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Help! How do you make control surfaces with balsa?

SquirrelTail

Well-known member
#2
Hey! I'm looking to make an rc micro from a guillows kit. How can you put control surfaces into the wing and the tail?
Another small thing, would covering a micro plane with something like monokote be too heavy?
Monokote would be waaaayyy to heavy. I recommend buying Parklite as it is extremely light, and the easiest covering to work with. To make the control surfaces you have to cut them out of the wing and tail. They'll have Mark's on the plans to do so. You then add thin balsa sheeting in between the cutoff rib pieces on both sides of the wing to make it strong. And on the tail, you add balsa strips across the empty spot on the one side from where you cut it
 

"Corpse"

Well-known member
#3
Monokote would be waaaayyy to heavy. I recommend buying Parklite as it is extremely light, and the easiest covering to work with. To make the control surfaces you have to cut them out of the wing and tail. They'll have Mark's on the plans to do so. You then add thin balsa sheeting in between the cutoff rib pieces on both sides of the wing to make it strong. And on the tail, you add balsa strips across the empty spot on the one side from where you cut it
Awesome! Thanks @SquirrelTail! That helps a lot!
 

speedbirdted

Well-known member
#5
Hey! I'm looking to make an rc micro from a guillows kit. How can you put control surfaces into the wing and the tail?
Another small thing, would covering a micro plane with something like monokote be too heavy?
A good way to make control surfaces on micro planes is to use fishing line CA glued into place. 50 lb test line works fine for this. Or, you can do the very old-school sewn thread with CA hinge, which is probably the ugliest possible but most reliable method on this scale. You can also use the covering material itself, though it's notable that this will not work with tissue paper.

Monokote almost certainly won't work. Not only is it too heavy, but it's too shrinky. A very lightly built plane like a Guillows model will make it very hard to take all the wrinkles out of the covering film without adding all sorts of unintended warping to everything. With enough practice it can be controlled (and exploited) but it's a lot of work. A good covering method (and for Guillows models the originally intended one) is tissue paper. There are a lot of ways to do it, you can either use EZ-dope or rubbing alcohol diluted in water sprayed with a bottle to shrink the paper - the latter method is less effective, just a tiny bit heavier and requires you to seal the paper with something like a light clearcoat of paint afterwards but the advantage is dope smells awful and alcohol and paint don't. Keep in mind that tissue paper has a "grain" to it which will determine on which axis it has the most shrinkage. Also keep in mind that I'm really, really terrible at using tissue paper so don't take what I read as gospel...

You can also use Doculam. Doculam is nice because it's incredibly cheap (a 500 foot roll of it is about 65 bucks) and while it does shrink it doesn't do it at near the temperatures Monokote does or nearly as much. Doculam is a bit heavier than tissue paper, but still much lighter than Monokote. Doculam also takes paint well, from what I have read from others. I have personally never tried painting it. I am not sure whether you could make your control surface hinges out of Doculam as I don't know how it stacks up to something like Monokote in terms of adhesion strength (even though I would rather put a bullet in my own foot than build a plane with monokote hinges!) so I would test it first.
 

TooJung2Die

Well-known member
#8
Hey! I'm looking to make an rc micro from a guillows kit. How can you put control surfaces into the wing and the tail?
Another small thing, would covering a micro plane with something like monokote be too heavy?
I have a couple of Guillow's to RC conversion threads on this forum. Check them out for ideas on how to make the control surfaces.
Guillows SE5a Kit 202 Rubber Power to RC Conversion
Guillows Lancer Kit 604 Rubber Power to RC conversion
Guillows airplane kits are heavy. Use every trick you can to make it lighter. Especially in the fuselage area which is strengthened to withstand the rubber motor wound up tight. Monokote is too heavy and shrinks too much. My favorite covering film is 1.5 mil document laminating film. It's light weight and doesn't shrink so strong it warps delicate balsa frames. Aloft Hobbies sells it by the foot so you don't have to buy an enormous roll of the stuff.
New Stuff Laminating Film
You can also check out some of the other rubber power to RC conversions I did here:
Old Timer Rubber Free Flight to RC Conversion
One Nite 28 RC conversion
I guess making free flight airplanes fly RC is my happy obsession.
Jon
 
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