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Frugal Foamie Tips

Old 08-14-2007, 03:10 AM
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Water Boy
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Thumbs up Frugal Foamie Tips

Hi all, like most of you I am on a budget and love building foamies. But with the cost of some supplies the need to be "Frugal or inventive" is needed now more then ever. This thread can a place for all to share there tips and tricks on using unconventional items to aid saving a dollar or two.
I'll start off with a couple ideas I have.....

First for cheap, strong and light weight hinges I use those FedEx envelopes made from a Tyvek type material. Just cut a piece approx. 1/2" wide by 3/4" to 1" long. Then cut a slit into the control surfaces, be sure to test fit the hinges to make sure they can be inserted easily. Then use either epoxy or FCA to attach the hinges. What I do is attach all the hinges into say the horz stab first, once the glue cures apply more to the hinges the add the elevator. Make sure to keep the gap the accros the surface while curing.

Second, for landing gear, tail skids and even pushrods. I use those little wire flags you see marking utility lines. You can purchase them in different lenghts from 12"-36". The price is roughly .15 .35 cents or you could get them from a construction site, just make sure all work is done before removing them.

Last for bracing I like to use bamboo skewers. These are strong and light. They can be purchased at places like wal-mart,target or any other big store. Most are around 12" long but you can find them up 18". Very cheap too, about a dollar at walmart for about 50 or a hundred. These to can be used for tail skids and some landing gear.

I will post more as I find them, please post your tips here as well.


Harry
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:26 AM
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jonnyjetprop
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Check out Ben Lanternman's article in the AMA mag Model Aviation. He's using recycled meat packing trays.

John
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:18 AM
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Saucerguy2
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Default What a great thread

An excellent topic starter, I'll share a few of mine.

Along hinges, you can use wet/dry sandpaper, it has a fabric backing so are really strong. For added all around durability, adding some plastic strapping to the plane makes it significantly stronger, you can usually pick it up anywhere that has pallets of goods, they just toss it out, so freebee there. Skewers and dowels can also be used as push rods, you just are attaching a small length of wire, even a paperclip will do in that area, on both ends. For canopies and cowles, any solid piece of flexible plastic you can find, typically from left over boxes that have a window to display, can be folded and glued together to make a reasonably looking one without having to learn to vaccume form. Elmers and rags also can be used as a poor mans fiberglass for covering, you can even just use dollar store tissue paper along with.

I'll think about this some more, I'm sure there is plenty I forgot about that are still useful, I look foward to hearing tips from others.
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:40 PM
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soar-ne
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Wheels:
Cut a large wood dowel (around 1 inch dia or to suit your size) about 3/16 inch thick slice. Go to hardware store and buy some water pipe insulation foam tubeing for the tire portion, cut in a wafer about 5/16 inch thick, glue to wood wheel center part with Sumo glue. Take 80-100 grit sandpaper to round the tire corners off. Drill axle hole-and paint ot suit.
Wish my camera was available would post pics, maybe add later!!!!!!!
Happy Flying
Bob
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:55 PM
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Hey now,
Feh, you folk don't know from frugal. You're still *buying* stuff
Construction site dumpsters provide:

Foam insulation sheets in various thickness.

Tyvek, often in very large pieces (ever cover a model in Tyvek? I have.).

Phone wire, good for antennas, servo leads, and holding bits being glued.

spackle, in the bottoms of five gallon buckets, often a years supply in one bucket, just transfer it to something smaller.

Wall paper roll ends, often enough to cover a model. Wall paper and paste is one of the strongest coverings I've ever seen, not the lightest, but almost as strong as a heavy glass lay up, and lighter.

Let's see, other than dumpster scores; floppy disk innards make great hinges, Dress makers' plastic boning makes fine spars, just cut a slot in the foam and lay it in edge on, nice and stiff, cheap too.

Soda/water bottles for canopies and windshields. You can either cut it to shape or make a plug, shove it inside and use your heat gun to shrink it to size. Also makes nice cowls, bottle bottoms make nice round engine cowls, tops make nice inline... This works with just about any plastic bottle, so you can make them for any size model.

Coffee stir sticks (wood) make good cabane and "N" struts for bipes as well as good epoxy mixers.

Dental floss (unwaxed) makes o.k. pull pull cables for small models and very nice bracing wire for scale bipes and such. I've stiffend several floppy foamies with floss, works as well as carbon and doesn't cost much at all.

I've got more, but I should leave some for other folk to chime in with...
RobII
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:41 PM
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Default Control horns

To make some cheap and easy control horns...
Take those junk credit cards or the ones you get offered in the mail and cut them into triangles for horns. Be sure to put a slit into the foam and glue into place. Another couple are old zip ties and those tooth flossy things, (use them first so you don't waste them).
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:45 PM
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Default control horns

On the same topic, I found using laminate, commonly referred to as formica, makes rock solid control horns, I have yet to have one break on me, you can get free chip samples at any home improvement store to use as stock.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:11 PM
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Lip84
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AWESOME! Subscribe!!!!!!

OH yea...almost forgot...I use scotch tape (invisible tapes) as hinge material allll the time...works wonders and is light as a feather.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:15 PM
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The plastic bubble packages that so many things are packaged in make nice wells for mixing up epoxy, and if large enough and the right shape can be canopies, cowls, etc.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:20 PM
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The little paper ketchup cups from McDonalds make great cups for mixing epoxy or paint.
Wooden clothespins make great little clamps and wire holder while soldering. The plastic coffee stirrers are good for making bushings in wheels where the hole is too big for the wire.
The non skid rubber placemats from Wal-Mart are good to put under your battery before strapping it in so it doesn't slide. I also use them inside my car to lay tool boxes and transmitters on so they don't slide around while driving.
Credit cards or hotel room key cards work good for spreading spackle or epoxy.
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Old 08-15-2007, 02:41 AM
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This is a great thread I Just mentioned in another tread that I fly on a fixed income and every little bit helps.

I cant remember where I saw this I do know that it was some where on the web it might have been here on WattFlyer. The article was about using used dryer sheets and epoxy as a sort of wannabe fiberglass for minor reinforcing work. I havent tried it yet but I do have my wife saving dryer sheets so when the time comes I'll be well supplied.
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Old 08-15-2007, 02:58 AM
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Glad to see everyone is pleased and is contibuting to the thread. So far lots of usefull information and sure more to come. Wonder if it would be possible for this to become a Sticky, so that it will be on the front page and others will have easy access to it. Anyone know who to do this?Does this sound like a good idea?
Harry
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Old 08-15-2007, 03:41 AM
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Default sticky

The moderators are the ones that can make it sticky, it's entirely their call, I can see their reasoning to do it, or not to, so don't be dissapointed if it doesn't become that. A good thread is a good thread and keeping it with good content is good enough in my book, "can I say one more good". Keep up the good work.
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Old 08-15-2007, 06:11 PM
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Hey now,
Don't forget those freebie CDs and such places like AOL send you. They're poly carbonate and pretty strong. So control horns, servo arm extensions, and even servo covers.

Zip lock baggies full of sand for weights. If you sheet your wings you'll want something form fitting and heavy to hold the sheets down, sand bags do this well.

I don't often buy servo lead extensions, I just get bulk servo wire, or use phone wire and solder in longer leads. Cheaper, lighter, far less likely to come apart in flight.

Oh yeah, those political signs, for sale signs and home open signs are often made from coroplast, if you're "nice" wait till the event is over and clean up their mess, or if you're not "nice" pull down the opposition's.
Coroplast makes nice fins and control surfaces for combat and thrasher models. Also if you use "Goop" and fish tank tubing you can seal the edges nicely and if you wipe them with acetone they take paint well too.

RobII
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:07 PM
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soar-ne
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Default Mop & Glow and Future vinyl floor wax

Im sure you notice how flat the craft store water base paints are after you apply them to foam right?? Well just put on a couple of lite coats of the vinyl floor wax over the paint with a small foam brush and you get some depth to the color and it also protects it a little from scratches. Once you use the brush dont try to paint with it again as it turns the paint kind-of gunky. Also let the paint dry out good for a day before putting on the Mop & Glow stuff.

Try it on a test area and see if you like it.... I do!!!!!!!!!!!
Bob

Dont apply over paper insignia though as it makes the colors run...
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