Building a plane from scratch

How difficult is it to build a P-51D from scratch?? I have the plans
but don't know if it is just easier to buy one with all of the wood
already cut?
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Depending on the plans, it can be a pleasure to do or a royal pain in the butt. If you have all the tools to cut and shape wood, I say go for it!
Reply to
Paul McIntosh
If you think you could start from scratch and draw your own plans, scratch-building is the most fun there is in building.
If you could not draw your own plans, this means you must rely totally on someone else's plans for scratch-building. This is a high-risk proposition and it does not end after the building. It might manifest itself the first time on the first flight.
If you buy a kit, much of the concern then is building it accurately to the plans.
I have to ask...Have you built many r/c models from kits?
Reply to
Ken Cashion
I'd say risk is less building from plans. If from a reputable designer or publisher, someone else has already done the engineering to ensure successful flight.
Designing one's own requires a certain amount of model aeronautical and architectural / structural knowledge.
Kit makes life easier because one does not have to build a kit first by making parts from scratch as with plans.
If he has built several kits, then the solution may be purchase a partial kit with plans. With these one still buys the strip wood and sheets, but the hard stuff like fuselage bulkheads, wing and stab ribs (if stab has ribs) has been provided.
-- HPT
Reply to
High Plains Thumper
The person who originally asked this question also posted a question asking what the 3 nipples were for on his OS 61 4-stroke.
He is either a troll or intellectually challenged but in any case I seriously doubt he has the ability to take a 3-view and make a flyable P-51 out of it.
Reply to
I have built two models from kits. A Piper Cub and a Trainer Plane. The building was pretty easy due to the fact all the parts and pieces were pretty much laid out for you. I think I will try to build one from scratch. The worst that could happen is that it doesn't fly or it crashes.
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I am a structural engineer, but I am just getting into this RC plane deal. I enjoy building things and am capable of doing so. As far as building planes, I know there is a totaly different perspective you have to encouter while building it. I am new at this and am just asking questions that I am not clear on.
Reply to
"Sportfish21" wrote in news:
About the only difference building from plans is you make a kit from cutting all the parts out. You have more flexibility as you choose the wood and grain orientation.
Nowadays it seems the wood and parts cutting in kits are better, but scratch building still allows for better quality because you control it.
If plan is from a reputable designer or mag, it should fly.
Just out of curiosity, what plan set do you have?
-- HPT
Reply to
High Plains Thumper
Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
As Paul said, It can be a real pleasure or a real pain.
If you have a set of plans from a reputable designer or source (AMA plans, etc) it is normally a real pleasure.
Basically, what you are doing is making the kit yourself and then building it without any instructions.
The lack of instructions is USUALLY not a problem PROVIDED you have several kits under your belt so you have a pretty good idea of the order things need to go in.
Personally, I feel if the plane I want is available in a kit, then I do the kit. However, since the planes I like are not offered in kit form, I frequently do scratch building. For "different" and/or rarely modeled planes check out Cleveland Models
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Their plans are for freeflight rubber power so some modification/beefing up will be needed for glow or gas power. For electric power they should be fine as is.
Reply to
Ted Campanelli
Building, you do from scratch. Anything else is assembly.
As said above, building from scratch is a rewarding effort, but it takes a long time to get it right. We do a lot of scratch building and some of our kits are now for sale. All of them took a long time to "get it right".
I second the comment of "if the plans are provided by a reputable source and has been flight proven". So, go for it.
Personally, I would start with buying a precut full kit. Get the feel for it, then progress from there. I bet that most of the people on this forum have built quite a few "scratch" designs, before they felt comfortable with their designs, whether their own or from somebody else..
Reply to
This is good to know. You can get more help now...without the other stuff.
If you are scratch-building please try to get plans from a magazine so you can also get the construction and flight-test article that goes with them. Some of these were pretty good articles. (Mine were superb! )
I think that if someone asks about their being able to build a P-51, my answer is "no." This is like asking "Do you think I should get married?" If they are unsure, they shouldn't do it. The 51 could be a handful to fly -- even if built true.
We often hear, "I always wanted to get into model airplane flying and the P-51 has been my favorists airplane I am building a large scale model of one of those. What sort of wheels should I get?"
There are some scratch-builts have need little else that the sheet and strip stock; the Mustang is not one of these. Still, there are reproduction machines, computer scanners, printers that will let you iron the formers from the computer printed paper to the balsa. Stuff like that.
Good luck.
Ken...whose favorite American fighter was the P-51 and in 60 years of modeling, he has never had one. (?)
Reply to
Ken Cashion
If you have all the tools to cut and shape wood, I say go for it!
And that is the cut curves in ply needs a fretsaw, jigsaw or scroll saw or a LOT of patience. And its still a nightmare to cut inside curves and holes.
Balsa? - well a knife, razor saw and a SANDING BLOCK (my MIST used tool) will make shot work of it, but a dremel and a steady hand is necessary to make inside holes smooth and good.
I now have these and consider them a minimum
Razor saw Permagrit sanding block Scroll saw Dremel which uses mainly drills, the sanding drums and the cut off disk (for wire undercarts etc, and starting hinge slots) Balsa stripper tool (not brill, but better than I can cut by eye and rule Swann morton scalpel and LOTS of blades. Go through about 20 per model.
I'd also like a razor plane.
That's a fairly big investment against the cost of a 'short kit'
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
If you feel you can do accurate carpentry, go for the plan.
Especially if all those tools I listed earlier mean something to you.
I LIKE balsa carpentry..but even so, I am still thinking of getting my designs laser cut for me. Cutting out ribs and formers is a tedious task.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
If you are interested in doing this, may I suggest you hit the E-zone and follow one or more of the several build threads that go on.
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There are vintage models, kits, scale scratch designs and everything, and plenty of pictures, gory tales of making two right wings and so on to keep you amused.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
The Natural Philosopher wrote in news:1144272015.4983.0
My list would be very similar.
Can't imagine shaping LEs without it.
For scratch-building any plane over about 8 ounces, I'd consider a belt/disk sander to be mandatory, too.
I've long since amortized the costs of my scroll saw & sander, but even so, I don't think that my scratch-building is much cheaper than kit-building. Especially since I'm often find old kits for sale cheap (someday I'll tell you my Phaeton story). And, for that matter, kit-building often isn't any cheaper than some surprisingly good ARFs. I build for the satisfaction and the 'cool factor,' and because I sometimes want to build planes that aren't like anyone else's planes.
Reply to
Mark Miller

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