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How do I smooth out my folded plans? Click here!

How do I transfer plans to my wood? I'm scratch building a model airplane, and I want the parts to match the plans exactly!

Several methods I use are:
1) Xerox copies of the airfoil from the original plans and glue temporarily onto balsa sheet with Rubber Cement. After cutting the rib pattern the paper copy will pull off easily as the Rubber Cement is not a permanent bond. This works well if you have a tapered wing form and thus require many different size ribs. [3M-77 adhesive has also been suggested, along with a stick of post-it note adhesive.]
2) Make a copy of the airfoil from a scrap piece of arborite (Formica or other thin counter top type material). Use this pattern to cut out the ribs, either with a sharp X-Acto knife, or Jig saw.
3) Cut out rib forms as in 2 above, stack a bunch of precut balsa rectangular pieces together, and hold them together with long blots (1/16 or 3/32 " diameter). Sand the rib shapes using the two outer rib patterns as a guide. The balsa pieces are like the Ham in a sandwich. This works well if the wing is a constant chord, and the majority of ribs are the same size.
4) A variation of #3 is to band saw out the rib pattern using either a paper pattern as in #1 or a hard pattern as in #2, as a guide. After sanding the outside of the Band Sawed block, slice the ribs to the desired thickness -- just like slicing Bologna.

With all three methods - sand stacked ribs (of the same size) to fit final pattern size. Hope these suggestions will give you a few ideas. Rod 


    I make photo copies of the plans. Cut them up and stick them directly to the wood. Glue sticks or 3M 77 spray adhesive seems to work best. Golden State RC

    I get an extra copy of the plans and use 3M spray adhesive to attach the templates to the wood.  With a little practice you will figure out just how much is necessary to hold the paper to the wood and still be easily removed.  Just be sure your copy of the plans is accurate (blue print shops do a great job, regular copiers can be suspect at times). Good luck, Chad.

Instead of using 3m or some rubber cement I found a post it glue at the local office supply store its use to turn any paper into a post-it type note. peel and stick type stuff its about 2.00 and comes in a Chap Stick type tube works great. David

    I used this method to scratch build a rubber powered plane with no wing plans into a wet powered monster.  Just laid the ribs on the copier and shot a copy.  Took the copy and re-shot it darker each shot until the wood looked medium gray.  Ironed the results onto the wood and started cutting.

     Get extra dark copies of the plans made and iron them onto the wood.  You want them as dark as you can get them and still have white background.  The excess toner will lightly transfer with the application of a hot sealing iron, your wood will have real cut limits showing, and you will have an extra set of plans to build on. Hope this helps--Jim Branaum

    Make a copy of the pattern, glue it on the wood with rubber cement or positionable 3M77. Dr.1 Driver "There's a Hun in the sun!"


    Just a note about the 3m77.  A newbie buddy was recently telling me about how the templates stuck permanently to the wood.  I've done this too.  All you need is a light dusting so you can peal it off.<g>  It works very good. Edwin

    I think I recognize myself here...  ;)  Thanks for all the help Edwin. To the original poster, also remember to stick two layers of balsa together with the template stuck on top (if you're doing a tapered wing) so you can cut and sand both wings' ribs to the exact same shape.  Be sure to keep the sanding block at a right angle to the rib edges.  When you're done sanding, pull the balsa sheets apart and you have two identical ribs.  And yes, go very easy with the 3M77 or you'll end up with homemade plywood!! Patrick

    I transfer plan outline to velum or wax paper then contact spray C-77 to the balsa and cut out as is. Stan

How do I smooth out my folded plans?

Use the iron and set it on Cotton without steam. Make sure the ironing board is clean, iron the plans face down on the board, keep the iron moving and you should be fine. Daytripper

I would suggest that you put a layer of paper towels on the board first, some inks will try to transfer when heated. Airplane plans on the ironing board that again transfer to white clothing is guaranteed to make MY wife mad. I expect yours will be of similar thoughts . . .Jim

I've found a little bit of steam is not a bad thing, and can really help smooth out the fold lines. The plans dry within seconds, and I have never noticed any lingering after effects or shrinkage/expansion. Whatever happens, let no wife know that we modelers are expert ironers!!! Frank

I iron mine right on my building board. John

Hummm, I've been gluing models together for a lot of years now and have yet to find it necessary to "iron" a plan. Maybe I'll try it on my next one. Just taping one side and carefully pulling the plan out taut and progressively taping has always worked for me.  Quinton




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