Sunday, February 26, 2017

Estes Skydart II #3229 Build, Part 4, Balsa Prep

The large, flat wing is assembled using four pieces. The laser cut sides are a slight wedge shape. One side of the cut is wider than the other. To see the difference, check the widths of the laser cut lines on one side, then flip over the sheet and check the lines on the other side.
If the wing and rudder glue joints are going to be tight and clean the laser cut 'wedges lines will have to be squared up.
On the left you can see the center alignment line burned into the main wing piece.

I found in interesting that the Estes instructions showed the Great Planes Easy Touch sanding block in their illustrations. This is the only sanding block I use.

Don't sand too much off the elevator sides. In the picture at the top you can see how it is cut right out of the wing piece. Sand off just enough to square it up. You don't want it too loose in the wing slot.

The inset picture shows another reason for cleaning up the laser cut balsa. Sometimes you find a rough or uneven edge as if the laser were "chattering" down the cut line. Personally, I think glue joints might be weaker on burnt wood.


  1. Not terribly shocked about the Great Planes sanding block - Great Planes and Estes are both Hobbico companies.

    1. Good point Chris!
      Maybe they should suggest that sanding block in their instructions. It's that good of a tool.

  2. Man, remember the days when we sat down with a new #11 blade and cut all of those parts out one at a time? Remember the Guillows kits with numerous tiny little parts that wanted to split along the grain (and some of the hardest balsa)? We thought we had it made when kits came die-crunched.

    Now we have laser cutting and even complicated shapes 3D printed. Such luxury!

    1. Hi Tim,
      I remember cutting out all the balsa for the Estes Orbital Transport. Even the Guillow's kits have laser cut parts now!
      New modeler's don't know how easy they have it. I've seen forum posts where somebody posts a picture of a ARTF rocket and says: "Look what I just made!"