Everyone appreciates a good building tip or trick — especially when it makes our hobby easier and more enjoyable! Here are a few of our favorites. Send your tips to email@example.com and if we use them in the magazine, we’ll send you a free MAN baseball cap!
Propeller Balancer (Clear Spray Paint)
While balancing plastic propellers instead of removing material from the heavier blade, use clear spray paint to add weight to the lighter one. Often, only a slight amount of weight is required and a light application of paint sprayed on will do the trick. Wait for the paint to dry before rechecking the balance.
Alignment with a String
Many built-up flyers require you to glue the tail surfaces to the fuselage. For your model to perform right, they have to be installed properly aligned with each other. The vertical fin and rudder need to be 90 degrees to the horizontal stabilizer and elevator. A simple way to accomplish this is to tape a piece of string to the tips of the stabilizer and loop it over the top of the fin. Apply slow-setting glue then tape the string snugly into place. Use a square to make sure the fin is 90 degrees to the stabilizer then lock it in place with a third piece of tape on top of the fin.
An easy way to open snap-shut clevises is to use a common screwdriver. Simply slip the blade into the clevis and twist. It works much better than trying to use your fingers and/or fingernails.
Clear Scuff Guard
If you fly from a hard surface like a paved runway or parking lot, all too often the underside of the wingtips can get scuffed up pretty badly. Simply add a layer or two of clear shipping tape and your wingtips will have an added layer of protection. Clear tape can also be used to protect the soft under-belly of foam flyers that don’t have landing gear.
Magnetic Small Parts Holder
An easy way to keep small screws, nuts and washers from getting lost on your workbench is to add a stick-on magnetic strip to a plastic food tray. You could also use an old solid magnet to keep the metal parts from rolling around.
There’s nothing worse than having to stop working on your model to make a trip to the hobby shop to replace a lost screw or nut. To greatly speed up assembly of your model airplane, you need to stay organized. Use an old egg carton or a plastic container box to organize all the small parts and pieces that come with your model.
Easy Servo Grommet Installation
To properly install your servos in medium to large electric models, you should install the small brass eyelets that come with the servos. Without them installed, the servo attachment screws can crush the rubber grommets preventing them from isolating the servos from vibration. Use a long, small-diameter screwdriver to quickly press them (brim-side down) into place.