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Kit Building..

Old 12-21-2004, 10:09 AM
  #1  
Green_Flyer
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Default Kit Building..

When building a kit from scratch, what are some of the most importatnt things(not that its not all important)to keep in mind eg: things that cannot be fixed once its put together, things to know in advance as to foresee and take care of during building. Thanks much---Nathaniel P.S. how do you guys all have nifty signatures after your name?
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Old 12-21-2004, 10:39 AM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Just a few.

1) Read instructions first.
2) prep your self with the needed equipmnt/supplies as per instructions.
3) Must have a flat service to build on.
4) Build 1 section at a time untill you get some experience behind you.
5) Most things that are glued togeather are repairable. Even if you make
those darn glue mistakes( Object is to not to make them, read instructions).
6) If your not sure what to do about a procedure than ask someone or
post a message in this fourm.

There will be more people pick up were i left off probably.
Like i mentioned this is just a few things to consider.

You can get your fancy signature by editing your profile.
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Old 12-21-2004, 10:59 AM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Click "Settings" in the gold bar at the top to add a signature to your profile.

With that said. I'll repeat a lot of what Randy said. Of course all kit manufactures are different, and some are easier to understand than others. Also, kits for trainer aircraft are easier than intermediate planes, and Intermediate planes are easier than advanced.

But one of the things I like to point out (That Randy alluded to) is to not only READ the instructions, but UNDERSTAND them. It can be very easy to miss an important detail because you didn't understand what the MFGR meant in the instruction.

Fortunately, RCU is loaded with folks who have built most of the kits out there, so this is a great place to ask about questions you may have.

One other tip...

Pay close attention to the sizes mentioned in the instructions. For example, they may say to use 3/32" x 3" x 36" sheets for sheeting the top Leading edge of the wing. Next they may say to use 3/32 x 3" x 24" sheeting for the wing center.

Notice, the first said 36" long and the second said 24" long. If you grab a piece of the 36" sheeting to sheet the wing center, you'll only have a 24" piece left when you need a 36" piece on the bottom side!

OOOOPS! Time to make a trip to the LHS for a new piece of 36" sheeting!
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Old 12-21-2004, 11:10 AM
  #4  
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Default RE: Kit Building..

When you can, "dry fit" parts together. Make sure things actually fit before you get glue involved. These days, with laser cutting and such, most parts will fit right, but you never know for sure.

Old saying: Measure once, cut twice, measure twice, cut once.

While an expereinced builder can make a kit appear amazingly quickly, don't get in a hurry, and it never hurts to double check everything you do. Sure, it will slow you down, but it could save a lot of headache.
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Old 12-21-2004, 11:35 AM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Expanding on what the others have said, in addition to dry fitting the parts together, sometimes I dry fit several steps worth of parts together just to be sure things are fitting right.
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Old 12-21-2004, 11:42 AM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

1. Read the instructions fully and if you don't understand something get clarification before you start.

2. Make sure you have all the pieces accounted for before you start. I just built a GP 60 size J-3 Cub and some of the instructions were wrong on part sizes and cutting. I at least had enough knowledge to be able to correct for their error. They had me cut the main spar 2 inches off on each side. This is because the instructions had been written with 42 inch spars in mind. someone else in the parts list made the spars only 40 inches because that is all that was needed. I was able to make a brace that joined the spars better than original. Would not have wanted to have that happen o a first kit though.

3. Make sure you use the specified glues where they tell you. 30 minute Epoxy when stated not 5 or 10. longer setting epoxies have more flex strength than fast epoxies. Fast epoxies can be more brittle. Also use slow, medium, and fast CA as specified. Get some CA debonder and CA accelerator. Both can be essential.

4. Take your time, measure two or three times then cut or shape. A good metal (Steel) ruler with fine accurate measuring marks will also make a good cutting guide. A long metal yard stick is also useful for longer straight cuts. Wood rulers and yardsticks flex too much and you can cut into them too easily.

5. Razor tools are sharp but dull razor tools cut YOU more. If a tool is dull you tend to put more pressure or force to make the cut, when that happens a slip is more likely to happen and that's when you can get hurt real bad. Sharp tools use less force and give you more control. The bulk pack of #11 Xacto blades is a real bargain and allows you to keep a sharp edge when you want it , Put old used blades in a soda can or old bottle before throwing out. I must have used at least 10 - 12 blades in making my Cub.

6. Don't throw anything away unless you really know it is useless until the plane is complete. I find the excess wood is very useful in repairing planes. You did decide to build a kit so you can improve your repair skills didn't you? Those scraps from die cut / laser cut parts and cut offs can make all sorts of repairs.

7. If you want to keep your plans in great shape go to Kinkos or Office Max and make a working copy of the plans that you cut up, build on and generally destroy if need be. You can always make another set from the the originals later. Cost me $15 for two full sheets to be reproduced . Had to fold the drawings as the machine could only copy up to 36 inches wide but any length. Also tape wax paper over your building set of drawings to keep the glue from sticking to the plans and the wax will generally release the wood from the wax paper at least once.

8. A good straight and level building board that you can also pin into. (get building T pins also) I found a 3/4!QUOT! melamine board with dense foam insulation or ceiling tile glued on to it works great.

9. Take your time and enjoy. It's therapeutic and a hobby after all.
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Old 12-21-2004, 12:48 PM
  #7  
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Default RE: Kit Building..

I read the instuctions a few times and study the plans. I almost build the plane in my mind first. Once the fog of war begins, you will realize you need to do a few things differently than you thought, but for the most part, have it mapped out in your brain.
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Old 12-21-2004, 10:58 PM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Thanks for the tips. I am going to be asking many questions prior to getting my kit only because i have to wait untill January to get it(ordering is backed up for the holidays). So im doing some general feild work first. That way i will feel like i already have some ground in the hobby before i even begin. Peace guys---Nathaniel P.S. Do you know if clubs still arrange flying through the winter at all?
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Old 12-22-2004, 06:31 AM
  #9  
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Here's another great tip Nathaniel,

You would be amazed how easily pieces can get lost!

A good way to prevent that is this - When you open the box, lay the top of the box next to the bottom. Now, any time you need to look through the box for a part, you can take the parts out of one box and put them in the other.

So by doing it this way, you always know that the part you're looking for is either in one side of the box, or the other. (And not on the table, or under the workbench etc.)
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:22 AM
  #10  
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Default RE: Kit Building..

hey Minnflyer...what makes a good, cheap, LEVEL, workbench. I am trying to organize some building supplies now, so im ready.
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:44 AM
  #11  
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Jumping right in here, head first, I use a solid core door.

You may be able to get one cheaply (or free) from your local building supply store.

Mine is a 24" wide by 80" long and weighs about a ton!

Get a flat one, with no decorative cut-outs.

They too make mistakes and sometimes cut the hinge pockets and door knob hole on the same edge!

Put this on a pair of saw horses and you have a flat and sturdy building surface. I turn mine over about once a year just in case.

Common cieling tile, 2' by 4', makes a great work surface that holds pins well.

I secure them to the board with sheet rock screws and turn them over for a second work surface.

Look for a package of damaged tiles and ask for a price break. I got 12 panels for $3.00 once (lifetime supply, or close to it!)

We modelers are really cheapskates, aren't we.
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Old 12-22-2004, 03:47 PM
  #12  
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Default RE: Kit Building..

To make my building board I got a sheet of 4 X 2 MDF. Can't remember the thickness (I'm at work so can't measure) but it must have been close to 3/4".

This takes care of flat, to be able to get pins into it I also bought a sheet of soft board (not sure what other use it has) the same size and glued it to the MDF.

By the time I was done the cost was mounting up, however I expect to be using it for some time. My theory is that if you build a flat wing anything will fly, so far it seems to be holding up!


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Old 12-22-2004, 04:26 PM
  #13  
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Like Dick said, a door makes a good table.I use a hollow-core door that someone licked a hole in one side of... Got it for 3 buck at the local home improvement store.

Rather than go the saw horse route, I built a simple 1x6 frame with 2x4's for legs
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Old 12-22-2004, 04:40 PM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Another gluing tip:

If you are going to clamp after it's been glued, try clamping everything together first WITHOUT glue to see if it will clamp down properly, especially in critical joints.

As said before, but a bit different: read ahead and make sure pieces fit before gluing it all up. For example, the built up firewall on my (still in progress) Tower Trainer did not fit into the tabs on the fuselage sides. This was much easier to fix than had I assembled the fuselage first.
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Old 12-22-2004, 05:37 PM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Dick is right on with the solid door. I bought a solid mahagony door ages ago and went to the local thrift shop and found a buffet table to set it on and it works great as pins go in easy and stay till you want them out. I also had the room down the one wall to lay solid doors I got for free from a motel they were remodeling and laid those end to end and then put 1/2" mahogany on top of that, works like a charm.
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:15 PM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

great ideas..ill check out a few of my options from what ive learned here.
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Old 12-22-2004, 11:48 PM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

My first building board was half of a dinning room talbe that I dragged out of a dumpster.

It was perfect and straight. The nieghbors thought I was crazy. I acted like I had found a diamond !!!
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Old 12-23-2004, 11:53 AM
  #18  
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Default RE: Kit Building..

A few suggestions- learned the hard way.

If you are building from a kit, DO NOT THROW AWAY the sheets your parts are cut from. If you mess up a part or need to rebuild later they can be used as templates to make a new part. I went brain dead halfway thru building my first kit and threw a lot of them out. I think everyone assumes you should know this, I did not.

Do not assume the plans are 100% right. I built a Goldberg J3 Cub EXACTLY to the plan then the opening in the wing that fits over the fuselage uprights were too narrow for the wing to fit down over the fuselage! I measured everything repeatedly, I had built it right, the plans were wrong. A couple of other members have e-mailed me saying they had the same problem building one of these and just thought they had screwed up until they read one of my posts regarding this. It took some MAJOR tearing-apart and rebuilding to correct- not something you want to try on your first kit! If you have a specific plan or kit in mind, search out build info on this site regarding that kit and ask specifically if anybody has built it and what they suggest you look out for.

I got extremely lucky and had a beautiful covering job on the Cub when finished. The instructions said to balnce the model AFTER covering and only mentioned balancing for fore/aft balance (longitudinal CG). I balanced it laterally and had to add weight out on the left wingtip- so I had to cut a hole in my beautiful covering job to stick lead weight on the outer rib. A minor thing but I hated cutting that hole! It patched up o.k. though (on the bottom). Next time, I will probably cover the fuselage and balance laterally before covering the wing, then cover the wing and balnce for CG after finishing.

Finally, I would seriously evaluate the hardware in any kit and probably throw away most if not all of it. I would rather spend an extra 20, 30 or 40 bucks for top notch hardware on a plane I am going to invest so much work in and A lot of supplied hardware is suspect. On the Cub, I built balsa pushrods for Elevator and rudder, using the manufacturer supplied wire for the ends, even though I utilized very litle of the supplied hardware in the kit. I accidentally bumped the elevator on a door frame in my house after completing the model. It bent the wire and compromised the strength of the assembly- WITHOUT DENTING THE BALSA TRAILING EDGE that hit the door. Pretty pathetic! So now I have to remove the glued-on windshield to remove the pushrods and replace them (with Dave Brown fibreglass rods for a whopping $7.95, I might add). As flimsy as the originals were I am glad I never flew them and had to exert any force on them as in pulling up out of a dive- I doubt they would have handled that load without flexing or bending. Again, that $7.95 would be awfully cheap insurance. Throughout the kit I used Hangar 9 nylon control horns (supplied ones looked like polystyrene instead of nylon), Sullivan Golden clevises with locks & locknuts (supplied ones looked like polystyrene instead of nylon), Robart hinge points instead of supplied supposed CA hinges, Du-Bro wire (the supplied ones were brittle and broke when bent), etc. I invested in Z-Bend pliers and used them throughout the kit (strong, simple, reliable) putting Z-Bends on all servos and clevises at the horns. I added a second aileron servo instead of using the reccomended single aileron servo. If I had it to do over again, I would build the control surface edges with a thin hardwood edge instead of balsa just to keeep them from getting beat up.

Hope some of that helps.

Bill Duffel
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Old 12-24-2004, 04:39 AM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Sorry to bump in guys. But I've conflicting info on adhesives for sticking planes parts. ( I'm kit building one with no instruction) I'd heard of the 30 min epoxy and the thick CA, thin CA, 5 min epoxy and so on....... So what exactly should I use to joint these plane parts. Any special requirement like wing need epoxy, fuelage needs CA or so on.. Please advise.
Thanks
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Old 12-24-2004, 05:23 AM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

If I had to pick two I would pick 15 minute epoxy and medium CA. I use CA for most everything except major intersections like around the firewall, landing gear block, gluing the stabs in etc... All of the stick joints I glue with Medium CA and I havent had a failure. Some guys use elmers glue and 30 minute epoxy. I dont think you gain anything with anything slower than what I suggested but some guys like to build the old fashioned way and that is okay by me.
Some guys like to build and nice and slow...
I prefer to build slowly enough to get a good solid airframe, but fast enough to get in the air as quickly as reasonably possible...

Mike
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Old 12-27-2004, 10:15 PM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

Hello All,

Well, since questions and answers are flowing so nicely in here, I have some of my own questions seeking resolution. I am building a CG Super Chipmunk from a kit I got from a friend, who got it from a friend. Like most of you already know, missing pieces is now common and not suprising anymore.

However, I just finished building both the wing halves and went to trial fit them together with the supplied dihedral brace. When I did, the two wing halves are misaligned forward and aft. I went back and repinned the wings to the plans to see if I goofed something up, but found nothing. The only missing pieces in the wings were two ribs and one of the 1/4 x 1/4 braces forward of the main spar.

Anyway, the wing is built and the bottom side is sheeted. Now what do I do? According to the blueprints, I did everything correctly. There was not a definite trim line for the two skins (inboard side of bottom sheeting) so I left them long. Now, I have trimmed to assemble and found this out. I am now at the too late side and looking for advice.

This is only my second kit assembled airplane, but I have built about a dozen from my head. Did I just overlook one of the fundamentals? Help.


Red
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:01 AM
  #22  
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Default RE: Kit Building..

I would only add one more thing to what has already been said. Be careful to not speed up your construction. It is real easy to get trapped into going faster than you should. Always, always, make sure the step you are about to take is the right one. It is real tempting to try to speed up construction even on easy parts. When you do, you are asking for trouble. As it has been said, make sure you are following what the instructions indicate. It is real easy to read them fast, think you know what is required, and make a mistake. I know I have done this myself.
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:41 AM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

ORIGINAL: Green_Flyer

When building a kit from scratch, what are some of the most importatnt things(not that its not all important)to keep in mind eg: things that cannot be fixed once its put together, things to know in advance as to foresee and take care of during building.
Be aware of the frequent need to build left-hand and right-hand sub-assemblies, and ensure that you do actually end up with one of each rather than two the same. I find that the easiest way to do that is to lay them out "mirror image" next to each other.
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:48 AM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

ORIGINAL: no1speshal
I just finished building both the wing halves and went to trial fit them together with the supplied dihedral brace. When I did, the two wing halves are misaligned forward and aft. I went back and repinned the wings to the plans to see if I goofed something up, but found nothing.
Assuming that the trial-fit involves the brace not being glued into either side... if you remove the brace, do the wings fit together ? i.e. is the problem to do with the positioning of the root ribs, or i it that the "socket" for the dihedral brace is misalignd ?

If it's the former, I'd suggest gluing some extra balsa sheet to the root ribs and then sanding it away with a good straight-edge sanding bar util you get the parts to fit; if it's the latter then rework the socket if you can - if you can't, then consider building up a "bent" dihedral brace by laminating it from thin plywood slices that you soak & bend to fit (bend before laminating).
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Old 12-28-2004, 10:34 AM
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Default RE: Kit Building..

ORIGINAL: no1speshal

However, I just finished building both the wing halves and went to trial fit them together with the supplied dihedral brace. When I did, the two wing halves are misaligned forward and aft. I went back and repinned the wings to the plans to see if I goofed something up, but found nothing. The only missing pieces in the wings were two ribs and one of the 1/4 x 1/4 braces forward of the main spar.

Anyway, the wing is built and the bottom side is sheeted. Now what do I do? According to the blueprints, I did everything correctly. There was not a definite trim line for the two skins (inboard side of bottom sheeting) so I left them long. Now, I have trimmed to assemble and found this out. I am now at the too late side and looking for advice.
You did not indicate how bad the misalignment is. Is it an eighth inch?, a quarter inch?, More? The more Error you have the more obvious the mistake should be to find.

When you line the two halves together is the dihedral brace centered equally on the main spar on each side? Dihedral brace usually lines up at the same points relative to the main spar on both halves.

Can you tell if the main spar lines up correctly from one wing half to the other with the brace IN? With it OUT? Main spar should be in same position on both halves

The two halves should be mirrored copies of each other. Compare some accurate measurements of the parts you can see in both wings. The plans can be wrong!!! Hold the two drawings up back to back to the light and see if they align with each other (you may need to cut them apart to do this, if you haven't already).
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