e-foamies: EPP Edge 540T ARF

Saturday, January 10, 2009

By Jamie "GFBurke"

Name: EPP Edge 540T ARF
Distributor: E-foamies.com
Type: Electric foam 3D Edge 540T.
For: Intermediate to advanced pilots
Flying weight: 12-14oz AUW
34in wing
Prop: 10x4.7
Airtronics RD6000 Super / Berg4 / 4x 7-9g servos
Power system:
Xmotor 2826CA-18T / 18A ESC
1-2in behind the wing spar

Looking at the long list of foam 3D planes, there seems to be only a handful that incorporate a full fuse and airfoil design. The Edge 540T from E-foamies is just that and looks great out of the box. Here is a nice list from e-foamies planes to choose from. It seems this Edge and the Revolution are quite popular and everybody who has them - flies them for years. The EPP construction is a great feature that allows people like myself to fly without much worry. I've heard nothing but good things from this line, so I decided to give the 540T a go!

My 3D experience so far is a Flash 3D and a ParkZone Typhoon 2, so I’m looking forward to a full fuse 3D-capable EPP model.


I'm used to getting fed flat pieces of EPP foam and having it called an "ARF". Almost ready to fly meant one thing to me until I got into RC. But wow! Opening the box I seriously thought my shipment was opened up during a UPS shipping operation and the employees started to build my plane. But looking closer I have learned that this is the way they come! Check out the photos - Main fuse about all put together, wings with CF spar and tape, nice airfoil and painted. The work alone in getting this part done would justify the cost of this kit..


Well since the build was almost done (I opened the box) it was time to put those finishing touches on her. I will try to follow the manual, but I do things a certain way. This comes from building a few planes and creating your style.

First things to do were to get the main wings on. Slider her in and glue it down. I used standard CA on this since it's EPP. Be sure to measure wing tip to fuse on both sides so you know you have it in even.

Next up was the tail. Use the vertical stab as the template just like the instructions say to do. It doesn't have to be perfect, but you can see how I lined up the template to the fuse in the pictures Also what you can see I have done is made my tape hinges on the control surfaces. I used this method to do so. Works out great! Although, do leave a small gap between the surfaces when taping.

If there were a difficult spot of the build, your at it now. The spot where you have to get all your hinges, control horns and tail setup and square. Take your time and do use a square. If you do, your flights will be much smoother and happier. Remember to only use "foam safe CA" for this area. Depron will melt with normal CA.

Continuing on the controls (since I have the tools out) we hit the ailerons now. This is how I do my 45deg angles. Use a new blade and lay the foam on a table. Not a brown coffee table that's expensive and nice. or your wife will let you have it later..

I used the same tape hinges here. It was time to put in the electronics now. Be sure to always test your electronics outside of the craft. You don't want to glue them in to find out a servo doesn't work. I did follow the instructions on placement for the servos. But if you know me, I have a stack of typhoon control rods laying around - so I used these. The kit does come with CF and bits to make your own rods, but these typhoon ones are just too easy (but if you do notice from the pictures, I did end up having to use the 'glue some CF' to make my ailerons control rods a bit longer.)

Next up is the ESC and motor. If you notice I have the ESC laid up against the side of the fuse. Don't do that. It will be in the way of the upper fuse when it's time. Lay it down and use hotglue. Motor was easy to do. The brick of solid EPP is great and makes the nose really stiff once it's in. I lubed it up with goop and slid it in. I made it sit at a slight angle. It seems every plane I have the right thrust mod really helps. We will try here too.

The second "hard part" would be putting the top and bottom of the fuse together. The top part is pretty easy, I used goop and small spots of foam safe CA because I needed time to get it aligned well. Use pins to hold in place while gluing. Don't try to use tacs, they are too large.. Once the top of the fuse was on, I used a red Sharpe marker to color the top ridge of the fuse to match the rest. The leading edge got taped up with 3M reinforced packing tape.

The bottom fuse piece takes some time. Line up the tail end and slowly with foam safe CA and accelerator work your way towards the front. It was too long, so I did cut the larger end off. You will see it when you get to it. Take your time here.

Once this was on, I cut a door in the bottom for the battery. I used CA to hold the velcro to the tape, then tape over velcro. The tape is strong and can be used like a hinge. I had a piece of coroplast, but cold not find it. But that makes a great door too. I used gorilla glue to hold down the velcro for the lipo.

Once the plane is about done, take a good look and make sure things are lined up and square. I found my horizontal stab to have a slight droop on one side. This is probably a feature due to my awesome building skills. So I used a small piece of zip tie, cut a slit in the epp and placed it in to wedge that side down a bit. Works great as I have done this on a few builds.

Finishing up:
Now it's time to check center of gravity (CG) and test your control surfaces. Do this with no prop on the motor. This Edge was pretty simple to set CG just right due to following the basic placement of the electronics via the instructions and other pictures I've seen. I always make a mark for CG points on the planes. I did add a bit of paint and tape to the plane. The canopy was painted from the inside out then glued down with normal CA. Again I use a prop saver and fly in grass so I don't use the landing gear. Although the wheels that came with it are nice!

Power specs: 14.4A @ 165 WOT
All up weight with lipo (rtf) = 419g

Maiden one:
- Need to set CG back a bit. Had it up closer to the 1in mark. A little nose heavy.
- Need to lower the expo a bit. I have 70% on surfaces. Almost too squishy controls.

Maiden part two:
- CG is perfect at 2in behind CF spar
- Expo is great at 50%.

This is a great plane for a 3D trainer. It feels much more "loose" than the Flash3D. She will fly slow or a bit quick if needed. The Xmotor 2826CA-18T, 10x4.7 prop, prop saver and Dualsky 3s lipo all do a perfect job. I am very happy that snap-rolls and harriers are simple to do, again assuming you have a perfect CG. Mine could be a bit lighter, however I wanted this to really last. It's a beautiful plane and flies as such.
As the instructions say, DO make your control surfaces fly as much as they physically can without binding onto something.

A beginner aircraft?
I'd have to say the building part of the plane could be done by a beginner as long as they had somebody who had experience helping. Also, taking the time and not rushing really helps out. But you may be better off having one or two EPP planes built first - it will really help in the build process (practice on something cheaper). Flying the aircraft as a beginner again could be done provided the beginner had 3D sim experience. My first plane was a Typhoon II. Yet I practiced the Typhoon on the sim for many hours so I was able to do it out of the box. But not a person that's never felt a real TX before. If anything, a person that is experienced in CG, control surfaces, lipo management is helping out on the buddy box, sure.

Things I would have done differently now that I've built one:
Every plane I've built, I've always found myself thinking "I'd do that differently". In the Edge 540's case, I would probably try to make her even lighter. Not that it's heavy, but maybe using less glue in some places. Also, taking even more time to make sure that tail is lined up before the glue dries. I'm not awesome at cutting out plastic canopies, so I did rush just a bit. I suppose I would scoot the aileron servos back just a bit so the stock typhoon control rods would have reached.

If you have a bit of 3D flight or 3D sim flight experience, then this plane is a wonderful addition to your fleet! You would be hard pressed to match the build quality, resilience to damage, fun and price. If you want to get into 3D, do practice on the trainer for a couple hours a day for a week or two. That's what I've done and I'm happy diving right into foam 3D.

Video - Coming soon! (when the sun is out and I have a camera man)

but here is anthers video for now

e-foamies video