Editor’s Note: We’re partnering with 3DAeroventures, Eric’s brand new YouTube channel, to help bring you a 4-part video series, going from a hacked R/C foam glider in part 1 to full-on, original 3D-printed R/C aircrafts in subsequent builds! The aim? To educate us on aerodynamic principles, while having fun in the process. Be sure to subscribe to his channel to keep track of Eric’s progress, leading all the way up to 3DEXPERIENCE World 2020!
When I was in high school, I was lucky enough to go through private pilot training, and I received my pilot’s license when I turned 18. But flying full-scale aircraft isn’t exactly an affordable hobby for a college student. Once I had a family of my own, my priorities understandably changed, and I’ve since let my pilot’s license lapse. There are times, however, when I missed the feeling, perspective, and sense of adventure I experienced while flying a private aircraft. That feeling of weightlessness you get on takeoff, or when you hit ground effect just before touching down, is truly a unique experience. My latest project is, at its heart, an attempt to get as close as I can to that full-scale experience using an R/C aircraft.
In my last 3DAeroventures video, I successfully designed, built, and flew my first fully 3D-printed RC airplane called “the Infinity Wing.” I had a few hilarious mishaps, but overall, I’d call it a huge success.
In this third video, I’m developing a more traditional aircraft complete with a full fuselage, as well as a standard wing and tail configuration. The inspiration for this design is a full-scale, home-built aircraft called “the AirCam.” Originally developed in conjunction with National Geographic Magazine, the AirCam is especially well-suited for aerial photography and in-flight video. The twin-motor design, mounted on the back of the wing in a “pusher” configuration, is quite unique. It gives the aircraft some redundancy in case one motor fails, and the propellers stay well out-of-frame with photo or video shots.
Because the shape of the wingtips on this design are somewhat unique, I chose to leverage the 3D Sculptor role on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to help develop their organic form. I was heartened by how well this tool and SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD play together, as I was able to just drop my wingtip right into place in SOLIDWORKS and proceed from there to complete the aircraft.
My version of the AirCam is what’s called a “sport-scale” design so I am calling it the “SportCam.” As you’ll see in the video, it truly is an aerial photography and FPV (First Person View) workhorse. Enjoy your flight!