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Old Mar 08, 2014, 09:33 PM
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Joined Mar 2014
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tips/tricks on a nice rounded LE

This is my first kit build and im rounding the LE on my tail wing. Does anyone have any good tips or tricks on getting a nice uniform round edge. I seem to be getting it good in one spot and then another wont like so good so i go back to it then have to go back over the other spots. Thanks for taking to time to read and give some feedback. By the way the kit is the top flight p51 gold edition.

Jarod
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Old Mar 08, 2014, 11:35 PM
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Australia, VIC, Ferntree Gully
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Wood plane.
Then lightly sand.
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Old Mar 09, 2014, 03:51 AM
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Hampshire, U.K.
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+1 for the use of the plane (The David plane is very good), then make up a looong sanding block for the finishing off.
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Old Mar 09, 2014, 08:44 AM
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Plane, Black and Decker sanding mouse. Cup of coffee. Take your time.

Our mouse is on a dimmer thing and has variable speed. If you are in a hurry,
do something else.
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Old Mar 09, 2014, 11:47 AM
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United States, CT, Hartland
Joined Jul 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevorh View Post
+1 for the use of the plane (The David plane is very good), then make up a looong sanding block for the finishing off.
+ 1 on both the long block and the plane. The long block is key to getting the LE even. Work on the entire length, not just one section. To rough shape, I like to use a somewhat "diagonal" motion (relative to the LE), where I start on the upper surface on one end and continuously rotate around to the lower surface by the time I reach the other end of the wing. I do one direction for a few passes, then reverse and start working the other way. Once I get close to the final shape, I will revert to motion that is straight along the length of the LE to eliminate any diagonal sanding marks.

Also, when sanding keep repeating to yourself "less is more" This is a lesson I keep needing to teach myself over and over, but if you are not getting the results you are looking for quickly, resist the temptation to press harder, sand faster, or sand more. Instead, either change out your paper (because its worn), or just be patient and work slowly.
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Old Mar 09, 2014, 05:46 PM
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United States, IA, Rockwell
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I like to draw a line that splits the surface in two halves. Now I only have to sand on side at a time only to the line. do the other side and then a light touch up on the drawn line to even it out. +1 on the long sanding block.

Ken
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Old Mar 09, 2014, 06:11 PM
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If the LE is straight take a full sheet of sand paper, bend it over the LE and pull back and forth on the ends. Slide it along the wing as you go. Long edge in line with the span
The closer you hold it down to the wing the smoother the transition will be from the LE to the sheeting.
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Old Mar 09, 2014, 06:23 PM
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Canada, AB, Edmonton
Joined Oct 2004
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Lots of good advice above.

Also, make and use a template so you get the correct LE shape - which is not necessarily just "rounded". This is particularly important with larger sections.

As most things do, it gets easier with practice.
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Old Mar 09, 2014, 07:49 PM
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Corpus Christi, Texas, United States
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Since I just happen to have a leading edge that needs shaping on my 1/4 scale Tri Pacer build, I thought I would document my process here.
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Old Mar 10, 2014, 03:27 AM
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Excellent picture guide - and a nice wing too!
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Old Mar 10, 2014, 06:50 AM
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Traverse City, Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmackenzie View Post
If the LE is straight take a full sheet of sand paper, bend it over the LE and pull back and forth on the ends. Slide it along the wing as you go. Long edge in line with the span
The closer you hold it down to the wing the smoother the transition will be from the LE to the sheeting.
That's my method, too.

I use a plane, first, to get the leading edge roughly to size and shape.

The method is quick and easy.

Basically, it's what Terry has photo documented for us.
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Last edited by TomCrump; Mar 10, 2014 at 06:57 AM.
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Old Mar 10, 2014, 07:07 PM
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His "shoe-shine" analogy described it perfectly, much better than I did.
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Old Mar 15, 2014, 08:42 AM
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United States, TX
Joined Jun 2011
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I've always "eyeballed" it, but I admit, I like this method. I need to find one of those balsa planes (woodworking plane, not airplane).
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