Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Planes Finished!

"The reality is you just can't build stuff perfectly the first time."~Jim

A little more last-minute tweaking: a bead of glue to keep the stabilizers upright, some modifications to keep the motor mounts from flexing.

Then a check on each plane's systems in turn...

...and the planes are ready to test. The kids would have flown them tonight, but for a strong north wind all day.

We're planning to meet again in a week and are keeping fingers crossed for better weather.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April Meeting, part 1: Fabricating Parts with a 3D Printer

In an effort to finish the Towel RC planes by the end of spring, we've stepped up our meeting schedules to twice a month on weekend afternoons, rather than once a month in the evenings. The extra light and time has seemed to help, and the planes are coming along nicely.

The fun surprise of the last meeting was Doug's brand new Maker Bot 3D printer, which he had set up to print improved control horns for the wing elevons.
The printer is fed from the rear with two different colors of coiled abs plastic. It lays down the printing much like a 2D laser printer does, moving back and forth until the piece is formed.
Here are the two different-sized connectors, printed out on a grid which snaps off and can be easily filed down.
The next step is attaching the control horns to the wings, then programming them to fly correctly. Jim, a licensed pilot, talked each young maker through the process:
Next meeting the kids will be connecting up the servos, programming the radios, and moving closer towards flying the planes.