ZBlade OWL

ZBlade OWL Videos and Pictures

If you would like to have a 3D printed rc plane that fly slow, suddenly fly fast and go straight up (see on “ZBlade OWL – final testing and just another good day with the bird” video at 1:52), easy to take off and also land, ZBlade may be the answer to your wish. It has a sleek fuselage and Z-like shape landing gears. It is a cool looking RC plane that you may not want to leave the flying field before flying it a couple of times with 2200mah 3s battery.

Don’t want to have landing gears, no problem ! just replace the landing gear STL files with no landing gear STL files. You can save about 150grams of weight and use a 50mm folding propeller instead.

If you print with 0.4mm nozzle and 0.4<x>mm extrusion width, suggest using a long version so that the correct CoG can be achieved with 3s 2200mAh battery.

What about SPEED ! no worry, all critical parts supported with fiber carbon tube and more than enough servo power. 2 x FC Tube for Wings, 1 FC for Fuselage (yes Fuselage 🙂 ) and 1 FC Tube for Horizontal Stabilizer. Wait…. 17gr Servos for Wings (not 12gr Servos), 2 x 12gr Servos (not only one Servo) for Horizontal Stabilizer. It is ready for the need of speed.

In Summary:

  • With or without landing gears (hand launch ready).
  • Folding Propeller ready.
  • More than enough supported with fiber carbon tubes (Wings, Fuselage and Horizontal Stabilizer).
  • CoG friendly, select short or long nose. When printed with 0.4<x> extrusion width, a long nose prevents the need for additional weight at the nose side.
  • 3536/3542/3548 size of outrunner motors are possible (recommended motor is 3542, upsize it when you need more speed/power). 

The landing gear STLs can be replaced with folding propeller version STLs.

(It uses 50mm folding propeller spinner, the same as OWL MDM-1 Fox folding propeller spinner)

Specification

Spar Requirement :

– Primary wing spar : 1 x 10 mm OD – 1000mm long fiber carbon tube (Required).

– Secondary wing spar : 1 x 5 mm OD – 250mm long fiber carbon tube (Optional).

– Fuselage spar : 1 x 8 mm OD – 500mm long fiber carbon tube (Optional) – use it whenever you feel that it is difficult for you to glue the fuselage parts. Note : none of the ZBlade videos uses the fuselage spar and all printed with PLA.

– Horizontal stabilizer : 1 x 5 mm OD –  400mm long fiber carbon tube (Optional). Recommend when you would like to align left and right horizontal stabilizer.

– Main Gear Spars : 2 x 5 mm OD – 175mm long fiber carbon tube (Required).

Wing and Horizontal Alignment :

– Fiber carbon tubes : with the help of fiber carbon tubes, try to do alignment so that wings and horizontal stabilizers are in parallel position.

– Fuselage final assembly : do this before gluing final assembly for fuselage front and back parts.

FUSELAGE-1 Long Version # P3_H15 when Printed with 0.4 Nozzle Setup :

When printed with 0.4<x>mm extrusion width, it would be difficult to get the correct CoG with 3s 2200mAh and even with 4s 2200mah (with 0.32mm extrusion width, the standard parts are good enough to get the correct CoG). There are solutions to fix it:

– Print the stabilizer parts with LW-PLA/ePLA-LW/PolyLight 1.0.

– Put bigger size of battery (put more weigh on the nose). Use Battery Protector/Balancer that you can find them on OWLplane Library website page.

– Use longer version of nose part (FUSELAGE-1 Long version # P3_H15). The longer part has 25mm longer in size.

Motor Mount Installation :

  • This is seriously critical when installing motor mount ! The Motor Mount wall is already designed to prevent any unwanted move such as sudden pitch down or up when increasing the motor power. The thrust line is designed for certain up or down and also 2 degree right horizontally. The gap will introduce incorrect thrust line causing problem when flying.
  • If your motor can not move freely, try to enlarge the shaft hole on the motor mount and remount the motor right after.
  • If not happy with the default thrust line, feel free to modify it. The motor mount STEP file is provided for you under “SUPPORT\MM” directory. 

Center of Gravity (CoG) :

Weight and Time Estimation :

Following tables show the weight of printed parts, number of required filament rolls and time required to print. The numbers are taken from S3D slicer calculation. From experience, actual numbers show about -5% less than depicted in the table. But the number may vary from printer to printer due to:

– Stepper Jerk value.

– Stepper Acceleration value.

– Steps per unit (either calibrated or uncalibrated)

– Extruder quality/condition.

– Nozzle quality/condition.

– Filament quality/condition.

– Etc. 

For sure the relative number are useful when deciding to accept the total strengths or weights when printing. Picking higher strength to some parts are necessary to avoid breaking during high impact landing or sharp maneuver for example.  

Here are the summary tables:

Table of Contents

Update History

Added “VSTAB-RUDDER-1 no wheel # GR3” STL File for Hand Launch Version

Updated on March 22nd, 2022

Please use “VSTAB-RUDDER-1 no wheel # GR3” instead of “VSTAB-RUDDER-1 # GR3” if you decide not to use LG.

It reduces impact during landing.

  • Added STL file : “VSTAB-RUDDER-1 no wheel # GR3” under “ZBlade OWL – STL and G-code rev 1.2\4. VSTAB” directory.

Fix on Long Canopy STL Files

Updated on April 4th, 2022

Before fixed, Long Canopy STL Files can not be sliced correctly with CURA slicer. Now, after the fixed all related files such as CANOPY-LONG-1 # P3_H15 v1.3, CANOPY-LONG-2 # P3_H15 v1.3 and CANOPY-LONG-3 # P3_H15 v1.3 can be sliced with CURA correctly.

No update for the G-code files since they can be used and were generated with S3D instead.

Recommended Setup

Battery Protector and/or Weight Balancer Holder for 2200mAh 3s/4s and 3300mAh 4s Battery :

One of challenges in 3D printed plane is where it has a wide range of possible total weight result. For example, the plane printed with 0.40mm comparing to 0.32mm extrusion width may end up the CoG moved about 2cm – 3cm backward with using the same battery. You may need to move the battery forward or add more weight at the nose to get back the CoG to its previous location. To solve this issue at the same time protecting your battery, the following STL files are created for your 2200mAh 3s/4s and 3300mAh 4s. Feel free to download and use the files (G-code files are also provided for Bowden or Direct Drive setup including STEP files).

Tools and Materials

OWLplane Printers (for your ref.)

See figures below some printers used, created, developed and modified by OWLplane. Two group printers are set, the first one is utilized only for printing PLA/PLA+ and the other one is utilized to print with ABS, ASA and HIPS filaments (the one with enclosures). Just hover onto the figures to find more information about them.

Modified all Bowden setup printers into Direct Drive but leave Tevo Tornado and Anycubic Mega as is (still in bowden setup).

Hardware Needed

For Fuselage and Canopy:

For Wings (except the control surfaces):

For Aileron, Elevator and Rudder Servos:

*) Illustration only

Setup for Servo Travel/Throw

Suggested setup for medium travel/thrown are depicted below and you may adjust the setup according to your need.

3D Printed Motor Mount, Propeller Spinner and Collet

Motor Mount Requirement

Motor mount wall should be 3D printed with more heat resistance filaments such as ABS, ASA or HIPS. If your 3D printer does not have enclosure you may want to try with PETG filament (more heat resistance than PLA/PLA+). In case you still would like to use PLA, please do annealing process (not sure can do for standard PLA), some successful with HT-PLA/Hight Temp-PLA. Click here for you to read about annealing article.

Motor Mount
Propeller Spinner and Collet Requirement

OWLplane does not provide STL file for printed propeller spinner due to our concern about strength, shape and uniform weight when spinning at high speed. Not all 3D Printer has really free of skew issues for all their axes. The skew issue generates uneven shape that will lead to problem when spinning. Good spinner should be available in your local hobby store or online store, even that spinner, you still need to balance it before using it.

Spinner and Collet Requirement :

1. 50mm diameter size spinner.

2. 5mm or 4mm shaft propeller collet (check your purchased motor shaft to pick the right size propeller collet).

Please watch the following Videos to balance your Propeller and Spinner:

Assembly Figures

ZBlade Fuselage Assembly

ZBlade Wing Assembly

ZBlade Horizontal Stabilizer Assembly

ZBlade Vertical Stabilizer Assembly

ZBlade Canopy Assembly Animation

ZBlade Main Gear Assembly

Watch ZBlade OWL Animation and Assembly Video
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