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Is traditional building a disappearing art?

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Mark Stevens 128/12/2017 20:45:14
146 forum posts
51 photos

Certainly not a dying art for me,

When it comes to planes, The Traditional method of building with balsa either from a plan or a kit is the only way I've ever done them. I've even designed a small number of planes back in the 1980's. That was the time when I would actually draw my own plans and have them dyeline printed.

This one might actually see the light of day this year as I fancy having something to chuck off the Great Orme. I can't really do that with my Helis. I will probably do a slight mod on this one now to make it 3 channel, easy enough to do.

You can see the date I designed this in the pics.


dscf1472.jpg dscf1473.jpg

Shane Sunday28/12/2017 23:13:01
342 forum posts
160 photos

There deffinately is some kind soul Peter. At the moment my favourite model to fly is your Ooladally. Ive had it for years now but but somehow im only this year really getting to know it. Also when we are building traditionally it gives us an excuse to buy tools. And who doesn't love tools?

Chris Reid29/12/2017 00:29:04
221 forum posts
95 photos

Very late in on this one. Designing and building have always been my thing from my earliest years, (age 13). Now getting rather elderly, I still get a buzz from laying out a clean sheet of paper, and working out how to create a new model. February's RCM&E has my Mignon, very simple, but fun to create and build. If I'm honest, the build is the best part, getting the lines on paper to become a 3D object. Once built and flown a few times the urge to do it again re-emerges. In short, I suspect I find design and build more fun than flying the result. The latest model just begun is a twin electric DH84 Dragon. The wing components are made, and a build blog follows. It will be a classic balsa and ply structure - I've tried depron, but it's not for me.


Peter Miller29/12/2017 08:53:41
11094 forum posts
1309 photos
10 articles

I Agree Chris.

I always say that if a new model destroys its self on the first flight it is still not a waste of time because I enjoyed the design and building.

As for tools, oh yes, any excuse for a useful addition

Robert Parker29/12/2017 12:42:19
975 forum posts
1321 photos

Hi All,

I get more building time than flying time and I have recently started doing my own designs just for fun, designing eats up time and costs little

Going to attack this lot and persuade it into a Dornier Do24 with a bit of luck over the coming weeks


Should keep me busy for a couple of months wink



Peter Miller29/12/2017 12:44:41
11094 forum posts
1309 photos
10 articles

That will be impressive

Robert Parker29/12/2017 12:49:36
975 forum posts
1321 photos

Hope so Peter,

I've had some head scratching moments here and there as well as how to attach the wings, hopefully I've got it sorted now.



Peter Miller29/12/2017 13:22:12
11094 forum posts
1309 photos
10 articles

When I have a tricky problem I usually find that the answer comes at about 4 am in the morning.

Chris Reid29/12/2017 13:34:21
221 forum posts
95 photos

image.jpegimage.jpegThat's some project Robert, rather more complicated than my DH84. I too have been pondering biplane wing attachments as I want to avoid a 20 minute rigging period when I get to the field. I designed/built a DH60 Gypsy Moth some years ago and managed a system where the wings were permanently rigged in pairs and plugged in to the fuselage. Worked fine, and I'm going to try it again.

Should be obvios why I' chose this Dragon.Edited By Chris Reid on 29/12/2017 13:39:24

Edited By Chris Reid on 29/12/2017 13:40:07

Edited By Chris Reid on 29/12/2017 13:42:02

Robert Parker29/12/2017 19:54:25
975 forum posts
1321 photos

Hi Chris,

I love your DH84, I don't think I've got around the rigging time but it is only six bolts or at least that's the plan.

By the way the wingspan of the Dornier will be 72" and powered by electric motors although I have drawn up a wing for three .15's!!! which was my original intention, but I have gone for electric power plant to be confirmed.


Here's what I came up with, though it does not give too much away in the way of detail



Chris Reid29/12/2017 21:09:29
221 forum posts
95 photos

Your preliminary drawings are rather more detailed than mine Robert. I tend to do just the basics and let the build process create the detail. If David Ashby likes the design, I draw up a detailed plan from the basics and the model. DA is interested in the Dragon so I will write a build plan and take photos as I go, and I'll do a build blog here as I did for my Vickers 151. The Dragon will be 58" span with two 28mm brushless motors cabable of 350W each. Should be enough.

Happy New Year.


Timo Starkloff29/12/2017 22:15:49
398 forum posts
885 photos

Although more difficult, building models and cooking is always more satisfying than buying ready to use stuff. And you're learning a lot through that!

Sadly it just isn't the trend of this time. There is not so much money earned for big companies, when people are doing things on their own.

But there are still many active modelers and it's interesting to see, that self built models get more attention in German magazines again. The sad story here is, that it's either a very simple or a very big and expensive model. So it's up to us, to keep the interest for building models awake and alive.


dan h30/12/2017 09:21:15
117 forum posts
36 photos

hi all, I came into this hobby about 7yrs ago I bought myself a hobbyzone supercub rtf I took it to a field where I know no one goes. I flew it there many times then decided to join my local club which by then I was hooked. I have been flying foamies with good success so I thought I would have ago at building a plane myself from plans. so I chose a 3 channel high wing plane [this year] what was relatively easy as I did not want a plane that half way through the build I would get utterly stuck with and decide not to carry on. as I knew it would put me off of building any more. so I found this 3 channel plane I built it and flew it it went really well so then I decided to build another plane which is a 4 channel sport plane I have just finished the the same time I have built the mini blitz I am well and truly hooked on this balsa building stuff I am looking forward to building bigger planes I have learnt a lot off this favourite plane now is the one i built from plans even tho it is only a basic 3 channel high wing plane i plan to keep building for along time to come..........Dan

Roo Hawkins18/04/2018 16:02:32
105 forum posts
65 photos

hi I started building and flying large scale gliders about 4 years ago. because of the very hi cost of 1/4 and 1/3 scale gliders can be in the 1000s of £ I started to build them my self from epoxy and glass carbon as I built sailboard in the 1990s so the skills are nearly the same. carve the fuz out of foam then glass it. so far I have made 8 from 4 meters to 6 meters . so i am one for building.

Graham R18/04/2018 19:04:14
357 forum posts
26 photos
Posted by Roo Hawkins on 18/04/2018 16:02:32:

hi I started building and flying large scale gliders about 4 years ago. because of the very hi cost of 1/4 and 1/3 scale gliders can be in the 1000s of £ I started to build them my self from epoxy and glass carbon as I built sailboard in the 1990s so the skills are nearly the same. carve the fuz out of foam then glass it. so far I have made 8 from 4 meters to 6 meters . so i am one for building.

Sounds good, I like gliders. How about some pics.

Former Member19/04/2018 01:44:56
3577 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Rob19/04/2018 10:23:09
235 forum posts

Due to the dwindling supply of reasonably priced kits I'm now spending more time building from plans either downloaded or purchased online from places such as ebay etc. Quite often you can pick up copies of old magazines such as RCM&E and Radio modeller with plans in place that can be built for small money and its nice to see a few of the old designs that may not have been so good due to the technology of the time ie Nicad flight batteries and full size radio sets modified for modern equipment.

Levanter19/04/2018 10:32:44
883 forum posts
437 photos

Across the range of this forum I think it is safe to say that traditional building is far from dead. Even better are the choices now available to us in terms of materials techniques and equipment.
​My mum even sent me the Haynes manual on how to build a drone as a birthday present. For the time being however I would have to build it in ply, spruce and balsa.


Nigel R19/04/2018 10:40:28
3916 forum posts
678 photos

I'd agree with Levanter, "traditional" building is still alive. We're a bit more niche now. But then there is a wider use of foams (and more types available now). Building is building, and some builders naturally gravitate toward different materials.

And Rob's comment about the older free plans for small models, they are often a much more viable model with the micro sized gear that is now common, and small brushless setups, the structure can be slimmed down a bit, or made with foams, for a lighter and better flyer.

Paul Thwaites19/04/2018 11:06:28
7 forum posts

I've recently started in the hobby, so I can't speak for others but, for me, the real pleasure will be in flying something I've built for myself. To this end I'm currently building a 'Chapter One' from Nigel Hawes excellent plan. This means buying tools, setting up my workshop, and learning a whole new set of skills.

I have also bought myself an ST Discovery (foam) trainer with which to learn how to fly. This is partly because building takes time, and because I'd rather have creative landings (read 'crashes' with something that I haven't poured my soul into. I know that this will happen one day, but not yet, I'm too new at this!

The idea is to continue building from plans; there's so much more choice of aircraft but mostly because, for me, flying something made by somebody else seems to be missing out on something. I'm also massively encouraged by the help and advice I've had from suppliers and from the RC community.

So, for the moment I'll continue to build, make mistakes and learn from them, and drool over the photos in RCM&E!

Edited By Paul Thwaites on 19/04/2018 11:08:57

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