Archives for November 2014

Enlarge Model Plans for Free!

Prototype of the Yankee Mike, my first model airplane design

Prototype of the Yankee Mike, my first model airplane design

One of the many nice things about radio control modeling and the internet these days is the abundance of model aircraft plans that can be purchased and downloaded on-line.

My site is a great example of this. I designed my first model airplane, the Yankee Mike, in 1998. RC Modeler magazine published the full size plan and construction article. Offering full size blue prints of various model aircraft construction plans was all part of the business model of RC magazines in those days. It was not uncommon to see three construction articles in a single issue.

As a side note I had to draw out, by hand, the full size Yankee Mike plan. Practical home use computer CAD programs just did not exist at that time. I mailed these depictions to RC Modeler magazine. A professional draftsman traced over my drawings to prepare the finished full size plan. Sadly, RC Modeler magazine went out of business several years ago.

On a happier note, you can still purchase many of these classic RC Modeler construction plans today.  A Google search will show several sources. RCM had some wonderful and original designs that would make ideal flyers today.

"Yankee Mike" construction article in 1998 RC Modeler magazine

“Yankee Mike” construction article in 1998 RC Modeler magazine

Since then I have had five additional model aircraft plans published in the modeling press and available for purchase on this site. For further details please see the Plans pull down menu on the home page.

But back to the subject of this post, how to enlarge a smaller aircraft plan drawing to full size. Any plan that you obtain from the internet typically will be a smaller size drawing that will need to be enlarged.

See my detailed page here on the subject of enlarging a model aircraft plan. The good news is that the free Adobe PDF reader has a built in function that easily allows you to set an enlargement ratio and print out 8.5” by 11” paper “tiles” on your home printer.

When all the tiles are printed out you tape them together for the full size construction plan. I’ve included Sheet One of the three Fokker “Spin” plan sheets for the demonstration that you can download and experiment with.

Following this method you can make any size plan you wish from a smaller PDF drawing. Recall that if a plan is downloaded in another format (say, a Word document) most programs have a “Save As” feature that allows you to save the file as a PDF document. Once you have the file in a PDF format you can use the enlarge (“Poster”) feature in the PDF Print dialogue screen to create the full size plan.

For those of you who have TurboCAD or some other CAD (Computer Aided Design) program installed on your computer I always include the full TurboCAD file when you purchase one of my model aircraft plans. TurboCAD has a built in feature that allows an enlargement of any plan with a tiling feature for the finished print out.

 

Spin Sheet 1 on a single page (left) and 150% enlargement (four tiles) at right

Spin Sheet 1 on a single page (left) and 150% enlargement (four tiles) at right

Finch Build Page and Flight Video

Front view of the Finch covered with silkspan

Front view of the Finch covered with silkspan

I added a full description and build page on my Finch plan, used to build a three channel indoor radio control flyer . Check it out here. The Finch goes together quickly with modeling supplies you likely already have in your work shop. The airplane uses a flat frame for the fuselage and employs a top mounted wing.

The Finch uses the popular ParkZone line of radio control electronics and electric motor, thus there are few concerns over obtaining the correct micro-electronics for successful flight. Full ordering details for the electronics are covered.

Finch showing 1/32" balsa cowling

Finch showing 1/32″ balsa cowling

The Finch’s full size CAD (computer aided design) plans are absolutely free and can be downloaded on the page. And best of all is the fact that I have taken the computer drawn plans created with TurboCAD and pasted them into a Microsoft Word document.

While any CAD plan can be easily offered you will need some sort of CAD program on your computer to open, view and print the plan. Not every modeler has one of these programs installed. By making the plan available in Word format, just about anyone with a computer can download and print out the plan.

Do take a look at the Finch. By building one for yourself, you will have a fun indoor flyer as well as something different from the other ready to fly models at your local indoor flying venue. Check out the video below of one builder’s Finch.  Give it a try and good luck!

 

Build the Finch – Free CAD Plans!

Spektrum transmitter and completed Finch

Spektrum transmitter and completed Finch

The Finch is a three channel indoor micro radio control model that I designed a few years ago. The Finch is easy to build and flies very well . . . and best of all the plans are free!

Finch showing 1/32" balsa cowling

Finch showing 1/32″ balsa cowling

Click here for a set of Finch Full Size Plans.  The Finch plans were created in TurboCAD and then pasted into a Word file. Thus there is no need to have a CAD program to print out a set of full size plans.

Everyone can get access to Microsoft Word. Just print out the nine pages, tape then together per the instructions on Sheet 1 and start your build!

The Finch has a 20 inch wingspan and is a bit over 15 inches long. I used the popular ParkZone line of RC electronics and matched electric motor. This setup weighs next to nothing and provides plenty of power. Any other light weight set of electronic controls and motor will work just fine.

Three channel radio control Finch in a fly by

Three channel radio control Finch in a fly by

The Finch is easy to modify with different cowling arrangements, an increase in wing span or maybe changes in the tail surface outlines, just use your imagination. When working with a small model like this it is easy and affordable to make a few mods here and there, see how they work, and have a chance to experiment a bit. “Plans bashing” is the first step towards designing your own model airplane some day!

Mike recently built his version of the Finch and it came out great. See below!

 

Nose section of the Finch showing landing gear, motor and RC electronic arrangement

Nose section of the Finch showing landing gear, motor and RC electronic arrangement

 

Mike's Finch with clear yellow heat shrink covering

Mike’s Finch with clear yellow heat shrink covering

Mike’s Yard Ace

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

It is always fun to see pictures of the various airplanes made by readers of this site from my construction plans. Thanks to all of you for sending them in!

Mike recently e-mailed me a photo of his Yard Ace. Mike did a great job with his build as you can see.  The Yard Ace is a perfect introduction for anyone contemplating making their first radio control plane from a set of plans.  The construction is straight forward with no tricks or surprises. Plus, the Yard Ace flies exceptionally well.

Side view of the Yard Ace CAD plan

Side view of the Yard Ace CAD plan

Mike did have some questions on the use of motors and servos for his version of the Yard Ace. As electric motors and control components change all the time, the best approach is to use whatever motor and battery combination is suitable for a model’s weight (listed on the plans).  With the light weight and control forces of these smaller electric models, just about any servo available today will work just fine.

The Yard Ace also lends itself readily to changes in its size depending on what percentage you enlarge the plans. I see now, with the advent of the Park Zone micro radio control gear and motor, that a reduction in dimensions to a model with a wing span of 25 inches or so would be an ideal start for an indoor flyer.

I look forward to giving this a try in the near future!

Front view of Mike's build of the Yard Ace

Front view of Mike’s build of the Yard Ace