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Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

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Old 06-17-2011, 05:59 AM
  #26  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

It’s interesting seeing the different things clubs go through. Two years ago I moved from SE Texas and we had to mow regularly. Now in Pueblo Colorado and we never have to mow. It’s very dry here.
The reason not many people have tried the stand I made is because I would guess ¾ of the members fly either electric or larger gas, very occasionally bringing out a glow plane. The ones that have mostly glow still haven’t figured the advantage to the stand.
Of all the complaints I have read about on the benches, (other than the airplane rolling backward on the stand, which I solved) I guess the only legitimate one is: if the stand is on wheels the plane can pull it forward. This was proven when I started my Yak with a Saito 125. I stood behind the table and added full power and it began inching forward. Of course it wasn’t fast enough to mow someone down or turn the stand over. I just put a foot on one of the wheels to stop it. I’m sure if that was a big problem, chocks could be made for the wheels.
I’ll just say I think the best name for these stands is “Safety Stand” because this is the safest way I have seen to start and run up an airplane.
I will add that I think most of the “Haters” on any topic are the ones that post here where they can remain anonymous, or they just like to complain about everything. Most of the clubs I have been around are full of pretty good guys

OH, when I was building the stand I read a post on RC Universe where a guy thought they were dangerous because they tended to topple over when he sat on them.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:01 AM
  #27  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

If they are that inept, maybe a full face helmet and visor would be the solution.... I like the design enough that I am considering building something similar for my garage and rolling it out when breaking in a new plane/engine. Have considered mounting it to one of those table saw dolly's that have levered brakes on the corner. One change I would make would be to reduce the benchtop to 1"x instead of the normal 2" ...saving weight. I doubt that it would have so much use that it would need the full strength of the 2" wood.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:40 AM
  #28  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

I used one size of wood to make the bench easy to build and reduce the waste from scraps. I didn't want to need to buy different sizes of lumber.Also, the first benches we built were of a different design and the wood was too light, which caused a tipping forward problem with the bigger engines. This bench will not tip forward with most engines.

I don't know if you will get much of a weight loss by reducing the wood size on the top. If you have wheels, I don't think you will notice much difference. On thing to consider is that there may be a problem with PN 6 since it is long and does not have a lot of support at the tail end.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:22 AM
  #29  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)


ORIGINAL: Joystick TX

On thing to consider is that there may be a problem with PN 6 since it is long and does not have a lot of support at the tail end.

This is true and I would think that overcoming that with a brace would be possible. As far as the table tipping over (forward), the table saw stand would have the levers in the front where, when locked in place, would require the plane to tip the entire table over the locked feet. And even then, the table saw dolly could be weighted at the rear to keep that from occurring. I really don't have a problem with the table top being 2" thick, it was more of a thought than a suggested design change.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:01 AM
  #30  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

We have 12 stands for our club. One of our members used the original Meroke design and made minor alterations to reduce wood waste. We only have a few pilots who do not use them. Some of them fly really big stuff that will not fit. The others just prefer starting on the ground for reasons of their own. They do not "knock" the stands, they just don't use them.

As you stated in the first post: The stands do not create safety and they do not create a hazard. Our own actions control this.
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:19 PM
  #31  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

I have been periodically checking the finish on the benches to see how it is holding up. Seems to be doing okay as far as the areas where the fuel and exhaust are concerned. The spar varnish has started to peel on some of them and not just in the fuel soaked areas. Could be that it was put on too thick, or the second coat was put on too soon. It may also be due to the amount of sun and high temps. that we get here.

Will try to get a couple more coats of varnish on them before the weather gets really bad.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:21 PM
  #32  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

I am 76 years old, and my legs do not have the strength to get up out of a chair or off the ground with out using my arms. I requested at my club to be able to put a starting bench at the field that I would build my self. I stated that any one could use it as long as I was not flying, when I flew I would use the bench, club agreed to this. We now have seven benches at the field and all are being use, the club payed for six of the benches and I think there will some more made.
One of our members went to a local lumber yard with his trailer, and asked to look at lumber that yard had rejected for sale, he got his trailer loaded with enough treated lumber for the six benches for about three hundred dollars, we also put wheels on the benches they can be moved by the field mower.


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Old 11-12-2011, 11:19 PM
  #33  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Hers some pics. of mine. I have recently changed clubs and on the new clubs website I couldnt see any startup benches and having a bad back having stuff on the ground isnt a option, so with a walker and some steel and a bit of welding skill here u have it. The walker was free ,steel and powdercoating about $50 worth, here it is, its adjustable folds up in one piece to fit on the back seat, sturdy as. In case you havent noticed Im rather proud of myself. If theres any questions feel free and not meaning to hijack anyones thread but thought its another option for someone. Cheers the pope
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Old 11-13-2011, 04:52 AM
  #34  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

The pope - Looks like you did a lot of thinking to convert a walker into a starting stand. I love it. Looks like a factory made job.

I caught a lot of flack about my portable cart made from a dolly. Some people said it was not "safe" because it was too light. I have been using it for several years and have never had a problem. Of course, I don't run a 100 cc, 30 lb airplane at wide open throttle on it either. One needs to use common sense in this hobby

I like to see mods and improvements to designs to make them better, cheaper, easier to use, etc. A lot of the designs need to follow function or comply with the rules or requirements at the local flying field.
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:50 AM
  #35  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

The spar varnish may be coming off because the treated wood wasn't completely dry when painted. Takes that wood a long time to dry out. The sun will pull the moisture to the surface. We have some of the Meroke type stands. They work well but will twist along the single board for the tailwheel.
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:41 AM
  #36  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

The wood we used on thesewas not treated. It was also dry. We used treated lumber for the first benches we builtand they started to rot after five years. That was about the same amount of time we got with the original untreated ones that were painted with epoxy paint. I hope the spar varnish will help them hold up a little longer.

It is strange that we have treated lumber on some walkways that has beenon the groundfor about eight years that is still good.

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Old 11-28-2011, 02:20 PM
  #37  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

We just built two of your design stands this past weekend. I'll get to try them this coming weekend weather permitting.
We (Chesapeake Bay RC, www.crabrag.com) have several of the Meroke style but I wanted to try something different. So far they seem popular but you can never tell.
One addition. In an earlier post, you made a comment about glow drivers. We took a 3/4 inch PVC pipe cap, drilled a hole in the "top" and two holes across from each other in the side then mounted it upside down on the outside of the uprights. A glow driver drops into the "glow driver holder". The two opposing holes are for the screw to hold them and to allow a screwdriver to drive the screw. Cheap and fuctional.

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Old 11-28-2011, 05:20 PM
  #38  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Ray, the glow plug holder sounds like a good idea. We don't have many nitro planes left at our field, seems like gas and electric have been taking over in the few years.

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Old 11-29-2011, 07:19 AM
  #39  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

At my field there are several. I even have one at home to do fine tuning on. I run gas now a days and when theres no one there to hold my plane for starting it's nice to set it on the stand. I don't like tie down type restraints because of the size and don't want the damage of a strap around the tail surfaces of a scale plane.
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:43 AM
  #40  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)


ORIGINAL: Joystick TX

It has been almost six months since the new benches were completed. The spar varnish is holding up well under the gas, nitro, rain, and sunshine. They still look like new.
Update - The benches have now been out in the sun, rain, ice, and a little snow, for over a year now. The finish is starting to peel on some of them, it may have been put on too thick. Anyway, they will need a new coat of varnish in the spring.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:49 AM
  #41  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

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Old 02-18-2012, 06:41 AM
  #42  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Don,

I emailed the plans to you last night. Sent both formats, MS Word and pdf, Let me know how things go.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:01 AM
  #43  
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Made a minor revision to the plans, added 1-3/4" to the length of PN 6.PN 6 is the board in the center of the bench. At our field I just moved it a few inches to the rear on some of our benches. Still trying to find the optimum size for that part. I have a pdf of the revised plans, but for some reason RCU won't let me upload it. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

If you have an old design, or if you need more length, you can move PN 6 up to 5" to the rear as shown in the picture below.

Found out that my upload problem was due to an Internet Explorer problem. Switched over to Chrome.

Here are the revised plans along with the design goals:
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:55 AM
  #44  
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The December issue of Model Aviation magazine shows a picture of this starting bench in Dave Gee's "Safety Comes First" column. Another way to get the plans is to guess the aircraft this month. His article calls it an "engine-test table" or "test stand."

Post #43 above has the July 2013 revision which is the latest as of right now.
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Old 04-24-2014, 05:12 AM
  #45  
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Default Large version of this style bench

Here are the plans for a larger, up to 1/4 scale aircraft, bench.

I have not constructed one of these yet, our field already has a large bench, so there may be some minor problems in the plans. If you notice any errors please let me know.

The plans for the latest revision of regular bench are also included along with the design goals.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:24 AM
  #46  
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We have several at our field and I can tell you yours are much nicer in fact, they are the best design I have seen. I can't imagine why anyone would not like a safety bench, they make starting and adjustments much easier than fiddling around on the ground. We even use ours for some of the larger electric models when programming ESC's and making other adjustments. To me anyone who does not like starting benches, especially ones as nice as yours, have rocks in their heads.
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:30 PM
  #47  
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Topspin, I appreciate the feedback.

I was against using them for some of the larger aircraft at first, but now that I'm flying bigger planes, I find that there are a lot of advantages to having the big planes at a higher level to do carb adjustments, etc.
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:36 PM
  #48  
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Default Another Starting Bench Option

I'm a firm believer in this type of starting bench, as I've had back surgery which - along with old age and excess weight - keeps me from getting down (and UP!!) from the ground as another poster mentioned. I've enjoyed reading through this thread tonight, so I thought I'd share a few photos of the type of starting benches used extensively here in the Southeast.

These benches are from four different model fields located in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. All are very similar, and the primary building material is 2x6s. The tripod design makes them inherently stable and guarantees that all legs are always solidly in contact with the ground. The bench in photo #2 is brand new, while #1 & #3 have been out in the weather for years. Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are raw wood, while #4 is painted. The wheels on #2 make it a snap to move for mowing, while the rear 2x6 vertical leg and the weight hold it firmly in place. The aircraft shown are 60-size SPA pattern planes with wingspans of approximately 65" powered by OS 91 and 95 4-stroke engines. I have NEVER seen any bench of this type moved by an aircraft.

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Old 01-02-2015, 03:27 AM
  #49  
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Normally, 2X pressure treated wood is not rated for ground contact. All cut ends should be treated with a preservative prior to finishing. Some boards have soft pithy areas that will rot quickly even if not contacting ground. You frequently see that in deck surfaces and carpenter bees will bore through those areas too. Most of the lumber is pretty wet when you buy it and should be allowed to "season" for several months in dry weather before painting or applying other surface coatings. Or, buy the wood ahead of time and sticker stack it inside or off the ground outside under cover that allows free air flow around the wood.

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Old 01-02-2015, 07:01 AM
  #50  
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Jim, the benches you are showing are the old "Meroke Style" benches that we also used for several years at our field. That style was in use at a lot of fields for many years and we appreciated having them. They were great at the time, but they could use updating. As mentioned at the start of this thread, they are the ones we had problems with which prompted me to come up with a new style to address the issues with that style of bench. The number one issue was the lack of space on the top, that is why many clubs made "mods" to the bench to accommodate that shortcoming. The second issue was the problem with the bench tipping forward. While you have not had that problem, many other people, myself included as well as several of the members at my club and other clubs, have had a problem with that. Treated lumber must be used on the Meroke benches to prevent them from tipping forward; untreated lumber is too light. Some of the other issues with the old benches were the complexity of the design, cuts required, and the different sizes of lumber required as well as the waste (and increased costs) due to scraps.

I spent a lot of time working with the club members at my field, and several surrounding fields, to come up with a list of "design goals" to address what they would want in an "ideal" bench. I feel that my design meets these requirements.

Many people have said that the four-leg design would be unstable, that is simply not true. If the bench is built as designed, it will have enough "flex" to adapt to uneven ground. If you place one leg over a hole, of course the bench will not be stable, so there are limits. We have all our benches on a grass area that is pretty rough and have never had a problem. Other clubs that are using this design have not reported any problems either.

My design does not have wheels. It is designed to not require wheels, the legs are angled and also have a taper on the ends to allow the bench to be dragged forward or backward without "digging in" like the old style benches with the vertical front and rear legs. The cost saving of not having wheels added up to the cost of a bench at our club. I frequently move the benches for the mowers. I am 72 years old and have had two back surgeries, so they are not that hard to move. Of course, wheels can be added to make the moving easier, but that will add to the cost and complexity of the bench.

While you may be married to the old style benches, I can tell you that not one of our 150 plus members have requested that we go back to the old style benches.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve my design, I would appreciate hearing them.
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