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Old Jan 03, 2013, 04:37 PM
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eye4wings's Avatar
Ware, herts. U.K.
Joined Sep 2008
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I'm with Roy all the way - except the water. I have found that although it helps the balsa to bend it also makes it swell so when you stick it down to the formers it is a little over size. Then when it dries out you get the starved horse effect with all the structure showing through.

If the sheet won't bend dry use a softer bit of sheet rather than water.
But if using water it is best to strap the sheet down unglued until it dries out, then glue it down - but this takes a lot of waiting... which I find difficult! A heat gun speeds it up a fair bit.

If at the end the sheet will not take a double curve I slit it with the knife, lay the two sides down overlapped, then cut again through both sides.

Better over size than under so long as it can be forced to lay down and stick to the formers with rubber bands and pins.
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Old Jan 03, 2013, 05:50 PM
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mrittinger's Avatar
United States, MI, Roseville
Joined Dec 2000
8,862 Posts
Carve a foam or wood male buck and form the wood around that, then it will not have the starved horse look, nor will it have any potential energy.

Mark
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 02:23 AM
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eye4wings's Avatar
Ware, herts. U.K.
Joined Sep 2008
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But then you will have a lot of carved blocks lying around after the build is all over Mark. I already have a drawer-full of cockpit moulds...

If I was doing that in foam I would glue the blank on the model and cover it with waste paper, thereby saving the cost of balsa and having no bit left over at the end of the build.

I agree though that your suggestion is the theoretical best way of forming balsa - I am just a bit too ecologically conscious (mean!) to waste material like that when the wood gives up its potential energy within a few days anyway - and I hate throwing away things I have made... well, you never know when you might need them again do you?
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 08:14 AM
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Jim Young's Avatar
Brighton, MI USA
Joined Jun 2000
1,789 Posts
Some good information here. I've heard the same thing about not wetting down the balsa when you are gluing it, and I have some first hand experience of the effects. So to me, it sounds like you have to wet down the balsa and clamp in place, then wait for it to dry, cut it to fit, and then glue it down. rinse and repeat. So, it does not necessisarily sound any faster than planking, but may be a bit lighter.

I've also heard about the pattern and CL guys basically cutting a foam wing, and then cutting it up to make forms to build a built up wing. This is similar to Mark's idea. I've though about cutting foam blocks using the fuselage formers as templates. Then after the blocks are glued together a few swipes with a sanding block would give a decent plug for moulding the balsa sheeting. With this technique, I've heard that you wet down the blasa sheets, position them on the plug, and then wrap them with an "ACE" bandage (elastic), and wait for them to dry. Now you should have balsa sheets that will conform to the fuselage structure.

-Jim
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 09:13 AM
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eye4wings's Avatar
Ware, herts. U.K.
Joined Sep 2008
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Aww... too much effort Jim!

I start (from the outside) with the side sheet, glue on part formers that give the vetrical curve, fix the front (or centre) section to the wing (Pin fixing system) then add fus top and bottom formers progressively towards the tail, pulling it in as I go, thus giving it the longitudinal bend as well.

Very low wastage that way and soft balsa soon gets used to how it was forced to go.

Robin
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Old Jan 05, 2013, 05:27 PM
I eat glue
Canada, NS, Yarmouth
Joined Jul 2006
3,408 Posts
I've formed balsa sheeting with carved foam blocks. Works really good, and yep the darn things will be smaller if you cut them when wet! If you want you wet sheets to dry quic, stick them in the microwave, just don't melt the foam.
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Old Jan 05, 2013, 06:06 PM
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Basingstoke Roy's Avatar
United Kingdom, England, Basingstoke
Joined Oct 2005
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[QUOTE=baldguy;23722465 If you want you wet sheets to dry quic, stick them in the microwave, just don't melt the foam.[/QUOTE]

You've not seen the speed at which I work

I'd forgotten about not fixing the wood when wet, of course it's obvious!
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 05:05 PM
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Basingstoke Roy's Avatar
United Kingdom, England, Basingstoke
Joined Oct 2005
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It's been some little time again, so I thought it's time for a quick update of my progress.

With a bit of luck, some time in the near future we may have a second build thread from hear in the UK Won't we Paul?
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 10:22 PM
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Canada
Joined Nov 2000
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Planking IMO works far better than wet forming a balsa sheet.. At least it does for me :-) IF one uses sandable glue on the tapered to fit planks planks.
Not an easier method by any means, just one promising a superior result.
When done planjking: take a long stirip of fresh sandpaper one end in each hand and sand the hull 'Shoe Shine' fashion... perpendicular to it's length.. always
This takes out all the lumps/bumps and ridges.. perfectly...IF one used thick enough planking material ?? 3/16" min or even 1/4" thick is needed, as getting all the lumps out removes 1/2 or more of the plank thickness, especially if the preceeding work was more enthusiastic than skilled.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 02:19 AM
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eye4wings's Avatar
Ware, herts. U.K.
Joined Sep 2008
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Looks good to me Roy.

Nice fit to the rudder too - hope you allowed enough gap for the finish!

I find it's the corners where the finish wraps around from both sides that tend to bind.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 04:48 PM
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Jim Young's Avatar
Brighton, MI USA
Joined Jun 2000
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Looks like your method is working good for you.

-Jim
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 03:25 AM
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Basingstoke Roy's Avatar
United Kingdom, England, Basingstoke
Joined Oct 2005
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I have a confession !
I used planking for much of the under side.
It was just easier replaces

Must admit it is nice when she starts to look like an aeroplane.
All that work seems worth it.
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Old Mar 30, 2013, 05:19 PM
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Basingstoke Roy's Avatar
United Kingdom, England, Basingstoke
Joined Oct 2005
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I thought I best post an update on progress.

As you can see from the photos we've moved on a little bit the fuselage is coming on the tail cone, nose block & turtle deck are done.

Today's job was to make a start on the gear doors. Hopefully when I get back from the Toledo show, they should be well & truly cured.
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Old Mar 30, 2013, 06:58 PM
Depron Daz
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United Kingdom, England, Basingstoke
Joined Feb 2012
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Looking good there Roy!
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 09:00 AM
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Jim Young's Avatar
Brighton, MI USA
Joined Jun 2000
1,789 Posts
Looking good, Roy. I look forward to seeing you again at the Toledo show.

I did some repairs on my Meteor, and just got it out of the paint shop (thanks Larry and Howard). I just have to feather the new paint in and buff it out. I also have a new set of batteries. My main flying field is still closed due to mushy conditions, but I did get out and dust off a few other planes this weekend.

Jim
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