Materials/Kits

How do you approach this event?

I buy a kit and follow all the instructions
2
8%
I buy a kit and follow most instructions, modifying it a bit
13
52%
I buy a kit just for the parts and don't follow the instructions
1
4%
I don't use a kit; I make just about everything from scratch
8
32%
Other (feel free to discuss here)
1
4%
 
Total votes: 25

bernard
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Materials/Kits

Postby bernard » September 12th, 2015, 10:37 pm

I'm curious how teams approach this event. I usually don't see replies to polls, but feel free to discuss here.
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Skink
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Re: Materials/Kits

Postby Skink » September 13th, 2015, 6:50 pm

I lean towards kit plus modifications, but I'm not a talented enough builder to intelligently select my own wood and the like. I do find it meaningful to perform my own deviations from the instructions, and some kits, even, have advanced tips in them for those who want to go above and beyond or, just, experiment.

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Re: Materials/Kits

Postby Less_Incidence » September 13th, 2015, 7:08 pm

I'm not a particularly big fan of kits, especially for Wright Stuff, because the two I've built (LaserCutPlanes's Osprey and the Freedom Flight kit) did not perform well at all in their stock configurations. At this point, having built F1Ds and explored other facets of indoor freeflight, I know that I can do a better job of wood selection than a mass-manufactured kit can provide, and I have my own particular building methods and design preferences that don't necessarily follow kit instructions either. Kits are great for beginners, but if you're past your first year in the event (or even your first model), there's almost no point in building one. That's my two cents.
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Re: Materials/Kits

Postby jander14indoor » September 14th, 2015, 7:28 am

As a coach/mentor, not sure how meaningful my answer is to the poll, but here's my opinions on kits based on years of coaching .

For a new team with no stash of materials or experience, kits, while expensive, can be a very good way to get started and fairly quickly have a plane that FLIES. It can save a lot of time trying to gather the materials you need to build from scratch. And that's critical, if you are not flying, you aren't learning. And if you aren't flying, you are most likely getting discouraged and thinking you can't do it. All very bad for new teams.
Frankly, at this point when I coach a team (as opposed to a clinic) I spend the first session having the students build a simple plane like a Delta or Denny Dart FAST and flying it THAT DAY. I don't even attempt to build anything that's WS competitive. I want students to see they CAN build and fly a plane. That gets students interested enough to spend the 4-5 evenings to then build a good WS plane and see how much better a plane can fly.

For a team with a stash of materials and some building experience, but perhaps not WS, kits are an expensive way to get plans and materials. Better would be to do some research on the web to find plans (there are many old WS plans out there that can be easily modified to any given years rules) of successful planes. Then dig into the stash and start selecting materials to build those wood selection skills.

For an experienced WS flyer, say you flew last year and have some skills, perhaps not the best, kits are a step BACKWARDS! Take the money you'd spend on a kit and buy the raw materials. Learn how to select wood, its not hard, you don't need super wood for WS, we design the rules so you don't. And buy rubber, lots. Spend time building many planes with variations you think will help and FLY LOTS.

And for WS flyers who can build an F1D, your scrap wood is better than most kits and you can design a good plane in your sleep at this point, or know where to pull a good design from the web! Kits, yeah...

That brings up one thing about kits that can be limiting. Most only include enough rubber for a few motors, at most maybe 10. That's no where near enough because it leads teams to be more worried about breaking their last motor instead of maxing out the flying time. I've seen way too many good teams come to contests but fail because the competitors were afraid to wind their last motor and break it! Guess I'm suggesting if you use a get, buy extra rubber!

Jeff Anderson
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Re: Materials/Kits

Postby retired1 » September 14th, 2015, 2:34 pm

If you have good sources of material and prior experience, kits are helpful but not needed. They are a bit expensive. OK, a lot more than just materials.

I find that most students that have never built a plane before need the kit for the first plane. It saves a lot of time also, and my contact time with the students is limited as they have other events and things that take time.

Proper cutting and gluing are capabilities that few have the first year.

No kit and no plans, how many can cut a balsa sheet for ribs? (I like bent ribs far better)

There is all kinds of information available on the internet, IF you can find it. Also , not all of it is great. Such as the person building a kit glider that took 3 tries to get part of the wing glued correctly.

The Freedom Flight kits were a very high percentage of nationals last year and they placed very well. I think that it was a stock kit that had gone thru 4 or 5 bundles of rubber won last year. Can they be improved on? The kit builder says so. He is just providing a very good starting point.

As jander says-build and fly-fly-fly. (Then build again)

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Re: Materials/Kits

Postby DoctaDave » September 14th, 2015, 2:47 pm

If I remember correctly, last years winning plane was slightly modified from the freedom flight model. I remember watching the winning flight and the model had a LOT of dihedral. I think the team also had a different model that was the stock FFM model, which they also flew.

As far as kits are concerned, I definitely recommend them for beginners who have no experience with indoor free flight. If I didn't purchase a kit last year I would have had no idea of where to begin. There's just too many plans online and too many terms that I didn't understand in the build and trim instructions. The FFM kit did a good job explaining the build and trim process in simple and understandable terms.

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Re: Materials/Kits

Postby bernard » September 14th, 2015, 5:26 pm

Thanks everyone for the great opinions. For students trying to move from kits to getting materials themselves, I think it'd be helpful to share places we get our stuff. Here's a few I can list off the top of my head...

https://www.specializedbalsa.com/
http://www.faimodelsupply.com/
http://indoorspecialties.com/
http://www.freedomflightmodels.com/paypal.htm
http://hobbyspecialties.com/
http://www.easybuiltmodels.com/parts.htm
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Skink
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Re: Materials/Kits

Postby Skink » September 15th, 2015, 4:07 pm

The reported message has the only purpose to advertise for a website or another product. ;)
Really, though, thanks for the list.

bernard
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Re: Materials/Kits

Postby bernard » September 15th, 2015, 5:20 pm

The reported message has the only purpose to advertise for a website or another product. ;)
Really, though, thanks for the list.
Post deleted by moderator ;)

Any users know of where to get rubber stripped to specific widths? Rubber strippers are quite expensive for most students.
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DoctaDave
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Re: Materials/Kits

Postby DoctaDave » September 15th, 2015, 5:46 pm

Freedom Flight Models sells bags of rubber cut to specific widths, and there is one more website that I know of that sells rubber but I can't seem to remember its name. But for anyone just starting off, purchasing a box of 3/32" TSS from faimodelsupply.com will probably be sufficient.

Anyone purchasing rubber should be careful though, as the rubber strip can vary in thickness, the cut can wander, and the cut can be trapezoidal, all of which affects the max number of turns as well as the torque curve. To get the most consistent flights and to really maximize times, one should measure motors by linear mass density. I have also found that the strip of rubber from a box of TSS will vary around 10% in linear mass density, so you still have some room to play around with if you decide to purchase a box of 3/32" rubber.


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