Dollar Tree Foam, also known as Readi-Board, is a fantastic building material for small electric-powered planes. The guys at Flite Test and Ed of Experimental Airlines on YouTube popularized the use of this material, though they have different methods of using it. Having tried both methods, I think I prefer the Flite Test way of building. Things you will need:
- A box of single edge razor blades or plenty of new X-Acto blades
- Fine point Sharpie or soft pencil for marking the foam
- Arrow Fastener BSS6-4 4-Inch Superpower Slow Set Glue Stick
- Hot Glue gun
- Triangle and straight edge (36” / 1m)
- Popsicle / Craft sticks
- Bamboo skewers
- Good quality tape
- Posterboard for making test templates
- MinWax Polyurethane (for water proofing)
The first thing you should do is visit FliteTest.com and check out some of their build videos for planes like the Versa and FT3D. The tips and techniques you’ll learn from these two build articles will teach you pretty much everything you need to know to tackle your own project. Heck, download the plans for those and build them! I’ve built a Versa as a slope glider and it’s a great design.
Next, experiment! Use the posterboard and make small scale fold-up models of your proposed design to see where the folds need to be. Then simply scale them up by coming up with a scale factor to reach your proposed full size. For example, if your small wing fold-up is 100mm long and you want your full size wing panel to be 750mm long, you’ll want to take all the dimensions of the small one and multiply by 7.5 then transfer it to foam.
If you make a mistake, you’ve not wasted a lot of money. So get some foam and start designing that next great foamy!