A lot of people that I have met think that they need a shop full of expensive tools to build a kit. This really isn't true. Having a lot of tools sometimes makes things a bit easier, but you don't â€śhaveâ€ť to have them to get the plane built.
Here is a list of tools that you'll need (most of this list is from the LT-40 instruction manual):
- Building board
. 12â€ť x 36â€ť minimum size. There have been lots of discussions on RCU about the best building boards to use. You can do search on RCU and you'll definitely dig up plenty of suggestions. The most important thing that you are looking for in a building board is that it is FLAT. Some people will confuse flat with level and spend lots of time making sure that the board is exactly level with the floor, but this doesn't do anything, you can have a board that is level and not be flat. The best way to tell if your board is flat is to get a 36â€ť-48â€ť metal straight edge and lay this on it's edge across the board from different directions. There should be no gaps between the board and the straight edge. A board that isn't flat will build warps into your wing and fuselage assemblies. So you want to spend a little time getting a flat board.
A good source for a flat surface is to go to your local Lowe's/Home Depot/Lumber store and get a 2'x6' hollow core door. They aren't very expensive to start with, but if you ask the store if there are any that are damaged you might save a few bucks. Usually the damage will be cosmetic and won't affect the door for use as a building surface. Before I went to a magnetic building system I would push the pins directly into the door, but it can be hard to push them in for some, so you may want to get something to put on top of the door to push pins into. Acoustic ceiling tiles (turn them over and they are flat without the holes in them) and sheet rock are two things that work really well for this.
-Plan covering material
. You want this to cover the plans with. Since you will build directly on top of the plans you will need to cover them to keep glue and epoxy from getting on them. A lot of people use wax paper, but I prefer plastic sheeting. Look for 3 or 4 mil poly-vinyl sheeting in the painting department at Wal-Mart or Lowe's. A roll will last for several years.
. #32 and/or #64
. Preferably a metal edged ruler. This will give you a good straight edge that you can use to cut with. You don't want to cut using an x-acto knife and plastic ruler.
. An X-acto #11 knife. IMHO you just can't have enough of these.
This is probably one of the best â€śmust haveâ€ť tools out there
-Single edge razor blades
. You can't have enough of these either. If you buy them at Lowe's/Home depot you can get a box of 100 and save some money.
. Regular and needle-nose.
. And a few assorted drill bits.
. 80, 220, 320 grit. You can use scraps of lumber as sanding blocks instead of spending money on aluminum sanding blocks.
A few of the â€śnice to haveâ€ť tools are a heat gun, and Hobbico slot machine (for cutting hinge slots) but you can live without them.
Ok, before we officially get going here I do want to point out one big difference in they way I build as opposed to others in the hobby. Most builders will have a board that they build on where they can use pins pushed into the board to hold the parts in place as they build. I used this method up until about a year ago and then I converted to using a magnetic building system. For instructions on building a magnetic system please reference, [link=http://www.airfieldmodels.com/information_source/how_to_articles_for_model_builders/tools/magnetic_building_board/index.htm]Magnetic building system at www.airfieldmodels.com
[/link] . My building table consists of a 24â€ťx72â€ť sheet of 18 gauge steel which is placed on a hollow core door. The door is what makes the building surface completely flat while this steel is used for the magnetic building fixtures. The difference between methods I will use and those used using pins aren't enough to really make a huge difference.
The other difference you will notice in the way I build is that I don't use the CA adhesives that are popular these days. I use Elmer's Carpenter's Glue (another good brand to use is Titebond II) for building. For steps in this kit like installing the CA hinges I will use CA, but for the main build I will use Elmer's and epoxy for the build. I used to use CA when I build, but I made the decision to switch to wood glue about 2 years ago. My main reason for switching was the fumes, they can be very harsh on your eyes, nose,and lungs and I just got tired of the discomfort. When you build with CA your parts have to be positioned correctly when you apply the CA, otherwise your part is stuck where it is out of place. With wood glue you have time to get your parts positioned correctly before the glue starts setting. Also, CA will make the wood it is applied to very hard and when you start sanding it can be difficult to get a good finish. The surrounding wood will sand away quicker than the wood with CA applied to it. With wood glues, the glued joint will sand just like the wood itself.
1. Magnetic building system fixtures
2. Magnetic building system
3. Magnetic building system
4. The very "basic" tools
Until next time