cutting ailerons/flaps from foam wings

Guys, I have a sheeted wing made of white foam. I have heard various methods for cutting out the ailerons from them. The instructions ask that the surfaces be faced with spruce or hard balsa.

What I would like to know is the best method to cut out the ailerons. I have heard of the following: #11 blade Exacto jig saw router

Has anyone tried any of these methods and what success have you had? What is the best method.

I do own a Dremel with the router attachment. Should I use this or should I buy a better router.

These wings are covered in balsa but I want to be prepared for cutting carbon/fiberglass wings of wings that may contain Kevlar.

Thanks for the insight!!!


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#11 blade works well jig saw is too rough router makes a too-wide kerf

You can also use a razor saw

Some art/craft stores have small hot-wire cutters for styrofoam crafts that work well, too. Dr.1 Driver "There's a Hun in the sun!"

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There was an article in the September 2004 RC Report (page 45) that discusses this very task.

John VB

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Since you are going to put new faces on the surfaces you cut, your cuts don't have to be perfect.

I keep the wings to be cut in the cores and run them through a band saw. I cut a little bit off the lines so that I can come back and sand to the line. Then I glue the new facing material on, and everything comes out fairly nice.

If you cut any of these materials with a power tool, be sure to use a good mask and clean up with a good vacuum afterward. The dust from this stuff isn't good for our lungs.


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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

Make your layout on the wing for your ailerons. Lay the sheeted wing back in the excess (bottom piece) foam from which the cores were cut (hope you didn't throw these away). Tape the wing down to the foam so the leading and trailing edges are parallel to the table (the imaginary line through the two edges). Now you can cut out the ailerons with a band saw. Test your blade and speed on scrap so you don't tear it up. And don't forget to figure in the cuts for your wood shock that will be glued to the traling edge of the wing and the leading edge of the ailerons.

formatting link
has a good VHS tape on foam core wings.


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Net Report

I just completed a set of wings that came from the manufacturer with the long paralell cut already made. This cut was made using a bit size that removed enough material to compensate for the wood facings to the control surface and wing TE. I then used a razor saw to separate the flap and aileron and separate them from the wing. Worked very well.

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having done this once, successfully, I'd recommend you use a band saw to make the cuts. You want to have the wing sitting in its chuck or outer shell to keep the cut perpendicular. Also, do each wing the same way, ie run both wings thru the saw upright, not one upright and one upside down.


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