Tools and Supplies for Building Your RC Airplane Kit

When you purchase your radio controlled model airplane kit, there will be several additional items that you will need to get in order to complete the assembly.   Wheels, fuel tank, fuel line, propeller, spinner,and fuel fill valve are among some of the items that are not always included in the kit.  The hobby supplier, whether that is a local store or online, will usually have a list of what additional items each kit will require.

     Some of the things you will need are probably already available in your household.  Snap clothes pins, dressmakers T-pins, waxed paper and masking tqpe are some of the common things that will come in handy when you begin to assemble your model aircraft.  You will also need an assortment of glue.  Different parts of the model require different kinds of glue.  CA (cyanoacrylate) is what will be used for most of the assembly of the balsa parts, carpenters glue ( “TiteBond” is my favorite) is better for gluing parts that have a large surface and will need careful alignment.  The carpenters glue dries much slower and will allow a few minutes to make minor postion adjustments.  Epoxy is recommended for gluing any parts that are subject to extra stress or vibration, such as the wing center joint and motor mount rails.  You can select epoxy according to the drying time.  Some is 5-minute, 30-minute, and some have even longer set up and curing times.  Usually, the longer times will result in a stronger bond, but who wants to wait 24 hours to assemble the next pieces.  I use mostly 5-minute and 30-minute epoxy and have good results with both.

     Probably the most useful and important tool that you will need is the hobby knife fitted with a #11 tapered pointed blade.  You will probably want to buy a set of various hobby knives or at least an extra package of the #11 blades.  For making nice smooth cuts be sure to change to a new blade if it starts to tear or rip the balsa instead of cutting it.  Another handy cutting tool is the razor saw.  These come in a couple of different styles and number of teeth per inch.  It is handy to have a couple different ones.  Also, for cutting the plywood parts and any irregular shapes, a coping saw or a scroll saw is helpful.

     Another very helpful tool is a dremel moto tool.  There are many useful attachments available for these moto tools, but a word of caution is in order.  Be sure to follow all the safety instructions and be careful when sanding or grinding on balsa, as it is soft and it is easy to remove more material than you want and you could ruin some of the parts.

    Well, maybe you will have some time to order some of these items online or pick them up at your local hobby store.  It is always a good idea to know which radio controlled model airplane kit you are going to build so that you can learn exactly what extra items you will need to get.  More on that will be coming up in the next few blog entries.  See you next time.