FAQ

These are answers to questions that frequently come up.

Q. Can I order by phone or mail?
A. Sorry, we cannot accept phone orders. You can order by mail. Contact us first by email first to get the total dollar amount for your order.

Q. What is a 'short kit'?
A. There is no industry standard definition of a "short kit". Our typical short kit includes only those parts that need to be cut from a sheet of wood (balsa, bass and ply). It may also include vacuum-formed parts such as a canopy or cowl. Some short kits will seem more complete than others; i.e., they will have many more parts laser cut. That is up to the designer and how the plane is assembled. For example, a stick type fuselage takes a lot of extra wood, whereas a kit like Rob McKellar’s GeeBee Z has almost every part cut. If you are unsure about the content of a specific short kit in our catalog, please email us for more information.

The builder supplies all sticks, wire, sheet, glue, covering material necessary to finish the model. Some people prefer short kits so that they can hand pick the sticks and sheet wood they will use to finish the build. We do not have materials lists for many of the short kits. 

Q: Can you enlarge/reduce the kit for me?
A: The short answer is "maybe". Read on...

1. Wood thickness doesn't necessarily scale. The desired enlargement or reduction should fit the available thicknesses of wood. Otherwise, tabs and notches probably won't fit. If you must enlarge or reduce, work with a multiple of 50%, such as 50%, 150% or 200% for best results.

2. There is considerable additional expense involved in scaling a design.

a. When we receive a design, we lay out all wood parts in "cut files" sorted by wood type and thickness. Cut files contain tool path, tool speed and power setting instructions for the laser cutter. Cut files are created by manually extracting individual parts from the original CAD design and nesting those parts to fit the raw wood material: typically 4" x 36" balsa and 12" x 24" plywood. When multiple sheets of a particular type and thickness are needed, we put multiple sheets into the cut file, up to a maximum of 36" wide by 24" deep. The outlines of the parts become the tool path that the laser beam will cut. Next, we add tool speed and power setting instructions to the cut file based on the material being cut. The completed cut file is then sent to the laser cutter's job management system.

Consider what happens when you enlarge a particular model by 150%. That original 4" x 36" sheet of balsa now is scaled up to 6" x 54". Immediately, there are two problems: 1) 54" wide balsa is not available, and 2) the laser cutter has a maximum cutting width of 36". This means that all the original cut files have to be manually adjusted in CAD to nest the enlarged parts on available wood sizes. Then the tool speed and power level have to be manually adjusted, and finally the new cut file is fed back to the job management system. CAD time is not free; we charge $75/hour for CAD work with a one-hour minimum.

Scaling down is somewhat less complicated, as the individual parts usually don't have to be re-nested. However, tool speed and power setting must be manually adjusted for the scaled-down cut files.

b. Many plans are drawn on "E" size sheets (36" x 48"), and the maximum printing width of our plotter is 36". Scaling an "E" size plan by 150% results in a print size of 54" x 72" - far too large for our plotter! This means that we'd need to lay out the enlarged plan to fit on 36" wide paper. Again, that's CAD time at $75/hour.
Scaling down a plan is much simpler; the plotter is just instructed to print to a specified scale.

3. Lastly, and most important, all the designs we sell are copyrighted by their original designers. We will not change their designs without their specific permission.

Q: I have a plan of a xxxx. Can you laser-cut it for me?
A: The short answer is "maybe". We will need a copy of the plan to give you a firm answer.

1. Is your copy of the plan a raster file? A raster file is just dots on a page, and will require manual tracing of the individual parts. As of this writing (June 2018) there is no PC/Mac/Linux software that will automatically trace a raster file with usable accuracy. We do not provide CAD tracing service.

2. Is your copy of the plan an actual vector file (a CAD file) such as a AutoCAD, Corel Draw, or TurboCAD file, or a scalable vector graphics (.SVG) file? If yes, then most likely it can be cut.

3. Is your copy of the plan a PDF generated from a CAD-drawn plan? Then there is a possibility that it can be converted to a vector drawing and used to create a laser cutting file.

4. Is your plan copyrighted, locked or secured? If yes, you will need to request permission from the copyright owner to use the plan.

5. If your file is usable, we will estimate the cost to create laser cutting files and actually cut the kit. CAD work will be required. We charge $75/hour for all CAD work, with a one-hour minimum.

Q. Can these kits be flown with gas/glow engines?
A. The short answer is "maybe". Many of the Peter Rake designs can be converted to fly with IC. The limiting factor will be the prop size as most glow engines will not swing a larger enough prop. It looks like a .09 diesel is the minimum for most of the WWI airplanes due to the round cowls. For the 54" SE-5A and SPAD XIII a .52 4 stroke or similar size diesel may work. The forward fuselage probably will need some added strength to withstand the starting load and vibration. The conversion of Adrian Britton's PA-12 to an .06 PAW diesel was really nice. It only took addition of fuel tank, throttle servo and a new firewall (along with fuel proofing where applicable). His C170B and Silvaire would also be good candidates for conversion. The WACO YMF was designed to use either IC or electric and flew very well on a .90 diesel.

Q. Who supplies your wood? What quality balsa wood do you use?
A. We buy wood from several suppliers including Bud Nosen Models, National Balsa, and Midwest. Our balsa wood usually is Nosen's "contest balsa". Note that it is not always blemish-free. From time-to-time we are able to offer blemish-free wood - contact us for pricing.

Q. I want a xxx with ailerons but you only offer one without. Can your kits be converted?
A. Yes. Many of our customers have converted 3 channel planes (rudder/elevator/throttle) to 4 channel (aileron/rudder/elevator/throttle). It does take a bit more modeling skill and time, but, is fairly easy to do. Most of the wing sizes allow a micro or nano servo to fit within the wing, or, links can be used for a central mounted servo.

Q. The xxx kit lists a Speed 400 for power. What kid of brushless motor can I use?
A. First, unless you use an inrunner with a gearbox you may need to modify the motor mount. It is simple to do, but the alternate mount is not included in all the kits. Second, brushless motor nomenclature is confusing at best. A good replacement for the Speed 400 is the EFlite Park 400. There are so many others to choose from that a complete list is not feasible in this space. A typical Speed 400 would put out about 90W, so any brushless motor of that size would work. Be aware that many WWI planes have larger cowls so a large prop is needed to clear them. Typical on the Speed 400 size planes would be a 9" or 10" prop. You can find a replacement for the Speed 300 or Speed 600 in the same way.

Q. What about the details, such as pilots and machine guns for detailing your kits. Are they included?
A. Generally speaking, no. However, some AerodromeRC kits come with balsa/ply fake motors, machine guns and pilots.