Fine-Tuning Control Horns
When it comes to using a pull-pull control system, it is extremely important that you set up the geometry correctly. Measure the distance between the attachment points on the two-sided servo arm and make sure the distance between the attachment points on the horns on the control surface are the same. Oftentimes, standard control horns will be too short, so to solve the mismatch, use thin plywood shims between the control surface and the two horns. If the distances are not the same, the pull-pull cables will become slack on one side or the other as the servo moves the control surface.
It has always been troublesome for me to use a stencil mask and spray paint to apply markings to my models. Paint always seeps under the edge and the markings don’t come out great. To improve the looks of my models, I have started to use a permanent marker and a reusable stencil to draw the outlines. Then I fill in the stenciled markings. This method works great on foam, Depron, film, plastic, and any other type of electric-powered model surface.
When running up your helicopter, you need a sturdy and solid base. My solution was to bolt some metal brackets I had onto the top of my metal toolbox. Any metal bracket will work, as long as the bolts you use go around the skids to hold them in place. Tightening down the bolts secures the heli and you can safely check your heli’s blade tracking, check for vibrations, or whatever else you need to do to adjust your model. I also put extra bracing under the toolbox lid to ensure that vibration is eliminated. It works great!
Secure Bullet Connectors
When it comes to doing the hard wiring for large electric motors like this Hacker A60–16L, which powers my giant OV-10 Bronco twin, I don’t take any chances with bullet connectors. Even the best-performing model can have some vibration issues. Although bullet connectors are very tight fitting, I apply some heat-shrink tubing over the connectors. They hold everything securely and it’s easy to remove in case I need to do maintenance on the motors or the wiring. This will serve as cheap flight insurance!
When it comes time to install screws deep inside an airplane, we usually rely on a magnetic tip screwdriver. But often, the screws used to hold hardware in place may be made of non-ferrous metal. To help get the screw in its rightful place, try this trick. Use some tape, push the screw through it, and then place it on the end of the screwdriver. Next, fold the ends of the tape up against the screwdriver shaft and you’ve got a screw that won’t fall off. Simple and very easy.
Awl for one
For a quick way to make a hole for a screw in balsa, you can use a sharpened awl instead of a small drill bit. Simply push the awl straight into the wood and twist. This works equally as well with light ply. To strengthen the hole, thread the screw into place and then remove it. Add a drop or two of thin Zap CA glue and replace the screw.
To help me find tools more quickly in my flightline toolbox, I use small, medium, and/or large white labels to mark the shafts of Phillips-head and common screwdrivers to identify their type and size in my electric flight box.
In a squeeze
CA glues are sensitive to moisture in the air and can thicken and/or harden in the bottle. To help prevent the glue from spoiling, I squeeze out the air before I replace the cap. This minimizes the amount of air/moisture in the bottle and helps the glue last longer.