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The NanoWing has been one of my most successful designs to date. I always wanted to see how far I could go with the concept so it was time to try something a little smaller…

Enter the PicoWing

The PicoWing is a 400mm folded foam board flying wing in much the same style as the Flite Test Versa Wing and, of course, the NanoWing V2. In order to keep it as light as possible I swapped from the common 5mm foam board to 3mm. This also made cutting and folding the tiny panels a little easier.

So, rather than rattle on and bore you all, I thought I’d stick the video up top for once…

So there you go, it flies! Now you’re interested I can bore you a bit with the technical building stuff…

Grab some plans and files

Okay, click the links above to download the goodies. The plan is drawn to scale on an A1 sheet so either get it printed somewhere with a plotter or tile it at full-size and get sticking!

The prints link is a zipped file containing all the STL files I made for the prototype.

  • Pod & cheeks – print two cheeks and one pod then glue the cheeks in place
  • Horns – print two control horns
  • Motor mount – print one mount
  • Leading edges – print one mirrored pair

All prints we made from ABS originally; 0.3mm layer height, 4 walls, tops and bottoms and 100% fill. Supports on.

Scavenge some electronics

The PicoWing is not an expensive model to get into the air. Here is my entire electronics list for the prototype:

  • DYS BE1306/3100kv motor
  • DYS SN20A ESC + Matek 5V BEC*
  • FRSky D4R-II receiver
  • Turnigy MX96e servos x2**
  • Eachine 200mw AIO FPV camera and VTx
  • Any old 4″ prop

* I used a miniquad ESC because that is what I had. Something with a BEC might be more useful.

** Be warned – I have found the power of the tiny MX96e servos to be marginal. It might be better to get something a little stronger or use 5g servos instead.

Get cutting!

If you’ve built a NanoWing or any FliteTest model in the past then the PicoWing isn’t going to pose much of a problem. I built the prototype in 3 parts – 2 wings and the center section.

With the wings, I’ve moved the elevons to the top surface for better airflow. Make sure you locate your servos before closing the wings up as they are built in permanently. On the prototype I embedded the servos vertically, but I think mounting horizontal with just the control horns poking through would make for a nicer build.

The leading edges are a new concept. You could just use the tried and tested “score, bevel, glue, fold” FliteTest method but I wanted something sharper and stronger. The 3D printed leading edges are just very thin shaped strips. I glued the strip to the bottom skin first, fitted the spar, glued the top skin to the spar, and then closed it up by fixing the leading edge first and the the trailing edge. A strip of tape around the front left me with a clean and strong section that I’m pretty happy with.

On the center section I cut the two foam board pieces a little long and then glued the bottom skin to the rear of the pod. I then glued the finished wing panels to the bottom skin and mounted and connected all my electronics before closing it up. You’ll find you need to cut a couple of slots for the printed motor mount if you use it. Make sure to use plenty of glue so the mount is firmly secured (mine came loose after the first couple of crashes!).

With some colored tape covering and an 800mah 2S LiPo the flying weight of the prototype was 190g. The CG was a tiny bit nose heavy with no added weight but I can live with that. Set a little up elevon to act as induced reflex and chuck it in the air!

Hold tight!

I found I needed a little over 50% throttle to launch. You’ll notice a bit of torque roll at first, which is why you don’t use 100% throttle! Make sure you’ve got plenty of expo on your controls as the PicoWing is incredibly responsive – I rolled it into the ground once or twice before I got the hang of it.

Flying line-of-sight is tricky, especially if you do something daft like cover it in black tape! Flying FPV is actually a lot easier and you’ll find it feels like any other wing in the air.

Of course, the PicoWing isn’t a camera ship. I doubt you’d get an HD camera on there and it’s a bumpy ride in all but perfectly calm conditions. This wing is more about having cheap fun in a small space and without having to outlay too much cash.

Build, fly, race, crash, repeat!

 

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