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  1. #1

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    New scratch builder

    Hello, quick question, I am in love with scratch building.... I dont mind how long it takes and Im a stickler for detail. Newer to building I would like to start some projects/ plans from RCM. Only problem is, I dont have alot of money. So when I start I will not be able to afford the engine nor the retracts. How hard would it be to start building and add that stuff later? Im really poor as in a couple sheets of balsa a week or so. I was gonna save for the big stuff when I can. Im talking .60-.91 aircraft (miss kat brat..rcm). I also have plans for an f4 phantom nitro ducted fan I was gonna convert to turbine if someone at the club will let me borrow one just to fit so when I win the lottery I can bolt one in. I understand and hear alot that I may be over my head...I dont get any better not doing it. Its gonna be a long time... I hope to be a scratch builder for life but I see a dwindle in supplies... Ok so my question was not quick... I advise to not pay attention to my profile to 8yrs experience..thats how long I have been into rc, not building, less ARF's. Thanks for any responses.

    PS... I was thinking Balsa USA WW1's ex. Sopwith etc so I dont need retracts but I still cant afford a .91 let alone a dle 55, and I already have plans from RCM.

  2. #2
    Bill G's Avatar
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    RE: New scratch builder

    One thing you'll notice over time is that the larger scale builders tend to have money. You and I don't, which is one of the reasons I generally build at 50" span and under, more often in the 30"-40" span range. I generally scratch build often without plans, and I'm sure you'll find it to be an enjoyable area of the hobby. As for the notion of adding things later, scratch builders tend to be the types that want to have everything on hand before we even start building, as we tend to be a bit obsessive. I wish you luck with that concept.

  3. #3
    iron eagel's Avatar
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    RE: New scratch builder

    No problem building with buying a couple of pieces at a time, research the dimensions and mountings needed for the components you plan on using and plan you build around them.
    If you research all the parts you intended to use you can modify the plans you have to incorporate them in the design stage well before you start building, and you end result will be better because of it.
    Have fun with it!

  4. #4
    Moderator BMatthews's Avatar
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    RE: New scratch builder

    If you're that short on cash why are you starting out with larger and more advanced projects? Why not pick designs that suit your budget?

    It's also my experience that it's very tough to build something to fit parts that you don't have. Sure it's possible to find mounting dimensions and the like but that doesn't take into account that you're looking for a 3 dimensional fit and that other parts around these missing items need to fit around the shapes that you don't have measurements for.

    My advice is to sit back and evaluate your goals in a more realistic manner. This doesn't mean that you need to build small stuff. But it DOES mean that you should develop a taste for designs which don't require expensive retractable gear units and the like. But this shouldn't be a big hardship. There's LOTS of great looking scale or sport designs around that do not require retracts. Just materials and time.

    Buy one decent size engine which you can afford and go with it. These days there are lots of great 20 to 30cc gas engines around which are suitable for some nice sizes of model. And because they use gas and pre-mix oil they are cheap to run. So that offsets the purchase price.

    Also consider that if you start out with such an engine that you could look at alternative construction materials that could replace balsa and to some extent even the usual aircraft plywoods or hobby shop purchased liteply. The size of the designs that become possible and practical with a 20 to 30cc gas engine support using somewhat heavier materials provided some suitable changes are made to the plans to adapt to the heavier materials.
    Witty saying to be plagarized shortly.....

  5. #5

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    RE: New scratch builder

    I agree. Start with something that is a great flying airframe that doesn't require retracts or 10 servos. The Monocoupe 90A and Monocoupe 110 come to mind. Built both of them and they are great flyers, look really good, only need four to seven standard sized servos, depending upon if you add flaps. Plans are out there for all sizes although I agree you should look for something in the 30cc gas engine size since the fuel is much cheaper than methanol/nitro. There are also free plans online that you can print out for the cost of the ink and paper, rather than buying plans from a plan's service. You should also think about alternative building materials. No reason ribs have to be balsa. Dollar Store sells sheets of foam with paper on both sides that work fine for ribs and cost a dollar a sheet. Check out swap meets for balsa and ply deals. Titebond or Elmer's wood glue are inexpensive and go a lot further than a bottle of CA.

  6. #6
    combatpigg's Avatar
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    RE: New scratch builder

    If I were you, I'd get into designing and building 1/2A sized models that are limited to 2 or 3 channels and a $30 engine.
    Doing this, you will be able to satisfy your creative needs and possibly leave enough time in reserve for you to better position yourself in the economic food chain to better support your ultimate goals in the future.
    WHO GUNNA FEED MAW KEEEIDS..???

  7. #7
    iron eagel's Avatar
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    RE: New scratch builder

    After re-reading your post...
    While you can build getting what you need over the course of time, by getting dimensions for the parts you intend to use it is not that easy to get it right, I have been building model planes for well over 50 years and it's not a big deal to me to approach a build where I buy a few parts at a time over the course of the build.
    If you building experience is limited (you assemble ARF's not build them) and haven't built several kits, to select a P-51 or F-4 for your first builds is a bit ambitious. To go further if your experience with flying R/C is limited then you choice of build subjects may be even more suspect, you probably don't have the skill set to fly either, and to smash your first scratch build plane on it's maiden has been the end of the hobby for more than one person.
    The others who have replied took the time to do more than skim your post before replying, and I have to agree with what they say, start small and work you way up.

  8. #8

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    RE: New scratch builder

    Scratch building has it's own life, there can be no to very little time limits involved with this sort of building. You can build your model in as many stages as you want depending on your time and finances availability. No need to rush and just build it accordingly. As long as you are determined to start and finish the project and put little by little time and money into it, eventually it will get done. You also don't have to buy all the equipment needed right before you start the build, basically plan your model first and plan how you will commence what section first, then second and so on, by doing this, you will know when you need what equipment, tool and materials, so you simply get them then. There will be times where you could plan ahead also, then if you can afford to my stuff before that stage, you can do that also....so there you go, no strings attached as long as ur willing to do complete job. Welcome to world of scratch building, great to have you onboard.....
    I do believe in KISS (Keep it simple silly), but doesn\'\'t mean my models fall in this category!
    CUB BROTHERHOOD# 173

  9. #9
    sensei's Avatar
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    RE: New scratch builder

    I also agree that you are setting yourself up for failure by jumping in too deep too soon, this is allot like when we all were very young, we all learned to walk before we could run. So take your time and by all means start first with something you can learn to walk with, there is plenty of time for running when your ready.


    Bob
    Fly It Like You Stole It!!!


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