Building and Flying a 15′ Remote Control Star Destroyer

Peter Sripol

Kind of the "mad RC scientist" type, Peter has been known for his crazy flying RC projects. Specializing in VTOL technology (vertical take off and landing) he has built a 10ft long Avengers Heli-carrier, a fire extinguishing drone, a giant cargo plane, a microwave carrying airplane and much more! Peter Sripol is a content creator for FliteTest.com.

120 Articles

By Peter Sripol

Kind of the "mad RC scientist" type, Peter has been known for his crazy flying RC projects. Specializing in VTOL technology (vertical take off and landing) he has built a 10ft long Avengers Heli-carrier, a fire extinguishing drone, a giant cargo plane, a microwave carrying airplane and much more! Peter Sripol is a content creator for FliteTest.com.

120 Articles

Article Featured Image

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Star Destroyer — it’s the iconic Star Wars ship that you would probably be least likely see on YouTube. Since the release of the new Star Wars movie was imminent, we decided to take a stab at creating the world’s largest flying R/C Star Destroyer!

The Design

Generally before investing in such a large project without knowing whether or not it can fly, the typical approach I like to take is to make a small scale model of the large model or simply just upscale a working smaller model! Either way works for me in creating giant or miniature designs. The Star Destroyer was no exception!

The little model was thrown together in just a few hours and gave me much needed data. You can usually get a sense for how the design feels in flight and where the balance point may be. Making the design smaller also allows you to test features and unknowns much faster than trying to guess and figure things out on a larger scale model.

Construction

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For the making of the giant Star Destroyer, I had to find some suitable materials that would generally hold up to the weight and abuse of such a large structure. The foam used is a brand called Perma “R”. You can pick up a sheet of this foam at your local Lowes store. The adhesive chosen to bond these sheets together was Gorrilla glue White. It’s an excellent glue for filling in the gaps caused by a rushed sloppy build! Lots and lots of general packing tape was used to jig and hold everything together.

Shaping and cutting

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Since this was just an upscale of a small model, the plan of attack was to simply scale the nose of the small one to 15 feet and then calculate the rest of the craft to fit these proportions. Unfortunately my arm span was much too short for this, so I had the help of my friends to get the measurements.

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Cutting out the foam was a fairly simple process. I had a sharp long knife and simply dragged it through the foam till it eventually cut its way through.

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Flip the piece over and trace it for four more times.

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Once the shapes were cut out they were attached to each other with lots of tape. It was almost like constructing a giant paper pyramid with four sides. It had no rigidity until the foam inserts were placed inside.

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Once the rear triangles were cut they were simply forced inside! This gave shape to the Star Destroyer and its general shape. A few more cuts and foam shapes to make the bridge and it’s finally complete!

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Electronics and power system

To fly such a large ship I generally went with my gut as far as picking the motors was concerned. I found these motors, or these ones work as well.

The ESC’s were Castle Creations 120 HV’sThe batteries chosen were the luminer line of LiPos. Two of these were placed in series to make a 12S lipo!

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The mounting of the motors was as simple as bolting them onto some giant 1″ aluminum square stock that you can find at Lowes.

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The servos are some generic standard sized servos you can get from Hitec. We made some reinforcement pockets to keep the servos from completely falling out.

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Installing the speed controllers was as easy as cutting some holes in the frame and tossing in the components. It only had to fly once and I really wasn’t concerned with the prettiness of the install!

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Transportation and disassembly

Getting this thing around is quite an ordeal as it requires at least two people to move the flimsy craft around the shop.

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Since the ship was so large, it was never going to fit through the doors. so we had to cut it in half and jig it so we could tape it back together once we got it to the field.

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Final assembly and painting

The trip to the launch site was as simple as shoving the massive ship into a large trailer. Luckily since it was cut in half it fit in fairly easily. We used Rustoleum grey spray paint, and once the painting was finished the ship was ready for its maiden voyage!

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