With building a model airplane creating the fuselage
sides is as critical as joining them together. It is not a difficult
task to complete, but it does require a methodical approach, accurate
measuring and cutting methods.
If you are building from a kit you will not need to cut out the
sides, however you will need to draw in the locations of formers
and other internal structural members unless they use a interlocking
- Before you start anything, you will need to select the wood
which you are going to be using for the fuselage sides. I recommend
using a straight-grained wood that is firm and light.
- Once the two sides each have one true edge you will then need
to locate the reference line, which is normally parallel to
the trued edge. It might be a good idea to use the bottom of
the fuselage as the reference line so another line is not necessary.
- Drawn in the firewall location with the thrust line will being
0° right and 0° down (0°-0°), so it is perpendicular
to the bottom of the fuselage
- Next, measure back to the leading edge of the wing. You can
determine where the leading edge is by measuring the fuel tank
length and adding 1/2" to 1" to that measurement.
- Measure the chord of the wing without the ailerons and draw
the location of the former aft of the wing.
- Locate the wing centerline. You may want to set up a symmetrical
wing with a very slight amount of positive incidence. This is
because at 0° a wing has zero lift. As a guide make the
leading edge 1/32" higher than the trailing edge. Carefully
locate the wing over the centerline and trace around it.
- Now you can see why I have left the wing tips off. Once the
saddles are cut (and you are sure you will not be cutting another
set of fuselage sides) the tips can be glued on the wing.
- You can then do the same for the trailing wing, and a similar
method for the stabilizer.
- Often thin fuselage sides take on a concave shape when the
tail is pulled together. To prevent this from taking place you
can glue vertical support pieces in the aft end of the fuselage.
Their weight is negligible, but they really help keep the fuselage
The fuselage sides are taped together using double-sided tape.
Cut the sides and sand them carefully to shape while ensuring
the edges remain square.
- The fuselage sides are carefully cut out using straight edges
and a scroll or jig saw.
Building inner fuselage
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Model Airplane Articles
» Laying out the Fuselage
» Building inner fuselage
» Preparing the formers
» Jigging and Dry Fitting
» Building it Straight
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» Installing onboard gear
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