137% FT Duster Build

by tommcgarry | August 31, 2014 | (11) Posted in Projects

Hi, my name is Tom McGarry, I live in Ottawa Canada and I've been watching FLITETEST for years. I love scratchbuilding RC airplanes and all types of multi-rotors. I was recently challenged with the task of building a fun RC plane for my boss at work for his sons birthday. I suggested the Duster, and they loved the idea. I got to work. After seeing the Joe Nall recap with the 127% Duster and how well it flew, I decided to go a tad bigger. I ended up with a137% and about a 40" wingspan.

I started by printing out the plans, cutting the edges and taping the pages together, this was a bit more difficult to get everything aligned properly because of the size, but it all worked out.

Next, I cut out the pieces and traced them onto the Adams foamboard. 2 sheets were glued together (using Josh's joining method) to create the oversized wing. After cutting out all the foam pcs, it was time to cut the folding slots and score lines.

Here are some measurements of the main parts..

Wing (before dihedral) is 40"

Fuse length is 32"

Rudder is 9 1/2" tall

Elevator is 13 11/16"

Being a bigger size, It was much easier to cut and work with.. One thing you need to consiter is the alignment tab size. the tab size should be the thickness of the foam no matter how big you scale it up.

I then began to build the wing...

I didn't receive the electronics until later in the build, so installing the wing servos after the plane was complete was tricky. I used a long automotive parts grabber to guide the servo leads thru the wing and into the fuse. It was a clean look. The fuse was next...

The build videos are a huge help, I occasionally refer back to the videos to keep me on track and to make sure I do things in the right order. Great job FLITETEST. Next, the installation of the main wing and tail feathers was done. Alignment tabs make this very easy. After that, was onto the canopy.

The canopy is glued together and is just pressure fit to the fuse, there is no need to fix this in because its already very tight and its a nice access point for your receiver.

After fitting the canopy, I glued on the posterboard to the front and back. That pretty much finishes the airframe. Next comes electronics and paint!

I've seen many different versions of the Duster and all of them had very vibrant oranges. I wanted to stay away from using coloured tape to prevent lines, so I painted a test piece and made sure it didn't bleed under the masking tape. It looked good, but I would have liked a brighter, nicer orange.

Once the paint was nearly done, it was time to install the electronics. Here is a list of what I used in the Duster.

HK 939MG Servos x4 - https://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=55324

NTM 35-36 910kv - https://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__14847__NTM_Prop_Drive_Series_35_36A_910Kv_350W.html

YEP 40A ESC - https://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=48056

Rhino 3s 1750mah - https://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=50271 

ORX 6ch Radio - https://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=54822

I easily could have used a much bigger battery (easily could have lifted a 3000mah) but loved the way it floated with a small pack.

As this plane was built for a friend of mine, it was requested that it have some form of stability in the wind. So I installed the Orange Rx 3 axis gyro. Its nothing special but deffinatly helps in gusty winds. I also installed a batter beeper that beeps when the voltage nears the danger zone. And of course the ORX 6 channel receiver

Before soldering on 3.5mm bullets, XT60 and lipo beeper to the ESC.

After ESC is all soldered up..


I also chose not to use a power pod, as this will not need to be a swappable and wanted to save some weight. I fixed the motor to a 3/8" thick firewall which was secured to the fuse, also making sure to have just a tiny bit of right thrust. I removed the paper from the foam where the firewall meets the foam to ensure a strong bond.

I added 2mm carbon fibre rods to the tail section to stiffen it up and prevent any wobble in flight.

Its a good idea to centre all your servos, open up the furthest hole in all the servo arms and install the linkage stoppers. PLEASE READ THIS PART, put a little dab of hot glue or epoxy to the bottom end of the linkage stoppers where it screws on, because if you dont, after a few flights it will unscrew and disconnect itself from the servo arm and you will crash! I lost one of my Baby Blenders this way. Bixler mentioned this in one of the build videos.

This part was the hardest for me. In the build video, the wing servos were installed before the wing was folded and glued which made it easier to hide the servo leads inside the wing. I had the plane built completely before my electronics arrived. I needed to have the leads hidden, so I cut the servo holes, dropped them in, then used a long automotive parts grabber to reach in from the end of the wing and guide the servo lead through and grabbed it with pliers in the center hole inside the fuse. It was difficult but it all worked out in the end.

The eyes for Dusty were borrowed from ' InTheFade ' from the Flitetest community, they were used in his great article called ' Add some graphics to your Flitetest FT Duster! ' so a big thanks to InTheFade for his eyes!

Proper wheeles were added on later for a little better look and durability, but I started with the wheeles that were just cut from foamboard, they deffinatly did the job.

Couldnt forget the number 7 on the tail!

Almost done! Next I added the last finishing touches. The smile was drawn on with just a sharpie, the black stripe is just a big black sticker cut down to size, and the eyes I'll admit were tricky, I had to redo the eyes a couple times because no matter what I did it just made Dusty look angry...so after placing and replacing the pieces, I finally got it to look ok... and DONE!

This is the finished plane. I am happy with how it looks and the friend I built it for loved it as well. The propeller I used was a APC 12x6.5.

The maiden went very well! I couldnt believe how well it flew and how floaty it was. It actually flew a lot easier than its smaller brother. Unfortunatly, I didnt have a cameraman to shoot a video, but I was able to get a short video a couple weeks after from my friend. (I am very sorry for the bad bad, horrible quality viedo) it is the only one I have...


Thanks for reading my first Flitetest article, I hope you enjoyed it!


Graywolf on September 11, 2014
Love it.
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tommcgarry on September 11, 2014
Thank you!
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Yogenh on September 11, 2014
How did you make the plans for it? Is it easy to make them bigger?

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tommcgarry on September 11, 2014
Extremely easy! I got the plans from Flitetest.com, when you print them, you need to scale it to 100% to get the normal size plane. Instead, scale it to 125...150...200%, however big you want it. I hope that helps..
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Yogenh on September 11, 2014
Thanks I will have to try that but how do you know how big the motor should be? Is there a way to fine that out?
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tommcgarry on September 11, 2014
The motor I used was a 35-36 NTM from Hobbyking. 350 watts on a 3s. It had plenty of power. You could use something with around 300w on 3s.
I'm almost done building another one and ill be experimenting with power setups.
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Yogenh on September 12, 2014
Hope that you will show your new one. Thanks foe your help
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Julio cesar plaza on May 8, 2021
Los planos no encuentro!
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Julio cesar plaza on May 8, 2021
Alguien que tenga el link de descarga del plano por favor
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Drezed on September 11, 2014
Very nice. I'm working on a 120% now. Some modifications, but still around 80% stock.

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tommcgarry on September 11, 2014
Very nice. Ya its amazing how strong foamboard is. I love the floaty feeling of the bigger planes
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mxch2o81 on July 5, 2021
How does one download to print these plans.
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Avishay42 on December 26, 2021
how does i can download the plans?

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jerrys11_11 on June 3, 2023
where are the plans?? Please
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137% FT Duster Build