Old 09-25-2007, 12:23 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Arroyo Grande, CA
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Default RE: New Builder /Input on Kit and buying framing materials

If you are a new flyer, I would put the cub on the shelf for a while. It isn't a trainer. When I first got back in the hobby about 18 months back now, I scratch built a 3D plane for my first. I had build a lot previously but never flown one. One of the guys at the club took it up and checked it our for me and said it was a good flying plane and to take it home and put it away and get a trainer. I equated a high wing with a trainer and picked up a Great Planes 60 size cub kit. I opened the instruction manual and the first thing I read in big bold print, THIS IS NOT A TRAINER. I checked with the guys at the field and they also stated that it would not be a good trainer. SO I went the ARF route and got a Explorer 40 for my trainer. It's long gone as well as two evolutions of it that I built from pieces. I went to a 4*60 and it is long gone. I replaced it with a second one and that an my scratch built are what I fly now. The cub is still in the box waiting to be built.

The one rule of wood stock for scratch building is that you will not have the piece you need, no mater how much you have. The best thing I can recomend is to plan out the model you are going to build and caculate what balsa and ply you are going to need. Then buy about 50% more of it along with some other sizes and shapes. If you are buying sheets, the 50% more will let you sort out some better matched pieces for your project. I had what I though was going to be enough wood for a life time from a buying out a guy that was retiring from the hobby. That was last fall. I just ordered out another $175 worth to get my stock back up. Man it goes fast. Keep a good selection of 1/4" square stock as well a 1/16 and 3/32" sheets. 12x48 sheet of 1/8 lite ply, a sheet of 1/16", 3/32" and 1/4" aircraft ply. a few sticks of 3/8 and 1/2 tri stock, a few tapered aileron pieces (get matched pairs), and add in a few 3/8 and 1/2 sq stock for leading edges and you should have the basics for a lot of 40 size planes.

When you are planning you purchase, I use some butcher paper and make some 3x36 rectangles. I can then lay out copies of the parts on that paper to get an idea of how much wood I'll need. Once I got my Rhino 3D, I do it in Rhino and then print out the layout and stick it to the sheets for direct cutouts. Any Cad program will work for that, even some of the free ones.

I have bought most of my wood from Lone Star. They have a good rep so far. As far a buying from the local hobby shop, it doesn't stock balsa. I was floored when I went in to buy the wood for my first plane. I was forced to use the internet at that point. I have a 14" band saw, and I have ripped wood from old shutters for spars at times. That wood is usually bass wood, and if the shutters are old, like the ones I pulled out of my house, they are really dried out and not likely to warp on you. Just for what it's worth.