next project involves gluing balsa sticks to foam board. Since I want to make sure that I get a good glue joint I decided to do a test with the glues that I have available. Four glues to glue balsa sticks to pieces of foam board. Care to guess the winner? ALL of them! I was amazed. They all seemed to work very well. I went with Elmer’s. Been using it since 2nd grade and it never let me down.
Occasionally you need to make a piece of warped foam board straight and usable. For me it is the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, rudders, and elevators. Not so much a problem with fuselages and other parts that have panels that are bent and glued. Those tend to automatically straighten out any warps. So I usually take 2 warped pieces at the same time. Put a couple of strips of foam board under each end, then add some sand bags in the middle. If you get too aggressive with lifting the ends and adding sand bags you will end up putting wrinkles in the paper covering right where the sand bags sit. It normally takes a few to several days for the boards to straighten out. These pictures were taken outside in Chicago on a cold day. The warmth of being inside the house will be a better place to do this.
The little red pins are used to hold balsa parts together while the glue dries. Or to hold parts in alignment. They can also be used in foam board construction. The vertical stab and rudder are pinned down to make it easier to apply the tape hinge. Hard to do just holding the parts together while applying the tape.