Model Airplane Tips from the Workshop

Model Airplane Tips from the Workshop

We have the best readers around! You guys are always coming up with clever ways to make building and flying easier, and we love when you share your tips with us at Here are a few of our favorites.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Model Airplane Tips from the Workshop

Most model airplanes use dowels to secure the leading edge of the wing to the fuselage, and for easy installation, the nose of the dowel should be slightly tapered. Many modelers use sandpaper and a sanding block to make the taper. Next time, take the dowel and insert it into an electric or mechanical pencil sharpener. After a few seconds in the sharpener, the dowel will have a crisp, clean, even taper. A little sanding will create a smooth finish.


Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Model Airplane Tips from the Workshop


If you cut hinge slots using a hobby knife, you know that making slots of the correct depth is a hit-or-miss operation. Here’s a solution: Using a straightedge or a tape measure, lay the knife-blade point to the depth required (the blade must be parallel with the straightedge), and use a permanent-ink marker or some tape to create a line straight across the blade where it enters the wood. The line on the blade indicates when it’s at the correct depth.


Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Model Airplane Tips from the Workshop

Most cowls require cutouts for the air vents and motor and speed-control access. To make the cutouts accurately, you need to measure and mark them properly. Ballpoint pens and pencils don’t write well on smooth, painted surfaces, and lines made by regular markers are difficult, if not impossible, to erase. A solution is to use dry-erase markers—the ones used in boardrooms across the country. Dry-erase markers, like regular markers, will leave a line on smooth surfaces, but when you’ve finished making the cutouts, you can simply use a rag to wipe off any remaining ink.


Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Model Airplane Tips from the Workshop

We all know the kind of tangled mess that wall chargers can become if they aren’t kept orderly. Go to your local home-improvement store, and buy a few of the inserts that go into duplex outlet boxes. Attach them to a cabinet door or other out-of-the-way place, and voila!—you’ve got an easy, tangle-free way to hang your chargers for storage.



  1. Thank You for the information that has been very useful!
    Allen Baxter, Ohio

  2. Using a Sharpe Permanent Marker works fine. When you want the mark gone, simply use rubbing alcohol on a soft paper towel to remove the mark easily. That way your not accidentally removing the mark on the cowl.

  3. Expo also makes a Dry-Erase marker that requires water to erase the mark. It does not smudge easily like a standard Dry-Erase marker. More permanent, until you want to remove it. Sharpie may also have a similar product.

    1. That’s called a wet-erase marker. Vis-a-vis made them and they were often used to write on transparencies on overhead projectors. When dry-erase markers came out they were thus named to differentiate them from the older and more common wet-erase variety.

  4. Acetone works great too for removing permanent marker.

  5. Sharpe works ok, but don’t use acetone to remove as you may mar the finish, especially on a canopy.

  6. great idea for the wall ghargers thanks

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