FPVLAB

image
Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 46

Thread: X-UAV Clouds 1880mm FPV plane - full review / build log / mods

  1. #1
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    449

    X-UAV Clouds 1880mm FPV plane - full review / build log / mods

    Hey guys, here is my review of the X-UAV Clouds. Sadly it got delayed because the plane took 50 days to arrive to me... but now that it's here... its GOOD! I hope we will be able to pull together some other builds in this thread to make it easier for people to find information on this great model!


    You can also find the full review as well as parts list in my blog: ArxangelRC.blogspot.com


    As times goes by I am starting to notice a very surprising trend with Chinese RC plane manufacturers - nowadays more often than not we are starting to see planes that are definitely better designed than ever before and require very little, if any, additional work and modifications in addition to the assembly process to make them fly, and make them usable! And that didn't use to be the case just a few years ago! Not only were planes badly designed and manufactured, but there were very little purpose built FPV planes, and most of them were not very good at that anyway!


    Today, though, thing have changed... and for the better! There is now a vast array of purpose designed and built FPV planes, and they are GOOD! And I mean it... last few planes I built I didn't have to modify or fix! They were good to go as they were designed... because someone had put some thought into designing them with a purpose to be usable... not just to get your money. And so we come to the X-UAV Clouds - it is simply VERY GOOD!


















    SPECIFICATIONS


    Wing span: 1880mm
    Wing area: 53dm2
    Length: 960mm
    Flying weight: no official AUW announced (around 2552 grams for the current configuration)
    CG: will update tomorrow




    ARRIVAL STATE


    Oh boy... where do I begin! Recently there has been a series of packages that have arrived in pristine condition... sadly the Clouds was not one of those packages! In addition to taking 50 days to arrive, the box looked as if somebody had been jumping on top of it. It was so bad that the women at the counter suggested I opened it then and there to see if anything is broken! I don't think I've ever received a package so abused!











    Luckily inside the box things weren't as bad as the box promised! Considering the damage on the package, the plane had gotten away with very minor damage and a few dents, but that was about it. Honestly... one can throw blame around as much as one wants... but I am just glad the plane was OK, and the damage was very easy to repair.


    There was an interesting deformation in the middle of the top hatch... it looked as if it has been pressed down by something for a long time, so now it was permanently deformed! Not a big deal really... but it does make inserting the hatch in that section a bit of an effort.




    The middle supports for the hatch have also been deformed to hang lower. Not sure what that's about but it doesn't bother me much.





    The only notable damage on the plane was at the tail section. One of the sides was torn off and the other side was deformed a little.





    There were also a number of dents and scratches on the wings, and especially on one of the wings, I guess the one that was on top in the box.











    The wing with the more dings was also slightly deformed towards the wing tip, as you can see it is sticking over the other half when placed on the same level surface.





    The bottom half of the fuselage is also deformed at the tail, luckily there was nothing torn there, so a quick hot bath straightened things out real nice.





    There is some sign of some serious bending on the parts that hold the tail to the fuselage... luckily its nothing serious and there are no tears.





    One of the wing adapters also had some serious damage on it, but I wasn't overly worried about that becuase this whole section will be glued to the wing, so it should hold without much issues.





    Well... it could have been much worse! Now lets move on...






    WHAT I LIKE


    The first and foremost that I LOVE about this plane is the design choice to put the motor nacelles on the fuselage part of the plane, and not on the part of the wings that will disconnect from it. It is similar to the design of the MyTwinDream plane, and I think this is the better way to do it. This way you only have one servo wire to worry about when removing the wings, and whole process is alot less tedious! And I should know... I have the Skywalker EVE-2000, which has the whole wings disconnecting from the body along with the motors and ESCs on them. That is probably fine in the summer... but in the winter when it is cold and the foam has frozen and shrunk... I have to ask at least 2 people at the field to help me put the wings on and remove them from the plane after I am done flying! There is just so much carbon that needs to go into so much shrunken foam... it is close to impossible to do it alone! I am not saying it is a bad design... the wing connectors really help with the wiring... but I can also attest to the tedious task of re-soldering all these connectors because the factory had done a crappy job! Until I see otherwise... the MyTwinDream's and Clouds's way of doing it is better in my view!





    So... wings aside... I also like the fact that this is designed so that the whole length of the fuselage can be accessed via multiple hatches, which in fact do not compromise the integrity and rigidity of the plane!





    And speaking of hatches, there is one that is accessible only from the bottom. Interestingly enough the manual says this is the parachute hatch!! Honestly, I don't think this plane needs a parachute to land... given my experience that is!











    A really nice little GPS module nest has been placed on top of that "parachute" hatch.





    Continues in next post...
    Last edited by Arxangel; 2nd May 2017 at 03:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    449
    ... continued from previous post!


    At the front of the plane there is a small piece of foam that is removable... right off the top of my head I can't think of what could fit there stock... but I do see great potential for some custom work... possibly some pan/tilt thing mounted there, and it could be good!











    The fuselage parts of the wings are in two parts, and you need to glue them together. I suppose this was left that way with the idea to be able to do the wiring before assembly, but honestly the wiring channels are big enough to allow for easy wiring even when they are glued together.











    Even the motor wiring channels are designed wide enough to be easy to wire the motors once the wing is glued together.





    What I especially like are the ESC nests. Unlike the EVE-2000, where I had to cut openings in the foam to get to them once I glued the wings together, the Clouds has these designed so the ESCs are easy to access and replace if need be. I think these also allow for better ESC cooling, as the hatches that close these in have a large cooling hole right inthe centre.








    Moving on... for the first time I didn't have to cut the servo beds to enlarge them in order to fit the 12 gram Coronas I usually use on these planes! I also like the size of those control horn beds. This will give more support to the control horns, which means that they will last longer in there and will not easily dig into the foam when under load.





    And so we get to the bottom part of the fuselage.





    The front compartment is free of any obstructions, so it could allow for use of multiple batteries, or to install a lot of gear in there. Actually a 6S 12000mAh battery does fit in there leaving lots of room for a mapping camera!





    Those things on both sides of the compartment are wiring routes, which will definitely help improve the cleanliness of the wiring... at least initially before you have to re-do 100 things and really can't be bothered to put everything back in its place!





    There is a special place for a mapping camera, and you only have to cut out a very thin layer of foam to make the opening. The size of it suggests it will fit a Sony A6000 or similar size camera with lens.








    Right behind that is the compartment that I put the autopilot in, i.e. my central wiring hub, and behind that is the parachute compartment.





    There is even a very small rear compartment at the end of the tail, though it doesn't have a hatch. I am really liking all these compartments and the way they are sectioned so you can easily separate electronics and keep things nice and organized.





    Also, if you take a closer look at the sides of the bottom fuselage part at the rear, you will notice there are some plastic rods pre-installed. I guess these will add some additional strength to the fuselage in that area, though I don't see why they are necessary since the fuselage itself it quite bulky yet short, and probably will not twist during flight.





    At the front part of the undesride of the bottom fuselage is covered with a plastic cover... or should I call it a landing shield, which will definitely protect the foam much better than fibre tape during landings, and will be lighter than fibreglass cloth and resign.





    Continues in next post...

  3. #3
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    449
    ... continued from previous post!


    Moving on to the wing and tail joiners, I have to say I really like that design, because it is easy and quick to disassemble the parts and pack the plane away quite compactly if necessary! Same goes for assembly. One thing I would do at some point though, would be to replace the philips head bolts with hex head bolts.


    I have to say that I like the scheme with 1 central spar and 1 smaller in each wing much easier to slide in and assemble, than what the EVE-2000 can offer with those long spars that have to go quite a ways in the wings... and makes it really hard to do in the cold!














    The plastic on these parts where the bolt goes through has been thickened to make it more durable, which is not a bad design choice... though I would have made it even thicker!





    The bottom side of the joiners has a hex shaped hole meant for the locknuts that come with the plane. It is always better to use locknuts on all things moving.





    And speaking of bolts and nuts, you get a full set of them for the tail and the main wings. You also get a set of plastic ones for the top hatches, and a full set of control horns and push rods and all that sort of stuff... and guess what, there are even spares! That doesn't happen very often!





    There is also a complete set of wood and plexiglass pieces, and nothing was missing!







    WHAT I DON'T LIKE


    Right... so the first problem I noticed was with some of the... not sure what they are called... fuselage assembly/alignment pimples for when you are joining the two fuselage halves together. Some of them look really weird and malformed, which means that not enough material was injected into the mould at the time this was made! I certainly hope this is not the case with all units! To be completely honest the material feels a bit softer and not as dense as the one on the EVE-2000, but it has been OK so far and I think it will be fine!





    Anyone familiar with my Ranger review would know that I am a bit sensitive on the subject of hinges... and guess what - this plane has none! I can't call the foam hinge they have made a real hinge, beacause I am painfully aware of how easy those tear off mid flight and cause the plane to nose dive into the ground at over 120km/h! And while the Ranger has a tough plastic body that survives such a crash without any effort, a foam plane in a similar situation explodes on impact and destroys most of the electronics on board! I am not sure why it is so hard for manufacturers to put proper hinges on these planes! I am at least glad after 3 years of talks I finally made Volantex put hinges on the Ranger.





    Now I need to bring your attention back to the plexiglass pieces! Not sure what happened there, but they were pretty badly burned! May be the laser used to cut them was too hot... or something else was wrong with it, but the edges were too melted and the protective foil on it was stuck to the plastic, I barely managed to remove it.





    Another thing that I found interesting in the negative sense, is the tail mounts. I received two separate pieces that had to be glued to the fuselage, and as separate pieces that was not the easiest job in the world. Funny enough, the manual shows that part being a single piece, which would have been so much easier to glue on!





    And last I do need to mention that there is a manual... but it is not very detailed! Building steps are show a few at a time, and at some point it could get confusing which parts come first and what should be the order of things! Looking at that manual seemed weird, so I didn't exactly follow it while putting the plane together.










    THE BUILD


    So lets get down to business!


    First thing I did was to glue in the ESC hatch pieces that the crews go into to hold down the cover. Since this was the easiest thing to do it took about 30 secods for all 4!





    Next one of the easy things to do first was the plywood battery plate. As usual the piece was not perfectly flat, so when I put it in with the glue, I put some weights on top of it to hold it down flat till the glue dried. Since I am again using the Moment Classic glue I used for the EVE-2000, I had to leave it overnight to dry well.





    Next was the plywood structure that glues to both the top and bottom fuselage halves and also provides additional support for the spar. The manual does not show how to assemble it steb by stem, so make sure you pay very good attention to the drawing in it to see how the parts are oriented. When I assembled it I actually put it in the plane while the glue was drying so that it would stay in the proper shape and not get warped!





    Next step was to actually glue it to the fuselage! If you take a look at the manual, it shows to glue it into the bottom half first, but I glued it into the top half first. I did it this way because I actually glued the wings pieces together before gluing the top and bottom halves together. I used some clamps to hold it down firmly in place while the glue dried. Make sure that when you glue this in you allign the spar openings well with the channel in the wings to avoid having issues when inserting the spar later on.





    While waiting for the plywood piece's wood to dry, I glued in the plastic nuts for the bults that would be holding down the top hatches. Take a good look at the manual and where these nuts should be, because I didn't and consequently glued two of them in the wrong place, and later had to cut them out and glue them in the propper one.





    Continues in next post...

  4. #4
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    449
    ... continued from previous post!


    Turns out 2 of the nuts actually go at the front and back of the main top hatch, not the sides, so after gluing them in the side supports I had to cut them out and re-glue them at the front and the back where they should have been in the first place.











    Following the nuts, I glued the wings together. I did notice that the wings were pointing up a bit from the fuselage, so I inserted the spar in there while the glue was drying so that they can dry straight and not be deformed. I used the right amount of glue so the sapar was not glued in the wing permanently... although that may not a bad idea. I am actually keeping this inserted in there all the time. I did use tape around some of the edges to make sure the parts are well pressed into each other and will have a strong bond.





    Now that the wings were done it was time to put the two fuselage halves together, the only problem was the warped tail section and the torn bit back there. In case some of you don't know this, you can straighten out warped foam by soaking it in hot water for about 30 seconds. Heat the water till just the point before boiling and remove it from the heat, then insert the piece to be recovered in it and hold it there for a bout 20-30 seconds, then take it out, repeat it if it needs more work. So... a quick hot bath and everything was back to original. I also used epoxy to glue the torn bit, because I didn't have 24 hours to wait for the Moment Classic glue to dry!





    And last before gluing putting the fuselage together I glued in the tail skid piece. Make sure you insert this in there as far as it will go, because it would serve as a nice support when gluing the fuselage and will prevent the tail from warping during the drying process.





    And so we finally come to the fuselage assembly part. I tried to use the right amount of glue because the Moment Classic makes the foam a bit soft while drying, and if you use too much it will almost melt and warp and will look ugly when it dries. Around the centre of the fuselage I had to put some weights in some key areas to make the halves fit together better.





    At other places, like the tail and the nose of the plane, I used tape to hold the pieces fastened together, but since I know the glue softens the foam, I made sure not to tighten the tape too much so it wouldn't warp the foam.





    Next I glued the wing joiners. A good amount of glue and some tape to hold it securely was all that was needed.











    Although the outer wing pieces and the tail pieces came with their plastic bits already glued on, I actually removed them and glued them back on with my glue, and by putting glue in more areas so that there would be a stronger bond! And rightly so, since I was able to remove those pieces without too much effort because there was glue only on the front part of the plastic, not the sides. Now after I re-glued them it seems impossible to move them even a little!








    Next were the tail joiners. Sadly the fuselage parts were not a perfect fit at the back because of that transport damage. The joiner beds were not perfectly aligned between the top and bottom of the fuselage.





    Despite that I was able to glue them one by one, but using 5 mins epoxy, because I actually held each piece for 5 mins myself while the epoxy would set. Because there were two separate pieces rather than one whole piece, it would have been very difficult to tape these parts in a way that would securely hold them in place for 24 hours while the Moment Classic had a chance to dry. The epoxy was the perfect adhesive in this instance.


    I did have to trim a bit of plastic from one of the pieces to make them fit together, because they were overlapping.





    The tail and wing assembly bolts are included in the kit. I glued the locknuts in their respective beds for all pieces.











    And now we get to the part I hate the most when building a plane - hinges!!!!! Seriously people... start putting proper hinges on these planes in the factory!


    Complaining aside, first I use a sharpie to mark the locations of the hinges on the foam hinge, and then I use a hobby knife to cut the controll surface off. I then cut slits in the foam where the markings are, put in some CA glue and slide in the pre-cut hinges. The glue hardens almost immediately, so if you are going to follow my example make sure you act quickly!





    Continues in next post...

  5. #5
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    449
    ... continued from previous post!


    Once I am done inserting all of the hinges in to the control surface, I put glue in all of the slits on the wing and insert all of the hinges at the same time, thus putting the two pieces of foam together. Make sure you do this operation quickly as CA sets immediately when its thin, or use a slower setting glue so you would have time to make adjustments. Once its all done these CA hinges are solid as a rock! And a good thing is that there is no gap between the wing and the control surface! I do this for all control surfaces.








    Along with the hinges I also installed the control horns and the push rods. First you have to screw in one of the balls into the control horn, because otherwise that tast becomes really difficult once you've mounted the horn on the foam. The screw needs to be inserted into the ball from the countersunk side. The ball's flat side should be towards the control horn.





    Now you mount the horn in the foam. I put a little glue under it just to make sure it will stay there for good.








    Use the other screws and the smaller plastic plates on the opposite side of the control surface and screw the control horn securely in place. I also plut a bit of glue on this side as well.





    Next I installed the servos. For the tail it is a bit easier, because there are no long wires to route. For the first time in a while I didn't have to cut out foam anywhere to make my servos fit! Push rods are quite easy to install after the servo is in - insert one end into the servo horn, connect the servo to a servo tester and centre it, then centre by hand the control surface and see how much you need to adjust the ball joiner at the end of the push rod. Screw it in or out in order to get a centred control surface. I used double sided tape and fibre tape to install the servo.








    On the wings you will actually have to route the servo wire through the wing first, before you can install the servo. I used a 15cm servo extension, and put a servo extension lock on it, so it wouldn't disconnect when assembling and disassembling the wings. The wire chanels is nice and wide, so routing the wire should be pretty easy.





    Next I thought it was time to install the motors and ESCs. For this built I got a pair of Racerstar 3508 580Kv motors. I saw then when they came out and thought the specs are pretty nice, as well as the price, and the Kv would be perfect for a 10" prop on 6S. Only problem was that as with the EVE-2000, this plane's motor mounts were designed for thinner motors... something like 2814 or 2820, which meant that it will be a bit tightening the screws in! Also, the motors came without any mounting hardware, but here is where I got lucky for once - when I received the EVE-2000 and installed the MultiStar 3508 640Kv on it with the printed mounts, I also had a few mounts cut out of aluminum but never got around to installing them on the Skywalker since the printed ones worked out so well! Well guess what - these aluminum cross mounts fit the mounting holes on the wing plastic mount perfectly!





    But because the motors is wider than it was meant to be used on this plane, I had to insert the screws before I installed the motor, otherwise they can't be inserted into the holes because the base of the motor overlaps the screw holes a bit.





    A short while and a bit of an effort later, the motors were installed on the plane and felt solid as a rock on those mounts!





    Only downside was that motor base got chipped a bit where the screw heads were, because the screwdriver would rub against them while tightening the screws.








    Next were the ESCs. I used the same HobbyWing Platinum Pro 40A ESCs as on the EVE-2000! These ESCs are a bit expensive, but they are solid and I would say well worth the investment, especially if you are going to be hauling expensive gear on board.





    The wires were a tad on the short side of things, but luckily well placed access openings on the wing allowed the ESC and motor wires to be connected without too much trouble, and actually eliminated the need for excess wires.





    Once all of the ESC wires were routed I screwed on the lids and was done with that bit.





    On the inside of the fuselage I connected a power harness to both ESCs.





    And then installed the power module... which sadly has refused to work properly and would not give me voltage or current sensing!





    After this I installed the GPS unit in its designated location and it looks rather good sitting in there all flush with the fuselage!





    Continues in next post...

  6. #6
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    449
    ... continued from previous post!


    Next I routed the extension cables from the ailerons to the flight controller location.








    Making sure to take full advantage of the wiring channels in the main compartment.





    Next I mounted the tail pieces.





    Funny enough those bolts are about 5mm longer than they need to be! Since I will be replacing them with hex bolts, I may just get the correct size... you know... every gram counts!








    Following the tail was the receiver. Since I wanted maximum range I decided to mount the antennas as high up as I can, and as optimally placed on the fuselage as I can, without mounting the L9R receiver outside of the fuselage. I printed an antenna holder that would hold both antennas vertically, but rotated at 90 degrees one against the other. Glued it to the flight controller compartment hatch, which sits about midway on the fuselage, and used a small piece of strong double sided tape to attach the receiver on the inside, under the antenna mount.








    Since I am using a Micro APM for this build, and it only supports CPPM, I had to use an FrSky SBUS to CPPM converter.





    I am not expert, but I think this is a pretty optimal position for the antennas!








    Next I remembered that there was a plastic cover for the underside, so I decided to mount that back on. This will give the plane some real nice protection during landings, and I really wish more manufacturers will include parts like this one... definitely the lightest option to protect the foam during belly landings.





    I had to make some cutouts in the plastic to fit over these plywood rings sticking out of the fuselage. There are two on the bottom and two on the top and I assume these for the parachute, although they turned out to be quite easy to break so I wouldn't really tie a parachute to those! May be if they were made out of carbon...





    So, back to the electronics! The parachute compartment actually became the TeleFly OSD compartment. I am not using this board as an OSD, but rather it is listening to the GPS and encoding the coordinates into the video stream. On the ground my antenna tracker is decoding them and tracking the plane quite accurately!





    Next I installed the Micro APM autopilot. I used a soft double sided 3M pad to mount it. Since it would have been quite difficult to plug all the connectors into the board after I mounted it, I had to have all of the wiring done before that, so that I can plug it in before I taped it down.








    Next I made a really long wire to power the Vtx, which I chose to put right at the back of the plane. I printed a mount and glued it in an opening on the tail, right between the tail fins, as far away from interference as possible!





    And here is the little bugger... at only 3 grams the VTX03 has some impressive performance! A friend of mine was able to receive the video from the plane up to 6kms out only with a CP antenna on his goggles!





    Stock it comes with a linear antenna, but because I don't yet use a directional linear antenna for the video on the ground, I had to change it for a CP antenna. Thankfully the Vtx comes with IPEX connector for the antenna, so I was able to easily replace the stock antenna with an FrSky antenna extension cable that also converts the IPEX connector to an SMA one, making it very easy to mount a bigger antenna on there.





    The extension also allowed me to print a talled mount so I can get the video antenna as high as possible for optimal results.





    Continues in next post...

  7. #7
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    449
    Reserved!

  8. #8
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    449
    Reserved...

  9. #9
    Co-Pilot
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Posts
    1,867
    Awesome write up. This is a really nice plane. Here's what I did with the little nose piece that comes out. You can fit a GWS 360 degree servo inside. I had 3d printed this really nice pan/tilt and it worked out fantastic.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0269.jpg 
Views:	94 
Size:	127.7 KB 
ID:	76197   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0268.jpg 
Views:	72 
Size:	149.4 KB 
ID:	76198   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0254.jpg 
Views:	76 
Size:	259.7 KB 
ID:	76199   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0253.jpg 
Views:	90 
Size:	229.6 KB 
ID:	76200  

  10. #10
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    449
    Quote Originally Posted by Hmerly View Post
    Awesome write up. This is a really nice plane. Here's what I did with the little nose piece that comes out. You can fit a GWS 360 degree servo inside. I had 3d printed this really nice pan/tilt and it worked out fantastic.
    Thanks!

    Nice paint job on the plane, looks cool!

    I was thinking of printing a plate to install there at the front and to mount the pan/tilt on it, but I decided to put it on the top hatch for now... may move it at the front later. Yours looks solid!

Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 24th July 2017, 11:10 AM
  2. Replies: 25
    Last Post: 18th July 2017, 05:00 AM
  3. Replies: 11
    Last Post: 13th November 2016, 06:06 AM
  4. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 14th October 2016, 03:34 AM
  5. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 18th April 2016, 03:35 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •