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R/C Parts - Buying in Bulk?

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Old 09-23-2017, 01:22 AM
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Question R/C Parts - Buying in Bulk?

Hello all, I just have a quick question to start things off. I'm going to be building a large quantity of R/C Flying Wings to test different aspects of the wings, and as such I was wondering if there was a place I could buy servos, motors, transmitters, and other components in bulk? I'll be needing pretty much everything... Thank you!
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Old 09-23-2017, 02:29 PM
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The Perry, GA swap meet comes to mind. Many hobby shops have gone out of business only to sell off their remaining inventory there. Years ago Hobby Lobby used to sell things like control horns and hinges in bulk but they are gone now. The only other thing you could do is contact the manufacturers directly and see if you can get a special price to buy in bulk or maybe buy wholesale if you have a license to sell retail.

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Old 09-23-2017, 04:39 PM
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Carl; Hobby Lobby is not gone they just changed the name Hobby Express: Radio Controlled Planes, RC Helicopters, & RC Cars They do not sell in the bulk like the good old days but they are still around.
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:50 AM
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Curious what kind of quantities your looking for.... and what kind of quality as well. All hardware is not created equally, and some of the cheaper hardware/accessories might serve your purpose for testing and experimenting.

What comes to mind is some of the servos I've seen at Hobby King that are only a few bucks each, and some of these EBay sellers have the cheap plastic horns and such... really for pennies if you shop it. Same goes for motors... they can be had for a few bucks each as well...if that. All this is relatively low-grade equipment, but again I don't know how intense your needs are.

You mentioned "transmitters".. which leads me to a question as to how many transmitters.. curiously, as one transmitter is capable of flying a whole fleet of planes(one at a time of course)... but even at that... again Hobby King has trannys in a very low price range... like around $30 if you shop it.. as well as receivers too...cheap...again these are low-grade trannys.. but they're out there.

If you stepped up to Dubro or Sullivan style components, there you're talking about a bit more money as that stuff is more "hobby quality" and durable, but you might not need that for your application here. Even some of that bought in bulk can save a few bucks just by purchasing bulk packs. As for higher end electronics.. there's always the classifieds as well... and learning to shop that.

If these "wings" are such that you need much higher end components and such.. well.. I would say just be ready to spend some money.... but someplace like HobbyKing.com could get you started on your experimentation.... after the initial testing you might determine where to better your efforts in components... and higher end equipment. Just a thought there. Good luck with it.

Last edited by DGrant; 09-24-2017 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGrant View Post
Curious what kind of quantities your looking for.... and what kind of quality as well. All hardware is not created equally, and some of the cheaper hardware/accessories might serve your purpose for testing and experimenting.

What comes to mind is some of the servos I've seen at Hobby King that are only a few bucks each, and some of these EBay sellers have the cheap plastic horns and such... really for pennies if you shop it. Same goes for motors... they can be had for a few bucks each as well...if that. All this is relatively low-grade equipment, but again I don't know how intense your needs are.

You mentioned "transmitters".. which leads me to a question as to how many transmitters.. curiously, as one transmitter is capable of flying a whole fleet of planes(one at a time of course)... but even at that... again Hobby King has trannys in a very low price range... like around $30 if you shop it.. as well as receivers too...cheap...again these are low-grade trannys.. but they're out there.

If you stepped up to Dubro or Sullivan style components, there you're talking about a bit more money as that stuff is more "hobby quality" and durable, but you might not need that for your application here. Even some of that bought in bulk can save a few bucks just by purchasing bulk packs. As for higher end electronics.. there's always the classifieds as well... and learning to shop that.

If these "wings" are such that you need much higher end components and such.. well.. I would say just be ready to spend some money.... but someplace like HobbyKing.com could get you started on your experimentation.... after the initial testing you might determine where to better your efforts in components... and higher end equipment. Just a thought there. Good luck with it.
Thank you for this. And thank you to @carlgrover and @pkoury as well

To answer your questions, Grant, I'll likely start with lower quality servos and such (like from Hobby King), and as I narrow down the designs (looking at 100+ designs to start, buying 10-20 of each component to start) I plan to buy more components and parts that are higher quality. On the final build, I'll probably end up dishing out some serious cash for ultra parts for my fleet, being around 50+ planes with multiple components to have as reliable backups in case something goes awry. For the final fleet design, I'm looking at probably 100-200 of each part, as 50 is just the starting estimate. I may have significantly more, and depending on their usage having 4x as many for backups may not be a bad idea.

As for the transmitters, I'm thinking between 10-20 transmitters as I want a fleet to be in the air at any given time. For carnival games, a business idea, or other things, I'm not entirely sure where this will take me. However, it's nice to know I may only need 50 transmitters (again, in case something happens) to swap out (or that) for my entire fleet.

I hope this has answered your questions, and thank you again.
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Old 09-24-2017, 11:53 PM
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And batteries are in your plan?
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:44 PM
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Probably. I'd prefer to keep it battery/electric powered, but I'll consider other options if the need arises.
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Old 09-25-2017, 08:07 PM
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You plan to thoroughly test 100 different designs? What's your timeline on this?

As for components, buy a few sets of good gear and rely on it. It's false economy t o spend so much time on prototyping a new design just to risk losing it to a $4 servo.

And 50 transmitters? Do you actually plan to have 50 planes flying at the same time? Or do you not realize that nearly all transmitters on the market now can be programmed for multiple planes?
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:46 PM
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Yes, 20-50+ planes at the same time. The fact that multiple planes can be programmed to a single transmitter means I can have backup planes waiting to fly (programmed to the transmitter being used) that can take off if need be.

The timeline is basically several years, though through a technique I learned about in college I can possibly reduce it by a significant margin. I'm trying to figure out what the most efficient design for a flying wing is for my needs, testing sweep angle and opposite angle (basically front and back angle on the flying wing, if not flat, which i'll test as well), finlets, turbulators (size and shape, as well as presence or absence), airfoil, flying with forward-swept or backward-swept wings, and size of the plane (if one design is better at 12" while another is better at 48"; essentially scalability). However, using the technique I mentioned I can figure out which of these variables will have a significant effect on the efficiency of a flying wing and go from there. This way (using the technique) I don't have to test scalability if that's redundant, I won't have to test turbulators if there's very little effect those have on efficiency (though having them or not having them may be important), or other such factors which may or may not effect the overall efficiency of the wing (or prove too complicated, redundant, or intertwined for me to properly test to sort out). The technique should save me a lot of time, energy, and possibly wasted effort to narrow down the 100+ different designs to maybe 50, though doing proper research into this will probably save me more (I have done preliminary research and it seems like there's not much info into flying wings that I can find, though I'll be searching more before taking to the skies with my design testing. First, though, I want to start with a trainer plane and learn to fly properly, as I've been advised to from another forum [i'm fairly new to the hobby...]).

As for the equipment, I'll keep that in mind and invest in a few good quality sets of components when the time comes. Thank you.

Last edited by FlyinWingFanatic; 09-25-2017 at 11:47 PM. Reason: small tweaks to grammar and punc.
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:42 AM
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I figured you were new to the hobby, given the content of your questions. There is no scenario I can think of where even 20 planes in the air would work well, let alone 50. Have a look at some of the wings made fro FPV flying. The emphasis there is on duration and stability, so most of the work has already been done for you. That's not to say that you should experiment on your own, but being an newbie it's highly unlikely you'll discover anything besides a whole lot of ideas that have already been tried and didn't work. Innovation isn't starting from scratch; it's learning everything about what's already been done (successful and not) and then finding new solutions to problems. I'm glad to hear you see the need to get piloting skills first. Get yourself an instructor and have some fun. This hobby is very rewarding if you go about it the right way, very frustrating if you don't.
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Old 09-29-2017, 08:36 AM
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I'm pretty sure most of us have "back up planes" we can fly if we need too... as keeping even one plane in good operating order can be extremely challenging for someone that doesn't have years of experience(even pilots with years of experience struggle..we've seen that alot too..).

I would also suggest learning to fly, and getting extremely proficient at that, obviously that's a next step.... for some it's easy, and certain flyers catch on enough to keep learning on their own in a few days, for some it takes quite a while.. if ever.... and learning to fly takes quite a bit more then knowing aerodynamics... although that surely helps no doubt... especially when it comes to doing repairs and such.

Learning to fly though is akin to learning to play a musical instrument(such as a guitar)... and building "muscle memory" in the fingers/thumbs so the commands to the plane are nearly instinctive, rather then a thought out process. One can know exactly how an elevator and throttle work, and every bit of the mechanics of it... but to command the plane down for a landing and using the elevator/throttle(all while using aileron and rudder probably).. takes alot of time to teach the fingers what/how-far/which-direction to go. Some get it very fast, some take a while.

So yeah... whomever advised you on another forum that was the best advice you could get.... as that in itself might tell you how much you want to invest... and really what kind of challenges you're up against. Knowledge, and understanding of flight and aerodynamics are good, but those don't give experience with actually flying a simple trainer.

Any ideas of what kind of trainer you're wanting to learn on? We can talk about that here too. There's some fantastic trainers out these days that many people are very successful with... and a trainer plane is really a good test bed for hardware and equipment too. So... when you getting that trainer?... the sooner the better I say... you've apparently got alot of learning to do, and alot of planes to build.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:19 AM
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Thanks Jester, Grant. I'm going to buy some components for the EzFlyer tomorrow, and hopefully will be able to build and test the plane late next week. I don't want to cross promote, so I won't post links or anything, but you can google it if you'd like. It's a slow moving craft, but it's not a flying wing. That'll come when I get proficient at the EzFlyer, apparently, as the following two planes in the "lineup" can both be wings (and are commonly so, just not custom wings like I want to build).

While this forum seems a bit slower as far as responses (not sure why, though), I think I'll give you guys a chance as well. I'll post a thread on my flying adventures in a new thread once the EzFlyer is built.

Also, Jester, I appreciate your input on innovation, and can see how your statement is very true.
Innovation isn't starting from scratch; it's learning everything about what's already been done (successful and not) and then finding new solutions to problems. ~Jester S1, 2017.
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Old 10-02-2017, 06:44 PM
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That's the title for a future lesson for my students. I was hired at the end of summer to teach technology ed and principles of engineering to middle schoolers. We will start a project next week building catapults that have some flaws. Once they've tested them and identified the flaws, I'll do a talk introducing the research component that includes that line. Later in the year my aeromodeling interests will come in handy...
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