Bob Smith Industries 900x250 v2

Model Airplane Workshop Tips

Model Airplane Workshop Tips


The brass eyelets that come with rubber servo grommets are often a tight fit, and they can be tiresome to install by hand. A handy alternative is to use a punch or a piercer to apply them. Mount the grommet on the servo, and slip the eyelet over the tip of the punch. Then use the leverage of the punch to pop the eyelet into place. When you want to remove it, just insert the punch from the top. Be careful not to get your other hand in the way of the tip, and be sure to brace the servo on its casing rather than on the output gear to avoid damaging the servos by putting pressure on them.


It can be challenging to install small screws in tight places. Instead of clumsy fingers in a slender fuselage, a great way to hold and guide small parts is with curved-tip tweezers. For maximum versatility, the tweezers’ tip should be rounded and as close to 90 degrees as possible. Also use the tweezers to grip small parts to avoid losing them as you remove them from tight spots.


Never again endure the pain of a hobby knife falling blade-first onto your foot! Attach a common zip-tie to the handle of your blade, and it will stay safely on your tabletop. If your hobby knife handles are identical, use different color zip-ties to designate different degrees of blade sharpness. For example, use a red zip-tie to indicate a new blade for precise trimming and a white zip-tie to indicate a knife with a used blade for general cutting.


A scroll-shaped letter opener makes a surprisingly effective tool for cutting airplane covering material. The slot in the bottom feeds the material in flat for a smooth cut. The cutters are sharp enough to slice the covering without hanging or snagging on it, and the handle makes it easy to cut in one long, smooth motion. Best of all, lots of businesses use these letter openers as advertising, so you can probably collect a few without spending a dime.


Sometimes it’s tough to get a conventional-size screwdriver into tight places. Try inserting a bit from a cordless screwdriver into a box wrench to deal with fasteners in cramped locations.



Wood screws don’t always thread in as effortlessly as we’d like; it can be hard on your hands and the model. Next time, try swiping the screw’s threads across a damp or dry bar of soap. The soap acts as a lubricant, making it much easier to thread the screw in. It is particularly useful in tight areas where it is difficult to get a good grip on tools.



The space inside the radio compartments of some of today’s small park flyers is very tight, and that makes it difficult to arrange servo leads, battery and motor wires. To move wires where your fingers can’t reach, cut a notch of the appropriate size and shape for your wires in the end of a Popsicle stick. Hook the wires in the notch, and use the stick to push them back into the fuselage where they won’t be in the way.




At one time or another, most of us have had to fish for a servo extension wire that slipped back inside the wing; but there is a solution. Cut a 3/16-inch hole in the bottom of the red plug from an old bottle of epoxy. Across the hole, cut a slot that’s just wide enough to squeeze the connector at the end of your servo extension through. Trim the access hole in the wing to fit the plug, and you’ll never have to go fishing again. This trick also works well for hold-down bolts.




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  1. For the “shorty screwdriver” substitute a ratcheting box end wrench, saves on having to reposition the screwdriver head/wrench.

  2. Using the pointy end of a mechanical pencil is all I have used for years to install the brass eyelets into the rubber grommets in servos. Works great and is one less tool on the bench

  3. Everything you add is WEIGHT!!

  4. Weight is not to much of a concern when flying balsa built rather than those cheap China ping pang foam so called airplanes

    1. So funny cause there’s truth to that.

  5. Weight is not much of a concern when flying balsa built rather than those cheap China ping pang foam so called airplanes

  6. Never use soap,has water in it rust screws. Woodworkers use bees wax push at hardware store for rubbing on drawer rail to make them slide easier in chests.

  7. I use a small ball driver tool to put my eyelets in. Since it isn’t tapered, like a punch, you can easily stack all 4 eyelets on it at the same time and just go from grommet to grommet in one fell swoop.

    On the epoxy stoppers, be sure to clean the resin off of them first! haha.

  8. use a curbed nose hemostat rather than tweezlers. You can latch it and not worry about it slipping away from you. Then unlatch the hemostat when it’s in place. easy peazy.

  9. that should be CURVED nose hemostat. Haha.

  10. Soap on screws…not a good idea. Some soaps, particularly laundry types contain caustic soda to dissolve grease. In time this will corrode the screw.
    I’m not aware of wax doing any harm, so it perhaps would be a better remedy. I sometimes use oil….almost any oil. Glues generally won’t take to oil, so as long as you’re not going to apply glue to the area there shouldn’t be a problem.
    I commented on this same matter a few months back but I guess it will keep re-surfacing.

    1. Or re-surfactant-sing. Bwahahahah!!

  11. I use great planes hole locator to put in eyelets works great.

  12. beeswax is excellent lube for any wood screws. get a wax commode seal at home depot or lowes. i usually melt the wax on stove and pour into about 4 oz. jars for screw lube, one seal will supply about 20 years of wax for about $3.00

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