Updated: Aug 14, 2022
This is the ever expanding construction manual for our new Fokker DR1 airplane.
Table of Contents:
Don't let the image above scare you off. This IS a 3D printed airplane we just rendered many of the bits in wood to make it look really old school. Even better, if you are imagining tedious hours of assembling millions of those tiny parts you are in for a pleasant surprise.
The major components of this airplane actually print already assembled with the exception of the fuselage. Even there, assembly is made easy by the use of interlocking parts that insure quick and easy (and straight) assembly. The end result is a beautiful classic airplane that is far lighter than a normally 3D printed airplane and actually more durable than its old school stick and glue predecessors. This type of construction actually plays to the strengths of the 3D printer. Each wing is printed in 4 separate sections and then assembled. The tail feathers and wing at the landing gear are each a single print. Then you'll have the wheels, dummy motor, cowling, and fuselage parts to print.
Yes this model requires covering, but think about it. How strong and light is an applied covering that actually adds tension and strength to the model as compared to a model printed in a single wall vase mode? I'll let you guess which of the two models will still be around next year after a full season of flying and arguably survivable landings.
Although we are printing with thermoplastics, with much care this plane is coverable with low temp covering films.
As an additional comment on covering options check out our blog post about old school silk iron on covering here.
I have now had several people attempt to print this plane in regular PLA. I highly recommend that you do not do this! If you have never printed with lightweight PLA now is the time to make the transition. You will be glad you did! This plane is very CG sensitive. A filament that is almost 50% lighter goes a long way to ensure success. I personally think it prints prettier parts anyway. Our choice was Colorfab's lightweight PLA. Special care needs to be taken to tune your printer so that your geometry is actually printed to the correct size. The parts on this model interlock so the fit is essential. As an aid to this take a look at our separate blog post on this subject here. Make sure to download our free test gauge as well.
In order to achieve truly balsa like lightweight pay careful attention to our recommended print settings for wall thickness and fill. To ensure it all stays up to date we have a link to those settings right here.
Let's get started! Follow the series in this blog for printing of each of the components, and then final assembly and setup of the model. Questions? Check our FAQ's page here. If that doesn't work reach out to us, we would love to hear from you.