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Shop Tip: Balancing your Propeller

Shop Tip: Balancing your Propeller

When operating RC airplanes, properly balanced propellers are very important. Having a balanced prop helps prevent excessive vibration which can cause electrical connections to loosen, fuel in your gas tank to foam up, and can even cause structural damage.  Balancing your propeller helps avoid all these problems and it is very easy to do by following this two-step procedure.

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1.  To balance blades, place the mounted prop on the balancer with the blades in a horizontal position.  Remove material from the heavy side (the side that falls when placed horizontally), or add to the lighter side until prop stays in a balanced horizontal position.

 

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2.  To balance the prop hub, place the mounted prop on the balancer in a vertical position.  Remove material from the heavy side (side that falls when placed vertically) or add to the lighter side until prop stays in a balanced vertical position.

 

Tips for Removing or Adding Weight

To remove material from wood or plastic props, scrape or sand material from the backside of the blade.

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To add material use drops of CA glue, epoxy or “dope” (wood props).  Also, light coats of these adhesives work as well.

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That’s it. Balancing a propeller is very easy and it pays big dividends by making your model last longer and operate more smoothly.

Safety note: Don’t try to repair a broken or badly cracked propeller.

 

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9 Comments

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  1. The prop is ideally balanced when it will not move in ANY position it is placed in. To be balanced horizontally and vertically, the hub needs balancing also. This would be the best balance for less vibration.
    To lengthy to mention here but for a future tips or search the web.

    1. which is the expected outcome of the 2 part process, but should be checked.

  2. As,always, constructive & important, proceedures, that makes, a needed, answer,
    to R/C model engine performance and reliability. These monthly tips, along with
    other, helpful issues, is one of the mainstays, of my subscription, to M.A.N. a
    rational , investment, along with, other informative articles, that have graced
    the pages of M.A.N. since, it’s first flight, back in 1929. Keep on flying, and
    many happy landings, with a few bounces, now & then.

  3. Thank you for these tips, I do appreciate it…keep the tips coming…I personally consider them very helpful and could not thank you and other modelers for their experience and guidance enough…it has saved me time, money, and a lot less chance of a loss of one of my aircraft that I(and other aircraft builders on their own) that I (we) work so hard to save for and work on! When I see another builders aircraft crash, I compare that to throwing down a BEAUTIFUL piece of art being destroyed! So thank you again to you and everyone who provide all these tips so that our art isn’t destroyed!!!

  4. Just my 2 cents; 1st drill or reem hub as necessary. Then check hub by observing the blades reaction to being placed horizontal and then rotated 180 degrees.

    Often the blades will be stationary, but not exactly horizontal. When you flip them 180 degrees, they will sometimes rotate by themselves almost a complete 360 degrees. This is due to hub imbalance and its heaviest point acting as a pendulum. When the heaviest point of the hub is below the horizontal blades it will limit rotation. When the heavier part of the hub is above the blades, it will force the prop to rotate, until the heavier point of the hub is below the blades. If there is only slight rotation from either horizontal blade position, the blades are the primary issue. And if one blade stays at or near 6 oclock, the imbalance is likely a combination of hub and blade, but start with blade. I usually add weight to the lighter blade using laquer. While adding laquer, I will regulary check the hub weight as noted above. This process takes approximately an hour but results in a prop that will stay stationary no matter how the blades are orientated. Incidentally, there are a number of ways to adjust hub weight, but I add weight to the lighter side of the hub by attaching a small rectangle piece of paper towel using ca; just layer on additional pieces until hub weight is uniform. Hope this helps.

  5. How or what’s the best way to see if a 3 blade prop is balanced?

    1. Three blade props work just the same, but put a small mark on one of the blades before you start so you can see if the heavy blade changes to a different one while you are working on the prop. You are looking for the out of balance condition and equalizing the weight. So you remove from the bottom if one points straight down or add to the top one if one points straight up. All props should be balanced so they do not move from any position.

  6. Another super important tip from my favourite monthly mag M.A.N.

  7. Remember the spinner too! Comment on balancers: Ensure you get one that can hang bigger props and spinners off the end, like the DuBro shown here.

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