3D Printed P-38 Lightning

by FliteTest | December 5, 2016 | (11 Ratings) Posted in Reviews

We flew something we’ve never flown before…a 3D printed plane! This particular design was created by 3D Lab Print, which has plans that can be downloaded and printed on a 3D printer.

This plane requires a 12-channel radio, so we used the Graupner 24 Pro transmitter and had the plane programmed in about five minutes.

Instead of using the 3000 mAh battery, we used two 2250 batteries to make it a bit lighter since the printed airframe is fairly heavy on its own.

The P-38 can be printed from two different materials, PLA and PETG, and the materials for the build only cost about $15­–$18 (plus $40 to download all the STL files).

This plane is an advanced flyer and flies like a big, slow, heavy gas warbird and looks incredible in the air!

Thanks to 3D Lab Print for sending us the P-38 files! We had a great experience flying this beautifully designed plane!

Learn more about the P-38 Lightning on the 3D Print Lab website, and be sure to check out the incredibly detailed owner’s manual!

3D PRINTED P-38 LIGHTNING SPECS

Length: 1042mm (41.0in)
Wingspan: 1410mm (55.1in)
Height: 298mm (11.7in)
Wing area: 30.5 dm2
Wing loading: 65.9 g/dm2
Airfoil: aircombat modificated
Print weight: 1160g
Empty weight (w/o battery): 1750g
Takeoff weight (3s 3000 lipo): 1980g
Max takeoff weight: 2200g
Never exceed speed, VNE: 205 km/h
Design maneuvering speed, VA: 165km/h Stall speed, VS: 34 km/h
Propeller: aeronaut ELP 9/6 or APC 9/6 – 9/7.5
Motor: 2x Turnigy D3530/14 1100KV or similar 3530-35 1100kv
ESC: 30A Electronic Speed Controller or similar
30-40Amps Battery: Turnigy nanotech 3000 mAh/3s/11.1V, 238g, 25C

COMMENTS

Scarcasm on December 5, 2016
I bought the plans and I am in the process of printing this plane, I can't wait to fly it!
Log In to reply
termitehards on May 21, 2017
what's the news on your build buddy?
Log In to reply
wanabeRCexpert on December 5, 2016
that pretty awesome
Log In to reply
LordVader on December 5, 2016
I have the plans for the P 47, BF 109 and the Spitfire. Have printed all three. Only have electronics in the P 47, but haven't flown it yet. I also have the P 38 plans too. Great web site, good people to deal with. Lots of youtube vids on their products.
Log In to reply
Yogenh on December 5, 2016
I would really love to have one but don't have a 3D printer
Log In to reply
AkimboGlueGuns on December 8, 2016
Try to find a local makerspace. You'd be surprised to see how many there are are around with 3D printers.
Log In to reply
Traveller on December 26, 2016
HI Yogenh, google or look on gearbest for the Anet A8. This is a very affordable 3d printer (under 200 dollars). I just got one and I'am extremely happy with it.
Log In to reply
Yogenh on December 27, 2016
Thanks

Log In to reply
InspGadgt on March 23, 2017
I was just looking at the Anet A8. Is it capable of printing these models? One of the pictures showing a print in progress looks like a kit printer so I thought it might.
Log In to reply
Zealousvoyager on December 6, 2016
What are the 3D printer requirements to print a plane like this?
Log In to reply
jpleaner on December 7, 2016
Speechless!... I am without speech!
Log In to reply
CaptBill on December 7, 2016
I had no interest in 3d printers until I watched this vid. Today I cought myself pricing out large format 3d printers and reviewing what it takes to build one. I really dont think I will do it but its funny how much an interest can be fueled by a sweet looking model
Log In to reply
CafeBikeGirl on December 9, 2016
Check out Wanhao, I hear they are excellent entry level 3D printers. I haven't used one yet but should have one showing up any day now.
Log In to reply
Brandutchmen on December 11, 2016
Look at the Robo 3d R1 plus. it is on sale right now and with some tweaking and tinkering its a dream machine. (I was able to print higher quality than the $20,000 printer we put it against.
Log In to reply
CafeBikeGirl on December 9, 2016
If you glue the sections together with ShoeGoo they will have a slight amount of shock absorbance and it will allow you to replace sections since you don't have to break a hard joint. Just pull the damaged section off, peel off the rubber and glue the new section back on.
Log In to reply
Brandutchmen on December 11, 2016
You are a genius
Log In to reply
Plane Stupid RC on December 11, 2016
I like the idea that you can print the plane. I'm used to printing plans!
Log In to reply
Dale57 on December 18, 2016
Why Does This Model Require A 12 Ch Radio? Seems Like A 6 Channel Would Be Enough.
Log In to reply
mac357mag@gmail.com on December 21, 2016
I agree, to an extent, but I come up with 11 channels: 2-Ail, 2-Rud, 2-Flap, Rt. Main Gear, Lft. Main Gear, Nose Gear, Ele, Throttle. What am I missing? I suppose that you could go all out and have each throttle on its own channel. That would give you 12.

I plan on putting the Ail, Rud, and Flaps on Sbus then flying my FrSky Horus running OpenTX. Will also probably add an external BEC just for safety.

Yes, I've committed. Plans downloaded, parts ordered, sections being printed as we speak. EXCELLENT job on file preparation, by the way. Just loaded them up and away it went!

Log In to reply
Sotm on October 19, 2017
You don't need two channels for ailerons, or rudder, or flaps, or elevator, or gear. Modern RC Radios do ailerons with one channel, actually both sides and both directions of any flight control with one channel. All landing gear y harness together and the nose steering y harness with rudder, two esc (throttle) y harness together. Add that up and you only need a 6 channel. Maybe older radios used two channels per flight control - dumb.
Log In to reply
alstein on April 4, 2017
How is it that a pair of 2250mAh are lighter than a single 3000mAh battery? I don't ge it.
Log In to reply
wcufo123456789 on April 25, 2017
good
Log In to reply
robot432 on September 7, 2017
Can i use a twin C pack for it?
Log In to reply
Sotm on September 23, 2017
Why do you say 12 channel? I count only 6 needed! Ailerons, Rudder, Elevator, Throttle, Gear, and Flaps!!
Log In to reply
Hawki on October 18, 2017
One amazing bird!! I was feeling the same anxiety that Josh had to be feeling why flying this beautiful plane. It was a rush just to watch! Great video!!
Log In to reply

You need to log-in to comment on articles.