Author Topic: Fuselage Formers and Joiners  (Read 2858 times)

Dave Winfield

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Fuselage Formers and Joiners
« on: March 07, 2013, 09:10:36 AM »
A question in another thread leads me to post this explanation of how I deal with
joining Fuselage sections, using Joiner Strips and installing Formers.

Feel free to add your own tips or advice with this area of construction.
..............................

FUSELAGE AND JOINER STRIPS

Everyone has their own build methods, especially with sectioned fuselages.
My personal method is I start at either end and work one section at a time toward the middle.
I assemble each section into a ring using a small straight edge joiner tab.

Then I fit in a tabbed joiner strip.
Usually gluing in the straight edge side that matches the shape of the part.
Then I connect the next section of fuselage on to the tabbed side of the joiner strip.
Sometimes I may glue all the way around, or with sections that have more curves
and shapes, I will glue sections of the seam, working my way around to get a nice
tight fit and close up the seam as best as possible.

This C-130 test build should illustrate:


Don't forget to run some colour on the center line of each joiner strip if you think the strip might
show through the seam.  Sometimes you don't get a real tight connection and the white strip
might be visible behind darker colour parts.

JOINER STRIPS

If the model doesnt come with joiners, you can make your own by using paper or card.
(I prefer to use the same card as the parts).

Lay your part out on the paper and trace the edge of the part.
Now add the necessary amount to the inside and outside to create the width of the joiner.
Cut tabs into the side that extends from the part.
remember the whole strip will be shorter when rolled inside the fuselage section, so you will have to
trim some length of each end (evenly)

Heres a Mustang model that I am making strips for. You can see I have already traced the parts
and added the darker egde lines for each strip:


FORMERS

Its my personal preference to install the former, inside the joiner strip, centered at each seam.
And I like to slip each one in after the fuselage connection has been made.

I will make up single formers, usually at least 1mm thick (personal preference)
and place one former at each connection.
I also try to avoid making them fit too tightly.
Its good to shape them as perfectly as possible, because in most cases the former is what gives
that section of fuselage its correct shape...but if they fit too tightly they will stretch and distort the
fuselage and often cause a "ribbed" effect at each seam.

I think a snug, almost loose fit, just to provide crush strength and shape the connection
and a good bead of glue to lock the former into place.

Placing the formers is easier if you punch a couple of holes in the part...then you can use tweezers,
pliers or forceps to grab and position the part.  (Hint...mark the top and bottom center lines inside
the fuselage part, to help align the Former using the lines on the former part.)




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vintagemodeler

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Re: Fuselage Formers and Joiners
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2013, 01:18:40 PM »
Thanks Dave,
This helps lot's. I notice you do not cut out centers, for rigidity?   

Dave Winfield

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Re: Fuselage Formers and Joiners
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2013, 01:33:40 PM »
Thanks Dave,
This helps lot's. I notice you do not cut out centers, for rigidity?

Laziness.

From what I know, the center "holes" are just a leftover element from when designers
used balsa wood aircraft plans.  The bulkheads were copied over from those plans with
all their lines and circles intact. Its just something that has stayed and designers continue
to add that center circle to their artwork.

Obviously with paper models, there isn't a need for a central opening
(to run linkages, wires or fuel lines...or to reduce excess weight)
so there is no real need to cut the center circles out.

I used to do it...so I had somewhere to stick my finger and manipulate the former
when installing it into the fuselage.
But I figured out that punching two holes with a standard hole puncher was a heck
of a lot easier and quicker...and it works better for grabbing with tweezers or pliers.

Sometimes I don't even punch holes...just push the former in!
DAVE WINFIELD - GO TO WWW.CUTANDFOLD.INFO FOR MY DESIGNS AND LOTSA FREE STUFF!

vintagemodeler

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Re: Fuselage Formers and Joiners
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2013, 04:26:44 PM »
Dave,
This is very similar to the technique Wilhelmshaven used on their aircraft that I built back in the 60's. Very strong.
Do you actually place the former on the center of the joiner? or at the inside edge?
That would be like some ship models where they suggest placing thin paper strips over hull formers to prevent them from showing thru hull covering.

Dave Winfield

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Re: Fuselage Formers and Joiners
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2013, 05:36:17 PM »
The only instructions in the B-24 kits are the top and side view diagrams.
So, just a parts placement...and that would be Page 2 of each kit.

As I mentioned before, the B-24s were one of my earliest projects, starting out
as repaints of an older Marek model.
Over time, I made a number of modifications to the model to create all the kits I put out
...but one of the things I never did do, was create full blown assembly instruct pages.

Part of the reason is I have never actually built a B24 kit myself.
I have built parts...I have test built new parts and modifications...but I have never built
an entire B-24 to full scale.
(I need to do that to create the assembly instructions...my method)

I am seriously thinking about redrawing the B-24 kit...updating it. Making a few modifications.
Doing some new repaints. Doing some of the older suggested repaints that never got done.
AND...making some Instructions.
(Which means actually building one myself!)
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vintagemodeler

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Re: Fuselage Formers and Joiners
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2013, 10:31:15 PM »
Dave, another couple questions.
Do you recommend placing the wing structure inside the fuselage before closing it up or doing the entire wing assembly with covering then inserting into the fuselage
(after several trial fits of course).



Secondly, how much weight do you recommend? couple pennies or a wad of clay?

Dave Winfield

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Re: Fuselage Formers and Joiners
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 12:02:07 AM »
Check your Lady Be Good Build thread for some answers to your last questions.

I'm going to move this stuff over there since it is about that build.
(I'll leave this thread just for general information and discussion about formers and joiners in any model)

Dave
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jimTX

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Re: Fuselage Formers and Joiners
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2015, 03:54:51 PM »
I am  new to the forum. and this is the exact subject that I am having trouble with on a Wilhelmshaven F-100. I have discovered making a 2ply former shaped to contour of the fuselage section that has the extended glue tab. I glue on a cardstock "handle" to hold while fitting it into the next section. Using Elmers white glue, the paper is softened and easily damaged during the assembly process. Is there a glue that does not soften the paper, yet allows time for fitting and repositioning? Scotch tacky glue sets almost immediately. By the way, the handle on the new former folds flat when assembled. jimTX

Dave Winfield

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Re: Fuselage Formers and Joiners
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2015, 04:47:16 PM »
So, I am assuming the Wilhelmshaven kit does not come with formers?

And you have made up some formers?

My suggestion is a cardstock former at least .5mm thickness.
Join your fuselage sections, using a joiner strip or tabbed strip.
Then slip the former into place, inside the joiner strip/tabs.
The former should fit at the seam of the two fuselage sections.

Some builders prefer double formers...or butt connections.
This is where you fit a former at the end of each section.
(Make two matching, exact same shape formers)
And then butt join the ends of the fuselage sections.

I use a standard Hole Punch...make two holes in my former.
Then I use strong tweezers to maneouver and position the former.

...
Anyway...Elmers White Glue is probably a bit too watery.
And if you apply too much, it will soak through your paper and cardstock.
(I rarely build with "paper"...anything less than 65lb cardstock is alien to me...but the gluing process is the same)

Try using a lot less glue.
Honestly, a smooth even layer of glue works better than "more" glue.
Using more glue, is often a poor method used to give more time for repostioning.

But there are proper "craft" glues for paper projects.
Look for "craft" and "tacky" in their names.
Many builders use "Aileens Tacky Glues".
I don't know Scotch tacky Glue, but many brands offer different types.
Some dry faster than others.

The original Aileens is tacky but take a few minutes to setup.
They also have "fast grab" and "fast dry" types.
And then theres "turbo" (super quick dry).

Like most modellers, you will find your favorite if you try a few types.
Some builders work exclusively with CA glues (Krazy Glue, etc)
I used to work exclusively with contact cement.
(I still use it for larger laminations)

DAVE WINFIELD - GO TO WWW.CUTANDFOLD.INFO FOR MY DESIGNS AND LOTSA FREE STUFF!