The FRCFoamies Boeing X32.... it [S]looks[/S] flies great!
While visiting JettaManDan in Maryland, Dan took Jay and I to the Patuxent Naval Air Station where we saw several amazing planes up close. We touched their aluminum skin, rivets, tires, etc and were inspired! In fact, our FRCFoamies F18 is based on the Naval version we saw there! We were especially excited to see the X35 since we had just released our FRCFoamies F35 :
Jay and I with the Lockheed Martin X35 and FRCFoamies F35
We also saw another plane there; the Boeing X32. Both the X32 and X35 were within feet of each other and seeing the two former competitors for the Joint Strike Fighter contract so close together really shows the different directions Boeing and Lockheed Martin were going. The X35 looks sleek, has a lot of moving parts, has a stealth design and is capable of VTOL- looks like the perfect fighter jet in concept. The Boeing X32 was a much simpler VTOL design, was built on a modular, single piece wing concept and also incorporated a stealth design. Simple, sleek and smooth! But it looked like.... A Guppy!
The Boeing X32
Some people are now questioning the choice of the F35 due to its unreliability and budget over runs, so we decided to bring back the X32 to see what it would be like to fly!
Being a delta wing with a huge lifting body the plane has a great combination of stability and float. Very Unique for a parkjet! A super quick and easy build- only a few parts. Elevons only, Elevons and V-tails, Rudders and Elevons- they all work. Rudders feel so good on this plane!
This is one plane that grew on us throughout the whole design and testing process and we definitely feel a special bond to it! It may be the X32 guppy, but...
once you build and fly it you'll think it's beautiful!!
We hope you'll fall in love with the Guppy as much as we did.
For those of you not familiar with the amazing story of the Joint Strike Fighter competition, here is the NOVA documentary "Battle of the X Planes". I think we watched this 10 times...
The Design Process: Sketchup Images....
--Jay and Greg
***EXCELLENT BUILD LOG FROM JohnFromOz!!!***
FRC Foamies X-32 "Guppy" Build Log
Congratulations Jay and Greg on the launch of the X-32, another fascinating plane!
The "Guppy" is a master-class in deceptively simple design that goes together elegantly to produce a striking plane. I know nothing about designing planes but it's clear a lot of thought went into achieving the unique X-32 appearance, while avoiding tying us in knots with a super-complex build. Well done guys! I understand that Jay did the heavy lifting in Sketchup but Greg is proud that he moved a couple of lines somewhere in the tail!
My build went very well, with no major hurdles or 'gotcha' moments. I used UHU-POR glue for this build, very similar to Foam-Tac. Dry fitting was essential, to work out the best way to glue the sections of foam that met other parts at an angle---this often required glue along the sharp edge of the foam rather than on the flat of the cut in the more common butt-join style.
The plane felt a little wobbly at times during the dry-fitting but when glued it locked together into a verystrong but lightweight structure. It feels like it will endure lots of rough handling/landings at the field.
I used the suggested elevons + rudders + v-tails control set-up. The v-tails can be switched on or off.
I also have air brakes enabled, in which the rudders go outwards together. Not sure these are needed but it was just a bit of extra programming.
I used my standard power/electronics suite: 2200kv motor, 6x4 prop, 30A ESC, 6ch receiver. I have plenty of other motor/prop combinations available for later testing.
I haven't yet fitted the KF2/KF4 air-foils. I'll maiden her with the basic wing form and add the KFs later to see the difference. Once I'm happy I'm smooth all the leading and trailing edges.
The weight table for the completed build (using standard 6mm Depron) looks like this:
- Complete plane without battery = 399 g / 14 oz
- AUW with 2200mah 2S = 519 g / 18.2 oz
- AUW with 1800mah 3S = 562 g / 19.7 oz
- AUW with 2200mah 3S = 589 g / 20.7 oz <--- Maiden flight configuration
When completed, the plane looks amazing. It has a face only a mother could love but the whole shape is so interesting. I haven't decided on a paint scheme yet.
I can't wait to see the Guppy in the air, hopefully tomorrow!
Here are photos of my build, with comments. Warning: lots of photos follow. Grab a refreshing beverage!
If you haven't got this plane yet run, do not walk, to the FRC Foamies website.
Plans printed, let's start cutting!
Cutting was straight-forward. I kept the paper on during dry fitting of the parts.
The 4mm carbon fibre rod was glued in with epoxy then pressed down with a length of wood and some weights.
The elevons were hinged using fibreglass mesh and Foam-Tac, as were the rudders. I use this inside all folds, too.
Cockpit / hatch cover being assembled. Note the fibreglass mesh inside the folds.
Completed cockpit / hatch cover, with paper still attached.
The upper fuselage and formers, ready for gluing on to the main wing plate. More fibreglass mesh on the folds.
I cut two small slots in the wing plate to run all four servo leads into the fuselage. These leads will run through the holes in the rear support (centre of picture) to the electronics bay.
The lower fuselage and rudders are all one piece. Dry fitting made sure I knew where to put the glue. I found it was useful to temporarily tape the servos to the underside of the wing, with the servo wires already running into the upper fuselage area, while gluing the lower fuselage into position.
Another view of the fuselage/rudders section being glued into position. The pieces 'self-align' nicely but it pays to check. Note the holes cut for the four servos; rudder servos are at the rear. Labelling the leads is a good idea.
I added thick packing tape to the bottom of the fuselage, to protect the foam.
Finishing off the air intake.
Flipping the plane over, you can see the servos leads in position. I removed the servo lead extensions once all the wiring was done. The upper fuselage was dry-fitted at this stage.
The Turnigy 2826/6 2200kv motor is glued in using 5 minute epoxy.
The electronics are installed. This is a good time bind the receiver, centre the servos and test the correct rotation of the motor.
The electronics are tidied up. Later on I might move the ESC to the air intake to keep it cool, as suggested by Greg, or add an air scoop to the bottom of the electronics bay, in front of the ESC.
The servos were installed with a dab of hot glue.
I next installed control horns and made some flexible control rods so I could have curved linkages.
The flexible linkages can be seen running to the elevons and rudders, tacked down with spots of hot glue.
Running the rudder linkage up from underneath produces a nice clean finish. I copied this from Greg's preview video.
Gluing down the upper fuselage.
I added a couple of 'buck teeth' pieces of foam to the front of the canopy, shown at the bottom of this picture. These slot under the front of the battery bay, to hold the front of the canopy down.
I added a block of foam to the front of the rear fuselage support, to hold a small magnet. An opposing magnet was added to the canopy rear. I suspect that the front 'buck teeth' and the airflow would hold the canopy on securely without the magnets.
There's enough room for a sleep-over in the battery bay!
The finished X-32!
Look at all the room in there! EDF anyone?
Much more attractive rear end.
The v-tails in action: rudders pulled inwards in concert with raised elevons, to improve loop characteristics.
The X-32 looks great from this angle!
The rather 'unusual' front end of the X-32 "Guppy." Can't wait to see this zipping past my head at the flying field!
Maiden flight video coming up!