Friday, September 30, 2011

Ritewing Zephyr style Flying wing design

After seeing the videos posted by Team Blacksheep and loving them I had a look at their website, they actually sell the Zephyr fully populated with all of their FPV gear and a custom designed PSU, I cant afford the $2000 for the fully populated kit so I ordered the FPV items and contacted Chris from ritewing about buying a bare zephyr, I was surprised to find out that the blank foam and fibreglass rods would cost $180 then I would have to add shipping from the US to UK  and all the RC gear, thats getting quite pricey, I also looked at the Teksumo by turnigy but I think the 900mm wingspan would be a little feeble.

There is only one thing to do, Make my own!

I sketched the rough idea, tweaked the design then scaled it up to a 1.5-1.6m plane.

After looking round for a foam supplier I found the best bet was to buy the foam from Wickes so I shoved a load in my boot (after paying :-) ), after cutting the rough wing type I cut a pair of templates out of wood for the aerofoil and using a hot wire cutter I cut the wing profile.

After cutting the wings I came to installing the Carbon fibre spars, this is where I hit my first problem, luckily before fitting I stumbled across a forum post about Carbon fibre and RF, when you think about it it makes sense, Carbon fibre is conductive, and hence could cause problems with the RF signals, it's a really remote chance but as I have time to change it why not! so I ordered some fibre glass and waited.

Once the fibre glass rod had arrived I managed to get the plane together and strapped the wingsd together using reinforced tape (or as I have seen it called "EXTREME PACKING TAPE"). now I have to lay out all my FPV and RC kit on the wing and decide how to mount it, I tried to keep it fairly evenly balanced and marked out where it all went.

If you are following this and planning to make your own wing this is the part that you need to do outside unless your not married or still living with your parents, cutting the wing to fit the equipment inside is VERY messy, and the damn foam beads are statically attracted to you, so you come away looking like a deranged snowman trying to fight the beads off.

After cutting the holes and the cable runs between each hole I had to fit covers for some of the equipment, I did this with corrugated plastic as its strong light and flexible, I glued the cover at the leading edge and I am using neodymium magnets on the trailing edge to hold the cover in place.

Next I made the Elevons, for this I got some sheets of Balsa and glued two sheets together using Gorilla Glue and trimmed them to size.

The next step is to cover the wing but I am waiting for the covering material to arrive from china :-(

Photos and more info to follow.