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Don't have a clue

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Old 10-21-2011, 08:36 PM
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JW0311
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Default Don't have a clue



Hey guys, got a few questions. Fairly new to rc aviation and have built a couple of kits. Not ARF's. Have fallen in love with building and would like to continue with it. I have seen that kits are becoming less and less avalible. I'm being very truthful when I say that I dont't have the slightest idea how to start a scratch build prodject. Is it somthing that I even want to consider having built only a couple of kits? How would I start? Do I find a set of plans and send them some were to have things cut or do I do all of that myself? I so very much want to keep building, but I'm not sure what to do if all the kits go away. Any help or advice you guys may have would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

James

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Old 10-21-2011, 08:56 PM
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davidgeorge212
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

Scratch building or building from plans is not really that hard at all. I would definitely recomend building a few planes from a set of plans first. If you want to get more creative with your design you can change things as you go or as you get more experience in reading different plans. If you do some searches in the scratch build section there are lots of companies that offer endless numbers of plans. Usually "builders" plans will tell you every thing you need to know about building that particular plane. In fact if you want to read through a thread that deals with this topic, Gray Beard has created one: http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_10..._1/key_/tm.htm

In that thread, he shows you how easy it is to cut your own kit. Basicly with a set of plans, you will need either a scroll saw or band saw (or both) and you will be cutting out your own kit. Again, the plans will tell you certain things like which pieces are certain thicknesses. Then you need to go through and make a list of what size and thickness of wood you will need to cut all the parts out of and make a purchase of balsa and plywood. It might take some patients but its not really difficult.

There is the other option of outsourcing the cutting to a laser cutting company as well. With that route, you will usually send the company your set of plans and they will charge you what ever their going rate is plus what ever the wood costs to cut out all the parts for you.

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Old 10-22-2011, 09:27 AM
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JW0311
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

Thank you for the reply. I will check out Gray Beard's link. Thanks for your time.

James
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:17 AM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

Everything said is good information. Personally i would start out with something fairly easy to build. It will get finished in a reasonable amount of time, and build your confidence up as well as give you the satisfaction of scratch building. You will get a feel for what is needed and the amount of work involved in different portions of the build. Every time i scratch build something, i seem to discover different tools or ways to do something, so its an ongoing learning process. And i've been at it for allmost 40 yrs! Congradulations on your desire to scratch build & good luck on your first model....Gene
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Old 10-23-2011, 07:21 AM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

It really doesn't take that long to cut out your own parts. And it helps keep the costs down compared to laser cutting.

For thinner wood parts up to 3/16 thick most folks, me included, cut the parts out using the tried and true Xacto knife. Only with 1/4 and thicker wood do I switch to a saw.

Most of today's troubles seem to center around getting the shape of the part onto the wood. Way back when I used to use carbon paper. But the stuff they sell for carbon paper today is something else and it just doesn't work well at all. It takes way too much pressure to get the "carbon" to transfer. So for many years now I've just used the old method of laying the plan over the wood then using a T pin to poke holes through the plan. Then I lift the plan and join the dots with a regular pen. Straight lines use "dot pairs" at the end of a curve or "dot triplets" at square corners and a ruler is used to cut the straight lines.

All in all I can cut the parts out for most any model is less time than it would take to order from a cutting service. Yet many just will not take the challenge although they are fine with the rest of the building process. So I say just face your fears and give 'er a go at cutting your own parts. It's really not all that bad.
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:59 PM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

When I need templates, I get a copy of the plans at a reprographic place. They have no issues with making copies. If yours do, tell them you intend to use the copy for cutting up, not selling.
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Old 10-24-2011, 02:24 AM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

I've found it easier to use the "garbage" carbon paper with thin ply and use that as templates to make the parts I need. I've found doing that and doing the final shaping with a horizontal belt sander to be the quickest way to make parts I've needed for projects. I've also learned that when needing several identical parts, it's easiest to make a pair of templates and sandwich the balsa in between and use the horizontal belt sander to shape everything at once
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:28 AM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

Once you can build from scratch, you are almost unlimited. A lot of cowls and canopies are available for published plans and /or kits. If you have the plans you are good to go. Studying plans can teach you alot about designs. You might even design your own at some point. Those have been the most rewarding for myself.

Good luck in your endeavers,
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:49 PM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

Thanks guys for all the information. It helped alot. Thank you

James
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:10 AM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

I use the tracing paper method over the plans, then stick it to the wood using a light dusting of 3M77 or similar spray adhesive. Cut it out on the jig or band saw about 1/8" or so from the line and use a verticle belt sander to sand up to the line. For multiple identicle parts I stick the wood together with the spray adhesive, but again, only a light dusting. Just enough to hold a stack about 4 high together. Havent been successfull at doing any more than that and keeping them true. It doesnt take as long as it sounds. And I'm usually not in that big a hurry anyway. There are lots of methods that work and I would highy endorse building from plans. It opens up a wide variety of designs that were not available to you before.
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:32 AM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

First choose a plan which is simple. Parallel chord wings are much easier to make the ribs - you bolt a load of balsa blanks together with threaded rod between ply patterns and shape them all together. see my photos below.
Many modern plans have complex ply parts designed to sell laser cut parts at high prices! Choose a traditional plan with simple rectangular formers such as Ugly Stick and many Classic Pattern models, Kaos, Kwik Fli etc. Then you will hardly need a fretsaw. Just a hand fretsaw or coping saw will suffice. If you have to buy a saw note that electric fretsaws ( scroll saws ) are now not a lot dearer than hand ones! I have a bandsaw but never use it for models.
Ribs can be shaped best with a balsa plane at the first stage. Saves lots of dust. Just a sanding block will do you dont need a disc sander. A Permagrit sanding block is very handy aannd makes very little dust. Holes in balsa are not drilled but pressed out with a sharpened brass tube ( sharpened inside not outside ) which is rotated a little and can be held in a wooden handle as in my photo.

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Old 11-01-2011, 07:38 AM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

I sort of make my own carbonpaper when i need it by using a soft pencil on the back of the plan (or a copy) then trace it with a hard pencil just like with carbonpaper. Cutting parts i do mostly with very simple hand tools. even Landing gearparts of aluminium.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:23 AM
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Default RE: Don't have a clue

If you don't want to jump in with both feet you could try a "short kit". It will have everything that needs to be cut. You will supply all the sheets, sticks and hardware. I'm going to do this with a Zlin 526 From LDS

http://store.laser-design-services.c...products_id=70

Ken
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