Lightweight V-Tails
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Home > Articles & Tips Index > Construction > Lightweight V-Tails

[Courtesy of Bill Grenoble, September 1998]

Here is a simple, strong way to make very light v-tails - or any other item that needs strong, light, flat surfaces.

Materials

  • 1/16" 4-6 lb / cu ft contest grade balsa.
  • One or two 3" foam rollers
  • Some waxed paper
  • A couple of pieces of glass for rolling and weighting

How-To

  1. Pour a puddle of thin epoxy onto wax paper (putting the wax paper on a glass sheet makes the next step easier)
  2. Run a 3" foam roller through the epoxy puddle, then roll the balsa
  3. Apply 0.5 or 0.75 oz fiberglass cloth evenly over the surface
  4. Roll the cloth onto the balsa, on both sides
  5. Sandwich the fiberglass/balsa between two pieces of waxed glass, and weight down flat (you don't need to vac-bag this...)
  6. Don't be too anxious to pull it out quick - leave the sandwich weighted for at least 24 hours

Note:  We do whole sheets of balsa at a time - then cut out your surfaces with sharp scissors and sand the edges

This produces tail surfaces that are only slightly heavier than 3/32" balsa with lightening holes (covered with transparent Ultracote), but these glassed tails are very durable and good looking to boot!


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