The glider idea is a good one, and poses interesting engineering challenges, but I think we’d be better off tackling a powered airframe. One of the few complications is you need a tow plane.
A heavy lifter or high speed application interests me. Tackling a general application where there’s a definite need is good for drawing interest from folks with money or time. So for me, transportation of goods is a good application, and high speed for search and rescue is another good one. A third good application is aiming at RC hobbyists by making a scale model. I remain open and we don’t have to choose an application or design before we can demonstrate the feasibility of the fabrication technique. Any examples of large FDM molds being used in the wild? I think we can work on a very simple wing mold rather quickly to demonstrate the concept.
It will need to be able to take off from a grass field and be able to qualify under hobbyist flying restrictions, so that puts limits on the size a bit. But we can still get pretty big.
I agree on creating a budget. We’ll have to keep a continually improving estimate of the costs of producing one of these. We could find that the project is too costly to develop as a handful of ragtag hobbyists. But we should start playing around with ball park numbers. I have a feeling that this project may wind up being cost prohibitive, but it’s worth going through the feasibility exercise, somewhere on the scale of large to small airframe, is a size that is suitable for a small budget.
We’ll have to stay under 25kg to qualify for model aircaft regulations. We can try to identify a suitable airframe size and estimate the size of a power plant required. I bet the motor, servos and batteries will be the costliest.
Gonna take a bit of time and start crunching a few numbers.