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Balsa Building on the Road

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
It's sad to say that the balsa dust has settled in my shop for the past month or two. My job would normally have me traveling 2 or maybe 3 nights per week, but due to a shortage of employees in the field I'm filling in as needed and am now seeing hotels 3 or 4 nights per week. Tomorrow morning I'm out the door by 4:30 AM and won't be home till Friday around 5 PM. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the travel (in fact I kind of like it), but when I finally do get home I'd rather spend time with the family and not holed up in the basement workshop. So the planes sit. The Giant Stick, the big Cubs, and about 800 other planes, all collecting dust. Heck, I've still got about 20 balsa threads on this forum to catch up on as well!

What's a boy to do?..... Well, instead of wasting time in small-town bars at night or watching garbage on TV I'm taking the balsa on the road! Not the giant stuff, there is no room in my work truck for that, but there is plenty of room for a small-ish tool box and an Easy Built Models balsa kit. So I packed up all the goodies I should need, from a cutting board and sandpaper to a ceiling tile to build on, glue, knife, and clamps. We'll see how this works out. Normally I'll end up with at least 3 hours to kill at the end of the day, even more if I'm staying in the same city multiple days.

The big question I have is how the glue will handle Wisconsin's winter temps. CA would likely get condensation from the temperature changes, so that's off the table. Tite-Bond style glues may work better so that's what I'm going with in a small bottle. I may end up getting an even smaller bottle and leaving it in my inside coat pocket to make sure it doesn't get left in the vehicle to freeze.

Awesome! I once built a Goldberg Mirage 550 in a motel room while out at China Lake Naval Station for Mil-Std 2000 soldering certification. It was a two week ordeal and I stayed out of trouble the whole time.
Precision Miter Sanding Tool!! I love how that made it into the portable balsa building toolbox! I'm looking forward to seeing the progress on the Big stick and the Cubs!!

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Day 1 of trying out the road-building. I think I've got about everything needed to make it work, although the standard generic lamp isn't the best to see all the tiny pieces. I got to the hotel around 3 and spent an hour getting things set up and the first pieces cut and assembled. Now, time for dinner and a bit of relaxing before I call it a day. Tomorrow morning I'll get the parts removed from the building board and packed up until I can build again.


Plenty of pins, but none going through the actual structure itself.



Active member
I feel your pain, I’ve been so swamped with work lately that I haven’t had the lights on in my shop for the best part of the year. Thumbs up for finding some time to squeeze in a little building!

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Forgive me Balsa Builders, for I have sinned. :) For a while now I've been trying to decide what plane to keep in my work van to use while I'm on the road. It'd have to be foam <GASP!> as the covering on balsa planes would sag in the summer heat, but not foamboard with hot glue as it'd fall apart in the summer heat. I'm also not thrilled about leaving my Taranis radio in there (although I have a Turnigy 9X which I don't care about). I was leaning towards one of my Hobby Zone Super Cubs or maybe my Acro 90 Flyer until I ran across this new RTF setup at a swap meet today. For $50 it's a perfect setup and includes a disposable transmitter in case I decide against using my Turnigy 9X radio.

I've never heard of the Ares brand, from what I've heard it's specific to a certain hobby store chain. Reviews online tend to be pretty favorable, so I pulled the trigger. With a 54" wingspan it's a nice size to use at a park, football field, etc. It's also a bonus for me that it uses 3 cell 2200 packs, which I've got a ton of.

This is NOT taking the place of balsa! It's just going to let me keep up on my flight time during my travels. Regarding my balsa building kit for the road, I'm realizing that it really calls for me to stay in the same hotel room for two nights or more to really work well. Glue needs time to dry and I'm often up and out on the road early. The building kit will stay in my vehicle to use when it makes sense to build instead of fly. Best of both worlds! :)


That's a lot of airplane for fifty bucks. Even if the electronics aren't the best. Good deal. Did they have any more or was this a one time shot?
Ares is a Hobbytown USA brand. My 15 year old has an Ares Gamma. We put a brushless conversion on it and it’s not a bad flyer. It was a receiver ready, and we put a cheap orange receiver in it. For a cheapo foamy, it’s great. We bought the aileron wing model and bought an extra non aileron three channel wig, and he’s always just flown it three channel . He’s pretty much lost interest, so now it just sits. Regardless, not a terrible plane for the money.


Aviation Enthusiast
I have a Trainstar 4 channel foamie I travel with and it actually flies really well plus durable. I love the travel building idea, awesome!