3D Printed Steerable Tailwheel

by RWarren | September 3, 2014 | (5) Posted in Projects

For those of you who fly off of asphalt runways (school parking lots) you know the cracks in the pavement can cause some unwanted movement of your airplane when the tail skid catches.  By adding a steerable tail wheel the problem diminishes greatly.  I have found the tail wheel allows for smoother taxing, take off's and landings.


I wanted to offer up a 3D printed version of a steerable tailwheel originally deisgned for the FT Old Speedster, but can be used on a variety of foam constructed plane, including most of the FliteTest lineup.

The steerable tail wheel assembly consits of three main parts:

1.Tailwheel Boom (3D Printed)

2. 1.25" Wheel (purchased)

3. Wire Holder

The tailwheel boom contains a built in control horn directly linking the servo to the wheel.  The wheel is a typical 1.25" foam and plastic component purchased from any hobby shop.  The wire is a 1.5mm diameter, and bent to fit between the holes on the boom.


Assembly of the steerable tail wheel is straight forward.  once the wire is bent into shape using a pair of pliers trim off the excess wire so it is flush with the froward facing hole.  Insert the wire into the boom and glue in place using hot glue or CA.  Place the wheel over the rear section of wire and trim the wire to be 1/8th of an inch longer than the wheel width.  I use electrical wire insulation to hold the wheel onto the wire.  Simply strip the wire insulation off the electrical wire and cut to size.  Slide the insulation over the wire and hold in place with hot glue or CA.


The Steerable Tailwheel assembly is gluded to the rudder itself using hot glue or foam safe CA.  The boom has three cylindrical standoffs that will need to have holes cut for them in the rudder.


Align the entire assembly with the hinge of the rudder to vertical stabalizer.

Please feel free to download and 3D Print the Steerable Tailwheel boom.  I hope this simple modification helps with your taxing and take offs.


STL Tail Wheel

SolidWorks Tail Wheel


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3D Printed Steerable Tailwheel