Balsa building tips?

ashmmohan
Member
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: March 18th, 2016, 6:36 am
Division: C
State: FL

Balsa building tips?

Postby ashmmohan » August 9th, 2016, 8:02 pm

Does anyone have any balsa building tips (particularly for towers and helicopters)?
Thanks!
Boca Raton Community High School
Cornell/MIT/Berkeley/Regionals/States/Nationals (- indicates no medal)
Wind Power: 1/6/3/1/1/
Towers: 5/-/-/-/5/
EV: -/3
Hovercraft: 1/-/-

User avatar
windu34
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1255
Joined: April 19th, 2015, 6:37 pm
Division: Grad
State: FL
Location: Gainesville, Florida

Re: Balsa building tips?

Postby windu34 » August 9th, 2016, 8:05 pm

Use cyanoacrylate sparingly
President of Science Olympiad at the University of Florida || Boca Raton Community High School Alumni
kevin@floridascienceolympiad.org
windu34's Userpage

Event Supervisor for 2019:
MIT Invitational - Mission Possible
Harvard Invitational - Sounds of Music
Princeton Invitational - Herpetology

User avatar
calvin102111
Member
Member
Posts: 38
Joined: April 29th, 2016, 1:55 pm
Division: C
State: IN

Re: Balsa building tips?

Postby calvin102111 » August 9th, 2016, 9:12 pm

windu34 wrote:Use cyanoacrylate sparingly

^^. Using too much cyanoacrylate will ruin the piece of wood you are working with. Also, when cutting the wood, I would recommend making very shallow cuts to start out and gradually making them deeper as you go. This is mainly important for towers, as awkward angles due to cutting could really mess you up later.
Captain for 2016/17 Season

Projected Events: Wind Power; Dynamic Planet; Ecology; Optics; R & M; WIDI

User avatar
bernard
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 1908
Joined: January 5th, 2014, 3:12 pm
Division: Grad
State: WA
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Re: Balsa building tips?

Postby bernard » August 9th, 2016, 9:57 pm

calvin102111 wrote:
windu34 wrote:Use cyanoacrylate sparingly

^^. Using too much cyanoacrylate will ruin the piece of wood you are working with. Also, when cutting the wood, I would recommend making very shallow cuts to start out and gradually making them deeper as you go. This is mainly important for towers, as awkward angles due to cutting could really mess you up later.

New, sharp blades will help with cuts, and you will not need to replace them frequently if you use a self-healing cutting mat and use a designated blade for cutting balsa. Contact between blades and a hard cutting mat (e.g. plywood) can dull blades quickly. Likewise, cutting more difficult woods (e.g. bass) or cutting into cured glue can dull blades quickly. A cut well done saves you time sanding. Use fine grit sandpaper with your balsa; homemade sanding blocks are not hard to make and are great.

Your teammate, windu34, is right; in balsa events you care about device mass, and excess cyanoacrylate can add much unnecessary mass without increasing efficiency. Make gluing easier by creating jigs that help hold components together while gluing. Covering your jigs in packaging tape prevents your parts from adhering to the jig.

I'm moving this topic from General Chat to Bridge Building, where I think it is most relevant this season. This will allow easier browsing for future users, and this means replies here will count as useful posts.
"One of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there."

jander14indoor
Member
Member
Posts: 1510
Joined: April 30th, 2007, 7:54 am
State: -

Re: Balsa building tips?

Postby jander14indoor » August 10th, 2016, 2:12 pm

Search back through this prior year discussions on Bridges, Booms, Towers, Wright Stuff, Glider, Helicopters. Check the Wiki's. A wealth of information on how to handle balsa.
At a high level, besides the cutting and glue suggestions, careful balsa selection is KEY. Balsa is a natural material with properties that vary widely, more than 4 to 1 in many cases. Some balsa is junk for ANY of our purposes. But even good balsa for one use may NOT be good for another.

Jeff Anderson
Livonia, MI

ashmmohan
Member
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: March 18th, 2016, 6:36 am
Division: C
State: FL

Re: Balsa building tips?

Postby ashmmohan » August 12th, 2016, 7:44 am

Thanks!
Boca Raton Community High School
Cornell/MIT/Berkeley/Regionals/States/Nationals (- indicates no medal)
Wind Power: 1/6/3/1/1/
Towers: 5/-/-/-/5/
EV: -/3
Hovercraft: 1/-/-


Return to “Bridge Building B/C”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests