Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some
form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle
my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which
all began in Mayo, MD
This Sketchbook was scanned from the January 1962 American Modeler, page 38. Most building tips are timeless. Even
in this era of ready-to-fly (RTF), almost-ready-to-fly (ARF), bind-and-fly (BAF), etc., there are still many modelers
who build their own aircraft. Nearly all top tier competition fliers build their own models, as do aficionados of
vintage (aka old-timer) models. Some guys just would rather build than buy a pre-build airplane, whether from a kit
or from plans.
This page has links to every edition of Sketchbook that I have so far.
Sketchbook was scanned from the January 1962 American Modeler, page 38. There are a couple ideas in this edition that
I would not recommend. The first is a method for attaching the primary handle of your control line model to a separate
handle that allows the primary to pivot, thereby enabling the pilot to simply hold the contraption above his head
and letting the airplane fly in circles without the pilot needing to turn with it. It might seem clever, but I can
imagine a whole lot of things that could go wrong with that scenario! The second not-recommended item is placing a
piece of sponge material between a transistor package and the circuit board and then saturating it with a volatile
chemical prior to soldering the leads in order to allow the evaporative action wick the heat away from the package.
It is like putting lighter fluid on charcoal briquettes if the soldering iron/gun gets hot enough and the flash point
of the chemical is low enough.
Special drying cabinet, built by Harry J. Miller, Sarasota, Florida, contains heating elements, filter and blower
to speed up drying of painted parts and minimize dust nuisance.
Once control line model is "in the groove," special . handle designed by Frank Kreiger, Shamokin, Pennsylvania
allows "pilot" to stand without turning, holding handle above head. Tilt vertically for control.
Well-known Austrian modeler, Franz Czerny suggests improvement for sheet balsa wings to enhance performance and
strength. Addition of sheets between ribs adds torsional stiffness.
Vernon Van Diver, Jr., Woolford, Maryland, protects transistors from heat of soldering by felt or blotting paper
spacers, saturating them with acetone or thinner for cooling by evaporation.
New life for leaky air wheels is tip from John Everett, Columbus, Ohio. Holes located underwater, marked, vulcanized
by means of piece of rubber band and soldering iron. Worth trying!
Handy for turning wing tanks, nose cones, spinners, of balsa is elemental lathe, assembled by Richard Gard, Casey,
Illinois, from simple parts and electric motor.
Back when the Sketchbook, Gadgetry, Powerless Pointers, and Engine Info
columns were run, there were very few pre-built models, and there simply was not
as much available in the way of hardware and specialized modeling tools. We were
still a nation of designers and builders. The workforce was full of people who worked
on production lines, built houses and buildings with hand tools, and did not have
distractions like Nintendos and X-Boxes. Remember that plastics were not common
material until the early 50s and the transistor wasn't invented until late 47. Enjoy
the tips. Some of you will no doubt wax nostalgic over the methods, since you can
remember the days when you did the exact same thing!