Category Archives: Tools

Tools for building.

Building Board Blues

I was about to get started on a new building project (more on that later) and pulled out my balsa building board. It’s been a while since I last used it, and much to my dismay, I discovered that it had taken on a bit of warp. The mid section of the board had taken on a crown of about 1/32” – 1/16” relative to the ends.

My first attempt to flatten the board was to clamp and weight it down to my bench. This worked and between the clamps, weights, and few paper shims, I was able to get the board to within about 0.010” of flat. Not pretty, but this could work. Then I discovered that the clamp was blocking my bench drawer from opening … oops!

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I really wanted a more permanent and less awkward solution anyway. After a bit of searching, I found this post on RC Universe. Eureka, I can do that too!

A trip to my local big box store yielded some 1” square aluminum, corner brackets, and assorted screws. A few hours later, I had the the following:

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I am back to being within about 0.010” of flat (measured with a straight edge and feeler gauge). Good enough!

I still want to build a true torsion box table one of these days and have a truly dead flat surface, but this should give me a very flat and stable surface.

On to my next building project!

SSE Wing Construction

I have been making some (slow) progress on my Sig Somethin Extra build. So far, I have the left wing ribs, spars, and shear webs glued. Need to add the LE and TE sheeting before unpinning it from the board.

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To keep the ribs square during assembly, I have been making use of 1-2-3 blocks. Normally used by machinists, they are square and flat and heavy enough (relative to the light balsa and ply parts) to stay where you put them. At $17 a pair, they are quite affordable and have a multitude of uses for fixturing during assembly.

Building Board Arrived

I got back from my last business trip last week to find that the postman had delivered my Great Planes building board. The surface is smooth and flat and looks like it will be a big step up from the old ceiling tile building board I have been using.

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My only concern is that there is a small split along one of the edge glued joints at one end. I am leaving it alone for now, but may squirt a bit of wood glue into the split and clamp it up to ensure that it does not spread.