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FT Sportster scratch build


Aviation Enthusiast
Here I go again, another scratch build. This time I am tackling the FT Sportster. I have never had a low wing, so I thought this would be a good first. There is lots of curves in this one and it is challenging pin poking and cutting out the pattern, but it is coming along so far.

I went to Staples instead of Office Depot this time to print the plans out (full size) and they charged me $20 instead of the $7 that Office Depot charged last time. Next time I'm going to Office Depot as the plans are more expensive than the plane now!


Took about 1 hour to pin poke the pattern and draw it out to transfer the plans for just this sheet so far.


This should be a fun build and a fun flyer. Also this one is very cost effective as I am using the electronics out of my old Storch.


Posted a thousand or more times
have you tried just using the tiled plans? The point of scratch building is to save money. Putting the tiles plans together is easy and probably quicker than driving to a print shop. Then just use the cut through method, it will save you a lot of time.

Good luck on the build, the Sportster is a great plane.


Aviation Enthusiast
I haven't tried the tiled plans yet, I figured $7 to print out full sized was a good deal and it worked great for the Storch and Tiny Trainer, but Staples broke the bank at $20! The pin poke method has been working great also, plus it doesn't damage the plans so I can build more in the future if I want to or need to... Usually I can pin poke then connect the dots to transfer planes in about 15 minutes per sheet, but all the curves in the Sportster are time consuming.

Miss High Life here was the first plane I scratch built. I built her off of tiled plans. She turned out better then some of my speed build kit planes. Looking forward to seeing your progress!


Aviation Enthusiast
Nice paint job on the High Life!

I finished transfering all the plans using the pin poke-connect the dots method tonight, now just need to cut everthing out and fire up the hot glue gun!

Looks like 4 sheets of foam total.



Biplane Guy
"Pin Poke Method"

Step 1: Lay out plans on foam board

Step 2: Poke a bunch of holes along the outlines of the plans

Step 3: Remove plans from foam and trace the holes on the foam

Step 4: Admire your handy work and start cutting parts.

It's a pretty simple method. A bit time consuming, but it seems like lots of folks use it and it works well for them.


Master Tinkerer
I remember some sort of weird arts and crafts device like this... It was a cloth covered foam pad, and you could easily cut paper with a small, reciprocating needle that was all shrouded in a pen of some sort. I need to find it, because that would be magical!


Aviation Enthusiast
The "Pin poke method" is a little time consuming, but it is way faster than making templates and tracing around them, plus it is very accurate. Probably the fastest way is to just cut through the plans over the foam board, but then your plans are destroyed...

I find it relaxing to "pin poke", maybe therapeutic?


Active member
Pin Poke!

I also use the pin poke method. It reminds me of the old days in High School when I was drafting with paper and pencil. For me, it is all about the build process. Then, in the end, I have something to fly and crash. I get to put the electronics from the dead bird in the next build.

I can never hold the blade straight and end up cutting the slots pretty badly. To fix this issue, I poke the pin all of the way through the foam board so that there are holes on both sides of the board. Then I cut only the paper on each side. The blank can then be pushed out and now the slot is straight instead of skewed.

It also helps to use some smooth, flat weights to keep the template from sliding around on the foam Push Pin.jpg Pull.jpg board.


Posted a thousand or more times
I tried it the first time I did it but it made accuracy harder. I just print the tiled plans, tape them together, tape them to the board and cut through them. Making templates takes longer than the printing out new plans and again adds inaccuracy. It takes so little time to print out the part you IF you need to make a replacement part vs. making templates for every part of the plane that you will likely never use again.


Old and Bold RC PILOT
I use the "Pin Poke" method almost exclusively even for my own designs.

The only things to remember is that the plans must NOT be moved half way through the procedure or a very bad build will ensue and the FB must not be allowed to bend whilst you are pushing the pins through.

For my plans I bought a pile of cheap spring clamps which I use to hold the plan onto the FB firmly with the clamps fitted on areas where the FB is to become scrap or an off-cut.

With a large number of my plans being used over and over again I save a lot of time and get almost identical planes each time.


Aviation Enthusiast
Hmmm, the clamp idea sounds like a pretty good one. I usually just poke a few pins through on each corner and that holds the plans pretty good, but I like the clamp idea!
The fuselage it self isn't too bad. The Poster board is a PIA though. I initially used CA and found that it would only stick to my fingers. I used hot glue and that did the trick.



Active member
I'm going to "nerd out" a little on your build tools...Is that glue gun, razor and whatnot from the crafty kit? My glue gun has a little to be desired. I'm looking for a better one.

Wing looks pretty good. I'm looking forward to seeing the progress.


Aviation Enthusiast
I got everything off of Amazon. The crafty kit looks cool and you support FT when purchasing, but I had a lot of stuff already.

Adtech 200, best gun!
I use the OLFA knife with the ultra (12x sharper) blades, works awesome!


Aviation Enthusiast
Getting closer to done

Well, build season is nearing the end for me, I like building in the winter months and flying, kayaking, mountain biking, motorcycling...ect, in the warmer months around here. So, I am getting closer to finishing this build and will probably have it done in a few weeks and ready for a maiden.



Fuse done!