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 Post subject: Mastering Biplanes
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:55 am 
Paper Model Overlord
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Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:15 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Alameda CA
I've seen a few comments in various threads that some modelers find biplanes beyond their skill to get "right", so I thought I'd offer my own approach to dealing with the multi-limbed monsters (and perhaps get more of them built, because nothing matches a biplane (or triplane) for elegance). I apologize for not having any pictures - all my biplanes are hanging from the ceiling of a friend's house in San Francisco and I don't have any of my own at the moment - but hopefully pictures won't be necessary.

I think the first rule of biplanes in small scale paper is this: Don't be fussy about where the struts meet the wings. We can't cut and fold the paper precisely enough to always have the struts EXACTLY positioned - the tiniest fraction of a millimeter difference in length or angle of cut will force a strut well away from where it's "supposed" to meet the wing surface.

The second rule is sequence. Get the bottom wing attached first (and true to the fuselage). With rare exceptions there are no struts to worry about with the lower wing, so it's easy to get it attached, and with the proper dihedral. Next, put on the cabane struts (the struts on the fuselage). Make them as true as you can, but it isn't necessary to be obsessive about it: when your eye sees them as true, that's enough. Let them dry. This is IMPORTANT. Let them dry HARD. Go make dinner for your wife or girlfriend to make sure they dry (and prevent ruffled feathers from giving scraps of colored paper more attention than to her)! :wink:

Next, position and secure the upper wing upsidedown on the table so it can't move (and with support beneath the center section to preserve its dihedral). Turn the fuselage upside down and WITHOUT glue set it on the wing to find out which cabane strut will need slight shaving. PAY NO ATTENTION to where the ends of the cabane struts are "supposed" to attach - all you're looking for is that the fuselage will "sit" square (all strut ends will be in contact with the wing with no "leaning" to left or right). Shave (very very very slightly) the "long" strut (there'll be only one that's too long). Reset the fuselage on the wing and check. Shave again. Reset again. Don't be tempted to shave what you think is needed in one shave, or you'll wind up having to shave ANOTHER strut and pretty soon your cabane struts won't be struts but stumps.

When all is square, glue. Again, don't worry of the struts aren't attaching at the marks. What matters is that the wings are parallel, have about the right stagger, and are the same distance apart at the tips. Support the fuselage as necessary. Again, let dry. Go to a show. Take your wife dancing.

Finally, attach the interplane struts one at a time (I usually glue the strut to its correct place on the lower wing, let dry, then glue it where it winds up meeting the upper wing).

Rig as desired.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:24 am 
Paper Model CINC
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Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:04 pm
Posts: 1182
Location: Waterlooville, Hampshire, England
Sounds like good advice to me Mark, and, purely by coincidence, pretty much how I go about building mine too :D.

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