1911 Fokker Spin RC Model – CAD Plans for $6.95


Anthony Fokker in full scale Spin cockpit

Anthony Fokker in full scale Spin cockpit

Anthony Fokker was the renowned designer of such well known World War I fighter aircraft as the Fokker Triplane and Fokker D.VII. What is less well known is that in 1911 Fokker and two colleagues designed and built the Spin trainer aircraft to teach themselves how to fly.

Spin is the Dutch word for Spider, which is a suitable name for an aircraft with this amount of flying and rigging wires. Read on as I discuss my Fokker Spin RC model airplane design and how you can purchase plans to build one for yourself.

Spin evolution

Anthony Fokker created several Spin variants in which he incorporated various design changes. These progressions included bracing strut locations, placement of the tail control surfaces and landing gear arrangement.

Spin front view showing thread rigging wires

Fokker Spin RC model front view showing thread rigging wires

I studied a range of Spin modifications to include present day full scale flying reproductions. My 28 inch wingspan version of the Fokker Spin RC model is a distillation of these adaptations. The model offers a good representation of this historic aircraft in an easy to build format. My Spin uses three channels of control to include the rudder for turns, elevator for pitch and throttle via the electronic speed control.

You can purchase CAD plans to build your own Fokker Spin RC model for $6.95. I’ll e-mail you the PDF plan files so you can get started right away. PDF files can be opened on any computer using the free Adobe reader program.

Fokker Spin Plans $6.95

The three plan sheets print out on 8.5 inch by 11 inch paper. The plans will need to be enlarged 297%. The plans can be enlarged to other ratios depending on what size model you wish to make. The PDF plan files are made directly from TurboCAD, so they retain all of the detail and fidelity of the original files.

1911 Fokker Spin radio control model airplane in flight

Fokker Spin RC model in flight

I’ll also include the Spin’s TurboCAD files as well as DWG (AutoCAD native) and DXF (Drawing eXchange) formats. You will need TurboCAD or some other CAD program to open these files. With this CAD file you can print out the plans full size on your home printer or a plotter. I will provide a detailed construction article in the e-mail as well.

Spin front view with landing gear details

Spin front view with landing gear details

The plans contain all information needed to construct your Spin. The Spin is not a complicated subject and makes for a satisfying build. The ParkZone electronics and geared motor make the control and power system selection and installation a turnkey solution (see end of this article for details).

Fokker Spin Model Design

The Fokker Spin exudes character. The fuselage is easy to build as it is a flat, open frame. The wings display a slight amount of aft sweep which is unusual even today with propeller powered aircraft. The early European aircraft designers sought to incorporate stability into their new airplane designs and wing sweep was seen as an attempt to achieve this goal.

The horizontal tail surfaces offer no building challenges. The original full scale Spin used warping for elevator control which I have replaced on the model with a normal hinged elevator.

Construction plan for the Fokker Spin fuselage

Construction plan for the Fokker Spin fuselage

The original Spin did not have any sort of fixed fin, instead employing a top and bottom all-moving rudder. This was replicated in the model by using a 1/16 inch dowel and plywood washers to anchor the rudder post in place. The rudder has adequate surface area for smooth and positive control.

wing and tail section

The model’s wings use a fore and aft 1/8 inch balsa dowel spars. The spars are made from 1/8 inch square balsa sanded to a round shape. Carefully split the balsa spar dowels and CA in place the 0.050 inch carbon rods to strengthen the spars where they are glued to the fuselage.

Fokker Spin underside showing RC gear placement

Fokker Spin underside showing RC gear placement

When building the wing pin a single leading edge 1/8 inch square balsa stick to the building board and add the jig underneath the rear spar. Pin the 1/8 inch square balsa wing trailing edge to the building board. The wing rear spar jig supplies the correct amount of height to allow the front and rear wing ribs to be glued into place and create the wing’s airfoil shape.

After the wing is complete add a second 1/8 inch square balsa stick to the leading edge and sand to shape per the plans.

The tail surfaces are built directly over the plans from lightweight 3/32 inch square balsa.

I used Coverite CoverLite for the wing and tail surface covering. CoverLite is a lightweight covering that is easy to apply but needs a brush on adhesive such as Sig Stix-It to allow for the heat activated attachment of the covering to the balsa frame. I covered only the top surface of the wing and horizontal tail surfaces to save weight. There is no covering on the open frame fuselage.

Top view of the Spin's stand-alone rudder

Top view of the Spin’s stand-alone rudder

The rudder has a few unique aspects to its construction. Drill a hole in the stab for the 1/16 inch rudder dowel. Glue a 1/16 inch plywood reinforcement disc to the top and bottom of the horizontal stabilizer. Glue the top rudder half and 1/32 inch plywood washer to the 1/16 inch dowel, insert the dowel through the stabilizer and glue on the bottom half of the rudder and plywood washer. Through this assembly process the top and bottom rudder is fixed in place yet can easily rotate for turn control.

Now is a good time to glue the wings to the fuselage. The positive wing angle is shown on the plans and must be kept in place. Carefully glue the fore and aft wing dihedral braces on the fuselage underside. These balsa braces ensure each wing panel has both proper dihedral and incidence. I used 5 minute epoxy glue for mating the wing spars to the fuselage. The epoxy provided plenty of strength and allowed some time to make adjustments to ensure a symmetrical wing sweep and dihedral setting.

The electric motor is glued in place as shown on the plans. I used three degrees right thrust and zero down thrust.

Install the electronics

The ParkZone control electronics are placed on the underside of the final version of the Spin for appearance, and are held in place with double sided sticky foam tape. I used Velcro for the lipo battery mount. Keep the battery and electronics as far forward as possible to help keep the center of gravity within limits

Dummy engine and rigging wire details

Dummy engine and rigging wire details

I selected 0.025 inch music wire for the elevator and rudder control rods. Glue in place 1/32 inch plywood control horns to the rudder and elevator or use spare control horns from another foam flyer. You will need to drill a hole in the aft fuselage wing dihedral block to allow the control rods to pass through.

You will also need to add a guide midway to the rudder and elevator to prevent flexing of the control rods. Use Z bends to insert a forward control rod to each servo followed by an aft control rod to the rudder and elevator. Overlap the forward Z bend rod to the aft control rod by two inches, ensure the rudder and elevator are centered and bind in place with heat shrink tubing.

The landing gear is next on the assembly list. Study the plans to get an idea of the overall shape and placement of the fore and aft landing gear legs. I used 0.032 inch music wire for the landing gear. This size music wires bends readily, weighs hardly anything and is strong enough to support the finished model.

Attach the forward and aft landing gear to the 1/16 inch plywood plates epoxied to the fuselage underside. I used a bamboo skewer for the landing gear horizontal skids. Mount 1.5 inch wheels to an axle and glue to the bamboo skid. Add a forward gear cross brace and the aft landing gear skid.

Top view of the Fokker Spin indoor RC model plane

Top view of the Fokker Spin indoor RC model plane

The tail skid is unique to the Spin as it must be long enough to keep the lower rudder half from touching the ground. All joints and connections on the landing gear should be reinforced with thread and epoxy.

Use bits of scrap balsa and metal tubing to detail the engine. These additions add a lot to the visual appeal. The various flying wire strut and bracing masts are made from 0.032 inch music wire and epoxied in place. Thread can be used for simulated flying and rigging wires.

Fokker Spin landing gear installation

Fokker Spin landing gear installation

Conduct your Spin’s test flight under calm wind conditions. The motor provides plenty of thrust and the elevator and rudder provide solid control authority. Do ensure you have the full control throws as shown on the plans and double check that the center of gravity is in the correct location. I needed to add a bit of nose weight to get the CG within limits.

Best of luck with your building of the Fokker Spin RC model! Please send me any pictures of your completed Spin and I will add to the website.

ParkZone electronics can be purchased at Stevens AeroModel. Go to the kits section, and look for the Pietenpol. Under the Pietenpol Air Camper, go to the tab “other items you will need” and select the following items for your Fokker Spin:

Full scale Fokker Spin getting ready for takeoff

Full scale Fokker Spin getting ready for takeoff

130 mm X 70 mm propeller (PKZ3601)

Ultra Micro motor and gearbox (PKZ3624)

Ultra Micro three channel combination receiver/ESC/dual servo (PKZ3351)

Hyperion CX G3 160 MAh 3.7V Ultra-Micro lipo battery

Bill of Materials:

4” x 36” x 1/8” square balsa

Full scale Fokker Spin on climb out

Full scale Fokker Spin on climb out

2” x 24” x 3/16” square balsa

2” x 36” x 3/32” square balsa

2” x 12” x 1/16” plywood

2” x 4” x 1/32” plywood

3” x 36” x 1/16” balsa

12” x 1/16” diameter dowel

2 x 1.5” lightweight wheels

Fokker Spin three view

Fokker Spin three view

2 x 36” x 0.032” music wire (landing gear)

1 x 30” x 0.025” music wire (control surface connection)

20” x 0.050” carbon rod (wing spar reinforcement)

Author: Gordon McKay