3D printable RC airplane.

by Kiril_Lange, published

3D printable RC airplane. by Kiril_Lange Oct 6, 2014
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I created this fully 3d printed airplane just to make something cool. With a 36 inch wingspan, 4 servos, and a 210w motor this is a fully functional flying airplane.
4 - 25mm x 3mm or 1 inch #4-40 machine screws + respective bolts
4 - 40mm x 6mm or 1.5 inch x 1/4 inch bolts
8 - 6mm or 1/4 inch washers
4 - 10mm x 4mm or 1/2 inch x #6 machine screws + respective bolts
4 - 1/8 inch x 3/8 inch x 2 foot basswood or (untested) 1/8 inch x 1/4 inch x 2 foot basswood
piano wire or paperclips
rubber bands
glue (abs + acetone recommended for an abs print)
RC parts:
I used:
1 - TURNIGY Plush 30amp Speed Controller
1 - D2830-11 1000kv Brushless Motor
1 - ZIPPY Compact 2200mAh 3S 25C Lipo Pack
4 - Turnigy TG9e 9g / 1.5kg / 0.10sec Eco Micro Servo
As well as a battery charger and 4 channel transmitter/reciever
As a poor college student, if you are viewing this and work for a cool company i would love to hear from you about any possible employment. :)


Print settings:
I recommend printing at least the wings in ABS due to being able to glue and fill print imperfections with abs/acetone mix.
I used rafts on everything.
Wing sections should be printed vertically, as should most things in in this model because they are designed to not need supports.
Turn the body back and body tail to print vertically.
move the cover down on the Z axis until the top is within the print area.
2 shell 20% infill with supports:

  • body front
  • wing servo
    2 shell 20% infill no supports
  • everything else except tail pieces
    3 shell 5% infill no supports
  • tail flaps
    2 shell 5% infill no supports
  • tail and tail upper
    The basswood will not fit into the slots in the wings without trimming about 1/16 off the top of the 3/8 tall side. Using 1/8 x 1/4 basswood might work but i haven't tried it.
    Trim the end off the basswood so the entire piece is contained within the wing.
    bolt the back of the body to the front with the #6 or 4mm bolts. Glue the body tail latice into the slot on the back of the body.
    Body servos:
    The ideal way to insert the servos is from the inside, the rear one first, you should be able to maneuver each servo into their respective bracket without much trouble. If not then some material from the triangular part of the hole will need to be cut out to allow for insertion from the outside. Either way the servos are held in place with a small plastic tab with a servo mounting screw threw it. the plastic from hard packaging cut into a 10x20mm rectangle works perfectly.
    The cylindrical parts of the tail flaps will need to be sanded down to rotate easily within their holes. The rectangular spires from the tail_upper are to be inserted into their holes in the base of the tail_upper piece. The tab on the elevator should be on the top left. Attach the elevator to the tail by angling the tail and sliding the elevator into each hole one at a time. Place the elevator assembly into the lattice of the body. Place the rudder into the small round hole with the tab on the right side. Slide the upper tail into the diamond holes and on the top cylindrical rudder tab. The tail assembly is secured via two rubber bands attached in a cross fashion, or more permanently by glue.
    Motor and mount first, followed by each cowl section, push motor wires through the hole on body, bolt everything together.
    Wing Aileron:
    There may be gaps in the print on the wing sections, use abs glue to fill any imperfections. One very important area to glue is the channel where the aileron attaches. It is likely that the channel has a gap running along the entire length of it. Pour a couple drops of glue and let them run from one end to the other to connect both halves of the section. sand the rounded aileron tab so that after the glue FULLY dries it can turn with little resistance but not too much to have it fall out. The aileron tab should be facing down and closer to the body.
    Wing servos:
    The servos should just snap in, the small bottom piece will probably break upon insertion, not a big deal, either glue it back together or leave alone. Attach the servo arm before assembling into the wing.
    slide two prepared basswood sticks into each wing tip. Next slide the aileron/middle wing section. Followed by the servo and base wing sections. Using two rubber bands placed outside the wing along each basswood stick to clamp it together, glue all of the wing sections together.
    Landing gear:
    Snap wheels onto the clips, sanding where necessary to have the wheels spin freely. The landing gear is optional.
    Wing to body assembly:
    Tapping each wing is suggested. But tapping with a bolt is possible, just be careful. Each bolt has two washers against it's head. Route the servo cable through the hole in the landing gear and body. Bolt each wing on securely. Using too much force can and will crack the plastic. The wing servos need a splitter so buy one or splice one servo into the other.
    Final assembly:
    Add all electronics, using the transmitter, find the neutral spot for all of the servos and make linkages out of piano wire or paperclips to all of the flight control surfaces. The cover is attached via two rubber bands and a paperclip.

Have Fun :)

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Would you be able to give me the CAD files for the wings? I'm trying to print the wings and I always get a gap on the underside of the wing. Thanks.

Can someone give me an idea of how much this would cost in terms of filament, or how much filament this takes in total? Cura numbers are usually way off for me.

looks like a fun model to print - not that hard at all.
I have to see how easy it is to fly. I haven't flown in years, hopefully my rusty fingers don't drive my plane into the ground at a first try ;-)

Almost all parts are correctly placed on the bed but it looks like the shortened_simple_front and shortened_simple_back were also meant to be printed vertically - but the .obj shows them on a horizontal plane.

A very nice looking bit of work. I'll be giving it a go..

Could I give a bit of friendly advice?

Check your spelling.....or rather check that you have used the right word. e.g.. Threw Through

Anyone thinking about offering you a job might think again when they see this kind of thing.

Best wishes.


How long does it take?How much fillament? How do you rc it?

Plz answer!!

If you have to ask any of those questions, you shouldnt be printing OR trying to fly RC planes. Youre going to injure someone, possibly yourself, and crash the plane. That is, if you can even print it. This is a very advanced project bud. Its not something you just throw on the plate. You need high resolution nozzles or mid range with a single shell, which any maker will tell you, is a very frustrating process. Once you print it, you have to learn servos, radios, receivers, control surfaces, very precise assembly, etc, etc.... THEN you have to learn to fly it, and if this is your first RC plane, you are going to be very upset when it crashes. And since its printed, it takes longer and is harder to repair, most of the time it would require a complete reprint, and you will inevitably have fractures between layers on other parts, from shock, which is dangerous to fly with. Its not like balsa and Mono-kote planes. Which is what you need to learn on first. There are special trainer planes for beginners that can take a beating and are easy to fly. This thing is not going to be easy to fly. Please use your head dude. And as far as printing, you have a good year or 2 before youre ready for something like this, given you just started, and no I'm not kidding or trying to be an asshole, you really need to cram hard for this one.

Get yourself a flight simulator for your PC. Orientation will be easy to learn.

If you are new to RC flying you will crash hundreds of times on the simulator in your first hour or two. You will see your plane smash to bits. press a button and there it is as good as new.

With a real plan it's game over. It can take many long hours to repair a plane. Sometimes there's not enough left to put back together.

I suggest that you start with a nice foam plane. An AXN from Hobbyking is about as easy to fly as you can get.

Join a club. Someone who can fly will be happy to teach you. They will have a second radio and be ready to take over control when you get into trouble,

Once you have learned you can fly one your own. It's a fantastic hobby. I've been flying for 46 years and I still have the odd crash. Things are much better now days. Electric flight. Almost ready to fly noddles. Even FPV.

Don't be put off. This plane really is beyond a new flyer. I know many people who have been flying for years who couldn't fly this plane. When you've been flying for a while you will be able to look at a plane and know what to expect from it.

Learning is a lot of fun. Flying is fantastic. GO for it:-)

Encouraging words...

God I'm so tempted to troll someone in these comments, and we all know who that person is.

Trololo away...

How much filament dose it take to make it

Looks like a fun build. If you have any video of it flying, I would love to see it. I published an article on this at my blog http://www.3dphobbyist.com/fun-to-make-3d-printable-rc-airplane/

How much does it weigh in total?
Where ist the GC?

The flying weight is about 26 oz. CG is an inch from the leading edge. There is plenty of room to shift the battery around to change the CG.

Jesus dude. Mine is about 410 grams total with all the equipment. The motor and battery added a couple ounces, and the battery isnt very big because of weight issues. That was with 2 shells and matching top and bottom height (respective to double shell width) and 10% 3d honeycomb infill. Yours doesnt fly does it? Thats because its a fatty lol ;) . It took mine 4.5 days. Total material was somewhere close to 10 grams. That does not include any fittings or cyanoacrylate. No it hasen't flown yet either. I think you will find your landing gear design a little anemic and it doesnt spin well. I recommend just using hobby store gear. they make rubber foam wheels that are light weight and perfect for this. Theres also light weight aircraft aluminum or carbon rod arms that you can get for them, but theyre a little more expensive than steel. Ill post some pics and maybe a video if i can keep it in the air lol.

any video, how does it fly?

It's a fast flying, maneuverable airplane. However this being the first and only airplane i have ever flown doesn't really make me a good judge.

Something tells me you crashed it >.< lol dont worry thats why trainers exist, we all had to learn the hard way. As for speed, no this is not a fast airplane nor can it handle high gforces, its more of a mid to low range plane. It flys at about 30mph MAYBE 45mph for this type of design in general. It will depend heavily on your skill in printing (material usage / weight / scale. But my Shrike Speed goes up to about 85-90, and the jets go way above that, Some up to 200. The record is 440mph. It was a single engine ducted jet engine on a custom mono-wing fuselage. So no this thing isnt very fast at all, its barely faster than my .40 Piper Cub, and thats a sleeper. Not as slow as some gliders though.

Nice. It looks fast. I'd probably have it back into kit form after the first flight. I better stick to quads.

You are correct, it does fly fast and definitely isn't a beginner plane. I hand launched it easily but the handling was a bit sensitive. I'm sure an experienced pilot would have no troubles flying it.