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3D Printing Reaches New Heights

3D Printed RC Plane Parts – 7 Best Sources

Picture of Jonathan Witte
by Jonathan Witte
Aug 21, 2019
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Flying RC planes is a hobby as well-known for crashing as it is for fun. Sometimes, crashes can damage aircraft and leave pilots grounded. Check out these sources of 3D printed RC plane parts which will get you flying again in no time!

Sources for 3D Printed RC Plane Parts Why 3D Print Plane Parts?

An unusual 3D printed plane.
An unusual 3D printed plane. (Source: Hackaday)

Hobbyist radio-controlled planes are prone to crashing, and sometimes acquiring specific replacement parts can be difficult. But with access to 3D printing, durable custom parts can be made on-demand, which is great news for the aspiring pilot.

3D printing suits this application well due to its ability to manufacture accurate, durable parts with little prior experience and cost on the user’s behalf. As materials and machines become more advanced, the line between prototype and end-use 3D printed parts gets increasingly blurred. Thus, there has never been a better time to 3D print replacement parts for RC aircraft.

In this article, we compile the best sources for 3D printed RC plane parts so your crashes don’t leave you grounded for long!

The Backup Plane Strategy

Sometimes, individual parts for specific plane models can be hard to find, so the easier solution is to use entire plane models as a spare copy of your aircraft. Hence we’ve included some sources which provide whole plane models which you can tear apart for spares, just to diversify the list.

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Sources for 3D Printed RC Plane Parts Flite Test (Parts)

Printed RC plane parts made by Flite Test.
Printed RC plane parts made by Flite Test. (Source: flitetest.com)

If you haven’t heard of Flite Test, they’re one of the largest online supporters of the RC aircraft hobby. Run by Josh Bixler (president) and Josh Scott (host), Flite Test provides an educational and supportive environment for those dabbling in the hobby. YouTube is a major outlet for Flite Test and is a great place to find any answers to your RC questions.

3D modeling is used and taught in many of their videos, making it a great place for you to learn how to make and model your own RC plane parts. This collection of parts is just a small portion of what has been contributed to the community by Flite Test.

Pros:

  • Trusted brand
  • Free to use
  • YouTube video support

Cons:

  • Limited number of files available
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Sources for 3D Printed RC Plane Parts Motion RC (Parts)

A scale model of a fighter jet.
A scale model of a fighter jet. (Source: motionrc.com)

Motion RC was founded in 2012 to create a place for hobbyists to find quality aircraft parts. Since then, they have added thousands of products to support those looking for the right part for their plane. They have also begun to spread into the 3D printing aspect of this hobby, earning themselves a spot on this list.

Under certain listings on their site, Motion RC will give you the option to purchase their model fully 3D printed, but if you scroll down you’ll find that free downloadable files are available.

With many positive customer reviews, it doesn’t hurt to check them out.

Pros:

  • Free downloadable files
  • Option to download or print yourself
  • Detailed description of each part
  • Active customer service

Cons:

  • Limited items available
  • Extremely specific models
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Sources for 3D Printed RC Plane Parts 3DLabPrint (Full Models/Parts)

An F-86 Sabre, which can be printed from the site.
An F-86 Sabre, which can be printed from the site. (Source: 3dlabprint.com)

3DLabPrint is by far one of the best places to get your RC plane files. Sold as complete kits, these planes are extremely detailed and are supported by a larger community. 3DLabPrint is also commonly used by Flite Test and is often promoted by them. With many more options to chose from, you’ll find yourself wanting to buy every model!

Styles range from stunt to warfare and water to beginner, making it easily the most accommodating site on this list. There are even individual parts available for purchase along with upgrade kits to aid in your 3D printed aviation adventure. The files are available for purchase starting at $5.

Pros:

  • Parts and models are available
  • Models are detailed and highly accurate
  • Parts are designed for the specific planes available

Cons:

  • Limited number of parts
  • Files are not free
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Sources for 3D Printed RC Plane Parts YouTube Creators (Full Models/Parts)

An airborne 3D printed plane designed by Tom Stanton.
An airborne 3D printed plane designed by Tom Stanton. (Source: Tom Stanton / YouTube)

Tom Stanton is one of many creators on this platform that constantly creates, tests, and revisits designs for RC vehicles. His projects range from printing entire planes to parts that make the building process easier. Many of his projects can be found on his personal design page.

Another creator in the community is Matt from RagTheNutsOff. In one of his many videos, he explains how he has experimented with another creator’s designs to test 3D printed airfoils.

There are so many great examples of people working together to design, test, and revisit models for the RC airplane hobby. These creators are few among many that make this hobby amazing and enjoyable to participate in. With so many other creators out there, help, ideas, and designs are just a search away!

Pros:

  • Huge community support
  • Models are easy to access
  • Models are available on multiple platforms
  • Video instructions

Cons:

  • Models are not always consistent across platforms
  • May require extended modification
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Sources for 3D Printed RC Plane Parts Eclipson (Full Models/Parts)

Eclipson airplanes are limited but offer a lot of detailed documentation.
Eclipson airplanes are limited but offer a lot of detailed documentation. (Source: eclipson-airplanes.com)

Eclipson is a smaller online website that sells RC Airplane designs that are similar to those found on other platforms. The main difference is each plane comes with in-depth schematics as well as videos to guide you through the building process.

Designs range from full wing (UAV/RC) models to water aircraft to the generic plane design most people are used to seeing. Models start at $14 and prices stay fairly consistent. If your model ever breaks, do not fear! Eclipson has a Thingiverse page where you can find many different parts to fix you model and get it back up and running. To see the full listing of models, visit eclipson-airplanes.com/airplanes

Pros:

  • Detailed instructions
  • Free test prints
  • Free model parts

Cons:

  • Limited models available
  • Proprietary parts
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Sources for 3D Printed RC Plane Parts Thingiverse (Full Models)

A public collection of some of the most popular RC planes on Thingiverse.
A public collection of some of the most popular RC planes on Thingiverse. (Source: valterfc / Thingiverse)

Valterfc has kindly organized a public collection including the most popular planes on Thingiverse. If you’re looking for less common designs, this is the place to get them. As seen above, delta-winged planes (or similar remixes) are quite popular along with other RC planes. 

Another benefit to using these models is that you have access to a large community remixing and fixing any problems with the current files. 

Pros:

  • Many different styles of planes available.
  • Large community support
  • Free to download
  • Easy to adapt and remix

Cons:

  • Minimal individual parts available
  • Assembly instructions not always included
  • May Require extended modification
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Sources for 3D Printed RC Plane Parts Kraga (Full Models)

The Kraga plane known as
The Kraga plane known as "Maripi". (Source: 3dprintedrcplanes.com)

Kraga, a lesser-known and smaller site, is home to multiple plane models available for purchase. Ranging from around $5 to $30, files are available for purchase. After printing these models, you will have the freedom to print as many parts as needed for any repairs down the road. Each purchase includes an in-depth PDF to help you assemble your new airplane correctly, along with a list of maintenance tricks.

Pros:

  • Files include instructions
  • Well-designed

Cons:

  • Files are not free
  • Limited number of models available
  • No individual parts

Feature image source: flitetest.com

License: The text of "3D Printed RC Plane Parts – 7 Best Sources" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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