Helpful Hints

Simple ideas for simple problems
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Original Hints list courtesy of the Volunteer State Model Aviators

Hint Description Author
Save your exhaust deflector A good way to keep from loosing your exhaust deflector is to put three small dots of JB Weld on the exhaust tube. That way when you zip tie the deflector on it won't slide off. Robert  Reed
Isolate the Antenna I found that the easiest way to isolate the receiver antenna inside the cabin was to run the antenna through a drinking straw and glue the straw to the inside. There's no chance that a servo will touch or damage the antenna inside the plane. Roger Hunckler
Stronger Styrofoam A great way to strengthen up Styrofoam wings on any park flyer, without adding a lot of weight, is to just add strips of cellophane tape. It's cheap and easy, and especially durable to high-speed impact, strain and strengthening the wings in the cold. Preston Rice
Small Parts Finder If you fly off grass or a dirt strip, and you drop a small screw or bolt, it win naturally disappear from the naked eye. You have a made-to-order recovery tool in your electric starter that has a very powerful magnet. Just move it over the area where the small part dropped. Be sure not to allow dirt or other foreign objects to get into the starter motor. Robert Wells
Sanding Wing Skins When building wing skins, try edge gluing the sheets together with cellulose base glue, like Sigment or Ambroid. This type of glue has the same sanding consistency as balsa wood and eliminates the hard glue ridge that forms at every seam when other types of glues are used. George Jorge
Brass Bushing Installation Do you have a problem aligning and pushing those four little brass bushings into the servos' rubber grommets when installing a new servo? You can use a Phillips head jewelers screwdriver as a slick insertion tool. Just slide the bushing over the screwdriver blade, and then use the screwdriver as a guide and insertion tool. The same technique can be used to effortlessly drive the rubber grommets into the servo mounting slots, too. Aidon Mazzoni
Cardboard Organizer Here's a great way to organize your work area. Take those cardboard tubes left over from your MonoKote and cut them into various lengths. Glue or tape them together like a pipe organ. Glue them vertically to a piece of wood to close off the holes on one end. Now you can set it on top of your work table to store your knives, pencils, screw- drivers, etc. Jim Herrmann
Cheap Filler If you want to fill a gap and you're wondering what to use, go over to the clothes dryer, get some lint, and mix it with epoxy. It works great, and you canít beat the price. Alan Cox
Cutting Control Cable Stranded control cable is difficult to cut neatly. Use a small amount of solder on the spot you are going to cut, then use a wire cutter, resulting in a quick clean cut. Oscar Lovrak
Sealing Trim Sheets When sealing the gap on control surfaces, MonoKote trim sheets work well. The only drawback here is the pre-applied adhesive. After a few trips to the flying field the sticky adhesive tends to attract dirt, grass, etc. Here's an easy fix. After all the gaps have been sealed with the trim sheet, sprinkle baby powder on the remaining exposed strip of adhesive. The baby powder will stick to the trim sheet making the exposed adhesive no longer effective. Now, nothing will stick to the gap filling trim sheet. Bobby Patterson
Building Boards An inexpensive, flat building board can be made from 12 inch x 6 foot (or whatever length is best for your building choices) veneer particle board shelves, found at your local Home Depot. You can use contact cement to attach a 1/4 inch thick bulletin board cork to the building side for pinning parts in place. Making two of the 6 foot versions allow wing halves or fuselages halves to be built. Making two 12 inch x 2 foot versions for stabs, ele- vators, rudders, etc allows you to move the parts to a safe location to dry. I have had this "modular" building board setup for more than 15 years, and it is still as flat as the day it was made! Jim Schmidt
Installing Pushrods One of the best ways to take some of the friction out of pushrod installation, especially where you have to make Some bends in the plastic tubing, is to shoot a little silicone spray into the plastic tube. When the metal pushrod is installed and worked back and forth a little (to spread the silicone), it becomes very easy to move through the plastic tube thus eliminating pressure off the servo. This works especially well for throttle installations. David Till
Drilling for Dowel Pins When drilling holes in the plywood of your plane to accommodate wing hold down dowel pins, it is sometimes difficult to get them just the right size without some slop in the hole. For example, if you were using 1/4 inch dowel pins you would need to use the next size larger drill bit which is normally 17/64. Not bad but a better way is to drill the 1/4 inch hole, harden the hole with CA and then enlarge it with a 1/4 inch prop reamer available from Tower Hobbies. This makes the hole just the right size and a snug fitting dowel pin. This prop reamer works with other sizes also. Gene Davis
Covering Schemes When thinking about covering your plane, make the top of the wing and the bottom of the wing two completely different colors or schemes. This will reduce confusion in the air as to the configuration (right-side up, or upside down) of your plane. Also bright colors show up better the further away you get. Joseph A. Maggs
Secure Fuel Lines Secure fuel lines by cutting a small piece of heat shrink tubing that has a slightly larger diameter than the fuel line you are using, and slip it over the fuel line and fittings at the fuel tank, carb fitting and muffler fitting. Apply heat with a heat gun. Your fuel line will be a lot less likey to come off mid flight with this set up and is an inexpensive alternative to using fuel clips. Darryl Cheatham
Muffler Plugs The little foam earplugs with a cord between them are great for plugging muffler outlets to keep oil from dripping on your carpet. Cut each foam plug with an inch or two of cord left on it. This way, you can easily pull them out before the flight session. Lingo Chang
Befter Grip To improve your grip on your transmitter, especially during hot summer months when your palms are more likely to sweat, stick some handle wrap (the stuff they use on tennis rackets) on parts of the transmitter where you hold, you'll get a better grip and it won't slip so much. Ernie A. Lee
MonaKote Ideas A roll of clear MonoKote is remarkably useful for several purposes. A strip of it will cover a hinge gap without interfering with the color design. Also, have you ever wanted to put a dry transfer or any other kind of non-fuel proof decal, etc. on a plane? Go ahead and put it on, and simply iron a piece of clear MonoKote over the top. Chuck Kunce
Save Deflectors If you use an exhaust deflector to protect your plane from oil residue, many times you end up losing the deflector no matter how you attach it, whether it's with ties or twisted wire. A very simple method to save your deflector in flight is to simply tie a thin copper wire to one of the tie wraps and then over to the pressure tap. Very simple, but it has saved me 5 deflectors already! Waylon Ford
Safe Surface I have found that using a medium plush bathroom rug, 24x36, with rubberized backing on my bench, it makes a perfect surface for sanding my wing or fuse without scratching, denting, or sliding around. I can shake it out and use it for covering later. If it gets dirty I throw it in the wash. Lou Fox
Instrument Panel To make a custom, professional instrument panel for your plane, do the following: Using individually available meter decals (fuel, altitude, etc.), layout the desired instrument panel for your plane. The decals may be glued or clear taped to a white sheet of paper. Add an outline if desired. Take the finished product to a photo copy store and have a transparency made. On the reverse side, color the instruments as desired. Glue to the planes instrument panel with canopy glue. This technique produces a custom instrument panel at minimal cost. James Hollingshead