Top Tips, some you may know some you won't, but they all come in useful,
especially if you're new to the hobby!
you have any great tips that you want to share with other modellers, then
send them to us at email@example.com
or to the address listed on our 'Contacts'
some ammonia, found in the household section of the supermarket.
Put some in a spray bottle, and spray both sides of balsa sheet
liberally. Carefully bend the sheet to the right shape. You can
even tape it to a form, such as aluminum pop cans, and let it dry.
Once dry, it may be used as turtle-decks, etc.Be careful with ammoinia
and where you are spraying.
an old (but straight) telescopic antenna, the same type as on transmitters.
Use it as an adjustable-length measuring rod to compare critical
measurements on planes during construction. I use this idea to compare
the distance from one wingtip to the stabiliser, and to make sure
this distance is equal on both sides of the plane. This ensures
that the stabiliser is parallel to the wing.
to pay attention to when learning to fly is control reversal. Control
reversal is when the inputs on the transmitter sticks must be reversed
when your plane is flying toward you, rather than away from you.
flying away from you, there is no problem, just move the stick in
the direction you want to turn.
new pilots become disoriented when their plane is approaching them.
To help with this, move the stick in towards the low wingtip. This
will level the wing when your plane is coming toward you, avoiding
a sharp bank, and possibly a crash.
Say your plane is coming toward you, and the right wingtip is low,
as if banked to the right. Move the stick to your left, toward the
low wingtip. This will bring the plane's right wingtip up, and level
me, triangle reinforcements have always been difficult to handle
due to their shape, especially if they're coated with epoxy.
sticking your Xacto knife loosely into one end of the triangle.
Then lay it on the bench so that the wide part of the triangle (the
hypotenuse) is against the benchtop. Now apply the epoxy or other
adhesive to the sides that will contact the airframe. Next, by using
the knife handle, insert the triangle into position in the airframe.
Press down with your finger onto the wide side that has no glue,
and carefully slide the knife out of the piece.
way you can cleanly install triangle stock, and not get any glue
on your fingers.
two ribs from 1/16-inch steel. Drill two holes along the center
line, one near the leading edge, one near the trailing edge, for
1/4-inch bolts to pass through. Make sure both steel ribs are identical.
a steel rib as a template to draw ribs onto balsa sheet. Leave room
around each rib. Cut each rib "block" out of the sheeting, and drill
the holes in each.
all ribs on the correct length bolts, and sandwich all between the
steel ribs. Using nuts, tighten the assembly down, making sure it's
using a belt sander (a disk sander will work too), remove the extra
wood around the ribs down to when the steel begins touching the
sander. Cut out the spar notches with a hand saw, and clean them
out with a file.
will make all the ribs for a wing at once, and they'll all be identical,
resulting in a straight, uniform wing. It can also be used for a
tapered wing (with all the ribs of different size), and bulkheads
and formers can be made using this method too.
plastic zip-lock bags of various sizes about 3/4 full of fine sand,
and seal each well. Use these to hold down large parts while building,
such as wings. The sand will conform to the shape of parts well.
They also work good when gluing sheeting to foam.
adjusting air-bleed carburetors (the ones with the little hole in
the front), a good rule to remember is the word "richen". Split
this word in half (rich-en), and when you want the carburetor rich,
turn the screw in. Of course leaning the carburetor would be turning
the screw out.
Knowing the density or weight of balsa pieces can be important.
It's especially useful when making ailerons or wingtips, because
you want the pieces to be "matched", which will result in a better
balanced and better flying airplane. To do this, choose balsa that
is similar in weight by weighing them on a gram scale.
you don't have a gram scale, use the deflection method: Take the
balsa pieces, and using heavy weights or sandbags, hold down a few
inches of one end of each balsa piece onto the edge of a table.
Make sure that equal amounts of each piece of balsa overhang the
a smaller weight onto the other end of each piece, and measure how
far each one bends from the floor. The one that bends the most generally
is the lighter piece. Using this method, you can choose balsa that
is similar in density. Keep in mind that if you build from kits,
you don't have to use the supplied wood if you don't like it! .
Superglue (Cyano) Tip
After using a bottle of Cyano adhesive for a plane or two, the tip
usually gets cured glue all over it. Remove the tip from the bottle
and soak it in a closed jar of acetone. Nail polish remover also
works, as long as it's the kind that contains acetone. After about
an hour, the cured Cyano will gel, and is easily peeled off the
If you use a neck strap on your transmitter, beware of getting it
caught in a rotating propeller! Some people leave the strap around
their neck and detach the transmitter while starting engines.
is a perfect way for it to get caught in the prop, especially if
you start your planes on the ground rather than a stand or table.
having the transmitter nearby while starting an engine is potentially
a hazard. When you pick up the transmitter make sure the strap doesn't
swing into the prop.
page has been contributed by Jeff's