Modeling Tips & Tricks

Here is a collection of tips that I have seen in modeling magazines and on the Internet. Topics cover many aspects of aeromodeling, including free flight, control line, radio control airplanes and helicopters, rockets, and boats. Many are the result of serendipity, which is an unintentional discovery. Items without credit are my own ideas; credit is given where appropriate. Please send me your suggestions.

  • Dawn Power Dissolver for cleaning enginesEngine Cleaning
    • Dawn Power Dissolver dishwashing spray-on presoak solution will clear the brown, burnt glow fuel stains from engines. (Flying Models, July 2009)
    • Evapo-Rust does a phenomenal job of removing oxidation from just about everything - engines, hardware, landing gear.
  • Servo Connector
    • Keep connectors from coming apart by tying with a piece of dental floss.
  • Evapo-Rust - Airplanes and RocketsMonokote
    • Keep edges sealed by using thin strips of clear cover across the edge.
    • Clean smear of heat sensitive adhesive using acetone.
  • Adhesives
    • Save the small syringes from teeth whiteners for injecting adhesives into tight areas. It works for any adhesive.
  • Balsa
    • Eliminate small dents and even T-pin holes by applying a drop of water in the region to make the balsa will swell. Sand smooth when dry.
    • Stick and tissue models require precise joints. If you cut a stick slightly short, dip one or both ends in water to make balsa swell, pin in place and let dry. That will usually give you an exact fit.
  • Threading Wires & Cable
    • Use a piece of thread with a small nut tied to the end and "drop" it through the cavity. Then, attach the wire, cable, tubing, etc., and pull it through.
    • Somewhere I read that using a piece of the ball chain from light fixtures works well, too.
  • R/C Frequency & Channel Numbers (Aircraft Proving Grounds)
    • Find your channel number if you know the frequency: 
       - Take the hundredths from the frequency number (72.170; use just the 17)
       - Add 21 (17+21=38)
       - Divide by 2 (38/2=19)
       - The channel number is -----19-----!
    • Find the  frequency number when you know the channel number:
       - Take the channel number (33)
       - Multiply by 2 (33 X 2=66)
       - Subtract by 21 (66-21=45)
       - The result is the decimal = .450 (remember to add the zero)
  • Here is the complete list of Sketchbook hints & kinks