Espritmodel.com Telemetry Radio

Building With Foam - A beginners guide to building model airplanes with foam

Sam Schmidt provides a detailed look at this great book, designed to help anyone interested in their own foamies -- whether building a simple 'pie plate' slab side, or the most shapely and complex of fuselages and airfoils!

Splash

Introduction


Building With Foam - A beginners guide to building model airplanes with foam
Chapters:9
Pages:78
Format:Paperback
Pricing:$16.95 each
Shipping:$5.00 (US) $9.00 (outside the US)
Author:Keith Sparks
Available From:ParkflyerPlastics
 The back cover displays a few of Keith's very fine looking foam models
The back cover displays a few of Keith's very fine looking foam models

In the past few years, we have a seen a bloom of foamie mania like never before. However, as proliferous as this method has become, its not always easy to find all the info and tips you might need on the often disjointed web. Keith Sparks, with 15 years of foam building expertise, brings us this book to tie together in 78 tidy pages all the info you could ever want about building with this unique material.

First, let me say that the purpose of this article is not to divulge large quantities of this book, or post lots of pictures and excerpts, but to give you quick taste of the books contents and target audience, so you can decide for yourself if it will be useful to you.

That said, lets take a quick overview look at the chapters, and get a scope of this book. All the chapters contain black and white photos, as well as clearly drawn diagrams and instructional pictures.

Index
1. Types of Foam (P. 1-3)
2. Getting Started (P. 4-9)
3. Wire Cutting (P. 10-18)
4. Shaping Foam (P. 19-23)
5. Bonding and Finishing (P. 24-36)
6. Fuselages (P. 37-54)
7. Support Structures (P. 55-62)
8. Hardware Attachment (P. 63-77)
A. List of Product Suppliers (P. 78)

Chapter Preview

Types of Foam

Here we are introduced to the major types of foam. Keith discusses manufacturing processes, densities, and were you can find it. He also gives us quick insight into which foams are best for which applications.

Getting started

The next section goes into quite some detail on creating your own foam cutting bow and cutting board as well as creating some other rudimentary tools. As with all the chapters, this section contains great little common sense tips here and there.

Keith's Perspective:

"I have converted several .60 size kits to foam models and came out two pounds lighter than its balsa counter part. The models go together faster, cheaper and even repair better...

Foam works...
because lighter flies better."

Wire Cutting

Keith next begins to extrapolate out the mechanics of foam coating, starting with the templates and their design. In his instructions, it is evident that he has made hundreds of them, as he covers every facet. As the chapter turns to wire cutting, my mind began to stretch, as he covered every angle of it imaginable. Cutting with or without a bow, automated cutting; Its all there.

Shaping Foam

In this section we are introduced to many of the techniques of foam shaping. This includes cutting and sanding by hand, as well as when power tools are appropriate and how to use them effectively. Once again, I am impressed with the down to earth, practical, and safe approach he takes to everything.

Bonding and Finishing

This section begins with outlining the major adhesives, and tips for when they are best used. Keith also goes over gluing techniques, and clamping tricks which make the job easier. Covering materials, which includes everything from tapes and plastics to balsa and paper are discussed next, as well as an excellent in detail section on fiberglassing foam models. A quick touch on painting, and its off to the next chapter.

Fuselages

Keith outlines the three main types of fuselage construction, and as usual gives us the pros and cons to each method as he gives us instructions and pictures. He also includes a page devoted to choosing fuselage skin thickness for your aircraft. The next subsections are devoted to combined constructions methods, hatch and seam strategies, and wing saddles.

Support Structures

This chapter explores the many methods of providing additional support and strength to your foam model. Wing mounting, Bulkheads, landing gear mounting, and firewalls are just some of the topics. There is also some info specifically for glow models, as well as instructions for cowl construction.

Hardware attachment

This is a lengthy chapter which covers how to deal with mounting, hinging, hardpoints, and a whole lot of other high stress points on an airplane. Servo mounting and control linkage are also discussed in detail. Bear in kind that Keith has experiance with all sizes and types of models, so no type of model is left out anywere in the book.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. The writing style is simple and easy to read, and the use of pictures and diagrams is strategic. It is not a tome, and not difficult to read through, but it is a fairly conclusive reference manual. It is fine book that will not overpower the newcomer, while still yielding useful information and insights to the experienced builder.

Last edited by AMCross; Jul 27, 2006 at 02:21 PM..

Discussion

Reply
Thread Tools
Old Jul 24, 2006, 11:35 AM
RC 4 Life
sparks's Avatar
Fort Worth, TX USA
Joined Feb 2001
4,514 Posts
Thank you Sam,
The book has been doing very well with some paying the postage to the UK.
I'm currently looking for a distributor there.

I'm still testing the limits to foam construction, My latest project is my first attempt at Electric Ducted Fan.
Here is a link . . .
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=513835

Thanks again
sparks is offline Find More Posts by sparks
Last edited by sparks; Jul 24, 2006 at 11:37 AM. Reason: photo
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 24, 2006, 03:06 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,473 Posts
Thanks Sam - great job!

I can tell you when you look at Keiths planes it is amazing they are crafted from foam.

Nice to know he is not afraid of sharing all his trade secrets!

Mike
pda4you is offline Find More Posts by pda4you
RCG Plus Member
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 24, 2006, 09:48 PM
Registered User
FLYWINGFAN's Avatar
Minneapolis MN
Joined Sep 2002
1,666 Posts
Hey Keith,
Wow, that is amazing! I can't wait till you get it in the air.

Mike,
Thanks, for your input.
Ditto on Keith's stuff btw; it blows me away.

~Sam
FLYWINGFAN is offline Find More Posts by FLYWINGFAN
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 26, 2006, 06:10 AM
-(-<
Mister UHU's Avatar
London UK
Joined Dec 2005
394 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparks

The book has been doing very well with some paying the postage to the UK.

I'm currently looking for a distributor there.
Traplet is the main modeling book source in the UK.

You might also try large model parts distributors
such as Ripmax, Perkins, etc

Good luck.
Mister UHU is offline Find More Posts by Mister UHU
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 26, 2006, 09:24 AM
RC 4 Life
sparks's Avatar
Fort Worth, TX USA
Joined Feb 2001
4,514 Posts
I've contacted Traplet three times, the last time was 4 months ago and I sent them a book to see.
Still no word.
Sam's bought 15 books last year had I haven't heard anything else.
Thanks for the tip , I didn't know about the other two I'll have to give them a try.
sparks is offline Find More Posts by sparks
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 01, 2006, 08:16 AM
-(-<
Mister UHU's Avatar
London UK
Joined Dec 2005
394 Posts
You could also try the larger mail order sellers,
such as Sussex Model Centre (SMC), Slough Radio Control Models (SRCM),
Steve Webb Models, etc.

If they don't want to buy direct they might be able to suggest a distributor ?

Glad if I can be of help.
Mister UHU is offline Find More Posts by Mister UHU
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 03, 2006, 11:24 AM
Fly by grace
rkhoo's Avatar
Canada
Joined Aug 2004
899 Posts
My book arrived and I read it cover to cover. Good one sparks.

Could use a few more FFF guides and tips. Especially on the topic of "Common structure for scatch building" -- somthing like strong-box and tail-group structs, etc.
rkhoo is offline Find More Posts by rkhoo
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2006, 03:39 AM
Registerd Beaver
Smokin' Beaver's Avatar
Australia, WA, Warwick
Joined Jul 2003
3,555 Posts
Fantastic Resource

I have also read this one back to front.
Came in very handy for my Ju88 build.
Highly recommended to anyone thinking of learning about foam building.

Phil
Smokin' Beaver is offline Find More Posts by Smokin' Beaver
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 05, 2006, 12:43 AM
Registered User
D. Strode's Avatar
Springfield, il
Joined Apr 2005
78 Posts
SB
I have read the book too and agree, but itís most handy in the shop.
The E-zone is a good place to get some of the same information but when itís at your fingertips, well you get the idea.

Flywingfan.
Iíd have to say you hit the nail on the head.
Very nice piece. I normally donít read reviews because they seem slanted at times.
After some thought Iíve formed a new opinion. A red flag should pop up if you never see a review on a product.
D. Strode is offline Find More Posts by D. Strode
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 05, 2006, 07:49 AM
Registered User
FLYWINGFAN's Avatar
Minneapolis MN
Joined Sep 2002
1,666 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by D. Strode
Flywingfan.
Iíd have to say you hit the nail on the head.
Very nice piece. I normally donít read reviews because they seem slanted at times.
After some thought Iíve formed a new opinion. A red flag should pop up if you never see a review on a product.
Thank you, I appreciate that.

I know what you mean about slanted reveiws, especially with printed publications. I think the zone has the best reveiws however, because our only obligation is to ourselves and each other; Im gonna report the truth because I want the guy down the line to do the same.

~Sam
FLYWINGFAN is offline Find More Posts by FLYWINGFAN
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 28, 2006, 01:15 PM
RC 4 Life
sparks's Avatar
Fort Worth, TX USA
Joined Feb 2001
4,514 Posts
Just a note

BTW
The book is now available from Hobby Town USA.
sparks is offline Find More Posts by sparks
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 28, 2006, 02:03 PM
Registered User
FLYWINGFAN's Avatar
Minneapolis MN
Joined Sep 2002
1,666 Posts
Cool, nice to know you have a largescale distributor.
FLYWINGFAN is offline Find More Posts by FLYWINGFAN
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
WTB building with foam book by Keith Sparks KenSt Aircraft - Electric - Airplanes (FS/W) 3 Mar 28, 2005 10:31 PM
Building with Foam book by Keith Sparks SRush99 Aircraft - Electric - Airplanes (FS/W) 3 Mar 26, 2005 06:26 PM
help with foam scratch building vinnyg Scratchbuilt Indoor and Micro Models 23 Apr 25, 2004 02:05 PM
help with foam building techniques vinnyg Scratchbuilt Indoor and Micro Models 3 Apr 21, 2004 09:54 PM
Building with foam Hangar Rat Fuel Plane Talk 0 May 19, 2002 11:00 AM