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Mar 14, 2010, 04:14 PM
Thread OP

Show off your props.

Iíve come to the conclusion that propeller making could considered a art of itís own. I also think this is kind of a mysterious area for some modelers. So I though we could start a thread to de mystify it a little. Perhaps people could post pictures here of propellers they have carved or built.

I guess I should start off by saying that I have only carved one prop in all my years of modeling. I have just found it easier to use plastic props.
I have a friend though that is really interested in building his own props and itís starting to get contagious. Heís wanting to build a prop by wrapping a balsa blank around a cylinder at a 15 degree angle like Don Ross describes in his book but heís not quite for sure how to attach the blades to a hub or how to get it to free wheel. I have ideas but since Iíve never tried them before Iím afraid to make any suggestions. Advice on this would help as well.

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Mar 14, 2010, 04:33 PM
Registered User
gossie's Avatar
Close up of a 13" Senator prop. showing the Garami freewheel.
Mar 14, 2010, 04:51 PM
I don't want to "Switch Now"
pmackenzie's Avatar
Another Senator prop, not as nice as gossie's
Hasn't spun "in anger" in a long time.

Pat MacKenzie
Mar 14, 2010, 06:14 PM
Registered User
Various - balsa or pine
Mar 15, 2010, 11:45 AM
Be Happy, Lower Your Standards
kineticartist's Avatar

Kolb Stick Prop

Here is my brand new carved Kolb Stick Prop, with garmani stop, and tube in a tube bearing system.

This is balsa with one coat of colored shellac, and one coat of lacquer.

Mar 16, 2010, 04:06 PM
Registered User
Gluehand's Avatar
Made some dust tonight...soon to be finished.
About 6.7" dia, for my "improvised rubber model" (separate thread)

I've also started to carv a second prop, similar but about 15% wider blades, just to compare the two.....

Great fun..

Mar 21, 2010, 10:39 AM
Registered User
Gluehand's Avatar
Woz this...?....left behinds from Survivor Man...?

Nope, I hastly made these tools for carving concave curves (undercambered props). The blade is a strip (1/8" wide) cut fram a razor blade, which is epoxied into slots in a piece of wood.....crude & simple...?...yep, though I can report that they work just great......there's some learning curve though, to avoid any overdoing...

These cutting tools eliminate lots of balsa dust (and that's a good ting), as I just have to do some final sanding, to which I preferably use this little sanding block with tapered radius(es). It fits virtually anywhere along the back of the prop.

Last edited by Gluehand; Mar 21, 2010 at 10:58 AM.
Apr 16, 2010, 08:54 PM
Thread OP
This is a propeller and prop jig Iím working on for a friend. Don't pay any attention to the rubber bands holding the pieces together. Those are just holding things until I get them glued. I'm going to stain the wood a cherry color and give it a coat of varnish to seal it.

I basically looked at several different jigs other people had built and I kept the features I liked, got rid of the ones I didn't and added a few of my own features and this is what I came up with. The part with the protractor on it rides on a T shaped track so it will accommodate almost any size prop you want.

The propeller is leaned up next to the base of the jig. The blades haven't been joined to the hub yet and I still need to install a free wheel mechanism. The prop is going to be 8.5" long and has blades made by forming 1/32" balsa around a piece of PVC pipe at a 15 degree angle.

Apr 28, 2010, 07:42 PM
Thread OP
Finally got my propeller jig finished.

May 03, 2010, 12:22 PM

In the "articles" section of this site is one about using your computer to design props.

Somewhere recently I saw an article where the guy laminates two thin balsa sheets and places them in an adjustable jig while they dry. The jig twists the blanks, when dry you cut out the blade planform. This method eliminates the "curl" you get when using a cylinder as a mold, although I don't know if that's important.

I like those thin foam coffee cups from the convenience store. The thin "crispy" foam, not the thick beaded foam ones. I get a lot of blades from one cup. With a carbon spar they work very well, and they're fast and cheap.

I cut the blades off a plastic prop, leaving about a half-inch to tape or glue the foam blades to. It's a reasonable compromise of convenience and light weight.
May 04, 2010, 05:02 AM
Fot-li fort!
Hinomaru's Avatar
I am interested and curious about your props, could you please show some pictures of them?
May 06, 2010, 05:37 PM
Originally Posted by Hinomaru
I am interested and curious about your props, could you please show some pictures of them?
I'm not currently able to post pictures.
But I think I can describe it well enough.
Get some thin foam cups and start playing around. Start by placing the cup upside down on your table, and lean your protractor on it. 15 degrees is the angle usually recommended, but cups are cheap so try anything that feels good. Try this: cut a triangle from paper or foam or whatever, and use it to draw your blade centerlines on the cup, say one line every inch.

Draw an outline of the blade you like over the centerline, cut out two blades, hold them together and sand to final shape. Draw the centerline on the inside (concave) surface now, and find something to use for a spar.
Skinny carbon or fibreglass rod, bamboo skewers, balsa, toothpicks, what-have-you.
Find a piece of tubing, metal or plastic or carbon fiber about an inch long.
This is the hub. I like a stiff plastic tube, like from a Bic pen. Use a spar material that will fit just snug into this tube. You will want to be able to adjust the blade angle.

I gotta go do some stuff. Be back later. Steve
May 07, 2010, 01:04 PM
one flew
MentalDekay's Avatar
hey maybe if this thread's intent was to comment on others' propellers, it could be called "Give props to props".

sorry.. lame.. my wife's eyes would roll around in her head a couple of times if she read this.


I meant to say "very nice" for all of these. they're making me wanna start whittling away.
Last edited by MentalDekay; May 09, 2010 at 09:52 PM.

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