In this post we want to show you how our balsa wood airplane kits and boat kits are made.
Do you know? The complexity might surprise you.
Building a balsa wood kit requires a lot of custom design, hand crafting, and the selection of the best materials and machinery.
Let us show you what we're talking about.
Part 1. Balsa Wood
All of our kits are produces by RBCkits, based in the Netherlands. A kit starts with the right balsa wood, we wrote an in-depth article explaining why this is so important.
Balsa wood is extremely light, yet very durable. Kind of important for an RC airplane. In fact, balsa wood is actually the strongest wood in the world when comparing weight and strength ratio. This is why almost all hobby shops have balsa wood, or Ochroma as the tree where balsa wood comes from, in their inventory.
But because of the nature of balsa wood, every sheet is different and you should always check any sheet you buy to make sure it matches your needs.
Part 2. Balsa/ply Wood Cutting
To create the parts you find in your airplane or boat kit we use a highly customized CNC cutting machine. Each kit requires unique calibrations, and a unique design. See for yourself:
2 layers of 3mm balsa and double High Freq 50000rpm spindels Machine running 5000-6000 mm /min , showing the use of Gcode to shift the coordinate system , but one full lenght sheet of balsa is also possible in one machining cyclus. parts are for the Jodel BeBe , we mainly work balsa on this machine.
Other parts are made of ply wood, because they serve a different purpose in an airplane. The process looks similar:
The end result looks like this.
This is our OS 2U Kingfisher kit, one of our most popular Warbirds, consisting of wood parts, drawings, and vacuformed parts which we'll cover next.
Part 3. Vacuum forming
Some parts are made of Styrolux or other material, of which some should be transparent. The cockpit is an obvious example of this.
In the RBC kits workshop we have a fully automatic vacuumforming machine of professional grade. Here's the machine in action:
Yes, each and every kit has some uniqueness to it, and requires different settings. This video shows how the cowl and covers of a Volksplane RC model are vacuum formed.
skyray petg canopy with frame, for easy battery access
Part 4. Drawings
All our kits contain custom drawings and instructions. These are not some simple A4 sheets. To help you build the airplane you have in mind, we plot each and every drawing ourselves on tailored plotting machines in full size.
Our drawings are designed in cad and some kits include a 3d drawing on the CD.
cad drawing of RC model
A fresh color plot on the way to a new kit
Part 5. Other Parts
Of course every kit contains other parts as well. Landing gear, hinges, steering cables. This depends on the kit. But whichever kit you pick, we find a balance between the parts you need, and the parts you probably have yourself.
Superlight wheels 85mm for our Jodel BB and Volksplane
and many other airplane kits
In conclusion, an RBCkit sold by RC-builder is true craftsmanship. Each kit is unique containing custom woodwork, vacuumformed parts, plans, and other parts. Now you know what's behind our huge collection of airplane kits or boat kits.
Which kit are you getting?
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