Scratch Building, Aircraft Design, 3D/CAD If you are starting/building a project from scratch or want to discuss design, CAD or even share 3D design images this is the place. Q&A's.

new to scratch building...

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Old 09-21-2006, 10:19 PM
  #1
cochinito77
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Default new to scratch building...

hi guys im new to the scratch built scene, ive been messing with arf's and a kit here and there, but never scratch built.
how do i go about getting started scratch building? i mean i know i need a "plan" and some wood and glue but how exactly do i get the plan, then im assuming i trace the parts on some of the wood, and how do i know what size (thickness) of the wood?
any help for this newbee would be great..
Raf-
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Old 09-21-2006, 10:29 PM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

What size thickness of wood? If you built enough kits and studied some plans from the magazines, you would have a general idea of sizes of wood required to build a model. I would think so anyway.
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ORIGINAL: cochinito77

hi guys im new to the scratch built scene, ive been messing with arf's and a kit here and there, but never scratch built.
how do i go about getting started scratch building? i mean i know i need a "plan" and some wood and glue but how exactly do i get the plan, then im assuming i trace the parts on some of the wood, and how do i know what size (thickness) of the wood?
any help for this newbee would be great..
Raf-
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Old 09-21-2006, 11:30 PM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

Try looking at some of the free plans out there on the internet, or here in the forums.
Most of the good ones will have text labels next to the piece telling what wood it is. Check the plans at www.ulmer-rc.com and you will see there is text labels telling what the wood is, and handy tips. Sure it is a small plane, but it shows what a good plan is like.
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Old 09-21-2006, 11:37 PM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

what kind of response was that?!? i'm mostly in ARFS and a starter kit here and there at the beginning. im no rich money bags, i cant just go around buyin' and flyin' most of the time they were either handmedown cheap arfs or $100 arfs from world models and even they had the musical engine / radio gear trick done to them. the starter kits were .061 and a .40 kit. some of the plans i have from the internet are illegible, the standard AMA magazine plans are for 4 engine or something way out of what i want. im just wondering how the scratch builders got started.
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Old 09-21-2006, 11:48 PM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

A good plan to build from can make the difference in a good or bad experience. I would suggest you find a swap meet or ask club guys, someone is bound to have a good, old plan laying around for the right price (cheap). The better plans list wood sizes and some even have a building guide right on the plan. Studying plans is a good idea too -- you can always learn from the different building methods designers use.
To start just find a plan you like and get to it!
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Old 09-22-2006, 12:09 AM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

sorry kidEpoxy, you must have been typing the same time i was i meant to reply to jpurcha... thanks ill try what you guys said..
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:03 PM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

Quote:
ORIGINAL: cochinito77

hi guys im new to the scratch built scene, ive been messing with arf's and a kit here and there, but never scratch built.
how do i go about getting started scratch building? i mean i know i need a "plan" and some wood and glue but how exactly do i get the plan, then im assuming i trace the parts on some of the wood, and how do i know what size (thickness) of the wood?
any help for this newbee would be great..
Raf-
Experience with several kits first is a major help in this.

As a GENERAL guideline, measure the thickness of the wood from the plans, THEN USE COMMON SENSE.

For instance, wing ribs. Under a 40 size plane 1/16" is USUALLY adequate. 40 - 60 size plane, 3/32" and 90 size and up, 1/8" thick.

Here is where the kit experience comes in. Depending on the plane, construction style, how it is powered and how it is designed/or will be flown those thicknesses can change.

This is especially true with wing spars and whether you will use lite ply or aircraft plywood to provide extra strength.

Hope this is of some help.
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Old 09-22-2006, 02:27 PM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

thanks that helps alot...
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Old 09-24-2006, 08:05 AM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

I was working a scratch building website a couple of years ago. I guess I should have finished it. Scratchbuilding is easy all you need is band saws, drill presses, scroll saws, Cad software, plotters, printers, photo copiers, chemicals, more saws, a really big perfectly flat table, no make it 3 perfectly flat tables, lighted work benches, bench grinder, lathes ... oh hell just see for yourself, did I mention you'll be needing saws?











of course at some point you'll want some plans.

PS since this pic I have added another table and will add one more soon.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:16 AM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

Sorry about the short response, I'm just getting back into the hobby again. When I started in high school, there were no ARFs, and I built kits ... Midwest Sweet Stick. I enjoyed spending hours studying the plans from Model Airplane News, RCM, American Aircraft Modeler. I would go with Campy's reply as to the thickness of the sides, formers and plywood used. But it does depend on the size of the plane you are trying to scratch build? But why don't you find a set of plans of plane you would like to build and start with from there. Everything is determined already.
Quote:
ORIGINAL: cochinito77

what kind of response was that?!? i'm mostly in ARFS and a starter kit here and there at the beginning. im no rich money bags, i cant just go around buyin' and flyin' most of the time they were either handmedown cheap arfs or $100 arfs from world models and even they had the musical engine / radio gear trick done to them. the starter kits were .061 and a .40 kit. some of the plans i have from the internet are illegible, the standard AMA magazine plans are for 4 engine or something way out of what i want. im just wondering how the scratch builders got started.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:53 AM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

If all you've basically done is put ARF's together, don't bother trying to get into scratch building now. Scratch and plans building can be a much more expensive proposition than ARF's or kit building. You need more tools and time. Start building kits first to see the type and thickness of wood is used and for what purpose and for the size and type of plane it is used in. Try modifying (bashing) a kit plane. Buy some plans and study them and try you're hand at building from them. There's no replacement for building experience when starting to scratch build. Search the internet and books and read up all you can on model aircraft design, you will definitely need to do some homework here, i don't think there is really any short cut, otherwise scratch building will get very expensive when you see you're newly designed and built plane try and auger a fence post hole or the wings fold, etc. The reward for it all though is creating something new and seeing you're own creation (maybe the only one of it's kind on earth) fly, which to me, anyway, was worth the journey.
Here's a link to my current scartch build project. http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_4452331/tm.htm
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:30 AM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

Hi....

The best way to ease into scratch building is “KITS’ not the light ply just add glue and shake in the box kits, but kits described as builders kits.

A plane like the Sr Kadet is a building course in a box... The plane is a well documented flight trainer but the building skills you absorb during its construction will serve you well

A lot of the “builder’s kits” are nothing more than a box of wood and a proven design.
So as you build you learn about wood selection, dimensioning, doublers, formers, etc.
Work your way through a couple of these types of kit and you will have a real foundation of skills that will allow you to “scratch “a design of our own or one of those model mag plans that you’ve dreamt about. .... bert
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Old 09-24-2006, 11:36 AM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

thanks guys all the advice given is great, i never would have thought scratch building would be more expensive. i dont like relying on the manufacturer to charge 1 million dollars for a bunch of wood and cut up parts, but it looks like that seems to be the way the world is going. i guess the kits you all mentioned or maybe short kits would be a better place to start "learning" to scratch build. i have limited time and am looking for a project to take up a while, sort of "de-stressing" because i have twin babies that were born in august. so every now and then i need some ME time and going to the field and back is problably not going to sit too pretty with the wife. but thanks guys for the kind words, oh and jpurcha "fagetaboutit" i problably misread the response (sleep dep)
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Old 09-24-2006, 12:31 PM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

You aren't going to leap into scratch building trust me. I had been compiling tools for years before I started building from plans. Plus the knowledge you need and experience. One example is a template making process I have been working on for a couple of years. It's very involved.
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Old 09-24-2006, 01:21 PM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

Yes start building more kits first, in the meantime if you have an idea for a design that you would like to try building down the road. Try a program called Metasequoia, http://www.metaseq.net/english/index.html it is a free and easy to use and learn polygon modeller that can be used to create a concept model of your plane. I use this when i have an idea for a plane and want to create a 3D model quickly, which you can then tweak and redesign to your hearts content.
Also learn a CAD program, they can be a much more powerful drawing tool than pencil and paper. TurboCAD is a good one for newbies to learn. It is the one i use for drawing. TurboCAD V7 or later preferably.
Here's a couple pics of a model that went from Metasequoia to TurboCad to an actual RC aircraft that was built in 2 sizes.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:05 PM
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Default RE: new to scratch building...

I started flying in '98, built one kit (4 Star 60) then built my next plane from plans (Model Aviation Sweepee). I plugged my 4* into the ground in '03, the Sweepee is still flying.

The biggest thing I have found is that you must be prepared to adjust and improvise. I think my woodworking background helped me in some of the building processes. I'm building a Duellist from plans right now and it is going great. There are times when things don't fit or I get to a point where I have to adjust something and I just leave it on the table and come back to it the next day.

Having the right tools is definitely helpful. I've been getting by with a scroll saw since '98 and really need to break down and buy a band saw. Was cussing myself out this afternoon when I was shaping a block of balsa....it gets messy, the bandsaw would have cut my work in half.

Check [link=http://www.richuravitch.com/p&p.htm]Rich Uravitch[/link] he has some "plans and plastics" sets for some 40 size aerobatic planes. I have not personally built any of them but understand they are of good quality.

My Sweepee and a Model Airplane News Ringmaster (bashed to a twin) are pictured below.
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