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An RC conversion of a foam chuck glider

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Simon Chaddock22/03/2020 22:19:22
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

I converted a Lidl 'hand throwing' glider to powered RC last year and with some aerodynamic 'improvements' it flies and glides really quite well. It weighs 225 g.


Although reasonably efficient it does not exactly look like a glider with rather 'chunky' wings.

I then noticed the Cheetah hand throwing glider. Similar in concept to the Lidl, slightly smaller and cheaper but with a rather more 'glider like' appearance.


At 890 mm span it looks to have a limited wing area for a electric RC conversion.

parts Quite nicely moulded, actually slightly better than the Lidl, but the 'clip together' two piece wing could present a strength issue as the glider only weighs 119 g so a conversion close to 250 g would double the wing loading.

Not really in the 'spirit' of a conversion but one solution would be to add a substantial wing centre section. This would increase the wing area and aspect ratio yet without adding significantly to the load on the existing foam wings.

Stephen Jones23/03/2020 00:12:15
2805 forum posts
1614 photos

Hi Simon,

I have the Cheetah, it is in my opinion a copy of the Bolt Glider only smaller and with a clip on cockpit.

Hence the thinner wings, conversion has been done but the wings need strengthening as they bend during flight.

Will be watching what you do with yours.


Simon Chaddock23/03/2020 10:55:27
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

Hi Steve

Looking through various forums it seem the Bolt glider has indeed been successfully converted to powered RC. Your comment on the strength of the Cheetah wings has also been repeated and even brought into question the practicality of doing so as apart from the control surfaces being market out everything else requires 'digging out' of foam to fit.

These observations and potential difficulty immediately attracted my interest! wink 2

The strength of the wing brought to mind the Antonov 225. It uses the wings from the AN124 with a centre section added (and 2 more engines) which enables the 225 be 50% heavier yet with only a 2% increase in wing loading.

So a centre section with 1/3 more area would allow the Cheetah's weight to rise to 160 g without increasing the wing loading. Furthermore some of the bending arises from its centre clip together joint which a one piece wing centre section would not, so my hope is the existing foam wings without specific reinforcement will be able to handle at least a 200 g all up weight.

Now I just have to put the theory into practise. smile o




Edited By Simon Chaddock on 23/03/2020 13:24:25

Simon Chaddock24/03/2020 22:36:57
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

My experience using thin Depron suggested the Cheetah wing centre section would be strong enough without any spar just relying on the 2mm skin. All it would need would fairly close spaced ribs and a shear web.

As my supply of 2 mm Depron is limited, irreplaceable and cutting ribs tends to wasteful of sheet I decided to 'print' the ribs as well as the intervening shear web sections.


Each unit weighs 0.6,g.and is simply repeated for as many ribs as required

They are glued one at a time to the Depron skin under surface.


Although only intended to take the shear forces when all the webs are glued together in a line they will also act as a 'spar' hopefully adding further stiffness.

Each foam wing panel will be trimmed to plug into the centre section so when glued in place the bending loads are transferred directly into the Depron skin.

So far so good. .

Simon Chaddock27/03/2020 11:35:51
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

As the aileron servo wires will have to run inside the centre section only the top skin as far as the shear web is glued on. This make the centre section rigid enough to handle.

The RH foam wing added to the centre section.


Although the Cheetah wing trailing edge is reasonable with Depron it is possible to get much finer so trailing edge extensions made from two 2 mm Depron layers which are sanded down on their inner sides before being glued together. This leaves the smooth stronger Depron skin intact right down to the very edge.

A 'before and after' comparison.


There is an argument that a 'cut off' trailing edge has little or no penalty as any loss in aerodynamic efficiency is countered by the reduction in skin drag. I am not so sure for a glider. Anyway in this case the extra wing area will be useful. wink 2

The trailing edge extensions with the aileron cut out.


Aileron servos next.

Simon Chaddock01/04/2020 22:28:29
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

The full span wing in about its correct relation to the fuselage and tail.


It now has some serious wing area.

The aileron servos lie flush withe the wing underside with short link rods to the printed horns.


A light and simple installation. The servo wire is buried into a grove cut in the foam but is carried internally in the hollow centre section.

The tail plane and fin 'fine trailing edge' extensions.


The problem is the elevators do not lie on the same axis so cannot be simply connected. After much thought the neatest solution was to connect via a printed 'ball and socket' universal joint.


This type of universal has limited angular capability but would handle the 10 degree angle of the elevator joint lines.

The joint installed.

EleunijointThe rudder is fixed as the plane will be flown 3 ch AET (Aileron, Elevator, Throttle or "bank and yank".


Edited By Simon Chaddock on 01/04/2020 22:30:46

Stephen Jones02/04/2020 00:20:37
2805 forum posts
1614 photos


You have certainly gone well above the normal Modifications that are Usually done on this type of chuck glider.

I bet it will fly really well.

Looking forward to the next stage.


Simon Chaddock04/04/2020 14:45:49
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

Before fixing the wing on it seemed logical to 'excavate' the cockpit area and the canopy for the battery, rx and ESC.


I even kept all the excavated 'spoil' to see how much weight was saved. Bulky but foam is very light so just under 3 g at the moment although the excavation might have to be enlarged depending on the size and final position of the battery.

The canopy is secured by a small printed peg and matching socket at the front.


With a pair of small magnets (also in printed housings) at the rear.


Its secure enough to survive a 'look no hands' test.


All this took many hours to do but with the lock down in place it seemed a reasonable way to pass the time.wink 2.

Edited By Simon Chaddock on 04/04/2020 14:47:46

Simon Chaddock08/04/2020 22:18:20
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

With the aileron servo wires run inside the centre section and out through the leading edge at the centre the wing skin can be completed and be permanently glued in.


The enhanced Cheetah is now in its final configuration.

The next task is to establish the thrust that is available from the small Racestar BR1504 motor with its recommended 5 x 3 prop. To do this I printed a simple test stand.


On a 3 s it drew 4.9 A showing close to 50 W . At its target weight of 200 g that will give 114 W/lb which should be quite adequate. wink 2

Next the fuselage nose was cut back to a suitable point and a printed motor mount created to provided the locations to skin in Depron from the oval fuselage to the 1" circle for the folding prop spinner..

MotormntIt will look something like this test piece. Nose1

In the final version it will actually be build around the permanently installed motor.

I need the 370 mAh 3s battery to establish whether the position of the elevator servo has to contribute to achieve likely CofG..

Just as well there is no rush! wink 2

Edited By Simon Chaddock on 08/04/2020 22:19:07

Stephen Jones08/04/2020 23:19:27
2805 forum posts
1614 photos

I love those little 1504 motors from BRC.

I use them on my indoor models but generally only use a 2s Battery not sure how it would hold up on a 3s seems a bit high to me.


Simon Chaddock13/04/2020 19:34:09
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

I was concerned that inside the cockpit the 10A ESC would be very well insulated and might get hot, particularly as it is sharing a tight space with the battery so outside it had to be.

As a concession to drag its heat shrink was removed and it was placed in a printed 'holder' submerged almost flush with the outer skin.

ESCmount The wires pass straight through into the cockpit.


Notice the terrifyingly small JST ZH connector that is required by the micro rx.wink 2

The 370 mAh 3s is retained by the printed clips.


At this stage it was possible to determine if the position of the elevator servo would be significant to achieve a suitable CofG. It was not so it could be placed under the wing and far enough back so its pull/pull wires would not interfere with a hand launch.


To achieve light weigh 5 lb mono filament line was used.


Slowly getting there.

Just as well there is nothing else to do with the Covid 19 'lock down'.

paul d13/04/2020 19:54:58
164 forum posts
11 photos

A very interesting project Simon, looks like it should make a fine summer evening floater.

Can I suggest you change the mono filament line for braid, mono has a lot of stretch whereas braid has zero and is far thinner given the same breaking strain.

In case anyone's interested you can get pre-stretched mono but it's very brittle and unpredictable, I once lost a double figure Barbel due it .....

Stephen Jones13/04/2020 21:42:11
2805 forum posts
1614 photos
Posted by paul d on 13/04/2020 19:54:58:

A very interesting project Simon, looks like it should make a fine summer evening floater.

Can I suggest you change the mono filament line for braid, mono has a lot of stretch whereas braid has zero and is far thinner given the same breaking strain.

In case anyone's interested you can get pre-stretched mono but it's very brittle and unpredictable, I once lost a double figure Barbel due it .....

Alternatively use Gimp Thread.


Simon Chaddock13/04/2020 22:11:40
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

paul d

Yes mono filament is stretchy but not at the sort of load the elevator of a sub 250 g plane will ever need.

If the load is kept within the mono filament's elastic limit it does not permanently stretch. That happens at about 300 g for 5lb line.

The pull/pull pre load is no more than 30 g. To permanently stretch the line and loose tension something else on the plane is likely to break first. wink 2

Simon Chaddock15/04/2020 14:49:20
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

With all the servos and ESC terminated in the tiny JST ZH plugs required by the rx and the battery in place there is not much room in the cockpit.


With everything connected it does allow a final control test.

Sorry about the shaky video couldn't set up the tripod.
Very nearly complete.

Edited By Simon Chaddock on 15/04/2020 14:49:52

Simon Chaddock17/04/2020 12:19:41
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

To finish the story it is now complete.


The prop is a HK 5 x 3 folder with a printed spinner but unfortunately one blade is broken and HK have been out of stock for some time.

I found a 6 x 3.5 printed blade on Thingyverse.

6 x 3.5

The root shape is all wrong for the HK hub unit but the blade itself looks reasonable. Of course it is only available as a STL file that cannot be edited so with a bit of CURA 'fiddling' it was possible to create a blade of the correct root thickness and hole diameter so it only needed some work with files to create a blade that fitted the HK hub unit. To avoid over loading the motor it was cut down to 5" diameter.



Works and folds well enough but for the maiden (whenever that may be!) I will substitute a fixed 5x3 as it generates a bit more thrust.

All this just because I wanted a cheap foamy RC conversion that looked a bit "nicer" than a cheap foamy Lidl conversion. smile o

Stephen Jones17/04/2020 14:55:03
2805 forum posts
1614 photos

I like the folding Prop and spinner you have made Simon. thumbs up


Simon Chaddock18/04/2020 00:14:22
5687 forum posts
3024 photos


You were quite right to doubt using a 3 s.

With a 5 x 3 it got pretty warm after about 20 seconds at full power, With the rather inefficient folding 5 x 3 it got so hot the mounting screws softened the printed bulkhead and pulled out. smile o

It will run on the 3s but it would need a tiny 3" prop or even less.

Given the Cheetah will fly pretty slowly I suspect a 5 x 3 on 2 s will be a more practical option.

No rush for at least another 3 weeks! wink 2

Simon Chaddock19/04/2020 21:11:24
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

With a 500 mAh 2s and a HK folding 5 x 3 it draws 2.7 A showing 20 W on the Watt meter. It now weighs 184 g which, if I have done the sums right, gives 50 W/lb. Not spectacular but hopefully an adequate performance.

As the bulkhead had to be replaced I took the opportunity to add some motor cooling ducts.

Inlet above the spinner.

Air in

And cheek outlets on both sides.

Air out

The cheeks do limit the degree of prop folding a bit so now perhaps its a bit more 'chipmunk' than 'Cheetah'. wink 2

Edited By Simon Chaddock on 19/04/2020 21:16:01

Simon Chaddock26/04/2020 22:12:27
5687 forum posts
3024 photos

As the lock down, or the new normal as it is now called, is here for a bit the Cheetah has "gone to the wall".


So short of space it has to share a hook with my Sea Vixen. smile o


Edited By Simon Chaddock on 26/04/2020 22:14:11

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