Building A Radio Controlled Airplane From A Kit

The next several entries in this blog will be about building your model plane from a kit.  We will cover what  tools and supplies that are necessary and some things that make your work a little easier.  As we progress through the kit building process, I urge you to ask questions if you don’t understand some part of this discussion,  That is why we have a “comments” section at the end of each of the entries. 

     To successfully build your radio controlled model airplane kit, you will need to have an area to work in where you can leave what you have done so far and it won’t be disturbed.  Maybe a spot in the basement or in the garage will work for you.  Some hobby shops teach kit building and have a shop set up just for this purpose.  Where ever you choose to do the work, make sure it is well-lighted and has adequate room all the way around the work table if possible.   If you don’t have a good flat  table or bench to build on, you will need to build that first.  

    A satisfactory modeling bench can be made from an old interior door.  Sometimes you can find these at garage sales or maybe a salvage yard for house parts.  Or maybe you can find a house remodeling project where they are replacing the interior doors and will very likely just throw the old ones away.

     What you need to have is a perfectly flat, smooth work surface, so if you use an old door, make sure it doesn’t have panels in it.  If you don’ t have a door, you can use a sheet of 3/4″ thick MDF board from your local building supplies store.  Cut it to about 36″ by 80″ or whatever size fits the work area.  You will need a work surface big enough to build each half of the wing while it is lying flat on the table.  A 32 in. by 80 in.  door is about an ideal size.  All you really need to set the door on is a couple of sawhorses, but if you want to, you can build some legs for your bench. 

     First, lay 3 or 4 2 by 4s on the sawhorses on edge.   Lay the door or the MDF board flat on the 2 by 4s and either nail or screw it in place.  Then using a good accurate level to check with, shim an adjust until you are sure the surface is flat and level — very important!

    You can glue some fiber ceiling tile to the bench to provide a nice surface to stick T-pins into to hold the balsa parts in place while the glue dries.  More on that in another entry.  Usually leaving the unfinished side of the tile up gives a smoother surface.

     Okay, now that you have a nice bench to build your model on, let’s take a break and next time we’ll talk about some of the tools and supplies you will need to complete your project.  Please leave comments and let me know how I am doing.  Thanks.  See you next time.