I'll start this article off by saying the reason behind doing all of these modifications for me was money. But how can the swappable system be any cheaper? Well, for novice pilots, I have found that it is quite difficult to keep just one power pod for all of your planes in good shape for more than about a month. For me, after 2 or 3 crashes the firewall would always rip off and the foam would start getting soggy and soft. So instead of simply making a new pod, I decided it was time to strengthen it. To do this, I decided to cut one out of corrugated plastic. Here's some pictures of how I did this:
By cutting out one side of the plastic, you get a perfect channel that can be filled with glue and folded up. I am very proud to say that I have never broken one of these pods, despite many rough landings and crashes. What's even better is when you do crash, the only thing that tends to break is the glue joint between your firewall and the plastic.
This second modification was made when I was building my Baby Blender. Instead of making a new set of landing gear that would attach to the wing, I designed this detachable pair.
As you can see it is made of 3 pieces of plastic layered over a thick piece of wire. Instead of being attached with a rubber band, these gear attach with Velcro. This ensures that you will never do any damage on a rough landing; the gear will simply break away. To my surprise, those two strips of Velcro hold these gear on very strong. In addition to this, they can be used on any model that leaves a bit of space in front of the power pod.
Next we'll talk about the two different power options that I use for all of my swappable planes. I'll start with the smaller power option. For this I use the CF2822 motor from Hobbyking. I kind of got lucky when I first bought this motor because it is just so versatile. I started out using it on my ft flyer, and delta and quickly saw that it was just a bit overpowered. But, as a beginner I think it was very useful to be able to simply power out of a stall. I think this motor is very comparable to the 24g motor that Flite Test uses on their smaller planes. The reason I fell in live with this motor was that It still had enough power to get the Baby Blender and even the FT Racer in the air! Here you can see it mounted on a Power Pod along with the landing gear mentioned above.
It's a shame that a lot of people overlook this motor because of it's price. At the time of writing this, this motor goes for only $7.13. If you pair this with the Hobbyking 20A ESC for $7.50, and a Zippy Compact 1000mAh 3 cell for $4.73, you're up and flying for around $20!
The next setup I have is quite a bit more powerful. For this Power Pod I use the 35 - 30 1400kv NTM Propdrive motor with an 8x8 or a 9x6 prop. Right now I only use this motor on my FT Racer. Many people know of the great motors that Hobbyking sells in the NTM line so I won't waste your time telling you how great it is. I will say, however, that this motor makes my FT Racer absolutely scream across the sky! Many of the guys down at my model club have commented on this plane's speed. This setup will cost you about double the previous one. I think it was about $30 for the motor and 40A ESC plus $10 FOR A 2200mAh 3cell. Here are some pictures of this motor on the reinforced power pod.
There's one more thing that I forgot to mention. I got the corrugated plastic I used from Lowes. I believe it was sold as a make-your-own-sign kit in the hardware section. Here's a picture of that.
I used the wire that came with it to make my landing gear.