Giving an Electric RC Plane an Afterburner

RC Afterburner

The folks at Flitetest decided to add some extra power to an electric DH.100 Vampire RC plane by adding a butane afterburner. After some testing, and a bit of fire, they were able to make it fly.

Their afterburner uses a small butane canister for fuel. A servo motor actuates the valve on the canister, forcing fuel into a tube. This tube is set up to regulate the flow of butane and ensure it vaporizes before reaching the afterburner.

At the afterburner, a circular piece of tubing with holes is used to dispense fuel, much like a barbecue. This tube is connected to one side of a stun gun’s flyback generator, and the metal surrounding it is connected to the other. The stun gun creates sparks across the gap and ignites the fuel.

With the extra components added, the landing gear was removed to save weight and the plane was given a nice coat of paint. They started it up for a test run, and the plane’s body caught fire. After some rework, they managed to take off, start the afterburner, fly around, and belly land the plane. It achieved some additional thrust, but also sounds and looks awesome.

After the break, check out a video walkthrough and demo. We promise you fire.

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SMD Soldering with Gas

[desimon] had a wanted to use some accelerometer chips, but their 3x3mm 16-VFQFN packages made it pretty darn hard to solder by hand. While there are endless ways to approach this, we found this one peculiarity interesting from his use of a gas torch, though it is pretty much hot air reflow.

A PCB for the tiny devices is etched and tinned, the pads have a healthy but not overdone amount of solder applied to them. A liberal coat of flux, rough alignment of the chip and a few gentle passes from the torch and the hobby grade solder melts while the surface tension pulls everything into final alignment.

Having personally used a hot air gun a number of times (and also burning my hand about the same number of times) the localized heat of the torch does make more sense, and there is virtually no heat up time for it either, though it appears just as easy to scorch the board. It is a live flame so be careful!

Fire Horn

firehorn

Artist [Ariel Schlesinger] has managed to replace an air horn‘s compressed air tank with butane fuel. This hack manages to change the pitch of the horn slightly, as well as making one very noisy flamethrower. While not as impressive as other flamethrowers, this would probably take the cake for most achievable. Currently the site containing the how-to is down, but we would have to recommend not doing this at home anyway. Video after the jump.

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