Imagine having an RC plane without spending a whole lot of money. It’s hard even to imagine. Well, not anymore. If you have a 3D printer, you can easily get a 3D printed RC plane that satisfies your need for an RC plane.
Don’t worry now; I won’t keep you hanging with the concept of 3D printing an RC plane. I will take you through some popular models that you can try out for printing your RC plane. So, let’s not waste any more time and start the whole thing right away.
Popular 3D printable models for RC planes
With the use of 3D printing, people are making their desirable RC planes as per their wishes. Sure, you can go ahead and design your version of an RC plane. But not everyone will know about aerodynamics to build design the proper body for an RC plane.
That’s where different websites come into play. You can find a lot of websites out there that provide you with 3D printable files for RC planes. Going through them will surely give you the solution you need.
Now the issue a lot of people come across is which one to choose. There will be plenty of options, and choosing one of them can be quite difficult. This is why I bring you some popular RC planes that give you a satisfying experience of using an RC plane.
Let’s check them out one by one.
1. Eclipson Model T
This is one of the cleanest and coolest looking 3D printable RC planes you can find out there. The design is based on a seaplane, even though it doesn’t function like one. Still, it’s a great project for an RC plane that you can try out for sure.
There are 29 parts for this RC plane that you have to print. It comes with a single propeller design. You can use a raft without any supports for printing methods and keep the layer height to 0.2mm for better results.
The best part of this model is that it’s completely free. You can find it on Thingiverse with all the files and instructions.
2. The FPV plane
This plane is called FPV because of its first-person view feature. It doesn’t look as complete of a design as the Eclipson. But it does come with good performance, and it flies flawlessly.
The plane is 400mm wide with three total printed parts. So, you won’t have to worry about printing a whole lot of parts and assembling them to make this one. Yes, it’s not the most amazing-looking RC plane, but it surely is worthwhile when you start flying it.
You can find this on the MyMiniFactory website. The instructions recommend you use two walls while printing this, where each has to be at least 0.4mm thick. Also, make sure you are keeping the grid pattern infill without any bottom or top layers.
3. Red Swan
Here is another popular RC plane project you can try making. This is a very unique-looking RC plane with a 1950mm wingspan. The plane has a gliding ability which makes it unique in function. Another cool addition is the 100-mm long nose on the plane in terms of looks.
You can use PLA material to print this plane as many successful models are done with that. It may take approximately 150 to 160 hours to print all the parts for this plane. Also, you will need somewhere around 2kg of filament for printing this plane.
The good thing is that it’s completely free, and you can find it on Thingiverse. So, you don’t have to worry about spending anything extra on the model itself.
4. PLA moose
As you can already tell by the name, this plane is made out of PLA material. It has a DIY-based design that takes inspiration from the infamous Yak-54 aircraft. There is also a little hint of Spruce Moose from the show “The Simpsons.”
The plane comes with a wingspan of 1000mm. It’s made of PLA, and you can expect good flying capability out of this one for sure.
If you want to make it right, then you can use brushless motors along with a 3300-mAh battery. Also, make sure you are using two servos along with that. The frame for this plane has 25 printable parts, and you have to contain all those elements mentioned within the frame.
Initially, the plane weighed around 1.5kg. But later on, the designer upgraded the design to lower that volume. While printing this RC plane on your printer, make sure to use an infill density of 5% and don’t put any raft. Also, you have to keep the supports activated.
Finally, you can find this for free on Thingiverse, so everything just works out pretty well for this one.
Here’s another unique-looking plane that defies all those traditional designs and looks. You can consider it as an electric glider that comes with two tails. Something cool about this one is that it also features a first-person view platform like the FPV plane.
There are lots of cool things going on with this plane. First is the interchangeable noses that you get along with this plane. You can use those for different camera purposes, including the FPV cameras. Also, the landing gears that you can control through steering the nose wheel are a great addition.
You can use PLA material for printing most of the parts of this plane. For the tires in specific, you should use TPU, or you can just buy some tires, whichever you prefer. The plane weighs around 2.3kgs and has a wingspan of 2.3meters.
You will find this model of the RC plane in Cults. However, this one isn’t free, so you may need to spend some money to get your hands on this one. Still, it’s worth the money for sure.
So, these are some of the most popular 3D printable RC planes that you can try out for hobbies. They are great for beginners as most are free and don’t require too much work either.
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Is 3D printing RC plane a bad idea?
Many people consider 3D printing an RC plane to be a bad idea. Are they wrong? Unfortunately, they aren’t entirely wrong. Yes, 3D-printed RC planes can work, but there is something bad about them.
Here are the things that can go against a 3D printing RC plane –
- Some models of RC planes can take a lot of time to print. It’s comparatively a slow process, and you have to be very patient with the whole thing. This can be an issue for some people.
- Since filament materials can react to the temperature, things can go wrong with an RC plane that you have 3D printed. For example, when you have a PLA-printed RC plane, it can start deforming under intense sunlight. On the contrary, the plane can also start to brittle when it’s cold. So, this can be an issue with a 3D-printed plane.
- Usually, when you print an RC plane, you are bound to have some breaking points here and there. At the same time, anything that can fly shouldn’t have any kind of breaking point at all. So, here, you end up with completely different actions that you can’t solve either.
- A printed RC plane always goes through the risk of breaking at the time of landing. Imagine spending days after days printing an RC plane just to see it break after one rough landing. So, this can be a crucial issue that makes this a bad idea.
- Another thing to consider is the fact that you have to use motors inside the plane. Depending on the kind of build you have, the plane may not be able to withstand that kind of stress caused by the motor. As a result, it becomes weak and breaks at some point.
- Getting the balance of proper weight and sturdiness is very tough in 3D printing an RC plane. When you want to lose weight on the plane, you have to remove material. However, that results in making the plane fragile. And the opposite also happens, where you add material to make the plane sturdy, but it also goes up in weight.
As you can see, many things don’t make sense when 3D printing an RC plane.
All in all, 3D printed RC plane might not seem like the brightest of the idea, but it’s undoubtedly a fun one. Yes, there are issues, but when you get to see the plane flying in the air, it gets worth it for sure. You can try this out as a fun little project, and you will enjoy it for sure.
Even with all those adversities with the idea, going with the 3D printing process of an RC plane is pretty cool. And with all the fantastic models I shared, you are bound to have a good time for sure.