DIY RC Airplanes from Scratch: The Brooklyn Aerodrome Bible for Hacking the Skies

DIY RC Airplanes from Scratch: The Brooklyn Aerodrome Bible for Hacking the Skies

by Breck Baldwin

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071810043
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 06/14/2013
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 673,649
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Breck Baldwin has been building and flying model aircraft since he was a child. He founded the Brooklyn Aerodrome in 2005 to support flying art, education, and technology developments around remote-controlled aircraft. Baldwin authored a cover story for Make magazine, Volume 30, featuring the Towel, a delta-wing aircraft that can be built in an afternoon and for less than $100. He does professional flying engagements featuring custom-built art planes for festivals and corporate events. Baldwin also teaches adults and children how to build aircraft out of his studio. He has a PhD in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania and is the president and founder of LingPipe.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Acknowledgments xix

1 Get Your Stuff 1

Introducing the Flack 1

Parts and Materials 4

Flight Simulator Controller 4

Radios 7

Motors 9

Batteries 14

Battery Connectors 16

Chargers and Power Supplies 16

Power Supplies 18

Servos 19

Airframe Materials 19

Tape 23

Cable Ties/Zip Ties 25

Conclusion 25

2 What Do All the Parts Do? 27

The Flight Cycle of a Flack 27

The Pilot 28

The Builder 28

The Airframe 30

The Wing 30

The Elevons 31

The Stabilizers 31

The Deck 32

The Transmitter 33

How the Transmitter Works 34

How to Control the Sticks 35

Mixing 35

Throttle 35

Rudder or Yaw Control 35

Trim Tabs 36

Rechargeable Batteries 37

The Receiver 37

How Servos Get Information 38

What the Radio Channels Do 38

Channel 1 38

Channel 2 40

Channel 3 40

Electronic Speed Control and the Battery Eliminator Circuit 41

Power Limitations of ESC and BEC 41

The Flight Battery 43

The Motor 43

Conclusion 43

3 Building the Deck 45

Tools and Supplies 45

Charge Your Battery 49

The Deck 49

Fabricate the Deck 49

Attach Servos 49

Create the Motor Mount 53

Mount Propeller 56

Attach the Motor Mount to the Deck 60

Solder the Speed Control 61

Power Up the Airplane 69

Powering Down the Airplane 70

Securing Parts to the Deck 71

Conclusion 71

4 The Airframe of the Flack 73

The Airframe 73

Attaching the Control Rods to the Elevons 82

Attaching the Deck 84

Centering Controls 87

Establish Elevon Trim 88

Final Cleanup 95

Conclusion 96

5 Learning to Fly One Crash at a Time: The Splinter Method 97

Safety 97

The Cone of Crashing Potential 98

Trim 99

Adjusting Trim 100

Flight Simulator Setup and Training 100

Incrementally Learning to Fly 100

Get a Helper/Partner/Friend to Help Out 101

Control Sensitivity 101

Crashes 102

Task 0 Approach the Field Ready to Fly 102

Task 1 Launching without Power 102

Task 2 RC on Launch to Landing, No Power 106

Task 3 RC on Launch and Landing, Low Power, Cut Throttle 109

Task 4 RC on Launch and Landing, Increasing Power 109

Task 5 Turning 111

The Wind 112

Overall Good Strategies for Learning to Fly 112

Skill Building 113

Precision Landing 113

Hit the Balloon 113

Fly in Stressful Situations 114

Aerobatics 114

Conclusion 114

6 Keeping You and Your Airplane Alive: Diagnostics and Repair 115

Preflight Checklists of Use 115

The Brief Preflight in 3 Seconds: Servos, Up, Down, Left, Right, Power, Launch 115

More Complete Checklist for Aircraft of Questionable Integrity 116

Crash Kit 119

Basic Crash Kit 119

More Complete Crash Kit 120

Kinds of Repairs 122

The Big-Crash Postflight Inspection 122

More Specific Fixes 123

Completely Dead Airplane 123

Completely Dead Airplane: Rebind the Receiver 123

Completely Dead Airplane: ESC Not Sending Power to the Receiver 125

Completely Dead Airplane: Receiver/Servo 125

Completely Dead Airplane: Transmitter 126

Water Immersion 126

Servos Operate But Motor Does Not 127

Evaluating Motor Damage 128

Symptom: Motor Has Weak Thrust 128

Motor Vibrates 128

Motor Gets Very Hot 129

Motor Doesn't Work at All 129

Battery Damage 131

Highly Suspect Battery 132

Check Battery Pack 133

Battery Disposal 133

Servo Damage 133

Servo Not Moving 133

Servo Arms Are No Longer Vertical When Trim Tabs Are Centered 134

Busted Servo Arm 134

Broken Propeller 135

Kinds of Prop Damage 135

Flutter 135

Poor Radio Connection 136

Conclusion 136

7 Make Your Plane Look Good for Day Flying 137

General Considerations to Keep in Mind 137

Examples 138

Mouse: Avery Stick-on Labels and Sharpies 139

Purple Monster: Wrapping Paper 139

Big Pink Angst: Fresnel-Lens Plastic 142

Silver Shark: Plastic Film 2 145

Brooklyn Aerodrome Orange Plane (BAOP) Paint on Foam 146

Blue Angel and Others in Printed Tyvek 148

Flying Heart: Sign Vinyl 150

Firefly: Balloon Film 151

Decorating with Tape 152

Conclusion 153

8 Make Your Plane Look Good at Night 155

Overall Considerations 155

Major Ways to Illuminate Aircraft 155

Color at Night 156

Electroluminescent Wire 156

How El-Wire Works 158

Powering El-Wire 159

Soldering an Inverter for BEC Power 160

Soldering El-Wire 162

Stripping the El-Wire 162

Soldering the El-Wire to Male Header Pins 164

Simple Decoration 166

LED-Based Approaches 168

Single-Point LEDs 168

Strip LEDs 170

High-Power LEDs and Fiberoptics 171

Other Illumination Options 172

Weight Considerations 172

BEC-Powered Lighting 173

Robustness 173

Conclusion 173

9 Other Shapes 175

Inorganic Produce 175

Banana 176

Carrot 178

Strawberry 180

Flying Heart 182

SketchUp Is Your Friend 182

Travel Flack 184

Bat 185

Crystal Towel 186

Semi-Circle 189

Manta Ray 191

Design 191

Evolving the Moving Fins 191

The Radio 193

The Build 194

Flying 195

3D Banana 195

Conclusion 198

10 Aerodynamics for the Hacker 199

Lift 199

Conditions for Lift: Positive Aerodynamic Angle of Attack and Airflow 199

Lift, Part 1 199

Lift, Part 2 200

Pitch, Roll, and Yaw 201

Center of Gravity (CG) 201

Reflex and Flying Wings 206

Reasoning about Lift 208

Drag 209

Glide Ratio 209

Conclusion 209

11 Hack the Flack: Make and Fly Your Own Design 211

Getting the Idea 211

Prototyping 212

A Plank 213

Designing and Building a Novel Design 214

Blinding the Powered Version 215

Scaling Up from the Glider Proof of Concept 216

Structural Considerations 218

Placing Equipment 219

Flight Testing 220

New Shapes by Morphing Old Ones 221

Incremental Refinement 221

Conclusion 223

12 Simulators, Autopilots, Video, and Buddy Boxing 225

Flight Simulators 225

Flying Model Simulator (EMS) 225

CRRCsim 226

Autopilots 228

Copilot CPD4 228

Full Autopilot 229

Video from the Air 230

Passive Video 230

First-Person Video (FPV) 231

Buddy Boxing a.k.a. Student Driving for Pilots 232

Hacking the Transmitters for Buddy Boxing 233

Conclusion 235

Index 237

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