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First Take Off of a fully printed (FDM) sailplane.

by wersy, published

First Take Off of a fully printed (FDM) sailplane. by wersy May 10, 2013

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Description

To see it flying click the video button or watch it on [You Tube](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-lhAp11iZY)

First of all: Yes, it flies wonderful, easy to fly with surprising self stabilisation. But a little bit faster than motor glider generally use to fly ;-)
And the best off all: It lands by itself...

In the meantime it learnt to land more softly and got strong wings: thingiverse.com/thing:98954
Here you can see it fly: youtu.be/XIrR3X5ENus
And here is another video with stronger middle sections of the v-form wings:
youtube.com/watch?v=NXZUlGvisjg

Recent Comments

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No problem. Sometimes I would love to have such a huge printer ;-)

I printed all with my tiny Wersybot http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

could it be printed on a 200mm cubed (8inch cubed) bed

I'm sorry, but this is not possible.

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Instructions

Yesterday we finally could start my radio controlled
motorised sailplane though the weather was very unsettled, partly raining and more wind then we wanted. But we wouldn't like to wait anymore.

Everything went well until at the third base leg. It seemed that it bored it already. First the plane suddenly got rid of one wing and looked for a quick landing. It was the field strait below.
Well, this was what I was worry about. The 8 bend is a weak point because the carbon tubes are not going through, they only meet each other. The middle 8 wing sections were printed with 3% infill, 0.2 mm layer height and ratio: 1.2 = 0.24 width, just to save weight.
In the meantime I printed it with 4% infill, layer height 0,3 mm and ratio: 1.2 = 0.36 mm. At the meeting points of the tubes I set a 4 mm wall, so the holes are not going through anymore. This gives a stable impression and I think even less infill would do it. We are just waiting for better weather to test it.

Also the fuselage broke at the connection between the forth and fifth section due to the hard crash. This part is hollow printed only with one perimeter but strong enough to survive normal landings.
I glued it already with additional thin printed patches on top and bottom side.
It is very important to have these parts as light as possible. Otherwise it displaces the centroid dramatically backwards and you will need ballast in the front.
Due to the high off weight of almost 960 g it needs a powerful motor and naturally a big and heavy accu. Accordingly the plane has to fly pretty fast. That means more stress to the parts and bonding surfaces as well. PLA is not easy to glue.

I want to give thanks to members of the ACNE.
Fortunately we have a lo of experienced pilots at the Aeroclub Niedereschbach ACNA e.V. nearby Frankfurt Germany: aero-club-nieder-eschbach.de
Without them, the plane would not have left the ground yet.
After I finished my design, I contacted them and they were so kind to give me valuable tips. So I had to redesign the whole fuselage other ten the tail. First I placed the servos one behind the other and planed to move the vertical rudder with two pull ropes. For more favourable centroid now they are side by side and moved more to the front. The steering is now controlled by 0,8 mm wires, which partly lie in 2 mm carbon pipes.
The holes in the rudder horns had to be smaller and are now 1 mm.

The centroid problem made it necessary to extend the nose extensive. To avoid ballast I tried out several noses. The current nose is now 55 mm longer and doesn't looks very good but needs no ballast anymore. To make it in harmony with the rest of the fuselage I have to redraw the complete fuselage. It will be a lot of work and I don't know, if I will find the time because I am already designing my next project reaching 2 meters wingspan or even more :-)

The plane became pretty heavy. The empty plane weights about 650 g. The wing (meanwhile 1550 mm wingspan) is the heaviest part: 450 g.
All together there are now nearly 960 g.

Wings
ATTENTION!
Before you are going to print the final wing, you have to buy the carbon rods and make sure that they fit into the wings because there are different!
I ordered some other (more light ones) and couldn't use them. If your rods don't fit, I will change the holes for you. If they are a little tight you can drill them carefully, or better use a reamer. The rods have to fit a bit tight so you don't need to glue. Glue makes it heavy.
I tried several ways to print the wings. The easiest and fastest way was to print only hollow 30 mm sections without infill and only one perimeter. Thus, all 30 mm results in a rib in each case consisting of 2 bottom layers and 2 top layers. If the holes in the wing sections are close-fitting enough you don't need to glue them. Just slide the wing panels onto the carbon pipes close together. The torsional stiffness will be good enough. But to hold the wings secured to the middle section tape them together with tape.
The two middle wing sections must be glue together of course.
This type of wing sections are up to 60 mm length suitable.

The most rigid type is the one with designed infill structure (wing_90_infill). You can print it as high as your printer can do. The only disadvantage is: it takes very much time.

Fin
All fin parts have holes for to dowel them together. 2 mm for 1.75 filament and 3.2 mm for 3.0 mm filament. These are only for adjusting. Of course additional they must be glued.

The inner horizontal rudders and the fin rudder have support on underneath its mounts.

Before fitting the horizontal middle fins to the tail you must remove very accurately the jutting edge of the first layer. Especially the inner nooks of the vertical nose have to be file off carefully.
Then the horizontal fins will fit exactly and tight to the tail and you almost don't need rubber bands for fastening :-)

The tail and rudder parts I printed with 0.3 mm layer height, 1 perimeter, 2 solid layers on bottom and top and no infill.
The rudder mounts with 0.2 mm layer height, 3 perimeter and 50% infill.

The inner ring on one side of each fusselage part is also a support. These must carefully break off or cut off afterwards.
All parts of the fusselage are printed with layer height 0.3 mm, 1 perimeter, 2 solid layers on bottom and top and no infill.
Except for the nose!
The motor frame is 2.5 mm thick and has to be solid. So you need at least 8 solid layers on bottom.

Edit 26.06.2013
I added new middle wing sections with structured infill. They are light and strong and already tested:
Wing_light_centerc._left_brim.stl
Wing_light_centerc._right_brim.stl

Motor
Roxxy BL-Outrunner 2834/08
robbe.de/roxxy-bl-outrunner-2834-08.html

Regulator
hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__6461__Hobbyking_SS_Series_35_40A_ESC.html

Batterie



Propeller
Aeronaut Carbon Classic 9 x 6.5" / 23 x 16.5 mm
shop.modellbau-freudenthaler.at/index.php?list=86

Propeller Mount
Axis-center distance: 45 mm
Borehole for motor shaft: 3.17 mm

Spinner
Outer diameter: 35 mm

Servo
ROCKAMP DS200
shop.kjk-modellbau.de/shop/cgi-bin/shop.dll?SESSIONID=0793802465545014&AnbieterID=27
Operating voltage: 4.8 V
Response time: 0.11 sec
Torque: 1.4 kg
Transmission: Carbonite ball bearings,
Weight: 9g
Dimensions: 23x12x24mm

Carbon Tubes
2x 8/6 mm (outer/inner diameter) x 740 mm long - (for the wings)
1x 8/6 mm (outer/inner diameter) x 59 mm long - (for the wing middle sections)

2x 4/3 mm (outer/inner diameter) x 729 mm long - (for the wings)
1x 4/3 mm (outer/inner diameter) x 59 mm long - (for the wing middle sections)
1x 4/3 mm (outer/inner diameter) x 74 mm long - (front holding-down rod for the wings)
1x 4/3 mm (outer/inner diameter) x 72 mm long - (back holding-down rod for the wings)
1x 4/3 mm (outer/inner diameter) x 47 mm long - (holding-down rodd for the horizontal fin)

1x 2/1 mm (outer/inner diameter) x 210 mm long - (for the vertical rudder)
1x 2/1 mm (outer/inner diameter) x 450 mm long - (for the horizontal rudder)

Wire
1x 0.8 x 520 mm long (for the vertical rudder)
1x 0.8 x 470 mm long (for the horizontal rudder)

The next days I will give more information.

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Comments

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eggy4567 on Apr 16, 2014 said:

could it be printed on a 200mm cubed (8inch cubed) bed

wersy on Apr 16, 2014 said:

No problem. Sometimes I would love to have such a huge printer ;-)

I printed all with my tiny Wersybot http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

digiboxuk on Apr 14, 2014 said:

could this be made so it prints on a 100mm cube bed?

wersy on Apr 15, 2014 said:

I'm sorry, but this is not possible.

CaptainObvious on Apr 8, 2014 said:

Any updates on this project?
For the wings you could try what I came up for on my 3D printed plane (http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...
The wing sections are printed without any infill, in a spiral vase mode, the shape of the 3D object is such that the printing perimeter makes the outer skin, the tubes for the carbon fiber spars and internal supports in one single continuous motion.
I believe this technique is the lightests, fastest way to print a wing, IIRC a 150mm long wing panel takes 40/50 minutes to print. Thise could also be used for fuselage sections.

wersy on Apr 9, 2014 said:

Yes, you are right, I didn't use the right word, I meant notches instead of gaps at the lower side.
The inside perimeter are fused very well.

wersy on Apr 9, 2014 said:

Spiral vase printing for wings is a good idea. As you can see on my boats, I love spiral vase printing :-)

The bridges between the top side and the lower side makes it possible to print long and strong wing parts. Of course they produces gaps on the lower side which have to be accepted. Additionally there are ribs for connecting needed .
All in all it is well thought out and a very good and inspiring example for spiral vase printing, especially for wings. Thank you very much.
As for my sailplane, I do not intend to update it. Currently I am working on another air plane with a different wing construction but I think it is not suited for spiral vase printing.

handsomebird on Jul 8, 2013 said:

it's cool very cool

dgm3333 on Jun 13, 2013 said:

Aramid (Kevlar) tow might be a good reinforcing material for some of the parts to increase strength without weight. I think this would be preferable to carbon fibre as similar strength:weight ratio, less rigid, but also less likely to shatter on impact :-p , so tolerances could be closer. With PLA you should be able to get away with tacking the fibres with small dots of glue, thus using very little glue. I use ABS, so would probably melt the fibres into the structure with acetone (NB I haven't tried this, so test before buying it). See http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... for some (non flying-related) tests with carbon fibre.
Melting fibres into the print would also be a great way of reinforcing propellers! (eg see Spenc's http://www.thingiverse.com/thi..., but there's lots of others on thingiverse and github (and probably elsewhere))

wersy on Jun 23, 2013 said:

Thank you for your tip. I have seen it before. It is a very interesting way how to increase strength. You can particulary use it in areas with tensile stress.
As to airplanes, it will not look so nice if there are glued wires all over ;-) Maybe hide them inside the fuselage but to glue PLA is difficult anyway.

Spenc on May 30, 2013 said:

I Don't know if your interested but I have successfully Printed Props and used them on my 3d Reaktor. There inefficient and Noisy but still manage to put out a surprising amount of thrust. Its handy to be able to change the pitch when ever u like plus its fun to be able to say your using printed props !

wersy on May 31, 2013 said:

This is very interesting. I couldn't believe that printed props realy work and are proper printable as well. It would make huge fun to have even printed props. But I am afraid I have to use the best possible and optimized to the motor to get the heavy plane up from the ground ;-)

wersy on May 26, 2013 said:

The long nose (Fuselage011_62long) is MODIFIED!

I chamfered the back edge of the assembling opening. On printing this is a narrow bridge and this is better to print now.

Yoniweb on May 22, 2013 said:

Do you have any information on how to build/assemble?

wersy on May 22, 2013 said:

Oh, what happened? I can't believe it.
The complete instructions is disappeared!
Sorry, I think I have to write everything one more time.

byteborg on May 18, 2013 said:

Extraordinary performance for such an unusual material!

andrewupandabout on May 16, 2013 said:

Thanks for sharing wersy. Amazing project! Andrew (3dhacker.com)

charlie68 on May 14, 2013 said:

Congratulations on an inspiring project. i guess you printed this on your Wersybot too? I look forward to seeing how this printed RC plane idea develops, and to making one and reliving my youth!

Just mind you stay clear of those power lines in the background

Old guys rock!!

wersy on May 14, 2013 said:

Yes, of course, I printed all with my Wersybot. Even 165 mm high. But then the z-rods touching only one and a half bearing and one nut :-)
Everything is repaired and I am waiting for better weather and - a smooth landing ;-)
Additionel I am just printing another type of wing. A straight middle section with 20°-ears on outsides. It should bring even more self stabilisation.
Yes, 3D printing keeps as youthfully :-)
With all I am a late bloomer.
20 years ago I was extremely windsurfing.
10 years ago I was the oldest who designed with 3D Max
And now I think I am the oldest raprap printer :-) Or is there anybody older then me?
vizy.homepage.t-online.de/

terramir on May 13, 2013 said:

I say bravo too, you might want to try using abs material on one of your tries the bonding you can get from thick juice could solve some of your problems also you could use the higher flexibility of the material in case of a crash :).
But I say bravo bravo :D
terramir

wersy on May 14, 2013 said:

Thank you terramir, and you're absolutely right. ABS could be the ideal material. We could even save weight and it is so easy to glue.
A member of our club http://www.hackerspace-ffm.de/ tried already to print a thin walled wing( the one with designed infill structure (wing_90_infill) but he had trouble with warping. Maybe we should try with different temperatures and speed.
If anybody can print a good wing in ABS, please report.

The higher flexibility can also be an advantage, but please - no crashes anymore;-)

brackett27 on May 13, 2013 said:

Bravo!

idellwig on May 13, 2013 said:

Nice project! It got priority #1 on my print list. ;-) The rudder stuff is nearly finished. Coming up next: The wings. Btw: What settings do you recommend for the body?

"Hals und Beinbruch" from Hanover!
Ingo.

wersy on May 14, 2013 said:

You really want to print it? Great!

For the body I used 0.3 mm layer height and EWH ratio 1.7 = 4.1 width.
All parts of the plane (excluding the middle sections of the wings) are hollow and have to be printed with only one perimeter. Therefore try to print all parts as hot as possible to make sure that the layer are firmly fused together.
I always printed the PLA with 230°C.

mouserunner on May 13, 2013 said:

well done, looks amazing.will add lo my long list of things i want to make

catbus on May 13, 2013 said:

Incredible!

javitooo on May 13, 2013 said:

Congratulations!!! cool project

idea_beans on May 13, 2013 said:

This has got to be the most impressive 3D printing project I've seen! Must have taken you months to design and print the whole plane! Awesome stuff! Thanks for sharing!

wersy on May 16, 2013 said:

Thank you. Yes, it has actually taken months. Primarily because I absolutely had no idea of remote controled airplanes. My only experience: 40 years ago I built a control line airplane :-)
But you can print it pretty quickly because all parts, except the wing middle sections, have no infill.

Sanjay on May 12, 2013 said:

Awesome awesome awesome.

I hope you get featured.

wersy on May 14, 2013 said:

Thank You again Sanjay,
Our hopes came true :-)

wersy on May 12, 2013 said:

Thank you Sanjay.
Featured? Oh, that wuold be great :-)

Walt on May 12, 2013 said:

Fantastic! How much does it weigh in total?

wersy on May 12, 2013 said:

Just click "Read More" ;-)
Total weight: 950 g.
Your plane is much more nice. But I think it is a little bit heavy, specially the mechanics in the vertical stabilizer will displace the centriod backwards.
I hope to see your plane flying soon. And try to find a good pilot - as I did ;-)

Good luck!

pujolflorida on May 11, 2013 said:

awesome work!

ryware on May 11, 2013 said:

This looks awesome. Do you plan to post a complete parts list? Thanks!

wersy on May 11, 2013 said:

Yes, of course.

OpenBuilds on May 11, 2013 said:

Great project! Thank you for sharing.

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