How to Make a 3D Printed RC Plane: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make a 3D Printed RC Plane: A Step-by-Step Guide

3D printing technology has become a game-changer in the field of aviation. With its endless possibilities, people can now create their own remote-controlled (RC) planes from scratch. These planes are easy to design and build, even for beginners, and offer great customization options. While some may think that constructing an RC plane from 3D printing is complicated, it is a fairly easy process that can lead to a rewarding experience. Those interested in making their 3D printed RC plane can do so by following a few standardized steps. In this article, we will take you through everything you need to know about making an RC plane from 3D printing, including choosing the right materials, designing, and assembling the various components. By the end of this article, you will have a functional and aesthetically pleasing RC plane that you can control with ease.

Choosing the right materials

When creating your 3D printed RC plane, choosing the right materials is critical for producing quality results. Here are some things to consider when deciding which materials to use:

  • PLA: a popular thermoplastic material that is ideal for beginners due to its ease of use and affordability.
  • ABS: a durable plastic that will withstand high-temperature environments and is an excellent material for parts that require durability and abrasion resistance.
  • Nylon: a flexible material that is resistant to vibration, making it ideal for creating landing gear and wingtips.

There are also a number of online retailers where 3D printing materials can be purchased, such as Shapeways, Amazon, and MatterHackers. When choosing materials, be sure to read product reviews and take note of any issues or concerns that may arise prior to making a purchase.

How do you choose material?

When it comes to choosing material, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Define your purpose and goals for the content
  • Identify your target audience and their interests/needs
  • Conduct research and gather credible sources and data
  • Choose material that is relevant and adds value to your audience
  • Ensure that the material is accurate, up-to-date and factual
  • Consider the tone and style that would best appeal to your audience

Remember that your content should provide value, answer questions, and solve problems for your audience. Keep these factors in mind when choosing the material for your website or product.

Preparing the design

The design of the 3D printed RC plane is critical for ensuring its functionality and overall success. Here are some key steps to follow when preparing the design:

Step Description
Select a CAD software: Popular choices include Tinkercad, Fusion 360, and SketchUp. Each software has its own unique set of features and capabilities that will prove beneficial depending on your individual needs.
Determine dimensions: You will need to carefully measure and decide on the dimensions of the plane before beginning the design process.
Incorporate features: The design of the plane should include features such as wing shape, propeller placement, and landing gear. Accounting for these features in the design phase will ensure the final product is functional.

It’s important to note that designing a 3D printed RC plane can be a challenging task, especially for beginners. However, there are online resources such as YouTube tutorials or beginner-friendly 3D printing forums that can help navigate the design process. Keep in mind that designing the RC plane is a crucial step, as it determines overall functionality and success.

What are the steps to planning a design?

There are typically 5 steps to planning a successful design:

  • Define the problem and scope
  • Research and gather inspiration
  • Create sketches and wireframes
  • Design and refine
  • Test and iterate

These steps can be applied to any type of design, whether it’s a website, product, or graphic. Each step is crucial to creating a cohesive and effective final design.

Printing the parts

Once the design phase is complete, it’s time to start printing the various parts of the RC plane. Here are some important steps to follow when printing the parts:

  • Select the right material: PLA and ABS filaments are popular choices for 3D printing RC planes. Both materials are lightweight and strong enough to withstand the forces of flight.
  • Pay attention to layer height: Setting a low layer height can create a smoother finish on parts, but will also increase printing time. Alternatively, a higher layer height will speed up printing time but create a less polished look.
  • Check for errors: It’s important to inspect each part for errors or printing defects before assembling the pieces. This can prevent issues with functionality and ensure the final product is reliable.

It’s important to have access to a high-quality 3D printer that can print the parts to the desired level of detail. If you don’t have your own 3D printer, you can utilize online 3D printing services or choose to collaborate with local makerspaces or libraries that offer 3D printing services. With the right materials and attention to detail, it’s possible to print and assemble a functional RC plane.

How to design the body of an RC plane?

Designing the body of an RC plane can be a challenging task, but with careful planning and attention to detail, it is possible to create a well-crafted and functional model. Here are some tips to consider when designing the body of an RC plane:

  • Decide on the materials to use for the body, such as balsa wood, foam, or carbon fiber.
  • Choose a design that is both aerodynamic and visually appealing.
  • Ensure the body fits the motor, battery, and other components needed for flight.
  • Consider the weight and balance of the body to ensure proper flight performance.
  • Test the body through simulated flights or wind tunnel testing.

Some websites that may be helpful when designing an RC plane include,, and Additionally, products such as AutoCAD or SketchUp can be useful tools to create and test designs.

Assembling the parts

Once the printed parts are ready, it’s time to start assembling the pieces together. Here are some key steps to follow when assembling the RC plane:

  • Clean the parts: Before beginning assembly, it’s important to clean each part to ensure a smooth fit. Any remaining filament or printing residue should be removed carefully to avoid damaging the parts.
  • Follow the instructions: Most 3D printed RC planes come with detailed assembly instructions. It’s important to follow the instructions carefully, ensuring that each part is correctly aligned and attached.
  • Practice good soldering: Soldering wires is an important step when assembling the electronics components of the RC plane. Practicing good soldering techniques can help ensure a long-lasting and reliable RC plane.

Tools such as pliers, tweezers, and small screwdrivers may be necessary during the assembly process. Online RC hobbyist forums can be a great resource for troubleshooting assembly issues or finding tips to ensure the best possible assembly process. With careful attention to detail, it is possible to build a fully functional and impressive 3D printed RC plane.

Try out reliable 3D printers like Ultimaker S5 or MakerBot Method to get high-quality prints for your RC plane.

How to Make a RC Plane Step by Step?

  • Start by gathering all the necessary materials such as foam board, motors, propellers, battery, receiver, and transmitter.
  • Draw the shape of the plane on the foam board and cut out the pieces using a sharp hobby knife.
  • Assemble the parts using glue and attach the motor and propeller to the body of the plane.
  • Connect the battery, receiver, and transmitter to the plane and test its movements.
  • Add the finishing touches and fly your RC plane!

For more detailed instructions and tips, visit websites like FliteTest, RC Groups, or RC Universe. You can also purchase RC plane kits from websites like HobbyKing or Amazon.

Adding electronics and controls

The electronic components of a 3D printed RC plane are what bring it to life. Here are some important steps to keep in mind when adding electronics and controls:

  • Choose the right electronics: The electronic components of the RC plane, including the motor, batteries, speed controller, and receiver, should be chosen based on the size and weight of the plane.
  • Mount the components properly: Each electronic component should be mounted securely in its intended location within the RC plane. Proper mounting ensures that the components are positioned correctly, reducing the risk of damage during flight.
  • Make good connections: The wiring and connections between the electronic components should be made carefully, ensuring that each wire is securely connected and insulated where necessary.
  • Set up the remote control: The remote control is what allows the pilot to control the movements of the RC plane. It’s important to follow the instructions that come with the chosen remote control carefully to ensure proper setup.

Some RC hobbyist online stores sell kits that include all of the necessary electronic components for building a 3D printed RC plane, or detailed instructions for making the necessary connections. Taking the time to carefully install and wire the right components is key to ensuring a successful and enjoyable flying experience. You can check websites like Horizon Hobby for top-quality electronics and kits for your RC plane.

How to choose electronics for RC plane?

Choosing electronics for your RC plane can be overwhelming with so many options available in the market. Here are a few key considerations to help guide your decision:

  • Flight controller: This is the brain of your RC plane and it is responsible for stabilizing and controlling the aircraft. Look for a flight controller with features such as GPS, barometer, and gyroscopes.
  • Motor: The motor you choose will determine the speed and power of your RC plane. Consider the size and weight of your plane and choose a motor that is suitable for it.
  • Battery: A good battery is essential for power and performance. Look for batteries with a high discharge rate and capacity.
  • Receiver: The receiver is responsible for receiving commands from the transmitter and translating them into actions for your plane. Make sure to choose a compatible receiver for your transmitter.

Keep in mind that some electronics may be compatible with specific models or brands of RC planes. Take the time to research and choose high-quality electronics that are designed for your specific aircraft.

Finishing touches

The final step to creating your 3D printed RC plane is to add the finishing touches. Here are some suggestions to help you make your plane stand out:

Paint job

Adding paint to your RC plane is a great way to add personality and make your plane stand out from the crowd. Take the time to choose the colors and patterns you want, then follow best practices for painting 3D printed objects, including using a primer coat for better adherence and evenness.

Decals and stickers

Creating and applying custom decals and stickers can add a professional look to your RC plane. You can design your own decals using your favorite image editor, and print them on paper or decal paper using an inkjet printer. There are also online stores that sell pre-made decals and stickers for RC planes.

Flight testing

Before taking your 3D printed RC plane out for a spin, it’s important to perform a few flight tests. Make sure that all the electronic components are working properly, and that the plane is correctly balanced and centered. Start with simple flights and increase the complexity as you gain experience.


Building a 3D printed RC plane is a rewarding experience that combines creativity, technology, and aviation. By following these steps, you can create your own unique RC plane that will soar through the skies. Remember to take your time, and be patient, and soon you’ll have a fully functional RC plane that you can enjoy for many flights to come.