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Newbie to Scratch Build

Old 10-03-2006, 09:20 AM
  #1  
edmundp
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Default Newbie to Scratch Build

Hi Guys,

As I am relatively new to the hobby and to building I was wondering if any of you will be able to assist me:

I am looking to start building model aircraft from scratch but have no idea how or where to start. I realize that it would be easier to buy a RTF or ARF kit (already have one), but I believe that a great deal of fun lies in constructing the actual aircraft yourself.

I was looking for the something like this:

- Free detailed plan (not schematic) to build an electric aircraft (inclusive of detailed instructions)
- Nothing to complicated - I am very skilled in all things practical, but just want to see if I will manage first.
- Something for a beginner
- Electric

Also important is that I am living in South Africa currently and therefore find it hard to come by what I am looking for. Obviously I don't wan't to invest to much cash into something that might be a huge disaster.

Will anybody be able to help??? Any suggestions???

Thanks already!
Old 10-03-2006, 09:35 AM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

If you haven't built a couple of wood kits, I don't recommend scratch building until you do.

Reading plans and following instructions ( if any), making a BOM, and cutting wood are all skills you need before you attempt scratch building.

Get a simple kit of the type of plane you want to scratch, and start from there.

Dr.1
Old 10-03-2006, 12:18 PM
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greenskintau
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

I am in exactly the same situation as you, except about 3 weeks in :P.

I too am designing my first RC aircraft, and a few people here have helped me along the way. I shall attempt to give you an abreviated form of what I have learned.

Before you even start to design, mase a specification.
You need to work out what you want it to do: Park flyer, indoor, aerobatic etc.
Its greater purpose. You will be wanting a trainer to start with like me. That probably means a high wing design for stability. Mine is a mid wing design. (get to that later)
A few other things. Listed in link [link=http://airfieldmodels.com/information_source/math_and_science_of_model_aircraft/rc_aircraft_design/step_by_step_model_aircraft_design.htm]1[/link].

Design:
1. Powerplant. You either choose this first, and build the other proportions around it. If like me you have already got the engine, best start here.

OR

2. wing size/area. If you want to build an aircraft with for example a 1.5m wingspan and are as yet open about the powerplant size, you best start here.

OK, assuming you start on the secondoption. The next thing they had me look at was the aspect ratio. In other words, the ratio of the wing's span to its chord (the distance from the leading edge to its trailing edge at the root) I was suggested 1:6 or 1:6 to be a good target to aim for.

So, you have an idea of your ideal span? you just need to work out its chord in relation to the aspect ratio. OK, now you must calculate its area. I am assuming you are not going to do anything like tapering the wing towards the end, or sweeping it, as I was specifically warned against this as a first model.

Next you need advice (from someone more experienced) about the wing loading. This is basically the weight/unit wing area ratio for your model. An aircraft with a high wing lading will be more controllable on landing approack (less affected by wind gusts etc), however will need to come in significantly faster to keep control. A lighter wing loading model will be able to make a slower approach, though will be more affected by the air, wind gust, thermals etc. Smaller aircraft need a smaller wing loading to be able to stay in ther air at all, hence you must consult someone more experienced than I.

Now you have the area, it's time to work out your powerplant size. Again, you will need to consult others about this. Possibly the most important mating in the design is between your power and your wing. there are tables to work it out on the internet, but I dont know how good they are, there are members here with 30 years experience, and I'm sure a few will read this thread (and probably beat me with the stick of reality whilst their at it)

Now it is time to consider the other proporions. Your vertical stabilisers, elevators, fin, rudder, and ailerons. It may well be the case that you wont use a rudder in the end, just having a static fin. I gather it is common in trainers, but I have so far kept my options open about this, so I will leave it in here. I shall now direct you to link [link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_1941845/tm.htm]2[/link]. scroll down about 3/4 of the way and there is a superb illustration of the kind of proportions that were suggested to me.

Anyway, that is about as far as I trust myself to go without spreadin untruths, so I will add link [link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_4770546/tm.htm]3[/link]. Basically this thread starts at the point i had finished all the above, and it gets into the complexities that I dare not utter.

Good luck, It is a challenge but highly enjoyable.
Old 10-03-2006, 02:00 PM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

Like I said, start with a kit.

Dr.1
Old 10-04-2006, 02:42 AM
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edmundp
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

Hi Guys,

Thanks for al the advise - I appreciate it!

Problem is - I have looked around extensively and can only find something like ARF kits in my country - basic assembly, etc.

It is also important to mention that I do not wish to design my own aircraft, but to build the airplane from an existing plan and detailed instructions, i.e. manufacturing parts, assembling, paint, etc.

What do you think?

Thanks again.
Old 10-04-2006, 05:42 AM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

If that's what ya have to do, then go for it.

TAKE YOUR TIME!
Try to pick something simple.
Make a Bill of Materials from the plans or instructions.
Try to find a set of scratch plans that have building instructions with them.
Read each step completely and be sure you understand it. If not, ask.
Measure twice, cut once.
Make a "kit" of your plans and wood. Cut all the shaped pieces before you start building.
If there are no instructions, the usual logical building process is tail surfaces, wing, fuselage. Without seeing your specific set of plans, I can't help much there.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Dr.1
Old 10-04-2006, 08:42 AM
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edmundp
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

Thanks for the advise - I appreciate it, because I don't have a clue where to start.

Any plan suggestions for something simple? Any place you guys know of where I will be able to download it with instructions?

The most plans I have come accross is only the schematic and no instructions.

As you said - I don't wan't to start of with rocket science, rather bicycle assembly!

Thanks!
Old 10-04-2006, 08:57 AM
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ZoomZoom-RCU
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

edmundp, dont let anyone tell you "you cant do it". Sure the first few attempts you make might be "dogs", but you'll learn, and thats how. I suggest you stop into the 1/2 A forum and look at different designs, or request a few there. This way when you start off small, everything builds quicker, the parts are usually cheaper (ie. simple .049 surestart engine runs $7.00 from cox......4 channel reciever and servos will be around $60.00) and when you mess up you didn't spend a zillion dollars on materials and you take the guts and start over again. Also, once you find a desing you like and it finally flies well, you can easily scale it up then into something much larger, with the build dynamics changing only slightly due to the new size (ie different materials for spars/longerons....etc. If you look through past posts there you may see designs that you like, and it will help you refine/figure out what direction you actually want to go with you design. Its just a suggestion, perhaps you may want to start out larger, but I wish I had gone this route first in my learning/building process. It would've been easier. Anyway, good luck in whatever you decide and if you have any specific questions, throw em out there!

ZZ.
Old 10-04-2006, 09:40 AM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

Try the AMA and Model Airplane News Plans Services.
Old 10-04-2006, 11:02 AM
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Jigley3
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

Hi edmundp
I would second the kit idea. A mail order Kadet Senior would be a good choice because it is a scratch building course in a box. It is a training aircraft in more ways than most people realize. It is a building trainer as well as flight, and if you are past the flight training process they can be easily modified (Bashed) into just about anything. Build one of these and you will build an excellent foundation for future projects.

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.
If kits are not something you can find readily locally then the materials for scratch building will be tough to find as well. Good luck and happy building ..... bert
Old 10-04-2006, 11:35 AM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

Jigley3 has a good idea. If you can build a Kadet, you can scratch simple designs.

Dr.1
Old 10-05-2006, 09:01 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

True...true. Good advice.

ZZ.
Old 10-06-2006, 03:33 AM
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futaba7c
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

try the big stick, its alot easier, for starter the wing doesnt have dihedral,box fuselage and could be done by a first time builder, and it doesnt hane a cowling and canopy which would complicate everything
Old 10-06-2006, 07:58 AM
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rahtware
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

ORIGINAL: futaba7c

try the big stick, its alot easier, for starter the wing doesnt have dihedral,box fuselage and could be done by a first time builder, and it doesnt hane a cowling and canopy which would complicate everything
Forgive my ignorance, but isn't the Big Stick a "2nd" plane, not a trainer? I also have trouble with advising a Kadet Senior or Seniority to a first time builder/flyer. Great kits but a little advanced on the building side... How about a good old Kadet? Good flyer and fairly simple to build. And who could forget the Goldberg Eagle/Eaglet. Great builders and flyers. The Sig and Goldberg kits used to pack a 2nd manual that had great information about balancing and flying RC planes.
Old 10-06-2006, 08:34 AM
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CafeenMan
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Default RE: Newbie to Scratch Build

A lot of first time builders have sent me photos of their Kadet Seniors and every one of them looked pretty good for a first effort. Of course I'm judging from photos, but I saw no reason at all that the model wouldn't fly.

I see no problem with a new builder taking on one of these kits. Particularly when there are sites like mine and this online forum where a beginner can get a lot of help before he gets into serious trouble. In fact, if he does get into serious trouble he can get help to get out of it and salvage the project.

The Senior will teach you a lot about building and if you pay attention to the engineering you'll also learn a lot about building a light airplane that can withstand a lot of abuse.

- Paul

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