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So, You Want to Build Your First Balsa Plane? Start HERE!

JimCR120

Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
#21
My list is growing somewhat out of control at the moment. One thing that really needs to migrate to the top of the list is the reorganization of my shop and finding a way to store the planes. Smaller ones hang easily from the ceiling by the prop, but I don't want to do that with the bigger planes. A storage rack that holds the fuselage and wings horizontally should be made soon, along with building a better work table.

Soon...
Actually my workshop IS the project currently on the front burner. Oh a place where projects can remain out and unmoved until I can return, including... gasp... a solder station. I think in a week, though it won't be complete, it will be functional. Oh yeah, and a lock on the door.
 
#22
Well after 13 years away from the hobby and getting back in this thread looks to be great and have subscribed. I consider myself an advanced beginner builder, out the 9 or 10 planes I've owned only one ARF, that was my introduction into the addiction. I enjoy building and the satisfaction of the finished product. Building the EVA sport slowly right now in spare time at home, petty much watching everyone's documented build in the Fall Build Along Thread and picking up a lot of valuable information from others that is priceless...Thanks to those guys in the build along, you know who you are. I see the second post is reserved for types of glue and building tools. In all my building experience I had never used thin CA, the Loctite CA we use and acquired at work is a medium viscosity. Up until the EVA build, I experienced for the first time the gasoline like viscosity and instant death grip of thin CA. I pretty much built a fuselage for the EVA with a prominent twist to it nose to tail. Lesson learned not to dispense thin CA from the bottle and was my introduction to fine tip pipette's. Thanks to Brian at Mountain Models I was able to order just the balsa from the fuselage kit and go at it again with a little more knowledge and respect for thin CA. The corkscrewed fuselage will be finished as a static build with a University of Michigan theme for my Brother's man room, so not a total loss and I can still get the satisfaction of the build. So even though I'm not a first time builder (just a first time thin CA user), these kinds of shared experiences and knowledge would in my opinion be beneficial to the first timer to avoid total failure and discouragement to the hobby.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#23
Well after 13 years away from the hobby and getting back in this thread looks to be great and have subscribed. I consider myself an advanced beginner builder, out the 9 or 10 planes I've owned only one ARF, that was my introduction into the addiction. I enjoy building and the satisfaction of the finished product. Building the EVA sport slowly right now in spare time at home, petty much watching everyone's documented build in the Fall Build Along Thread and picking up a lot of valuable information from others that is priceless...Thanks to those guys in the build along, you know who you are. I see the second post is reserved for types of glue and building tools. In all my building experience I had never used thin CA, the Loctite CA we use and acquired at work is a medium viscosity. Up until the EVA build, I experienced for the first time the gasoline like viscosity and instant death grip of thin CA. I pretty much built a fuselage for the EVA with a prominent twist to it nose to tail. Lesson learned not to dispense thin CA from the bottle and was my introduction to fine tip pipette's. Thanks to Brian at Mountain Models I was able to order just the balsa from the fuselage kit and go at it again with a little more knowledge and respect for thin CA. The corkscrewed fuselage will be finished as a static build with a University of Michigan theme for my Brother's man room, so not a total loss and I can still get the satisfaction of the build. So even though I'm not a first time builder (just a first time thin CA user), these kinds of shared experiences and knowledge would in my opinion be beneficial to the first timer to avoid total failure and discouragement to the hobby.
Build, make a mistake, fix the mistake, repeat! :) CA is your friend, but it's a friend like Jack Daniels is your friend. And both can have a temper!
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#24
Major revisions to Post #1, trying to get the message and plan to flow better. Moving on to Post #2.

If I'm missing anything as I go along, please let me know. The posts will be constantly revised and changed until I'm somewhat happy.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#26
True. As I tell the guys in my department at work, I know they're going to make mistakes, but I don't want them making the same mistake over and over! That just tells me they haven't learned anything.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#28
Thanks for taking the time to share those tips with us
My pleasure, hopefully this will be helpful to people in the future. There is still a LOT of info I'd like to add as time goes on, but after staring at the computer screen writing and re-writing and re-writing I was starting to lose my marbles!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#29
MORE TOOLS

I am watching this thread and the posts about storage is interesting. How often have you started to build that elaborate and time consuming balsa build and then found that you suddenly need the same area for repairing your latest Lawn Dart?

The attached files are a method of not only getting a straight/perfect build but allowing you to move the incomplete work and even storing it without damage.
 

Attachments

Turbojoe

Active member
#30
Thanks for posting up the RCM fuse jig. I remember seeing that way back when. Never got around to building one. No excuse not to now. If I'm not mistaken they were later available on some website pre-built.

Joe
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#31
Thanks for sharing the documents! After some discussion with Crafty Dan I'm going to do something a little different with this current thread, and I'd like as much input as people are willing to give.

Basically, I want to get the great majority of my "how to" thread done, with links, pictures, rambling, etc and then copy it all over to a NEW thread to unleash it upon the world. This current thread would be locked and would fall to the background. The idea is that the shiny new thread is designed right out of the box to be a complete guide, while this one is currently heavy on the "what should I do" side.

So any input or ideas that people are willing to share will not go to waste, and I thank everybody who's thrown their $0.02 in.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#32
Just a question! Is the new thread to be a kit builder information and assistance post or will it go to the very depths of designing and constructing in Balsa?

If it is the later I have quite a bit of info which you might find interesting, including a How to for a FB wind Tunnel!
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#33
The big goal on this thread is to just help people make some educated decisions about how to choose their first balsa plane, as well as to inform them what tools are needed and some of the basics on how to build. I don't plan on getting into scratch-building or designing planes, but please feel free to create a post to explore those topics!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#34
The big goal on this thread is to just help people make some educated decisions about how to choose their first balsa plane, as well as to inform them what tools are needed and some of the basics on how to build. I don't plan on getting into scratch-building or designing planes, but please feel free to create a post to explore those topics!
before I answer your latest post I will respond to a previous post you made. The RCM Jig I believe spurred a myriad of clone designs but RCM held the copyright for their design and so it was always a little more expensive. As for the post I believe that with the number of readers that have QUALITY 3D printers I would hope that someone would redesign the appropriate parts of the design and update the materials to current day i.e. Carbon Fibre and then post the printer files for forum usage.

In relation to the designing of Model aircraft it is a HUGE topic with different considerations required for each new material used. Sure you can make anything fly with enough strength and power but the true designer will always turn out the plane with the best performance, and highest strength to weight ratio.

Whilst I will always assist where I can I do not plan to or even have time to "DOWNLOAD" a lifetime of information to those who are not really interested in how it flys but rather just in that it flys. Recently I received a "NIGGLE" from a fellow member who seemed to think that FB and Balsa were mutually exclusive and that Balsa was too heavy.:rolleyes:

As a result I am preparing a post where I make 4 different versions of the same FB design with varying levels of Balsa reinforcement from an ALL FB version to an ALL BALSA version. Then I will compare flight performances and weights. I doubt I will deliberately crash any of them to verify their robustness, though I will give them a serious "HIGH G" flying experience for sure. Once made the planes will be, (not being of my own design), gifted to fellow fliers in my local club if they still have any more room in their hangars.

I will watch the development of this thread and its daughter thread will acute interest.
 

TTF

PHD in Crashology!
#35
before I answer your latest post I will respond to a previous post you made. The RCM Jig I believe spurred a myriad of clone designs but RCM held the copyright for their design and so it was always a little more expensive. As for the post I believe that with the number of readers that have QUALITY 3D printers I would hope that someone would redesign the appropriate parts of the design and update the materials to current day i.e. Carbon Fibre and then post the printer files for forum usage.

In relation to the designing of Model aircraft it is a HUGE topic with different considerations required for each new material used. Sure you can make anything fly with enough strength and power but the true designer will always turn out the plane with the best performance, and highest strength to weight ratio.

Whilst I will always assist where I can I do not plan to or even have time to "DOWNLOAD" a lifetime of information to those who are not really interested in how it flys but rather just in that it flys. Recently I received a "NIGGLE" from a fellow member who seemed to think that FB and Balsa were mutually exclusive and that Balsa was too heavy.:rolleyes:

As a result I am preparing a post where I make 4 different versions of the same FB design with varying levels of Balsa reinforcement from an ALL FB version to an ALL BALSA version. Then I will compare flight performances and weights. I doubt I will deliberately crash any of them to verify their robustness, though I will give them a serious "HIGH G" flying experience for sure. Once made the planes will be, (not being of my own design), gifted to fellow fliers in my local club if they still have any more room in their hangars.

I will watch the development of this thread and its daughter thread will acute interest.
I would be very interested in reading this. I am currently working on my first balsa thanks to Joker and Joe. They went through many rounds of questions that have been covered in this thread. My main reasons for trying balsa was to make something that I didn't have an opportunity to do as a kid, and learn new skills. Building with various types of materials would be great to show off pros and cons.
 
#36
My first balsa build was one of those sad "I got it years ago and never finished" models, a 20-year-old 2m glider called an electrafly. its all made up waiting for the weather to unpants its self right now but I am already looking at getting that scale warbird... in my defence i have built wooden scale ships, so im not exactly new to all this.

i have to admit to being disappointed when there wasn't more to read. you've written this really well fun and informative.. good for you!
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#37
This project is far from done, but I just took delivery on a 3D printer a few days ago and everything else has taken a backseat while I get it assembled and dialed in.
 
#38
hahahah, so basically i am taking my first steps in balsa a field you are fairly experienced in and you are taking your first steps in 3D printing and area I am fairly excperienced in :p I would make a post about 3D printing but i think the internet kinda has it covered by this point :p
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#39
That is kind of the problem with the 3D printed world, there is TOO much information out there and trying to determine what information is actually good has been tough since everybody with a computer is an "expert"! Luckily, I know a couple guys with the same printer I got (the Anet A8) and have been able to get some good starting info. With a couple very simple tweaks my prints are crisp and sticking well to the heated bed.

Like starting to build with balsa (start with the Four Star! :) ), getting started with a 3D printer is a learning process. After having only a half-dozen prints under my belt I feel like I'm getting the hang of it, but know there is so much I can one day do to make the prints even better. I really want to learn how to do some finely detailed prints since I purchased the files to print a 1/4 scale engine for my Sig Cub, which could also be used on my Pietenpol. Dan Sponholz has the Model A style and I'd like to make both versions for the Piet. By changing the cowl it would completely change the look of the plane.
 

Turbojoe

Active member
#40
The 3D printers are getting more affordable and like you said maybe there is TOO much info spread all over the internet that discourages people. I'd love to see the two of you start a discussion thread in this building forum (even though it's not about balsa). It's one more building tool for the hobby that could be extremely useful. I'm probably not the only one that would like to read about and see solutions to questions. I'd love to have one but honestly don't know where to start and don't want to waste a bunch of money on the wrong printer.

Joe