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RC Powers sheet foam planes

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    RC Powers sheet foam planes

    RC Powers ( offers planes to those who would like to build planes from sheet foam. I have built several and will share some of what I have learned.

    They all are fairly simple to cut out of sheet foam and glue together. Don't even try to build the sea planes out of paper covered sheet foam. The paper will get wet and lift off the foam.

    Dollar Store (DS) sheet foam will work but is less than the 6 mm used in the original designs. The thinner sheet can be reinforced with carbon fiber rod or hardwood dowel. Wings employing the KF2 airfoil are strong enough as long as the CF rod is also employed. DS foam does not sand well but can be sanded for a rounded leading edge. DS foam sheet uses a paper that dulls Exacto blades rapidly. A dull blade will not create smooth joining edges or cut a straight line.

    Plan ahead and cut joining edges at such an angle that it will produce the best fit with least gaps. If the joining edge allows, cut a "V" shaped groove in the foam, do not cut all the way through. Allow the paper on the out side to become a smooth hinge, like a cardboard box flap hinge. When the design calls for a tab-and-slot style joint be sure to cut the slot to match the thickness of the sheet you are using.

    Hinges for rudders, elevators and ailerons are easily fabricated by running a bead of Silicone cement down the hinge gap. Then, using you finger, smooth out the cement to create thin, flexible hinge. It may take a day to dry. Wait a bit and flex the hinge to be sure there are no lumps on the hinge line. Pinned plastic hinges allow faster assembly if you have them. Put a very small drop of oil on the hinge pin to keep glue from fowling the hinge.

    Plan to build two copies of a plane. The first can go together quickly using hot-melt glue. The second, with construction errors corrected, may use Epoxy. Home Depot (in the USA) sells a pink insulation foam sheet, fan folded with enough material for about 15 to 20 planes for about $32 (USD). To get the thin plastic covering off the sheets takes patience but may not be necessary. One of the nice things about using inexpensive foam sheet is that a planes hardware my be used in another plane in the event of a crash. Sine the form costs less than $2 a sheet a bundle may be shared in a student class room setting.

    A better foam for the job is part number GPMR7530 sold by ElectriFly, in sheets 11.5 x 47 x .23 inches or 292 x 1194 x 6 mm.( 2 sheets to the bag ). It may take two packages to build a plane.

    Light Weight Spackling Compound sold by ACE hardware may be used to fill in voids if you are concerned about looks. A foam safe paint may be applied if weight is not an issue.

    Build spare copies of the nose of a plane. After the crash just cut off the crushed section and glue on your spare nose. You will need it.

    The author also likes Old Timers

    Thanks for the post. I'm building a F15E that I found on this site. You are right about the pink fan-fold insulation. I got mine for $30. Do you use a low temp hot melt? What glue do you use to laminate the pieces together to make the nose. I find that hot melt does not always sand well. Thanks again for the tips.


      When I first started this hobby a few years ago, I built a few FliteTest designs using Dollar Tree foam and hot glue. It's been a few years since I built any now. But I have repaired my EPO & EPP foam planes with Gorilla Glue. It works great. I think it would be a good product for DT foam builds too. For aesthetics, I would only use the WHITE GG. The original dries to a yellow-brown color.


        The Gorilla Glue is ugly and it foams. The squeeze out fills in gaps and is easily sanded. As my skills improve I will switch to epoxy.


          Originally posted by Tony Schildmeier View Post
          The Gorilla Glue is ugly and it foams. The squeeze out fills in gaps and is easily sanded. As my skills improve I will switch to epoxy.
          I've used epoxy but it doesn't sand as well as GG. It's about like CA, hard and glassy. Once the GG dries, I cut off the excess with a razor and then sand it. I apply lite filler (Hobbico I think from TowerHobbies) to fill in the spaces left by the bubbles, let it dry, and sand again before painting. For a knockabout plane that is mainly for getting my thumbs in shape, I would use hot glue. But if I find a plane I want to dress up and look good, I will give the GG a try and see how it does.