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Is traditional building a disappearing art?

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Stuart Z21/04/2017 17:28:37
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Hi

Joining this conversation late but my thoughts are that the number of kits available is not great and when I look at shop web sites, the predominant offer is an ARTF. I am looking at a couple of plans at the moment whilst finishing off a Magician which I want to glass cloth and paint. Somehow this appeals more than ARTF. I do admit tyouth to having assembled a couple of ARTFs over the winter as they are a quicker job in a freezing cold garage.

S

Erfolg21/04/2017 18:28:45
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Also joining very late.

It is a fact that very few build from kits.

It is also a fact that there are very few kits available now. The market is ARTF, even for those who dislike plastics.

Stuart has a point, once the cutting file has been produced, for cad and the cutting tooling, the production costs are minimal. That is other than the balsa etc. Why a set of wing ribs cost so much, beggars me.

Why so few kits, from the Far East at low cost, when all the wood ARTF models need the same investment in CAD/CAM files, I cannot comprehend. Or is it so few kits are actually sold?

The answer is "Tradional Building is all but dead".

Flyer21/04/2017 18:37:53
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Posted by Erfolg on 21/04/2017 18:28:45:

Stuart has a point, once the cutting file has been produced, for cad and the cutting tooling, the production costs are minimal. That is other than the balsa etc. Why a set of wing ribs cost so much, beggars me.

Why so few kits, from the Far East at low cost, when all the wood ARTF models need the same investment in CAD/CAM files, I cannot comprehend. Or is it so few kits are actually sold?

The answer is "Traditional Building is all but dead".

I think you will find that the cost is in the time in preparing the cad files etc; once these are done, the production costs are indeed low. However, we must allow the original designers enough 'incentive' to produce more kits. If the original cost can be spread over many models, it follows that each kit will be relatively cheap. One off's though will still carry the time costs of production.

I do not think that so called traditional building will cease; it may well reduce, though there will always be those that rise to the challenge in creating an aircraft from a pile of bits etc. The materials used may well change, but that is to be expected. We already incorporate modern materials in our builds; such as carbon fibre joiners and glass fibre finishes.

Also, the number of plan kits available now are attractive to some. ARTF's have their part to play, in that you can get airborne quickly, but for me, it is the ultimate achievement to create something that does fly.

Adopt, adapt, improve.............

Ade

ChrisB21/04/2017 18:49:03
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Posted by Pete Willbourn on 21/04/2017 11:48:13:

rathound 011.jpgJust an update on a project I have posted before .Its not mine , Chris B has commented before on this builders skill, but just enjoy !!rathound 010.jpg

The plane will be anything you want it to be. Old TP never ceases to amaze with his exquisite creations. Shame they end up covered. I think the last time I met him on the flying field was the day he took off and forgot to extend his aerial. I ran over to him and just as I managed to start extending the aerial the model glitched and ended up in bits.

Erfolg21/04/2017 20:20:57
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Flyer

I do recognise that the CAD?CAM files production is time intensive. Probably now pretty much the same as the traditional drawing route. Allthough the costof todays software, computers etc, is very low

Yet the costs that were incurred in the past of producing all the cutting blocks using saw type strip, is dramatically reduced, with modern systems where the CAD pretty much flows into the CAM.

Manufacturers in the Far East, certainly produce CAD/CAM files that appear to be commercially viable as an integral component in their model production. Comparatively, their achievements are outstanding, they can design, cut , fabricate, cover a model, box it complete with accessories at a cost which is just as attractive as most UK short kit producers. The contrast is stark.

I guess the problem in the UK, is that designers of models such as Peter Millar, Tim Hooper, treat the process of design and journalism as a part time business that they really enjoy being part of, not expecting to be driving a Lamborghini, nor living in a 20 room mansion. Whereas many of the UK Laser and CAD businesses see the process as a full time job and they want a good income from it.

My own opinion is that the long (my lifetime) term future for UK CAD/CAM production, will need a lean, mean approach, that very few UK kit manufactures have achieved. Certainly from an indefinite perspective. This will require the next generation of designers taking over from the PM and TH to produce the necessary CAD/CAM files, on the same cost basis that present designers operate. The cutting, becoming just another general workshop procedure, rather than a high added value process.

There could be a future for a UK kitting industry, although I suspect that future of kits, will probably be Far Eastern based. The time of the Graupners, KK, Veron as home based production centres has gone.

Yet the biggest obstacle, is that very few want, or have the patience, desire or skills to build from kits.

Andy4821/04/2017 20:30:46
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1057 forum posts
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Surely a hobby is about doing things for pleasure. Model flying is a hobby, and each person has their own interest(s) within the hobby, be if flying fast, indoor flying, building or even programming OpenTX. Who are any of us to question how others seek enjoyment (so long as it is lawful and does not harm others)?

One devotes what time one wants/has to spare for the hobby.

Cliff 195921/04/2017 22:54:12
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38 photos

Well I for one am truly enjoying my second scratch build this year, it poses construction problems and challenges which I eventually overcome with some head scratching, it's great fun and something I would thoroughly recommend for some serious relaxation and satisfaction.

fus box 5.jpg

tail.jpg

Edited By Cliff 1959 on 21/04/2017 22:59:14

Percy Verance22/04/2017 07:00:09
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Nice one Cliff. The artf'ers will be looking on in sheer amazement I'm sure..........

As you say, most plan (and some kit) builds usually pose challenges and issues during construction, but that's all part of the experience. And besides Cliff, a challenge is an opportunity to learn something........or so my old man used to tell me.

Frank Skilbeck22/04/2017 08:18:42
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Posted by Erfolg on 21/04/2017 20:20:57:

Flyer

I do recognise that the CAD?CAM files production is time intensive. Probably now pretty much the same as the traditional drawing route. Allthough the costof todays software, computers etc, is very low

Erfolg, I guess you've not seen such programs as DevFus and DevWing which make this pretty easy, here's our first attempt in progress, formers and ribs etc were cut by sending files to lasercut sailplanes.

is 5.jpg

Daren Graham - Cambria Funfighters22/04/2017 08:41:58
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Hi all, Ive just come across this thread. From what I've seen actually I feel that kit and plan building is on the increase. Availability of kits an issue. Mainly because at present demand will not support a full time wage for the manufacturer. The information Im getting is saying that many would like to build but just need a nudge to get going. Building is a hobby in its self and should be treated as such. That way you dont fall into the trap of saying "I don't have the time or the patients" etc. As a modeller, how many times have you stared out of the window looking at the weather and complained. That's my best workshop time. I can lose myself for hours in the workshop, radio on with a mug of dusty tea.

Brexit has had a noticeable effect on me as a kit producer or so it seems. With the increasing cost of buying from europe and the effective demise of Horizon in the UK since their move to Germany. Also HobbyKings well discussed website issues. More people are looking to buy from the UK, and that does include moving over to kits thankfully. So much so that my production time has increased significantly.

Long may it continue.

Jonathan M22/04/2017 10:06:16
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237 forum posts
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Posted by Daren Graham - Cambria Funfighters on 22/04/2017 08:41:58:

[...] Building is a hobby in its self and should be treated as such. That way you don't fall into the trap of saying "I don't have the time or the patience" etc. As a modeller, how many times have you stared out of the window looking at the weather and complained. That's my best workshop time. I can lose myself for hours in the workshop, radio on with a mug of dusty tea.

That sums it up perfectly for me! Some people are just born that way, others will be different. I completely respect these differences and there is room for all interests.

But the original question is about traditional building. From what I've seen on here and elsewhere in the aero-modelling world it certainly isn't dead.

However people tend to purchase what they're marketed, and the seductive marketing machine of the big ARTF boys far outguns that of the medium, small and very small kit suppliers.

So it would be an excellent gesture of support for our home-grown players (designers, trad and laser-cut kit suppliers, etc) if RCM&E were to consider running a series of magazine articles profiling these people and their full- or part-time enterprises.

That way, newcomers to the hobby, returners and even older hands can at least see that there are other entry points apart from imported foam.

Jon

Edited By Jonathan M on 22/04/2017 10:32:22

Jonathan M22/04/2017 10:16:11
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237 forum posts
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And here is a bang up-to-date way for a small British kit-maker to sell its bang-up-to-date laser-cut wares:

**LINK**

They even supply John Lewis!

Erfolg22/04/2017 10:28:14
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10334 forum posts
947 photos

Frank

At present in the UK the charges for Laser cutting are at such a level, that only a few people will take the route. Cost effectively ARTF represents far better value.

Then there is the issue that within the UK how many find building it is own reward. Many of us older modellers were brought up with the make and mend philosophy, which is now ingrained. In this era, citizens in the UK are dissuaded by both society on the basis often of safety and by manufacturers not to repair, particularly without the correct bit of paper.

Much has changed in the world of CAD/CAM from when I retired some 15 years ago. Everything is much cheaper in real terms. Software easier to use, far greater range of software products have come available, with greater capability. Three axis routing tables with software have been built by modellers in the region of £1,000. CAD software can be obtained from free, to £1,000, it is the same with software for cutting, such as used by the Clothing Industry, Sheet Metal Cutting, that automates material optimisation. Unless the Laser or Router companies spent many thousands, back when all this was cutting edge, the charges appear to be excessive, indicating not much competition.

All of which suggests to me building by modellers is not undertaken very many.

PS. Much of my building is done during East Enders, perhaps others like it and its ilk. Although the X Box is my vice.

 

Edited By Erfolg on 22/04/2017 10:31:05

Peter Miller22/04/2017 10:48:26
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I usually cut all my own parts. making out and then with a scalpel or scroll saw. It is part of the hobby.

I do confess that on some very comlex wingsand models I get them cut for me becausd I am lazy but it is pretty rare.

After all you sit at the bench with a template and a scalpel and some nice music on and just sit ans slice away and an hour will see most of a set of ribs cut out.

Percy Verance22/04/2017 13:08:41
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5285 forum posts
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I completely agree re: UK based kit/model manufacturers. If RCM&E could run articles on these manufacturers (many of whom are simply a name to some) then it could have only a positive effect for the hobby as a whole. As mentioned, the articles could feature those whom own/run the businesses, and touch on the goods they produce. An interesting twist might be to follow a particular kit through it's production process, and (if possible) on to the end user/builder. Now that would be different......

Edited By Percy Verance on 22/04/2017 13:09:17

Erfolg22/04/2017 15:06:07
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Daren, has hit the nail on the head.

Without a world market, there is not enough business for a full time Kit manufacturer, nor laser cutting business. There are at best 50, 000 modellers in the UK.

Of those 50,000, possibly 5% build traditionally, that is from plan or kit. Perhaps 2 models a year. A 1,000 models in total,?

This percentage is probably falling as time progresses, with ARTF. Unfortunately each year that passes seems to see a further reduction in modellers. One has died this week in our club,also another guy has died in another local club. That is faster or so it seems than the people coming into the hobby.

Edited By Erfolg on 22/04/2017 15:07:21

Daren Graham - Cambria Funfighters23/04/2017 09:10:14
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429 forum posts
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Kind of, but it's a bit more positive than that. There is a marked interest in building for beginners. I guess it's up to us kit manufacturers to provide a way into building. I have to a large extent made the Funfighters very straightforward to build but although good for a beginner to building, it's by no means good for a beginner to flying.

Maybe I should be working on the ultimate trainer. One that would teach building as well as flying. I would be interested to here preferences, eg tail dragger / nose leg (I favour tail draggers even for trainers but it's not what I want that counts).

Daren Graham - Cambria Funfighters23/04/2017 09:14:13
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By the way I would be happy to be part of a magazine article if this is ever taken up.

avtur23/04/2017 10:51:12
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I am involved with two hobbies that are both in decline.

Model flying and Classic cars.

For either of these interests to continue the most important factor is gaining new (younger) membership.

The typical turn out at my local flying field and car club makes me (at 61) feel young.

To secure the future of the model flying hobby we need to find out what the younger generations are interested in, classic building is an indulgence for older modellers but sadly I'm not sure it has then same draw for younger people.

I have fond memories of build my first KK Ajax when I was 12 years old, I wonder how many 12 year olds would want to build an Ajax today.

Peter Miller23/04/2017 13:05:53
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Back in those days youngsters built mostof the plastic kits.

They don't now, they jut play with thei r computer games and send text message

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