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Old Jun 26, 2012, 10:18 AM
Pzl
K2PZL
United States, NY, Albany
Joined May 2012
30 Posts
Discussion
Bulk buys: newbie preparing for the long haul

So after having flown a sim for weeks, then buying a trainer, building a profile foamie, then building a UM-mustang replica out of pink XPS foam, crashing them all, repairing them, and happily putting them right back in the air the next day, I think I'm not one of those fly-crash-quit guys that frequent the hobby.

But the thing is, being a noob, I have no tools or stocked up materials or scraps.
I have maybe a dozen sheets of dollar store foamboard and probably enough 2" pink XPS foam (two 9' boards of 2" was like $15 total, why not cut off as needed? Seemed like a deal).


I'm the kind of person who happily buys in massive quantities, and does the labor to put things in usable size for himself.


So the question is, if I'm ready to dive in to all this, where are the bulk/discount areas that I can explore?
I imagine buying balsa sheet-by-sheet as-needed is expensive (especially compared to foam ). I've read about the different grain cuts of balsa, and the different weights, where to put them in the plane, but I'm also probably not there yet in my building career. I can deal with not doing that correctly yet. Where should I look for bulk/cheap balsa that I can cut myself? (and probably a decent tool to get good cuts)

Metal/wire for pushrods, landing gear, reinforced areas or firewall

CF for spars, pushrods (that seems like an expensive use)



And having no power tools at all -- I think I have a square saw, soldering iron, high temp hot glue (headdesk, I know) -- what should I be looking for starting out?

My budget isn't in the thousands per tool/material. Maybe I could drop a few hundred getting started on all this..

But is there a recommendation for getting-started purchases? I hate running to the store buying measured out rods for each project. It removes some spontaneity in the shop and wiggle room for mis-cuts and mulligans.



For electronics, certain stores have grab-bags for this sort of thing. Like instead of buying 10 resistors of every size, you buy a bulk discounted misc-bag that just has 100 miscellaneous-sized resistors, unsorted. Then when you're throwing a project together, you might have some of the things you already need. They do this for most inexpensive components.
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Old Jun 26, 2012, 11:16 AM
Stick, roger ball.
United States, TX, Rockwall
Joined Oct 2011
344 Posts
The equipment you need for each plane can be very specific, so buying a bulk of any one component limits your range of build potential.

I typically buy 5-10 cheap 9g servos at a time so that I have spares. I do the same with props once I figure out what size my plane needs.

You can buy music wire in different diameters for push-rods, then cut them to length with a z-bend at one end and use EZ links for adjustment at the other.

Pick a battery connector that you are happy with and buy a stock of those. Convert every plane and battery to the same connector so they are interchangeable.

If you're going to foam build buy #11 X-acto blades in bulk.

You can have your dollar store order you a complete box of redi-board foam so that it will arrive still in its protective box.

Also if you can afford to wait (sometimes 30 days or more) buying your components from china can save money.

CF is cheaper when bought from China. It usually comes in packs of several sticks at a time, but you need to make a decent size purchase to make the shipping worth while.
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Old Jun 26, 2012, 11:46 AM
Pzl
K2PZL
United States, NY, Albany
Joined May 2012
30 Posts
I have plenty of foam and exacto blades, and I don't intend to really stock up on electronics from planes, since those, as you said, very much depend on the plane and system they go in.

But things like balsa, basswood, plastics, metals, other raw materials could be bulk-ified. (including CF, though sizes vary, any links to good vendors?)


Thanks for the battery connector tip. So far, the few battery packs I have already have the small red JST connectors, so I bought a few of those for my existing planes. Should I just stick with JST for everything, or is there more science to the connectors that I need to look in to?
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Old Jun 26, 2012, 11:49 AM
wbuttry
sikeston mo
Joined Apr 2009
360 Posts
And dont forget you can also use dowel rods for pushrods .They can be gotten for 50 cents and among some of the best places to buy foam and balsa and glues beside your local hobby shop is to go to craft store. Like Ben Franklins and other places if you wanna build using balsa invest in a band saw or scroll saw.It will be well worth the money also if cutting foam get you a foam cutter . That is if you plan on staying in this wonderful hobby. I have been in it for 15 yrs and dont plan on stopping now.Also get deans plugs in bulk male and females
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Old Jun 26, 2012, 12:09 PM
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dedStik's Avatar
United States, VA, Virginia Beach
Joined Feb 2012
5,395 Posts
For foam I buy the fan fold stuff referred to as FFF or Dow Protection Board III. It comes in a 2 foot by 4 foot by 50 foot square of course it's bundled so the dimensions are 2 x 4 x 1 or so. Costs around $40 - $60 depending on where you get it. I bought one bundle back in March, I've made at least 9 planes total and I'm not even halfway through my foam supply yet.
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Old Jun 26, 2012, 03:41 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
South Wales U.K.
Joined Mar 2003
12,800 Posts
Pzl, how many cars did you get through before you passed your driving test ?

Or was it only one, because you handled it with care and consideration, and listened to your driving instructor ?

The point I am trying to make is, you already seem to have a defeatist attitude to model flying, (buying in bulk as you expect your models to have a short life). If you slow down a bit, analyze what you are doing wrong, (or what the model is doing wrong ), you may find you learn a lot quicker and move on from trainer type models much quicker.

It's good to read you want to build and not give up after a crash or two, good for you. You can buy all the materials, tools etc, you like, but if you also want to fly them with some success, I would recommend buying a well know and well recommended trainer model, and ask questions about how to fly.
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Old Jun 26, 2012, 08:06 PM
Pzl
K2PZL
United States, NY, Albany
Joined May 2012
30 Posts
Sorry, I guess it came off that I'm crash-happy over here!

I fly way more successful flights than crashes, and with the exception of the time the bird made off with my plane, my planes are still in fine working order. I simply enjoy building just as much, or more than flying at the moment, so even if I have planes, I would like to continuously build more
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Old Jun 27, 2012, 04:15 AM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
South Wales U.K.
Joined Mar 2003
12,800 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pzl View Post
Sorry, I guess it came off that I'm crash-happy over here!

I fly way more successful flights than crashes, and with the exception of the time the bird made off with my plane, my planes are still in fine working order. I simply enjoy building just as much, or more than flying at the moment, so even if I have planes, I would like to continuously build more
You're more like me then, more a builder than a flier, (well I have to be, lousy weather here much of the time restricts my flying days ).

If you haven't seen it or tried it, I can well recommend the - Foamies (Scratchbuilt) forum , as a good source for building information, techniques, free plans, and some pretty weird aircraft, plus foam is so easy to cut and glue, (and repair)
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Old Jun 27, 2012, 11:02 AM
Stick, roger ball.
United States, TX, Rockwall
Joined Oct 2011
344 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pzl View Post
Thanks for the battery connector tip. So far, the few battery packs I have already have the small red JST connectors, so I bought a few of those for my existing planes. Should I just stick with JST for everything, or is there more science to the connectors that I need to look in to?
The connector needs to be sized for the max amperage. Those little JST connectors are good to about 9-10A after that they overheat, melt or worse short.
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