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Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

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Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

Old 08-25-2012, 05:34 AM
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70x7
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Default Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

...from StevensAERO.

Looks like a top quality kit that a beginner can have success with. Any pointers for someone who's never done this? I'm especially concerned about the covering. I scoured youtube for a good instructional video on covering and found nothing. There were several videos that claimed to be instructional, but it was if they all assumed that we knew what we were doing already. They seemed more concerned with showing you their ironing technique than telling the beginner about the basics. None of them (that I found) talked about iron temperature, how to make cuts, whether the iron should be socked, etc, the basics from square one. The covering that Stevens recommended (Solite) came with no instructions whatsoever.

I know there's trial and error involved here, but I'd sure like to benefit from someone else's trial and error when I can. Any advice?
Old 08-25-2012, 06:03 AM
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noveldoc
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

Temp setting is easy. Just play some with some scrap balsa and covering until you find the right setting for you iron.
I don't sock. But I do prep the non stick covering on my iron like a Teflon frying pan. Spray it with PAM, heat way up and let it cook in for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then cool and wipe off. If it is not slick enough, repeat.
Prepping like this really improves the non stick. You may need to repeat from time to time to prolong life of Teflon on your iron.
Tom
Old 08-25-2012, 07:23 AM
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karolh
 
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

Using a sock on the iron helps minimize getting scratches on the plastic film's finish.

Karol
Old 08-25-2012, 08:19 AM
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harlanb
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday



1. When cutting the balsa for your kit, cut a little longer, and sand down to size. You will get a much better fit.
2. Read ahead on the instructions and make sure you fully understand each step before you glue.
3. Before gluing make sure everything fits correctly and look at it from several different angles.
I had a kit that when I glued the fuselage together, it looked great from the front. After it was glued together, I looked at it from the back andI had a twist in it that was not visible from the front.
4. Make long sanding blocks with sand paper glued on each side for sanding.
I have a 1" X 1" X 12" piece of wood with sand paper glued to each side with spray on adhesive. 100 grit, 250 grit on 2 sides and 400 grit on 1 side.
On the earlier part of the build i have 100 grit on 2 sides instead of 250 grit on 2 sides.
5. The covering job on your first few kits will most likely not be perfect. Covering is part science, part art, and part magic.
I use a trim iron to tack the covering pieces in place then use a iron or heat gun to shrink it. When using a iron, do not press the covering down into the wood. have a very light touch with
theiron. This will make for a nicer looking finish. You can use a trim iron to lightly press down on the seems to seal them good.
6. When covering compound curves, do very small sections at a time 1/4" to 1/2".
7. There is a book called Tom's technigues that has a lot of good information for less than $20.00
8. There a several threads in the forums that have good information also. The search function is not the greatest, so be patient and keep looking.
9. As this is your first kit, you probably will make mistakes, don't get discouraged. Just work through them and make sure you dont make the same mistake on the next kit.
10. good luck

Old 08-25-2012, 08:21 AM
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Lamoilleriver
 
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

Solite bonding temps 175 to 194, shrinking temps 225 to 250 degrees F. Have no experience with this material, Google search says it is good for park flyers and such.

I've always used a sock, it does prevent scratches and provides some extra"pull" when sealing the perimeters.
Old 08-25-2012, 09:05 AM
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70x7
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

Yea, StevensAERO recommends Solite because they say it is 1/3 the weight of other coverings. I guess on a 1.5 ounze airplane, covering weight matters a great deal. I just expected it to come with at least a few instructions. Thanks for your help.
Old 08-25-2012, 11:22 AM
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

Just what the heck kit you're building?
Old 08-25-2012, 11:47 AM
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70x7
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

www.stevensaero.com/StevensAero-Piper-PA-15-Vagabond-Micro-Kit-p-20616.html
Old 08-25-2012, 03:48 PM
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

Over in t5he beginners forum at the top of the page are some stickys, RC Ken has a pretty good instructional video. If it isn't what you are looking for Ken also has a page called Getting Airborn. If you can't find it just PM him. Covering is one of the really fun parts of the build!!
Old 08-25-2012, 03:49 PM
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday


ORIGINAL: Gray Beard

Over in the beginners forum at the top of the page are some stickys, RC Ken has a pretty good instructional video. If it isn't what you are looking for Ken also has a page called Getting Airborn. If you can't find it just PM him. Covering is one of the really fun parts of the build!!
Old 08-26-2012, 04:01 AM
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday



Looks like a nice kit, have no experience with electric yet, just an old fart who likes to stick with his glow engines. Now understanding its size, I would definitely go with a sealing iron, you will be working in some close quarters. There is a learning curve in applying covering. Good Luck.
Old 08-26-2012, 12:59 PM
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Default RE: Got my first Balsa kit in the mail yesterday

First things first.... Open the box and take a nice whiff of all that balsa and ply Welcome to buliding... as I have read elsewhere... Welcome ot the darkside.. and we have cookies .

Some So-Lite advice:
Solite is difficult to work with if you havent used iron on coverings before. I have used it several times on discus gliders and it's great stuff. However, think of sticky backed saran wrap but very very strong and very very very light. Unlike most iron coverings.. So-Lite will stick to itself on the back side once your remove the backing andi it is very very difficult to get it undone. It being so light and flimsy a slight breeze or fan can cause disaster... (don''t ask how i know )

I have found it best when using a covering I'm not familiar with to make a small frame and give it a try. I did this with Solartex last year and it's by far the easiest of all coverings I have appliked. You can read but after that.. give it a try and you'll learn 3x as much.

Sharp xactos or single edge blades are the best way to cut covering. Also Put all you seams at the trailing edge or underneath so they're not seen
r

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