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-   -   WattFlyer and Kit/Scratch Building - Are they dying or is it something else? (https://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74425)

Turner 09-08-2014 03:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turbojoe (Post 956767)
We've had a bunch of these cookie cutter shops open around here and disappear in many cases in less than a year. Gee, I wonder why.

It's also why the bulk of my purchases are made online now.

If you think about it a bit you will see a correlation between these two events.

As a partner in a small hobby oriented business I can tell you that online sales have killed many small businesses in the last ten to twelve years. The internet has changed everything and thousands of small businesses have closed. Our suppliers confirm the loss of similar businesses all over the country. And it's not just hobby shops.

thepiper92 09-08-2014 03:26 AM

Truthfully I'm okay with some hobbyshops going out of business, at least here. The larger of the two hobby shops nickel dimes you for little parts. I bought some stuff a little while ago, some y connectors and such. That handful of items was 100 bucks...a y connector was 30. They have way too many people working there too. One guy who knows rc cars has his girlfriend working there...who doesn't know anything and just runs off to him to ask. I think six people work there, when they really need only 3. And if you do have six, they should all at least know something. No wonder they are so expensive, and can you blame me for wanting to get stuff online. The other shop on the other hand, they are helpful and I wouldn't like to see them go out of business. It's quite annoying really, because the larger shop would be guaranteed to have more planes, including kits too most likely, but the service is bad and the parts costs are terrible. Yes, Internet has hurt business, but when you set up a hobby shop with people who know nothing, it cuts their own throats. The only way they make business is attracting kids to cheap rc cars or quads, presenting stuff well.

Rockin Robbins 09-09-2014 02:28 AM

For better or worse times change. Existing paradigm businesses change or die. The Internet isn't killing hobby shops, hobby shops are.

In other businesses, at first the companies complained about the Internet. Then Walmart, Target, electronics stores, etc decided complaining wasn't doing anything. They adapted. Now you go to the Walmart website and there's the article. Sure you can have it shipped to your house for a fee or you can pick it up at the store for no extra charge. Stores who want to survive are also matching Internet prices. Between those two strategies, now rather than being eaten alive, according to Clark Howard, brick and mortar stores sell over 60% of the market in competitive retail businesses by outservicing the Internet only suppliers. It turns out that people don't mind picking up at the store if it saves them money and they can order online.

Take a good look at Heads Up RC in Ocala, Florida. Brick and mortar store. Is the Internet eating them alive? Heck no! They've adapted and are eating your lunch online.

Adapt to the new world or die. It worked for the dinosaurs and it can work for any RC shop that wants to live. You can't just sit there and wait for customers to walk in the door. Selling is an action. The customer always gets what he wants. You can't fight it and win.

abborgogna 09-09-2014 02:47 AM

One thing we tell our customers is we provide service after the sales. You would be surprised at how many people come into the store with an item they purchased online at the lowest price they could find and request that we service it after it fails to work. When we tell them that we don't stock parts for items we don't sell and we don't have the knowledge base to work on their particular item they seem really surprised. There is much more to sales than just providing the lowest price. Every time I provide service after sales I reinforce the fact that part of the extra cost they may have paid comes back to them in the form of service and knowledge we provide. This is particularly important in R/C cars, helicopters, Quadcopters and ARF airplanes.

xmech2k 09-09-2014 03:29 AM

+1! I always check my lhs before ordering something, and even just order through the lhs when I can. You buy cheap, you get cheap!

Leon 09-09-2014 03:41 AM

I only do stick and tissue scratch building. I am moving up from rubber power to electric r/c and was wondering if anyone had a classic design/plan they could recommend to a r/c newbie. I was thinking of building a Veron Cardinal, but not so sure of it is right for me.

kyleservicetech 09-09-2014 03:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Murocflyer (Post 956680)
I try to post pics and they don't go. I get this all the time:

"Upload of file failed."

I never have that issue elsewhere and I don't want to lose the quality of the photos by making them smaller. That defeats the purpose of taking quality photos.

I should be able to load up any photos and the site compresses them or whatever it does. Like I said, why is it such an issue on this site and not any others? Surely a multi-million dollar company has someone that can figure that out. RCG did, 3DRC did, Flying Giants did, RCU did, so why not WF?

It's a huge issue and I think getting that fixed would go a long way in helping to bring back people that like to do build threads which in turn would bring back people who like reading them.

Frank

For those wattflyer readers that have had this problem, check out this free program.

http://www.faststone.org/ (Faststone image viewer 5.1 is the proper download)

This program is very powerful, easy to use, and can do many things, such as drawing, putting text on your photo, changing file size, adjusting color, lighting, contrast, and a whole lot of other stuff.

I've been reducing my photo file sizes to 1600X1200, and all of them have loaded into wattflyer without issues.

Again, its FREE!

thepiper92 09-09-2014 04:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leon (Post 956832)
I only do stick and tissue scratch building. I am moving up from rubber power to electric r/c and was wondering if anyone had a classic design/plan they could recommend to a r/c newbie. I was thinking of building a Veron Cardinal, but not so sure of it is right for me.


Not sure if others would agree, but RTF planes are great for a "newbie". If I just started, I would never risk months of work to attempt something new. You can get a RTF trainer plane, even one that has something like SAFE technology, making an easy to fly plane even easier. You can always go for a simple build, something slow, sticking with just elevator and rudder, but you will still have to do a little bit of work finding a motor, esc, servos. This also means you will have to learn soldering. To me, it is easier just picking up a foamy and learning. I can't say foam is really weaker or stronger than a balsa plane, but sticking a piece of foam back together is easier than a number of wood pieces. When I crashed my UMX Pitts because I wasn't used to a field with hills, 5 minutes of gluing with canopy glue and an hour of waiting around and I was out flying. If it were a balsa plane, I would have to remove some covering, spend at least an hour piecing stuff together, or making new pieces from plans, another few hours for glue to cure, and then recovering. Now, that is a scenario for and ARF or Kit, but it's even worse if it took a couple weeks, a month, or more to build. Kit stuff is getting smaller, and one of the reasons is simply all of what I said; I can crash a foamy and be back up in an hour, or less if I quick fix with hot glue, and most foam planes are rtf, ot bnf, so there is no playing around with the electronics, unless you want to change out connectors.

Turner 09-09-2014 04:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rockin Robbins (Post 956825)
...The Internet isn't killing hobby shops, hobby shops are...

That's like saying that big box stores don't cause small businesses to close.

My customers can buy some big ticket items online cheaper than I can get them from the distributors.

thepiper92 09-09-2014 05:46 AM

I feel that hobby shops are potentially killing themselves. I can understand paying more for stuff if I get good service, but with the service of many places (not just hobby shops) what's the point.

Leon 09-09-2014 08:59 AM

I do agree with some of what has been discussed. However. I also feel that there is room for foam ARTF's. I am a child of the sixties, brought up on Guillows, Keil Kraft, Veron and the smell of dope. (That came out of a bottle, not a doobie.) I find the sound of elastic bands "thunking" against a dope taughtened wing a nostalgic turn on. There is room for both pathways. I just prefer the stick and tissue one.

Turner 09-09-2014 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thepiper92 (Post 956837)
I feel that hobby shops are potentially killing themselves. I can understand paying more for stuff if I get good service, but with the service of many places (not just hobby shops) what's the point.

The point is you can drive there and get it now if they are close by. Once they are gone you no longer have that option. So, if people don't support them they will not last.

solentlife 09-09-2014 04:59 PM

Personally I think it has all to do with 'I want it now' .... 'I dont want to build' ...... and profit margins competing with Chinese art / rtf etc.

Nigel

solentlife 09-09-2014 05:06 PM

Oh and on subject of Watt flyer and its old style .... I for one am quite happy with it. I know we are not supposed to name other sites, but comparing WF to RCG is like chalk and cheese... I frequent RCG basically because of the larger amount of posting ... but so often leave there feeling annoyed with the crass behavior of many there. But WF is friendly and helpful.

Nigel

thepiper92 09-09-2014 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turner (Post 956851)
The point is you can drive there and get it now if they are close by. Once they are gone you no longer have that option. So, if people don't support them they will not last.

It goes both ways. I am will to pay more at my hobby shop if I get help on what I am looking for, help on setting stuff up, and advice (such as being told an ARF I was looking at is very light built and can't handle wind). If a hobbyshop is full of people who know nothing about rc, or try to sell the most expensive thing, even if it isn't that good, well they deserve to fail. The larger hobby shop in my area is exactly that, just trying to make a sale, while the other one, they will give up a sale (I didn't buy that ARF because of what he told me) and tell me the truth. This is important, as I, and others, will stay loyal. Now I do buy a lot of planes online, not because of the cost, but the availability, specifically kits and ARFs I am looking at. Parts for helis, glues, wood, and many other things, I do pay more at the hobbyshop, but they are helpful. People should support their hobbyshop, but a hobbyshop should not wonder why they are going out of business if they don't offer what people want, have poor service and, especially if service is terrible, sell at too high of a cost.

thepiper92 09-09-2014 06:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by solentlife (Post 956853)
Personally I think it has all to do with 'I want it now' .... 'I dont want to build' ...... and profit margins competing with Chinese art / rtf etc.

Nigel

Very true, but there is no reason these Chinese companies, or American companies that make RTF and ARF's in China, can't just simply not assemble a plane, and it thus becomes a kit.

pmullen503 09-09-2014 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by solentlife (Post 956854)
Oh and on subject of Watt flyer and its old style .... I for one am quite happy with it. I know we are not supposed to name other sites, but comparing WF to RCG is like chalk and cheese... ......

RCG does have a better interface for viewing and posting photos and files. WF could use a software update.

I still place copies of my build logs on both.

Turbojoe 09-09-2014 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by solentlife (Post 956854)
Oh and on subject of Watt flyer and its old style .... I for one am quite happy with it. I know we are not supposed to name other sites, but comparing WF to RCG is like chalk and cheese... I frequent RCG basically because of the larger amount of posting ... but so often leave there feeling annoyed with the crass behavior of many there. But WF is friendly and helpful.

Nigel

Yep, it seems just about every thread on RCG goes off topic and turns into an huge arguement by the 10th post. This thread is already three pages deep with many opposing views yet it's still civil. That's why I'm starting to hang out here so much more. The people here are so much nicer.

There is such a thing as getting TOO big and for me RCG has gotten there.

Joe

Brner 09-09-2014 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turbojoe (Post 956870)
.......There is such a thing as getting TOO big and for me RCG has gotten there.......

Joe


Sure hope my wife doesn't get to feeling that way.....:concern:

Stevephoon 09-09-2014 09:20 PM

Keeping positive... What types of things specifically would you like see changed / added /to WattFlyer.....

Here are some of mine:

1. Enhance the "My Hanger". I'd like a photo, a place for quick specs and a user rating. Maybe it should look like a photo album... It needs to be searchable as well... Maybe a link to it directly on your ID of each post. (The list of things that pop up when you click on a user's name)

2. All Photo Uploads should automatically resize as needed. (I did notice that when doing bulk uploads only the specific files that are too big fail now instead of all of them.)

3. I still think some sort of better beginner area maybe needed, but I'm not excatly sure what / how....


I'm sure I'll think of some more....

Steve

Turbojoe 09-09-2014 11:09 PM

While there isn't much real estate left there I'd like to see a link to the classifieds up there at the top of each page with the "Home" Membership" Who's online" etc. Kind of like RCG.

Hmmmm, aren't we starting to stray a bit off topic.......:)

Joe

thepiper92 09-10-2014 12:22 AM

Ultimate RC (URC) has a good layout too. I actually don't like the setup of RCG, I prefer a simple layout. Anything I post in RCG I have to go back to look for posts. HeliFreak has a nice layout I find, though I am not on it too much (on it more the more I get involved with helis). There are a few nice things, such as threads stating the OP, meaning that each post from the OP shows thread starter next to name. Guess it isn't that important, but if someone else chimes in on a thread, asking a question, at least you know that it isn't the OP and you can avoid diverting away from helping the OP.

mclarkson 09-12-2014 03:15 AM

Semi-off-topic, but since it's been brought up before ... I've mentioned this previously in other places but, although I can upload photo attachments to a thread, I haven't been able to upload any images to the Member Gallery for years.

I select the file(s), fill in the fields, click Upload/Submit, and the site goes to this page -

http://www.wattflyer.com/photopost/uploadphoto.php

- which remains blank and never does anything. This problem has persisted across multiple computers, browsers and operating systems.

pizzano 09-12-2014 04:19 AM

Member Gallery Photos
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mclarkson (Post 956988)
Semi-off-topic, but since it's been brought up before ... I've mentioned this previously in other places but, although I can upload photo attachments to a thread, I haven't been able to upload any images to the Member Gallery for years.

I select the file(s), fill in the fields, click Upload/Submit, and the site goes to this page -

http://www.wattflyer.com/photopost/uploadphoto.php

- which remains blank and never does anything. This problem has persisted across multiple computers, browsers and operating systems.

Mark......

That problem is not on your end, it exists here.........

Case in point, approximately 4 months ago (around May 2014), one of the long time members here was beeatching about not being able to add new folders to the Members Gallery......the member gallery photo count at the time was 7,432 and had been stuck on that number for more than a year........mysteriously within less than a week, the gallery photo count increased to 7,457 and remains at that number today..........

I too have tried on a few occasions to add/delete photos in my album selection, to no avail........and my PC operting system has no issues what so ever.....

Could it be more than just "not enough" web site space and not enough manhours available to manage or just who you know and can tickle here......:D..........????

maxflyer 09-12-2014 04:23 AM

I'll take a shot.

Which forum is better? Not sure of that one. I ended up spending more time on that "other" forum, simply because there were more threads
that were of interest to me. I also find the ability to view all the attachments for a particular thread to be very useful. When threads
becomes large, finding a photo that relates to what I'm looking for translates into less text searching. The photo posting procedure is
also very easy to use. As far as "friendliness" goes, I can't say that one forum is better, but WF does feel more "homey" in some way. It also feels a little out of touch.

As to processing and posting images, I think hobbyists need to educate themselves a bit about the subject. It's actually a somewhat
complicated subject, but most people only need to know a little for posting purposes. The important areas for us are:

DPI (dots-per-inch), or resolution.
Picture size in pixels (since we are only posting on the web).
File format (JPEG, TIG, GIF, etc.).

Virtually all images used on the web use a resolution of 72 DPI. Where does that come from? I really have no idea, but that's how it has
been done forever. Larger resolutions simply take longer to download, and offer no image improvement on the internet.

The perceived screen size of your image relates to the number of pixels per side, ie. 600 x 800 pixels. The larger the monitor, the
smaller that image will look on that monitor (the field of pixels increases with a monitor's screen size). Today we no longer worry as much as we once did about getting an image too large. Years ago many people still had 15" monitors, and it was a problem if image sizes were too large.

The other problem that relates to image size is the time required to download them. This has always related to the type of internet connection people had. Even today there are many people who only have dial-up connections, and those people must sit and watch large images fill in a bit at a time. Web designers are still conscious of this limitation, and usually work to keep image sizes modest.

We have that same issue on our forums. Do you want to quickly click through a series of images? Or are you willing to wait while larger
images piece themselves together?

The file format question is simple for us. It's usually just JPEG's. However, there is the matter of whether or not to add compression to
your image, and how much. This can make larger images more reasonable in size, and faster to download. Be aware, the greater the
compression, the lesser the quality of the image.

Hobbyists who post images should search the web for articles about graphic editing, and educate themselves. They should find a program
that will allow setting resolution and size, and possibly some image manipulation to improve (or even salvage) marginal images. When I'm
working on a model and decide I might want to post an image, I don't usually go and hunt down my professional digital SLR. I grab the
iPhone in my pocket, snap a quickie, email it to my desktop, and optimize the image for posting (I use Paint Shop Pro).

Hobby shops? I started building models in the 1950's. There were lots of hobby shops around. Hobby shops were for skilled hobbyists. That's right. Your skill level might be low. Maybe you were a rank beginner. But building and flying model airplanes required knowledge and skill! You had to have a pretty decent amount of skill to get ANYTHING into the air! You had to have intent, attitude, and perseverance (rare traits these days!). Many people never succesfully built and flew even a simple stick-and-tissue model until their knowledge, experience, and skill reached a certain level.

At hobby shops you met other builders. You got recommendations and technical assists from the shop owners, and probably spent a good
amount of your hobby time there. You looked forward to every visit. Hobby shops were magical places. Most were run by fellow hobbyists. I
doubt they made a bundle. And can you imagine the THOUSANDS of items a hobby shop must inventory and track? Not anything I would want to do. There really had to be a bit of love there to make those guys want to do it. The only other places you were able to get information about
building and product were through magazines and field meets.

The fraternity that once existed and inspired some hobbyists to want to run a shop no longer exists. There is a fraternity, but it's different now. It's watered down by those who just want to have an experience and then move on to something else.

The hobby market today is just as it should be. A product of the times. It serves the entire fraternity, but is largely designed for marketing. I can get virtually any kind of hobby information I desire from the internet. I don't require a hobby shop for that. While it's still beneficial to meet-and-greet at the field, to discuss and share, and perhaps see that model you read about, in action...by the time I get to the field I probably already have a wealth of knowledge, and may have seen the model flying on YouTube.

The fraternity, as it once was, is no longer needed. Few builders are building models that require the kind of technical expertise and experience once necessary to even participate. Most of us now buy our models ready, or almost ready to fly.

Then there's the fact that the human population is more than doubling every thirty years. What used to be an easy drive into the nearest
town is now just an irritation and loss of time. With a world of information at my fingertips to help me make buying decisions, I can
now just click a button, and just about anything I want will arrive on my doorstep in a few days.

The smart hobby shops that do still exist, realize their brick and mortar locations are likely to return less than internet sales, and operate accordingly. The best of these, Like HURC, where I do a lot of my purchasing, are saavy enough to provide detailed information
about subjects like matching props to motors for desired performance, making it even easier to make buying decisions.

Hey, Im an old guy from that other time, But I'm into it! With the loss of one eye I discovered I no longer can see well enough to slice
and dice balsa for a precision joint. Give me an ARF! I no longer have the reflexes of youth, nor the nimble mind that responds in
nanoseconds, and I have rammed into obstacles more than once due to lack of depth perception. Give me an easy-to-repair ARF! My profession
dictates I will work until disabled or dead. I have relatively little hobby and building time. Give me a quick-building ARF!

I will never forget those early hobby years. There was a romance and a thrill about the whole pursuit that can never be replaced. But that was then.

Maybe NOW isn't so bad. Things change.

Stevephoon 09-16-2014 12:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by maxflyer (Post 956992)
I'll take a shot.

.....


I will never forget those early hobby years. There was a romance and a thrill about the whole pursuit that can never be replaced. But that was then.

Maybe NOW isn't so bad. Things change.

Great comments! I think my problem has stemmed from starting so late in the hobby... I'm still catching up on most of you. I'll keep building as long as I enjoy it. It is great that you don't have to build if you don't want to... There is definitely more choices now than there has ever been.

Steve


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