Experimental fuselage made from Dollar Tree Foam

September 8, 2012 | Radio Controlled Airplanes | By: Mark VandeWettering

I was feeling pretty lazy today, but I still wanted to do something working toward an eventual new scratchbuilt RC plane project. I’ve been watching a lot of stuff on YouTube, most notably the videos by the Joshes at flitetest and the great YouTube channel of Experimental Airlines. Experimental Airlines seems especially great: he makes some very interesting planes using a variety of neat techniques, made mostly from Dollar Tree foamboard and clear packing tape.

So, I decided to try to make a section of this fuselage, just as a test. I had some clear packing tape lying around, so I layed down about a foot of it on one side, not nearly as carefully as he does, but I was doing this in my living room while watching TV, and the light wasn’t really as good as it should be. I then followed his directions, although again with perhaps a bit more haste than I should have. I had some difficulty getting the final glue joint to really lay down flat, I think if I had some angle iron and some clamps, it would have helped. Still, another layer of packing tape laid along the bottom made an entirely serviceable, sturdy tube.

A finished twenty inch section of tubing.

The end view, with the reinforcing inner gusset.

I have a piece of iron angle iron which would have worked nice as an interior clamp, but it was dirty and rather oily, so until I can clean it and wipe it down, this will have to do. I doubt I’ll use this directly in a plane, but it was good practice (and cheap, since Dollar Tree foam costs a dollar). I suspect next time I’ll get the final joint better. He also has another method, which uses Gorilla Glue, which for this application might be easier to manage. I might try that out soon.

Stay tuned for an actual airplane construction project.