There will be some serious accidents.
Model Aircraft Parts
I have a lifetime interest in aircraft.
I started building and flying gas powered free flight model aircraft about age 12. No store bought ready-to-fly back then for me. Built-up balsa models and doped silk covering with 0,20 displacement model gas engines.
By my mid 20’s I built and flew many multi-channel (radio controlled) model airplanes. I became president of the Mahoning County Model Club (MC)2 R/C (radio/control) model flying club.
I am now a 60+ year member of the American Model Association (AMA) model airplane association (#29653)
My uncle (a WWII ex-bomber pilot and then flight instructor) help me decide I (now in my early 30's) should also be flying full sized aircraft. I received free flight instruction from him in Cessna 150’s and 172’s and qualified for my private pilot license. I purchased my own (then) Classic Luscombe A7 (1947) 65hp 2 passenger “tail dragger”. All metal monocoque light plane. A great experience in "real" flying.
I also joined the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was president of Chapter 210 for about 5 years. I was one of the flight line fly-by pilot briefers at the national fly-in at Oshkosh for over 20 years.
I worked part time with Carlson Aircraft making aircraft parts and working at air shows around the country promoting their line of kit home built aircraft. I still maintain the Carlson Aircraft Extrusions web site.
My point is, I am extremely knowledgeable about all areas of aircraft construction and flying of all types and size. Models to full human carrying and controlled. Sixty years experience and not a beginner.
Recently, I have been exploring the use of 3D printing plastic parts for model aircraft. Total use of 3D parts in building models is now fairly common. It can be done.
The problem may be if it should be done. FDM printing material is quite heavy and not all that strong. With the mixed abilities of the average 3D print operator and hobby-class printers, seriously heavy and weak aircraft can be assembled. There is no build quality control such has been in place with FAA and qualified advisory EAA inspection on home built human carrying aircraft. No certification.
I think 3D printed model parts is a great area for exploration. It’s why I am presently dabbling into 3D printed parts for model aircraft. Weight to strength is my big concern. Model aircraft need to be as light as possible without loss of strength.
There is some FDM materials containing “carbon fiber”. It is stronger (in some tests) to plastic without the fiber. But because of its micro fiber length, is no where close to laminated carbon fiber cloth and resin for structural use. It has the weakness of ALL FDM PRINTED PARTS which is heat bonded layering. Rule: Long fibers good, Short fibers (dust) bad. Carbon Fiber in FDM is not a magic super solution.
I claim near-expert status in aircraft construction and flying. Advanced hobbyist status in FDM and resin 3D printing. Qualified to put the two together.
I intend to experiment with the process and design limitations of 3D printed flying models. Static display-only models are NOT the same thing! Probably WILL NOT be constructing a full-house R/C flying model.
First test - hand launched paper airplanes. First awaking slap in the face is the material weight issue.
No big project planned. Just exploring and learning what works or doesn’t work. This blog will serve as my diary of experiments. Knowing I may be the only one who ever reads it! :)
- Category: Model Aircraft Parts
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Where to begin?
I started with designing a few model airplane glider wing sections. Nice exercise but quite obvious with FDM plastic, weight is going to be a serious issue.
I decided to step back from traditional flying model aircraft design and work on something much more basic. Like the hand tossed folded paper airplane.