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Building Model Planes from Plans and Materials

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1 Building Model Planes from Plans and Materials
By Bill Kuhl

2 Buying kits is convenient and saves time
Buying kits is convenient and saves time. If you don’t mind the extra work and time, building model airplanes from materials can save money. Many of the building supplies you can buy locally, the rubber strip and the propellers will probably have to be ordered. For this presentation I am using the Denny Dart II as an example, a drawing with dimensions is given.

3 Denny Dart II Flying Indoors

4 Denny Dart II Flying Outdoors

5 A Few Hints for the Building Process
Have the materials ready and available. Try to minimize waste. Students need to know that steps must be done in sequence and adequate drying time for the glue is needed. Planes must be kept light. Pieces must fit together well before gluing.

6 The Denny Dart II can be built from just two sizes of balsa; 1/16” and 1/8” when the balsa is cut from sheet wood using a “balsa stripper”.

7 Balsa stripper can be adjusted to the desired width of strip
Balsa stripper can be adjusted to the desired width of strip. Adjust the blade so it does not cut all the way through to the surface below the wood. Hold tight to balsa edge and push away from yourself.

8 After making one pass through the wood, flip it over and cut from the other side. This stripper sells for under $10

9 1/8” wide x 1/16” thick strips cut from the 1/16” balsa sheet.

10 Motor sticks are created by cutting 3/8” wide strips from 1/8” balsa sheet and cutting angle with a straight edge and a razor blade.

11 Covering Material Tissue found for gift wrapping.

12 This gift-wrap tissue was the same weight as the tissue I had ordered for model airplane use. Tissue can vary in weight considerably.

13 This 6” square piece of “Japanese Tissue” was the same weight as one of the samples of gift-wrap tissue.

14 This sample of plan page covering was twice as heavy as the tissue covering.

15 Another sample of gift-wrap tissue only slightly heavier.

16 Midwest 6” diameter propeller.
Propellers Midwest 6” diameter propeller.

17 Sig 5 ½” diameter propeller
Sig 5 ½” diameter propeller. The biggest expense for your model plane will be the propeller, buying in quantity brings down the price.

18 Push pins are used to hold balsa strips in place while the glue is drying, normally found where office supplies are sold.

19 Waxed paper is used for covering plans and can be purchased at grocery stores.

20 Ceiling tile makes an ideal building board to push pins through but three layers of corrugated of cardboard can work provided it is perfectly flat. Denny Dart II pinned to building board, plans are covered with waxed paper.

21 Single-edge razor blades can be found at building supplies and hardware stores.

22 I cut and tie the lengths of rubber to save time and waste later.
Rubber strip can be purchased in many quantities, I purchase one pound boxes from FAI Model Supply.

23 Glue My preference for students is to use the yellow carpenters glue because it is economical and gives off no annoying odor. Easy to find in building supply or hardware stores. Place a blob of the glue on the waxed paper and apply with a toothpick. Duco is a brand of glue found in some hardware stores, it dries quickly but does give off an odor.

24 Darcy Whyte uses the “Tacky Glue” for his building sessions for his Squirrel model plane. I plan to experiment more with this glue.

25 Glue stick is used to attach covering material to balsa wood structure
Glue stick is used to attach covering material to balsa wood structure. It can be found where school or office supplies are sold.



28 The mass launch is a fun activity for groups, last plane down Wins!


30 Have Fun!!!!


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