View Full Version : Slowstick on GWS Floats, fitting instructions and photos...

02-12-2008, 10:06 PM
Hello all... had a few requests for this and have finally got round to taking some photos etc.

Got a slowstick? think you can afford the ten dollar/pounds for a set of GWS floats? got a patch of water about the size of a large puddle or bigger near you?

Then read on.

Firstly, this is a British thread, so everything must be accompanied by a large cup of freshly brewed tea. Get the kettle on.

Ok, mounting floats to a slowstick... things you need:

-GWS float kit
-some wire the same guage as the original front landing gear
-the optional piece from the kit for rejoining the two halves of the fuselage together if you cut it in half... actually, do the newer kits come with fuselages in half already? someone clarify please.
-a large cup of tea, not too strong, don't you dare put sugar in it and just a dash of milk.

02-12-2008, 10:12 PM
The GWS kit comes with two cross pieces and two sets of uprights. The uprights are far too short for the slowstick, they're maybe half the length of the original landing gear so the prop would be in the water if you used them.

The fittings for the floats fit on the original front landing gear, so remove the gear from the plane, pop off the wheels and add the front fittings for the floats to the landing gear and screw them to the floats. The floats are closer together than the wheels, so you'll need to bend the landing gear ends up so that they're horizontal when the legs are closer together. Don't worry about bending them back when you put wheels back on, the wheels won't sit vertically, but that doesn't matter.

For the rear set,use a piece of wire the same guage as the original landing gear and bend it to the same profile. At the top of the wire, i made the return loop the same width as the fuselage and as long as the connector piece from the slowstick kit for making a two piece fuselage(which i hadn't used during the build).

The connector piece from the slowstick kit for making a two piece fuselage is basically a piece of square plastic tube the internal dimensions of which are the same as the fuselage, about 2cm long. I took that piece and cut nearly all of one side of it away, but left a lip of about 2mm each side remaining. In profile the piece now resembles an angular "c". The piece can now be snapped onto the fuselage from the bottom by bending the two lips out slightly and pushing it on.

Then, i took the new set of legs that i'd made and heated the return at the top with a blowtorch... then pressed it into the connector piece on the opposite side to the part i'd cut away. Heat it just enough to press into the plastic, not go through it, you don't want to affect the internal square dimensions.

The plastic connector is now firmly attached to the rear legs... see photos...

02-12-2008, 10:18 PM
Then, add the rear legs to the floats with the connector facing forward. Press the front landing gear into it's holder and then snap the rear connector onto the fuselage. Mine fits just in front of the servo tray. Depending on where your servos and other radio gear are, you may need to mess about with this a bit. I added a small zip-tie to the front to ensure that the front gear stayed in it's holder and another around the connector piece and top of the new rear legs to make sure they stayed attached.

Thatís it! In an ideal world, the step of the floats would be at or just behind the c of g. On mine, the furthest rear part of the step is right on the c of g and so ideally they could be about 1cm further back, doesn't seem to have affected the plane too much though, it is stable on the water with the tips are well out of the water at a standstill. It tracks straight under power and the takeoff run isn't noticeably longer than off grass. Just watch out for the wide taxiing turns on the lake, without a rudder it just wants to go straight! Oh, i don't know if GWS floats come in different lengths, but mine are 55cm long. And the plane is completely stock with the standard 300 motor.

02-12-2008, 10:19 PM
Flying tipsÖ donít try this when itís windy! The slowstick sits too high with too narrow a base for it to handle wind out on the waterÖ itíll just blow over before you take off/after youíve landed. You might be able to taxi more successfully with ailerons, but Iíve only got the rudder and elevator controls.
I only waterproofed my receiver by wrapping it in clingfilm to protect it from splashesÖ I didnít do anything with the esc or servos. When the plane blew over, the position of the radio gear below the wing meant that only the motor got wet, which isnít a problem for a brushed motor. Iíd recommend more waterproofing though, donít take my minimalist approach!
Hope this is of use to someoneÖ do post a pic if you get around to adding floats :)

02-18-2008, 06:37 PM
If you have the ability, $10 will buy you enough rigid foam to make 10 sets of floats. Sounds like you have to fabricate the struts anyway with the GWS floats.

02-19-2008, 03:26 PM
a fair point... but the GWS floats come nearly complete and look like floats, unlike some of the bodged home-made floats i've seen... and they have a step in them which would be harder to make in foam... and they can be transfered to another plane like a GWS beaver and look like floats on that too.

Of course everyone is free to do what they want to do... if you want floats that can also be used as skis off snow, i suggest you make your own from rigid foam - the step isn't so important with the slowstick because it weighs so little and a flat bottomed ski is preferable. if you want floats to look as such and be transferable to other planes in your fleet/future fleet... buy the gws floats... if you fly off ground, fit wheels.

Making the rear strut to suit the gws floats took ten minutes and a piece of wire from the lhs worth £0.60. Or it might have been £0.80, i can't remember. I doubt that you'd be able to make your own floats, struts to suit and mounting points to hold the struts in much less than... oh, a couple of hours? You should be at the lake after less than an hours building time with the gws floats.

Alternatively, since "$10 will buy you enough rigid foam to make 10 sets of floats"
buy the foam then:
build one set of floats
built two wing halves
build one elevator
build one vertical stabilizer

then build a slowstick clone from the parts above and others you've begged, borrowed or just stolen, because doing things cheaply is "always" the best answer.

and don't post anything about how you built it, thinking it might be useful to someone else out there, because someone will point out you could have bought the same foam for $5 just down the road, making you feel a) foolish and b) like you wasted your time.


02-19-2008, 05:26 PM
If you don't want to make your own, don't make them. I prefer to build and learn and have the ability and tools. I've seen some GWS floats in the forums and they don't look like any "real" float I've seen on real planes. Although mine don't either I could spend the time to make them. Your choice

02-20-2008, 02:46 PM
So provide a comment suggesting a choice, not worded in a flippant way suggesting I was foolish to have spent 10 pounds on floats when i could have bought enough rigid foam for ten sets. Or post a build thread/photos of what you've made.

GWS floats don't look like real floats? a 30 second google image search suggests otherwise:

heres a load of different planes on floats that look just like the GWS ones:


a DC3 on floats:


a beaver on floats:


a cub on floats:


another, russian this time:


I "think" you are mistaken.

The slowstick being a beginner's plane (although not only operated by beginners) would you say, in your expert opinion of course, that posting instructions on how to fit floats to it with a minimum of effort and low level of hobby construction skills would be possibly of benefit to someone?

Given that it is a beginner plane, one could possibly surmise that a beginner might own one and fly it, and one could also surmise that that same beginner might not yet possess the nessesary skills to create floats from a block of solid foam.

02-20-2008, 04:56 PM
Hey, if I wanted to read a post that reads like state law I'll go study them. I'm not here to argue or prove a case so stand down. If you want to go buy the floats and put them on your plane then so be it. I myself am not a expert only someone who built them myself and was surprised with its actual simplicity thats it nothing more. Yes I have the ability to cut them out of foam with my bandsaw that of which took me all of about 45 seconds per float. No biggy just easy and interested in passing on what I learned. I believe that is the intent of the forum, not for cross examination....... your witness.....

02-20-2008, 09:19 PM
Alright, I have re-read your thread and realize that you are trying to give information on the GWS floats. I appologize for redirecting the intent. I was giving other options if interested. Obviously it was not appreciated. I own that. Although I think your response is excessive, I apologize. There will not be no further responses from me.

02-21-2008, 04:28 AM
JRickey, I'm glad you apologized. It was the right thing to do. And it's proof that you are a gentleman.
Bugjam, I agree that your response to him was a bit excessive but very clever and entertaining. However, I'll be sure to stay on your good side.
So...Inspired by your cool build thread, I picked up some GWS floats today from my LHS for $10.50. I'll prolly use them for skis until spring comes back around. Once the ice thaws on the pond, I'll give it a go. My pond is about two acres in surface area surrounded by trees so landing may be a dicey proposition but my adrenaline jones requires constant feeding.
Thanks for your efforts. It does matter.

02-21-2008, 05:52 AM
Bugjam, thanks for the tip, i was wondering how to go about that when i get floats this summer.

02-21-2008, 03:04 PM
JRickey - Apology accepted, and i'll admit my response was excessive...

Other options are always appreciated, i just took exception to the flippant way you worded it... appaling day at work didn't help. Feel free to add comments to any threads i start... adding floats can be done in many ways, etc etc.

Glad some people are watching this thread and the instructions may be of use to someone... two things to add:

One - New horizontal struts will take about 10 minutes to make and won't drive the cost up by much at all, i suggest anyone thinking of fitting floats to a slowstick makes up their own longer horizontal cross pieces to give the plane a wider stance and more stability than mine.

Next thing - i noticed today that the plastic bottoms to my floats have distorted :o i can only surmise that this has happened when they got too hot... the plastic is quite thin and i'm guessing thermo-molded at a fairly low temperature. I can't remember leaving them in direct sunlight in a car or anything... but they've got hot and warped somehow. If you've got some, keep them away from heat sources!

Finally, intrigued by the challenge of making your own floats from foam, i found this website, which may be of use to someone:


that is all...


A DC3 on floats you say? how intriging... GWS kit exists for that plane... ;)

Bub Steve
02-21-2008, 04:02 PM
Both you guys are "class acts" an Both good bubs, GWS floats work GREAT on grass to (The kind you walk on) Hee hee! I take off an land mine on grass Everyday, I like to run a beads of Gorilla glue on the seams as to beef her up a might, ya'lls bub, steve