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?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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!
--
Paul McIntosh
RC-Bearings.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Paul McIntosh wrote: If you have all the tools to cut and shape wood, I say go for it!

And that is the point...to 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'
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.
--
"Whatever will have been, will have been."

- Douglas Adams, "Life, The Universe, and Everything"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, the "cool factor" is one good thing, another is the way you can build a plane to be much better in terms of aerodynamic cleanliness, strength and performance than what you can buy- usually.     Personally, I like to laminate curved stab and rudder outlines instead of using heavy solid blocks, taper my spars, and make them one continuous piece to avoid weak points such as our almost universal but expedient practice of building the wing in two halves joined by plywood dihedral braces. Also, thin trailing edges are better than thick- they're less draggy, and improve the precision of control, and coved control surface joints have the same two advantages.                     Paul
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 04:52:55 GMT, Paul Ryan

Paul, I agree with you. I have done it both ways and if I had it over to do, I would have laminated those edges on both of my "Cumuluses" ("Cumuli") that I published. I did laminate the tips and leading edges of my "Electrolith" (also published). And my great, "Aerolith." (Not published.)
For images of these, look around in my model image files at: http://www.photos.windmillpro.com /
The images load, enlarge, and move fast and they are worth your visit. I have my models separated in "old" and "new-ish."
Ken
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mark Miller wrote:

Nah. I use the permagrit for both the above..

Exactly. Ive just put a kit together almost entirely out of Ebay sourced stuff.
Flies great.
Depron P47 and two lage scale projects to come..at least..this year..

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

And as I have gotten older, balsa dust is now driving me crazy. I wait until sanding is holding up further progress. Then I put on a mask and goggles and go on the shop porch and do the sanding out there.
I live in a swamp shack and it is powerful hot and humid on the porch and the goggles and mask do nothing to help me stay cool. And the Dremel covers the sound of the mosquitoes. There is a finite amount of time between feeling the bite, stopping the Dremel, putting it down, and then slapping the now-gorged mosquito. (One should never spontaneously slap their neck with a running Dremel or #11 in their hand.)
Much can be said for kit building. <g> And ARF. But NRF are the most fun.
Ken
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5 Apr 2006 04:52:55 -0700, "Sportfish21"

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. <Ugh!>
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?
Ken
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ken Cashion wrote:

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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.
m-m
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

oops. He did say he has the plans. Still, he has no clue.
m-m
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OK, my apologies.
m-m
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5 Apr 2006 08:10:55 -0700, "Sportfish21"

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! <g>)
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 ever...so I am building a large scale model of one of those. What sort of wheels should I get?" <g>
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. (?)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Well thanks for the advice. Maybe I should start out from the beginning and get something that is a little more in my ball park.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sportfish21 wrote:

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.
E.g. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?tH8940
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Sportfish, The Nat. Philo. is giving good advice here. For absolute building fun and flying fun, few things can beat an older model.
We call them "radio-interrupted free-flight." Many of the old free flight modelers will admit that the most fun was the take off and landing...but the landing was often way, way over younder.
Repeated touch-and-goes with some of these models is not only superb training, they are just plain fun. Only they might be touch-and-bounce-and-touch-and-bounce-and-touch-and-go. <g>
What you lose is aerobatics; what you gain is thermal flying. It is so much fun to have the engine off and realize the model is climbing.
Ken
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sportfish21 wrote:

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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.