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Balsa Sheeting Question

Old 09-19-2010, 06:27 PM
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Luchnia
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Default Balsa Sheeting Question

What is the standard thickness of balsa sheeting used for most standard 40-60 and 60-90 size ARFs, fuselage, wings, etc.? I notice some different thicknesses but was wondering what is pretty much standard across the board.
Old 09-19-2010, 06:52 PM
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TedMo
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

Determining a standard for all planes from 40 to 90 is a bit impossibl;e since s o much depends on type construction being used.
Old 09-19-2010, 07:05 PM
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

Tedmo hit the nail right on the head. How and where the sheeting will go has a lot to do with the thickness of the sheeting. I had one kit that had 3/32" sheeting that had to be wetted to apply on the turtledeck. The wood was hard and when it started drying out I heard a large "POW" behind me. The wood actually split violently as it dried back out. I removed the 3/32" and resheeted with a softer 1/16" sheet with much better results.

Let us know what application you are talking about and it'll be possible to give a better answer.

Ken
Old 09-19-2010, 07:48 PM
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

Thanks for the responses. I have repaired a stick built Stik and a couple ARFs and I always seem to have what balsa I don't need on the shelf. One of the planes I repaired was an AeroWorks Extra 260 QB and it seemed to have 3/32 balsa sheeting on the wings, but I did not really measure it...just guessing.

What are wings normally covered with? Or does it just depends on the manufacter of the plane? I plan to order some more balsa sheeting and wanted the bulk of it to be standard so it would not be just keeping the shelf occupied when I do repairs.

Old 09-19-2010, 07:53 PM
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

1/16" and 3/32" sheet balsa are probably the most popular sizes. 1/16" is used on lighter smaller planes, but can be very tender when handling the plane as it's easy to put a finger through it. 3/32" is a bit more sturdy but adds weight.

Ken
Old 09-19-2010, 07:55 PM
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DavidAgar
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

The ARF wings are covered in Monokote, Ultracoat and a varied amount of other coverings, once again depending on who made it. Some of them have a stick on covering like shelf paper. As for sheeting sizes, I would stock 1/16 and 3/32 for the bulk of it and maybe some 1/8. Most wings in the 40 to 60 size range use that thickness sheeting. Good Luck, Dave
Old 09-19-2010, 08:06 PM
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question


ORIGINAL: DavidAgar

The ARF wings are covered in Monokote, Ultracoat and a varied amount of other coverings, once again depending on who made it. Some of them have a stick on covering like shelf paper. As for sheeting sizes, I would stock 1/16 and 3/32 for the bulk of it and maybe some 1/8. Most wings in the 40 to 60 size range use that thickness sheeting. Good Luck, Dave
What Dave said!! I stock several sizes but these are the big three. I also have a lot of 1/8 inch too. When I build from plans and it calls for 1/8 fuse sheeting I may use 1/8 on the front part, then go to 3/32 then finish off with 1/16 so it tapers. There are different grades of wood too. I like what they call contest grade for sheeting. What Ken mentioned about having the hard wood crack things, I finally had that happen to me while sheeting a wing this year, it was the wood that came with the kit though and very hard. I get my bulk wood from Lone Star Balsa or Balsa USA.
Old 09-19-2010, 08:23 PM
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Luchnia
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question


ORIGINAL: Gray Beard


ORIGINAL: DavidAgar

The ARF wings are covered in Monokote, Ultracoat and a varied amount of other coverings, once again depending on who made it. Some of them have a stick on covering like shelf paper. As for sheeting sizes, I would stock 1/16 and 3/32 for the bulk of it and maybe some 1/8. Most wings in the 40 to 60 size range use that thickness sheeting. Good Luck, Dave
What Dave said!! I stock several sizes but these are the big three. I also have a lot of 1/8 inch too. When I build from plans and it calls for 1/8 fuse sheeting I may use 1/8 on the front part, then go to 3/32 then finish off with 1/16 so it tapers. There are different grades of wood too. I like what they call contest grade for sheeting. What Ken mentioned about having the hard wood crack things, I finally had that happen to me while sheeting a wing this year, it was the wood that came with the kit though and very hard. I get my bulk wood from Lone Star Balsa or Balsa USA.
Contest grade? I do want to order good grade wood. I like my planes to be solid integrity wise and I am not so much trying to get them so lite weight. I don't mind a few dollars more for quality woods. Some of the balsa is like tissue it is so weak and you touch it, there is a ding in it.
Old 09-19-2010, 08:29 PM
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

Contest Grade Balsa is wood that weighs in at 4 to 6 lbs per cubic foot.
It's quite soft, very light, more money and it's getting harder and harder to come by these days.
Old 09-19-2010, 09:27 PM
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

4 to 6 pound wood is practically a myth. But you can find, with some effort, good wood in the 6 to 8 pound range for wing skins and general building. Even at this weight, grain selection is important for sheeting that needs to bend. "A-grain" wood is very flexible, while "C-grain" is very stiff. Here is a link to what Sig has on the subject:

http://www.imperialrcclub.com/pdf/Mi...ood%200205.pdf

While balsa can be very dense, I seldom use anything above 12 lb stock and only very limited amounts in high stress areas. That's what birch aircraft plywood and spruce are for.
Old 09-20-2010, 06:00 AM
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

Thanks for the very good info. I definitely will research this subject more intensely now. If a minimum amount of additional cash for better grade balsa can make a plane stronger, then to me that is a good area to invest in.
Old 09-20-2010, 07:35 AM
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

3/32 turns out to be the most useful but the suggestions on having 1/16 and 1/8 for certain applications are right on. Contest grade is hard to find, does ding a little easily but is an absolute pleasure to work with. If you get stuck with a rock hard piece of heavy balsa either throw it away or save it for a special use. I too have used both BUSA and Lone Star and although I've had some minor disappointments they try hard and are pretty good. Wish they would find something other than balsa to fill those giant wind turbine blades with. Heck, one blades' worth is enough balsa for one average modelers lifetime!
Old 09-20-2010, 01:01 PM
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question


ORIGINAL: Augie11

3/32 turns out to be the most useful but the suggestions on having 1/16 and 1/8 for certain applications are right on. Contest grade is hard to find, does ding a little easily but is an absolute pleasure to work with. If you get stuck with a rock hard piece of heavy balsa either throw it away or save it for a special use. I too have used both BUSA and Lone Star and although I've had some minor disappointments they try hard and are pretty good. Wish they would find something other than balsa to fill those giant wind turbine blades with. Heck, one blades' worth is enough balsa for one average modelers lifetime!
They did but it's an epoxy based honey comb, supposed to cost less and be stronger? Contest grade isn't always the best wood to use. If you look at the Mid West wood sold even in craft stores it is very heavy and has no flex in it, sometimes it's the better choice depepding on where you are sheeting. When I buy my wood for a plans build I always order at least twice as much as I need. Over time I end up with a good stock pile and some of my builds I have no need to order wood. I always have wood on hand for repairs. Often using my own wood to replace the wood in a kit is a must do thing.
Old 09-20-2010, 01:11 PM
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cutaway
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question

I have used 1/32" sheeting successfully on framed wings as a part of an integrated structural design when I intended to cover the wing with a traditional doped silk/silkspan type covering. With a Nitrate dope prep and the covering fused down to the sheeting, the net result winds up being about as sturdy structurally in the air as 1/16 or 3/32 covered with plastics.

Obviously, such an integrated design depending on the covering to provide some strength is designed to fly, not crash
Old 09-20-2010, 06:15 PM
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Augie11
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Default RE: Balsa Sheeting Question


ORIGINAL: Gray Beard


ORIGINAL: Augie11

3/32 turns out to be the most useful but the suggestions on having 1/16 and 1/8 for certain applications are right on. Contest grade is hard to find, does ding a little easily but is an absolute pleasure to work with. If you get stuck with a rock hard piece of heavy balsa either throw it away or save it for a special use. I too have used both BUSA and Lone Star and although I've had some minor disappointments they try hard and are pretty good. Wish they would find something other than balsa to fill those giant wind turbine blades with. Heck, one blades' worth is enough balsa for one average modelers lifetime!
They did but it's an epoxy based honey comb, supposed to cost less and be stronger? Contest grade isn't always the best wood to use. If you look at the Mid West wood sold even in craft stores it is very heavy and has no flex in it, sometimes it's the better choice depepding on where you are sheeting. When I buy my wood for a plans build I always order at least twice as much as I need. Over time I end up with a good stock pile and some of my builds I have no need to order wood. I always have wood on hand for repairs. Often using my own wood to replace the wood in a kit is a must do thing.
Hope you're right about the turbine blades. We've got a blade fabrication place out here and they were still using balsa early this year. I'm going to keep my ears open about that.

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