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Balsa instead of aircraft Plywood ??

Old 07-17-2010, 09:37 AM
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diverdon
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Default Balsa instead of aircraft Plywood ??

Hello everyone ,

I am starting a kit I've had sitting around for a while and Having read the directions for a change I see on the materials list that it calls for "Aircraft Plywood" Huh? I never saw that before nd have allways used balsa instead of plywood ..
The Aircraft plywood is not offered anywhere near here . It is called for mostly for what they call "Doublers" I think .. The support pieces you gule on to the fuselage to strengthen it in certain places . This kit is calling for 1/64th thickness .. whats up with that anyhow ? so thin it's useless and how do you make 1/64 plywood anyhow ? isnt it supposto be made with cross hatched layers ? 1/64th ?? pretty hard to do that I'd think..
Anyhow so much for my rant ..sorry .. Question is .. Can use sheet balsa instead ? I was gonna use a thicker size anyhow . And Like I said its for the extra support on the foam fuselage .. Use 1/16 thick balsa instead of 1/32 aircraft/plywood , should be OK ?

Thanks again for looking at my beginner questions , Don J.
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:12 AM
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I get that plywood at the local hardware store, the least likely place you would expect to find it. Have you checked there? I think it is much stronger than the balsa sheets. Don't ask me how they compress it to that thickness lol...
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:47 AM
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Aircraft Plywood? I think maybe it's Model Aircraft Plywood. You can buy it from any hobby shop. Take a look at it before you plan to use Balsa.
If you must use Balsa, you must find a very hard sheet. And it's more easy to find Plywood suitable for your model. Remember Balsa is soft, and Plywood is hard. You can always laminate Balsa sheets, but I don't think it will be hard enough here.
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:54 AM
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You will be amazed at what modern technology has done to improve the entire industry Balsa does not have the structural properties of plywood. Doubling the thickness will double the weight. Plenty of suppliers online - just goodle 'aircraft plywood' or try Sky Sharkster's link: http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14117
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:00 PM
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PS Hobby shop plywood like Revell etc is not the same stuff. It has voids, plugs, fewer lamininations, inferior glues and core layers, extra weight and less strength.
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Old 07-17-2010, 01:51 PM
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diverdon.
Aircraft plywood is used in both full scale and model building. 1/64" is three ply construction. You must remember that wood is inherently week along the grain and prone to split or break easily. The 90 degree plywood veneers eliminate the weak grain structure by reinforcing it a grain running 90. Unbelievably strong in this application. I sandwich balsa or foam between two layers of 1/64" ply and make panels as much as 8 times stronger adding only a little weight A good visual reference is in this thread.

http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52805

Alot of references to 1/64" in plywood (wingskin) but post #7 pretty well sums it up.
Give it a try.

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Old 07-17-2010, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by RWF View Post
PS Hobby shop plywood like Revell etc is not the same stuff. It has voids, plugs, fewer lamininations, inferior glues and core layers, extra weight and less strength.
Yes! You are right. A little misunderstanding here. My hobby shop have the right sort Plywood, avoid the Revell etc. You can see the difference of the quality of the Plywood. Just ask, or maybe even better, go to a specialist wood shop. I have found some really quality wood cut offs in a local shop. But you need only a little piece of Ply. I guess. Shouldn't be hard to find. Good Luck with your project.
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Old 07-17-2010, 02:24 PM
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MaxAdventure
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Originally Posted by diverdon View Post
. The support pieces you gule on to the fuselage to strengthen it in certain places . This kit is calling for 1/64th thickness .. whats up with that anyhow ? so thin it's useless and how do you make 1/64 plywood anyhow ? isnt it supposto be made with cross hatched layers ? 1/64th ?? pretty hard to do that I'd think..
Anyhow so much for my rant ..sorry .. Question is .. Can use sheet balsa instead ? I was gonna use a thicker size anyhow . And Like I said its for the extra support on the foam fuselage .. Use 1/16 thick balsa instead of 1/32 aircraft/plywood , should be OK ? .
Originally Posted by Numbthumbs View Post
Don't ask me how they compress it to that thickness lol...

very thin veneer is created by shaving thin layers off of the original log on a lathe when the moisture content is just right. I've seen video and it's pretty amazing - no compression involved other than when the sheets are glued to create the plywood. I could never imagine how the wood was cut with a straight saw for ply until I saw the shaving video - really impressive, no waste! (a saw would waste more than what's left for the ply layers.)

Ply laminated to balsa makes for a very stiff and light assembly - follow the original instructions! Keep it light by not using too much adhesive, always make sure you have a great joint fit and don't use glue to fill gaps, that's where weight adds up fast.

Some great comments already on where to find the ply. I buy it from the local HobbyTown, I also use plywood from Micheal's Craft and Hobby Lobby Craft- although it's labled 'not for aircraft use' on much of what I get, it doesn't stop me. Many mail order hobby shops have a great selection of wood as well - Tower, Advantage, Horizon, AMain, etc.

(anyone know the difference on the Midwest ply labeled 'not for aircraft' ?)
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Old 07-17-2010, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MaxAdventure View Post
very thin veneer is created by shaving thin layers off of the original log on a lathe when the moisture content is just right. I've seen video and it's pretty amazing - no compression involved other than when the sheets are glued to create the plywood. I could never imagine how the wood was cut with a straight saw for ply until I saw the shaving video - really impressive, no waste! (a saw would waste more than what's left for the ply layers.)

Ply laminated to balsa makes for a very stiff and light assembly - follow the original instructions! Keep it light by not using too much adhesive, always make sure you have a great joint fit and don't use glue to fill gaps, that's where weight adds up fast.

Some great comments already on where to find the ply. I buy it from the local HobbyTown, I also use plywood from Micheal's Craft and Hobby Lobby Craft- although it's labled 'not for aircraft use' on much of what I get, it doesn't stop me. Many mail order hobby shops have a great selection of wood as well - Tower, Advantage, Horizon, AMain, etc.

(anyone know the difference on the Midwest ply labeled 'not for aircraft' ?)
Man, technology never ceases to amaze me!
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:58 PM
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You can get aircraft plywood from Balsa USA and I'm sure from others. A lot of the plywood you see in the hobby shops is what is called "Lite Ply" and it is light but also very weak relatively speaking and of much poorer quality than aircraft ply. Good plywood will be at least 3 plys for 1/16 inch thick and at least 5 ply for anything thicker. If you have the time and inclination, you can form your own balsa plywood by stacking three layers of balsa sheet with grain at 90 degrees between sheets. The problem here is using the right adhesive, a very thin coat of epoxy is best but, if you give it adequate curing time, you can use an aliphatic glue. That will require a very long cure time though as the moisture has to migrate through several layers of wood to properly cure.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Numbthumbs View Post
Man, technology never ceases to amaze me!
This is for large ply, but it's the same method for tiny modeling ply:
[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH86eahxeq8[/media]
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:41 PM
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http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...nnishbirch.php
Check this site out. I haven't bought ply from my LHS or any supplier who sells it in 6"x12" sections as it is outrageously expensive on a per sq ft basis. Alot of hobby supply houses buy it from suppliers such as above and then rip it and put their label on it. Heck I can do that. Compare the prices and if you have some flying buddies get together and pick up a couple of sheets that are cut to ship UPS. You'll get plywood at around 30% of what it would cost walking in a hobby shop.
Balsa USA price 1/64" x 12"x 12"= $4.84
Aircraft spruce 1/64 x 48" x 48" = 24.55 (roughly $1.50 per square ft.)
You'll be amazed how many different ways to use the thin ply wood.
CC
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:46 AM
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diverdon
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Default Thank You Thank You Thank You

Hello All , So many replys WOW Your all such a great bunch .. One of the things I love about this hobby..

So the plywood is important .. I have ordered it from one of the suppliers in this thread./Aircraftspruce.com ..thanks .. I didn't think Michaels Craft Store had it as their web site shows only Balsa .. I'll take a ride over there and look ..

Hope this thread helps someone else I tried to title it so as to make it easy to find . used the search feature for a while but couldn't find anything about this topic .

Well thanks Again for all of the help .. Maybe this will help my planes to hold together better .. Take Care Everyone , Don J.
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Old 07-18-2010, 03:25 AM
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Another good source of Aircraft Plywood is Midwest Products. You can find it in hobby and craft stores or order it direct. Midwest is good quality stuff. They used to make aircraft kits, but got out of that business a few years ago.

http://www.midwestproducts.com/catal...d=15&sa2_id=27
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