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A Cardboard RC plane.

Just how hard can it be?

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kc10/12/2016 17:49:22
6211 forum posts
169 photos

JR Newberry's ribs were made like this


I would have thought an extra couple of balsa spars at the top surface would have been useful to prevent sag.

Mark Kettle 110/12/2016 18:51:35
2491 forum posts
1504 photos

I've done a slope soarer out of cardboard. Hill Billy.

Hill Billy 40 span  weight 30oz


Wing span 1000mm 39.25”

Flying weight 30 oz

Wing area 2.95 SQ FT

Wing loading 10 / 11 oz sq ft

Radio gear used - AA 4.8V flat battery - Futaba 148 Standard sized servos -

Small sized receiver - extn fly lead used as switch to battery

Rick Tee11/12/2016 07:55:42
297 forum posts
20 photos

Cardboard fuselage foam core wing, next version will use thin card to cover the foam wing instead of wood veneer.

Edited By Rick Tee on 11/12/2016 07:57:34

Edited By Rick Tee on 11/12/2016 07:58:03

Simon Chaddock11/12/2016 11:57:56
5574 forum posts
2931 photos


That looks very nice but it is still primarily a wood structure with cardboard stiffening, probably necessary with an IC motor.

However a card covered foam wing is much more the sort of thing I had in mind. wink 2

In some respects cardboard and foam work well structurally as they are similarly 'flexible' as shown by my test 18 mm x 17 mm card/Depron/card "I" beam carrying a 510 g centre load.

18oz load

The beam itself weighs just 1.6 g.

As I will be using cereal boxes as the cardboard source there will be load bearing joints to consider as well.

Rick Tee11/12/2016 13:30:16
297 forum posts
20 photos

I did some testing with 180grm ( I think) card, can't see any reason it wouldn't work fine up to 1.6mtrs any bigger would probably need a wood or carbon spar. Be interesting to see how you get on. I think cereal boxes may be a little heavy, I did build a trainer type mode out of the box another model came in and I've kept the box a Hanger9 Bf109 came in as the quality was just too good to throw it away, might make it into a Bf109 just cause.

Edited By Rick Tee on 11/12/2016 13:30:34

Simon Chaddock16/12/2016 21:21:49
5574 forum posts
2931 photos

My plan is to build a card & /Depron wing 40" by 7" so it can be used on my modified Wing Dragon which already has a 'built up' balsa/Depron/balsa wing of exactly this size so it will provide a direct weight/strength comparison.

As construction is limited by the size of the cereal box the wing will be built in four 10" sections. The wing section is a standard Clark Y of 11.7%.

The rib lay out is drawn directly on the lower cardboard skin and the Depron ribs and shear webs simply glued on to it.

Depron card 1

The aileron is cut out of the wing. It will be top tape hinged.

A 3/7 g servo added and the aileron skinned.

Depron card 2

The whole plane will look like that so I don't think you will miss it!

Rick Tee17/12/2016 12:06:35
297 forum posts
20 photos

Love it.

Simon Chaddock17/12/2016 23:05:12
5574 forum posts
2931 photos

The inner wing panel has much more support for the skin towards the root with closer set ribs and shear webs.

Depron card 3

Hopefully the extra support will enable the card skin to take higher compression forces before it buckles. In addition this wing will be held down with rubber bands so the skin at the root has to withstand additional external compression as well.

With the two panels covered and joined they can be compared to the existing identical wing made using the same green foam with modest balsa reinforcement.

Two wings 1

The card wing feels about as rigid but then it is 54% heavier! To carry the extra weight it will obviously have to fly a bit faster but with a slightly thinner section it should have less drag.


Now I just have to eat some more cereal in order to complete the rest of the wing! wink 2

Mark Kettle 118/12/2016 07:02:46
2491 forum posts
1504 photos

Looks good Simon.

Mark Kettle 118/12/2016 07:06:04
2491 forum posts
1504 photos

Simon I've been using double skinned cardboard for the wings. 


Will some of these techniques.



Hill Billy over the sea

Flying here over the sea which we try to keep it out of. 

Edited By Mark Kettle 1 on 18/12/2016 07:10:24

Edited By Mark Kettle 1 on 18/12/2016 07:12:03

Simon Chaddock21/12/2016 18:55:32
5574 forum posts
2931 photos


That wing looks interesting although it still falls into the 'card + wood' category.

My aim was to build 'card + Depron' where the Depron itself adds little to the overall bending or torsion resistance.

To be honest I am not expecting that card will provide any real structural benefit (more likely a significant disadvantage!) but simply to see the result.

Rick Tee22/12/2016 13:47:03
297 forum posts
20 photos

This is probably worth a look if you haven't seen it before: **LINK**

Simon Chaddock22/12/2016 14:11:11
5574 forum posts
2931 photos


I had not seen that. It certainly looks like a really good effort and obviously the fuselage at least seems to be of a 'card only' construction.

Edited By Simon Chaddock on 22/12/2016 14:11:43

Mark Kettle 122/12/2016 16:28:02
2491 forum posts
1504 photos

Also Simon and others following, this is also worth looking at, many moons ago I had the CEO of the Smurfit Kappa Group ( Europe's leading corrugated cardboard and the worlds leading paper based packaging company ) in the car on his way to a London Heathrow.

On the journey he shared with me about one of his resent employee's, a designer who came over from Formula 1 too work with them on complicated cardboard designs. Upon starting and after the designer had a look around he had took in the vast range of paper types and cardboard strengths etc, so he said "for PR purpose we can make a man carrying aircraft if you wish", he was given the go ahead and the next video shows the results.

Smurfit Kappa

and this ...ideal for flying events.



Edited By Mark Kettle 1 on 22/12/2016 16:29:17

Edited By Mark Kettle 1 on 22/12/2016 16:32:37

Simon Chaddock28/12/2016 16:34:46
5574 forum posts
2931 photos

The completed 'cereal box' wing with an all Depron equivalent..

Cereal wing 1

Both are 40" span and 7.5" chord. The all Depron wing weighs 105 g whereas the card/Depron one comes it at 165 g or 57% more but it plenty strong enough for mild aerobatics.

Had its maiden this morning in calm but cold conditions.

The frosty grass was super slippery making belly take offs easy.

Mark Kettle 101/01/2017 21:59:23
2491 forum posts
1504 photos

Nice flight Simon, have you weather proofed the cardboard surface?

Robin Colbourne01/01/2017 22:53:50
469 forum posts
6 photos

KC mentioned the Pappendeckel by Mike Smart. Thanks to some kind Swedes who uploaded it, it is available here: **LINK**

Note the clever use of the bottom of a Comfort fabric conditioner bottle as a cowling!

Pappendeckel cardboard model by mike smart.jpg

pappendeckel article.jpg


Edited By Robin Colbourne on 01/01/2017 22:55:29

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 01/01/2017 22:57:05

Simon Chaddock01/01/2017 23:48:44
5574 forum posts
2931 photos


No it relies on the glossy(ish) printed surface and the rather sense cardboard for protection. It would seem to be adequate but of course would not stand much real rain.wink 2

Graham Stanley 320/02/2018 01:34:13
7 forum posts

Re Stanley Model Aircraft.... Sorry to say only I am left, Frank (my dad) passed away several years ago.

Between us we designed the Apprentice 60" as a low cost replacement for the "Slim Jim" trainers I was using to teach dad to fly with. It turned out to be a strong model with good flying qualities. We did try a full cardboardboard wing on the early prototypes, but ended up with a foam leading edge to achieve good handling. Early "purist" prototypes had no spars in the wing, but 6mm x 6mm spruce was added very early on after a wing fold at a Sywell public show! We had some great support from the press, and David Boddington was especially supportive..

The Craftsman 60" followed on, styled on the 1930 style races, later versions having a vac formed cowl.

Sadly we didn't market it widely enough to support the volumes needed for the cardboard manufacturing process, batch sizes in the 1,000s being needed. The cardboard was made specially for us, with smooth (craft) paper both sides.

The USAF club based at Upper Heyford mandated the Apprentice as their beginners model. I remember Major Hanover ordering a lower rank to buy one at a show!

Andy C03/10/2018 21:32:22
160 forum posts

Well, look what I now have. Think it could be complete but don't have any instructions or plans which is a shame as would love to have built it. I'm still hoping they turn up in previous owner's loft though.

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