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Author Topic: RC Zeppelin  (Read 886 times)
1helios1
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« on: October 09, 2010, 06:45:29 pm »

i am thinking about attempting an remote controlled zeppelin, its not really a project i would know how to do right off, so i have had, and am going to continue to have, to learn how. thankfully there are lots of resources for the rc end of things. when it comes to zeppelin engineering however there are a few questions for which i have not found satisfactory answers, and so i turn to you good people in the hopes that you might know, or have an idea where abouts i might try looking next.

1. do i need rudders in the fins. its going to have propellers on either side of the ship, so cant i just turn it by reversing the propellers on one side, or just varying the speed? is a rudder a more desirable method?

2. on many airships designs i have noticed that placement of the five nacelles has the front most pair highest on the ship, the next two back are slightly closer to the belly of the ship, and the last nacelle, the one closest to the tail, rests on the bottom of the ship. is there a reason for this placement? i would have thought it would be best to have them all in line with the center of mass.

thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
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Arceye
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2010, 07:32:17 pm »

I think the best way of steering a model airship is to mount the thrust motors on  swivels- forget having rudders on a model. For up/down control, I would have the front two motors mounted on horizontal swivels, leaving steering to a rear pair.

You might consider experimenting with neutral bouyancy designs, where some of the lift is gained with an aerodynamic shaped ship, or wings. These developments seem very promising and would seem to improve control and stability.

Good luck!
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Rockula
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2010, 07:35:49 pm »

 If someone can construct a flying model of the Starship Enterprise I see no problem with constructing a flying model of something which is intrinsically aerodynamic to start with.
 Good luck. Pictures/videos on progress please. Grin
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2010, 08:36:09 pm »


1) Rudders and other control surfaces need a decent amount of air flowing over them to work properly so they don;t tend to work so well at low speeds. So using direct thrust for steering may well be the best thing for a RC model. You could achieve this with two engines port and starboard, gaining yaw control by putting more power to one side than the other and ascent/decent by rotating them in the vertical plane. Airships tend not to go in for roll much so you don;t need to worry about that as long as the design is inherently stable in that plane.

2) Probably the biggest driver for distribution of engines is weight distribution. Putting mass outboard of and the centre of mass and below the centre of lift will tend to make it more stable,  a bit like a tightrope walker using a long, flexible pole for balance.

Also, if you're using your engines for manoeuvring, placing them further from the centre of mass allows them to impart greater turning moments on the craft, basically more leverage. The disadvantage of using the same engines for power and manoeuvring is that you need to be able to match their power outputs quite closely, or have some other method of trimming in order to fly straight and level in a stable fashion. A fixed tailplane would certainly help in that respect.
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2010, 09:57:02 pm »

You might want to look at the BlimpDuino project.  Looks like they've solved a lot of the control issues and they even have some code for Arduino compatible boards that might make things a bit easier.

The design is for non-ridged ships, but it should be adaptable to something that looks a bit less like a mylar balloon with a bomb strapped to it.
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Feersum Endjinn
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2010, 10:15:16 pm »

Sounds like a fun project!

I would echo the recommendation to make it neutrally or even slightly negatively buoyant.  That way, when things inevitably go wrong, it will return to the earth instead of fly away...
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1helios1
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2010, 11:57:55 pm »

thanks for the help and advice so far, i must say, that the blimpduino project makes what im doing seem a tad irrelevant, though its a fantastic resource, i wish i knew more about programmable electronics.
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xanthra
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2010, 02:31:33 am »

1. Steer with the motors.  Rudders will require servos and linkages that will add more weight.  Unless you are making this really big (>6' long?)  then 3 fixed orientation props is really the optimal control system.  Two for steering and one for altitude control.  I've got an RC Blimp with this configuration and it flies pretty well.

2.  May have had something to do with the Diesel engines needing fresh air and not sucking in the exhaust of the engines in front of them.  Not really important in your model.
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DrArclight
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2010, 10:42:23 pm »

There is a video on Youtube somewhere of a zepplin type craft that is steered by the High Voltage "Lifter" engines...  You know those triangular "engines" that are basically ion jets that you hook to a HV DC source.
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