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Old Oct 18, 2009, 09:03 PM
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Klamath, Ca
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The problem I have with building models is the lack of building materials. I still us Ambroid glue, cover my models with silkspan, and finish with dope. (Try picking that stuff up at a local hobby shop in California.) I still build them the way my Dad tought me, I just have a hard time finding the "good stuff" and have to purchase those items "out of state" and the suppliers are becoming few and far between.
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Old Oct 18, 2009, 10:21 PM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
craig_c's Avatar
USA, CA, San Francisco
Joined Apr 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papaoften
The problem I have with building models is the lack of building materials. I still us Ambroid glue, cover my models with silkspan, and finish with dope. (Try picking that stuff up at a local hobby shop in California.) I still build them the way my Dad tought me, I just have a hard time finding the "good stuff" and have to purchase those items "out of state" and the suppliers are becoming few and far between.
http://www.ambroid.com/Ambroid.html
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...?ProdID=AMB102
Though it says that they are "temporarily out of production."
http://www.amazon.com/Ambroid-Cement...6&sr=8-1-fkmr0
One of amazons sub-vendors says they have a couple of boxes left.

http://www.darehobby.com/accessories/dopethinners.htm

Maybe some of us should research some of those old formulas that used to be published in Popular Mechanics and the old modelers' magazines in the 20's, 30's and 40's. I remember seeing scratch formulas for dope years ago in an old magazine. Course the gun-cotton might be a bit hard to come by.... aw well.. a bit of cotton, a little acid....

Cellulose acetate butyrate
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_fabric_covering
http://www.eastman.com/Products/Page...list=Chemicals
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Old Oct 18, 2009, 10:34 PM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
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USA, CA, San Francisco
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Old Oct 19, 2009, 12:50 AM
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South - Africa
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When I was stil ay school we had to make and fit everything by hand, first saw it close to the line then file or sand it downt to the right shape or size - today I just send it to the laser cutter or cnc mill, but I find I still do the old ways when building models, I think they call it nostalgie or something. What I'm trying to say is that although I would love to have the knowledge of using dope ect and that it could be fun using "old" tecniques and materials we must acsept ( like we have to acsept the ARF's) that the materials and methods have changed and wil keep on changing, building withg tissue and dope or with FG and paint ..... we're stil building and doing what we love.
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Old Oct 19, 2009, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papaoften
The problem I have with building models is the lack of building materials. I still us Ambroid glue, cover my models with silkspan, and finish with dope. (Try picking that stuff up at a local hobby shop in California.) I still build them the way my Dad tought me, I just have a hard time finding the "good stuff" and have to purchase those items "out of state" and the suppliers are becoming few and far between.
Try Sig-ment, Duco (available at your hardware store) testers even has a wood glue that I've found at a hobby shop (of all places)! Silkspan is available at SIG as is Butyrate and Nitrate dopes. SIG manufacturing should be your best friend!

I've always found that the experimentation with new materials is fun and love to check new products out. I use Ambroids or one of the other similar glues when their attributes make them a good choice. However, in your case I wouldn't hesitate using carpenter's glue as a replacement, when I can't find Ambroids. Both Silk and Silkspan are still available and dope is available form many different manufacturers as well as SIG, try Aircraft Spruce and Specialties. Yep, your not going to be able to find these materials in hobby shops anymore. Hobby shops are for people into metal collectables, games and other none hobby items now-a-days
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Old Oct 19, 2009, 11:29 PM
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Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Joined Aug 2004
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"Hobby shops are for people into metal collectables, games and other none hobby items now-a-days"
Boy did that ever hit a nerve! The last time I visited a local HS (name witheld), They had the first two aisles filled with..... BARBIE!!?
I looked around at the rest of their overpriced rich kids stuff for about a minute and left!
Luckily I know where the real hobbyshops still are.
Mike.
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 12:34 AM
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Joined Sep 2002
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hobby shops have split three to 4 ways.

Craft stores. Where useful stuff like plastic sheet, paints, bits of wire, beads and suchlike may be had.

Toy shops. Which usually are minimum skill, minimum cost throwaway stuff.

ARTF vendors with the odd prop.

Trad model shops with Real Kits and Wood For Sale. A dying breed.

Mostly I buy online, trade, or at shows. I haven't actually BEEN in a model shop for a year..

Most of us builders have cupboards full of wood, covering, cans and bottles of exotic chemistry, tools and parts, acquired here and there when we saw them ..I've go boxes full of brushed motors, not a few brushless..props - I collect and make wooden ones. So there are plenty there.

I accept that there isn't a market for many real model shops. So I buy on-line.

When I design a kit, its on the fairly implicit assumption that the guy who is ordering on-line, hasn't got a nearby model shop either, so I try and put EVERYTHING in it. That means quality snakes, horns clevises etc. wheels and collets and wire.. And screws even. And acetate sheet or a moulded canopy, and ALL the wood.

That leaves motors props ESCs packs servos and recievers..all better bought on-line anyway, and we stock them as well..an covering stuff. Which we may well be stocking soon. We can do decals as well.

That leaves just tools and adhesives and paints.

The sad fact is that in a country (UK) of 60M people, there is really only room for maybe 10 really good model shops. I doubt there are more than 50 in the whole USA.

I think the sales of a typical UK model magazine are around 40,000 and that covers the WORLD. And at leasts half of those are ARTF only people.

There are not many builder out there. The glamour days of aviation have gone, and the days of building have gone, tho that may change if people have more time and less money n their hands, as looks increasingly likely.

Just accept it, and do what you like doing. It wont vanish, its simply not mainstream as it was.
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 06:47 AM
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Vintage1, do you have a gut feeling for how many total R/Cers there are in the world? For the US, and whereever else people have joined the AMA, the AMA has given out 150,000 AMA numbers. Certainly many of these numbers went to people who are now dead or no longer active. Then, do you have a gut feeling for how many of the total, build kits; or, from scratch? I have tried to ascertain a ball park figure on the above, but, know my methods were not accurate.

Still, I have a gut feeling that: for however many model airplane enthusiasts there are out there, 15-30% like to build form kits or scratch.
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 09:47 AM
Two left thumbs
Muncie, IN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage1
I doubt there are more than 50 in the whole USA.
When one considers that some of the major US shops have closed in recent years, you may be right, but they may have closed due to demographic shift rather than overall lack of interest. Here in the metro area of Portland, Oregon, we have five model shops to choose from, and the newest one is growing. It's actually ADDING building materials, not just ARFs/RTFs. Of course, businesses stock what sells, and that means lots of toys, RC cars, trains, etc.

In a year I'll be moving from Oregon to Muncie, Indiana. The big shop in Indianapolis folded a few years ago, but there's a well-stocked shop adjoining the AMA grounds in Muncie, and another one opened recently in town. I therefore don't think shops catering to aircraft model builders are dinosaurs just yet.

As for internet sales, smart businessmen will sell on-line whether they have a store or not. Having an on-line business can also generate demand for a store. RC Hot Deals, which advertises here, is essentially an on-line business, but the owner has a steadily increasing volume of customers walking into his business office wanting to buy stuff. He now keeps some stock there, not just in his warehouse.

Geoff
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 10:11 AM
It only takes one good idea
dag214's Avatar
Fishers, Indiana
Joined Oct 2004
6,062 Posts
Hey all,
I just found this thread, thought I would add my 2 cents, I am 46, and have only built 2 arf's and 2 small electric foam planes, everything else has been a kit or if I can't find the kit, I design it and scratch build it. I was the only one in my family that got the aviation bug as a kid. I feel that with the video games winding our kids up they just don't seem to have the patience to spend more than 5 minutes on anything. My kids love my planes, but after about 5 minutes my girl is wanting to play with her friends, and my son wants to play his drums. But I am luck both my kids love WPAFB and all the planes that are there. My present projects in my B-36, about 8-10 years designing and a year building so far. I really think kit builders are those that want a plane that is not available as a kit. ARF's are ok, but I like to glass my planes and add detail. I really wish there were more kit builders because it does teach a ton of self confidence, and patience.

Thanks, DAG
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 10:32 AM
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That thang is huge!! What power X 6= ? What is its' span?
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 10:37 AM
It only takes one good idea
dag214's Avatar
Fishers, Indiana
Joined Oct 2004
6,062 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mode One
That thang is huge!! What power X 6= ? What is its' span?
I don't want to hijack this thread with my project. I have a thread on giant scale electric. It will have 6 electrics turn 20-14 props, the span is 260" weoght will be 95 pounds.

Thanks, DAG
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 12:03 PM
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East Anglia, UK
Joined Sep 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mode One
Vintage1, do you have a gut feeling for how many total R/Cers there are in the world? For the US, and whereever else people have joined the AMA, the AMA has given out 150,000 AMA numbers. Certainly many of these numbers went to people who are now dead or no longer active. Then, do you have a gut feeling for how many of the total, build kits; or, from scratch? I have tried to ascertain a ball park figure on the above, but, know my methods were not accurate.

Still, I have a gut feeling that: for however many model airplane enthusiasts there are out there, 15-30% like to build form kits or scratch.
I'm guessing there are probably less than half a million active flyers and modellers world wide.

Of which 5% maybe are active builders, another 5% do sometimes, and another 5% have done and might do again.

Judging by our sales figures there are at least 1000 builders in the UK anyway, and very few buy more than one kit a year

We've got 880 customers on our database after nearly a year, including a few from last year, and very very few orders are to the same person.

As I said, UK circulation figures are about 30-40,000 for the main uk mags. if you take 15% potential builders, that's 4500-6000 potential UK customers.

I would expect the proportion per head to be a bit less in the USA, which is 5 times bigger than the UK IIRC so maybe 20,000 builders in the USA. If you can sell each of those on $100 kit a year, there's $2M turnover maybe. Gross margin about 30% to be competitive.

And that means shipping 100 kits a day, each one taking maybe an our of laser time, so you need a capex for 12 lasers and 12 staff to mind em ;-)

Do you want the WHOLE business plan? .
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 12:18 PM
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No, I am mildly interetsed in these figures, simply for my own curiosity! Since I've been involved in manufacturing the majority of my adult life, I find statistics such as I asked for, interesting. Also, I have been laid off since January, I look at all things with an eye towards maybe becoming a business. Right now, I don't see a potential living from producing model airplane kits.

Internationally, things seem different then what I see at the local level. My club and the surrounding clubs I have information about seem to indicate higher levels of building, somewhere around 25-30% at my local club and slightly less in the local area. Before you go thinking well, he does live in Minnesota and winters are long there, many in my club fly year round! However, we do have a good building season!
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dag214
I don't want to hijack this thread with my project. I have a thread on giant scale electric. It will have 6 electrics turn 20-14 props, the span is 260" weoght will be 95 pounds.

Thanks, DAG
The thread is about building model airplanes! Your airplane certainly fits the bill, please hijack away!!
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