Saturday 7 March 2015

RC plane building materials

Latest Update Feb 2021

Carbon fibre
Skyshark P4X woven tubes - Wing spars and tail booms
7.54mm OD x 825mm (32.5") - Kites and fun things                
US$3.50 each. Freight is about US$45 to Aus. These are woven carbon fibre tubes, which are lighter than pulltruded tubes and less prone to splitting. Great for big kite spars also.

6 x 1mm and 3 x 0.5mm CF strip - light weight spars and reinforcing
2 to 5mm CF rod and tube - wing tie downs rods and elevator axle
12k CF tow (ribbon of unwoven fibres) - reinforcing and repairs

Rubber bands Size 64 (87 x 6mm) wing tie downs - Officeworks
Buy a 500g bag, they need frequent replacing. Dont buy the coloured version, they are weaker and fail sooner.

Laminating film and Packing tape
Iron-on document laminating film (covering)
3 mil (75 mic) is the most useful thickness, you can also use 1.7 mil (42.5 mic) for lighter builds. I bought 305mm wide rolls of GBC EZLOAD Lamination film but it may no longer be available

This laminate from Bound to Impress may be suitable but not tried by me 75 micron laminate

Scotch heavy duty exterior double sided tape (motor mount, servos) - Bunnings
Norton Bear cloth tape (reinforcing) - Bunnings
PPS clear 43 and 60 micron packing tape (covering, hinges) Officeworks

PPS coloured packing tape (covering - 5 pack) - Officeworks
UPDATE: October 2015 - Looks like this coloured packing tape is no longer available at Officeworks. Need to buy Hobby King covering tape or Ebay from now on.
UPDATE: Jan 2016 - KMart now sells coloured packing tape (Thanks Joe)

Scotch Transparent Tough Tape (joining, reinforcing) - Bunnings
This is my favourite reinforcing tape but it's more expensive. Strong holding, flexible and lighter than cloth tape. Used to join wings, hold landing gear on and to reinforce control horns and hinges. Use cheaper Bear cloth tape where weight and strength are not as crucial.

3M Blenderm Tape for hinges - HobbyKing, Medical Supplier

Hot glue gun - Crescent 60W Bunnings and this 12V battery one from Hobby King
Brown Gorilla Glue
Accent Polyeurethane Glue - Mitre 10
Z-Poxy Epoxy finishing resin - ebay and Tates Hobbies Geelong
Foam Safe CA - Hobby King
Thread locker (Blue = releasable) for motor bolts - Supercheap Auto
UHU Por Foam safe contact glue - HobbyKing

If you cant get Flite Test or Adams foam board (only available in US), then depron is the best alternative.
Genuine depron is stiffer and stronger than other uncovered foamboards.

Beware - Paper-covered foam boards in Australia, like Quill from Officeworks, are much heavier and way more expensive than Dollar Tree foam board used by Experimental Airlines and Flite Test. Dollar Tree foam board is not sold in Aus so I use depron with tape or laminate covering. Depron is waterproof and lighter and much more durable than paper covered foam board.

Hot wire cutting bits
Knauf XPS insulation foam 30mm and 50mm thick - Bunnings
Hotwire wire - 40kg (90lb) single strand SS fishing wire
Template aluminium - 0.3mm Weatherflash window flashing

Bits and pieces
Blank ID cards - Search Ebay for CR80 blank ID cards
Piano wire for Push rods (0.047" or 1.1mm) or Landing gear (2.5mm to 3mm) - Tates Hobbies 
Linkage stoppers - Hobby King
Z-bend pliers (worth having) - Hobby King
DuPont connectors useful when you need more or less pins than three (servo style connector kit) - Search Ebay


  1. Exactly what I need. Just re-starting the hobby. Thanks

  2. Thanks Andrew - this page been handy and useful for reference. Were these the Voltage Checkers you liked?
    Thanks Trev
    P.S. been out chucking the old Chrysalis around - Smooth Flyer!

  3. Hi Trevor,
    I bought mine on ebay, something like this with buzzer and display.

    See you in the air

  4. Andrew, thanks for all the info. Regarding control horns, any techniques to bend them so that they stay square? I tried to bend a credit card and it does not like to stay at 90º angle. Do you heath them before bending?

    1. The foam and glue holds them at 90 degrees. They pass through 6mm of depron and stick straight up.

  5. Andrew
    Bean meaning to pass this info on for a while!
    Found nice foam board here
    Big Banner
    4/71 Strezlecki Ave, Sunshine West VIC 3020 1300 550 168
    A1 size sheets 5mm thick Box of 25 sheets I picked up for $50.00
    Compared to the ones from office works they are a lot lighter and the paper peels reasonably well
    They come in from China i believe -
    Just around the corner from where i work so very handy for me!

    1. Hi Bob. Thought I'd replied to this earlier but thanks so much for this info. I'have to try some myself.

  6. Hi Andrew. You are very generous and giving to put so much time and effort into what has become such a wealth of help for what I have been chasing.
    Although I can fly 4 channel plane ok, my knowledge is very novice like and have stuck to RTF models. But lately with my job in the warehouse part of a Victorian Good Guys store I keep looking at our EPS waste from whitegoods packaging thinking a wing/fuselage etc could be made out of some pieces. After youtubing and wondering if I could make a hot wire cutter etc, I am hoping I can make the time to see if I can build a plane/glider...Your info, videos and especially links to find the equipment is invaluable. Thanks again. Darren.

    1. Greetings Darren, Sounds like you have an endless supply of materials available. The EPS would be fine for wings and fuselages and is easy to cut. It would need packing tape covering and some sort of spar depending on wingspan and thickness. I would encourage you to have a go. Happy to help if you have any questions.

    2. Thanks for reply and encouragement Andrew.Clicked the link to packing tape from Kmart and my wife has bought it already.....Bargain!( thats why the links are so great and relevant). Hope to have some pics of progress to show later on.look forward to watch I ng more of your clips.

  7. Hi Andrew, In your Fokker build video, you mentioned a new type of tape. You said it works great for hinges. Can you reply with the name of that tape? Thanks, really enjoying your you tube posts!

    1. Thanks Scott. It's Blenderm hinge tape from HobbyKing. Also used for surgical dressings.

  8. Hi Andrew. I am very new to this RC plane building. I am an engineer and run a consultancy company designing car bits etc so well aware of stresses etc. Thank you so much for all your tips. I have made a hot wire cutter, bought the Bunnings sheet and made 4 planes with it. A tip that I have found, if I hot glue 4mm or 6mm dowel to a flat board I can cut 4mm and 6mm thick foam sheet. I then lightly sand it and then give it a light spray with contact adhesive. Once dry, any wing tape or clear tape sticks very very well. As a result, the 4mm sheet with spray/tape is very strong. I have used it for the vertical stabilisers of my 800mm wing span planes and it is really good.

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  10. Great channel Andrew! Love the videos on youtube and its great to see a lot of the same building materials you use are what i use. XPS from bunnings is great stuff! And covering it with hobby king wing tape is great as you just gently heat it to s perfect smooth finish!

  11. G'day Andrew. Thanks for collating all of your tips and acquired knowledge. It has helped me tremendously. Brilliant to have Australian build info to especially regarding local suppliers. I came across a local laminate supplier in Melbourne and was wondering what size and weight you might recommend for the rolls? The supplier link is

    1. Hi Darren, good find. I use 75micron mostly, so the 80 would be good. This one would be the most useful size

  12. Hi Andrew what a great website for us Aussies. Well not just Aussies but the materials list is tops. I am going to build your 3 ch trailer but with 4 ch. I will tape the ailerons for now. The whole website is very informative and easy to follow. Thanks again Jerry

  13. Hello Andrew. I really enjoy all your videos on Youtube. I post videos myself too. My planes are all made of XPS foam. I have one issue I can not overcome though. I tried packing tape and document laminating film to cover my wings however I am not satisfied with the results. My goal is to make a strong wing.

    - Packing tape is okay but it gets unglued very fast. Fixing what has been taped before is a nightmare.

    - Document laminating film (iron on) is great however the glue it uses is not strong and gets unglued very quickly. 3M77 glue is not available in Bulgaria, Europe where I live.

    Please share your experience as I need a way to cover my wings to make them strong.

    Thank you, George

  14. Andrew, Love my P2000 but I cracked the fuse. Epoxy didn't stick. Any suggestions.? Thanks so much for all your info and reviews.

    George M.

    1. Hi George, I don't know of a glue for PE plastic. Might have to splint it with a patch and screws or tape over the crack.

  15. Gday Andrew thank you for your excellent videos ,and all your tips and material lists.It has really helped me to get back into the hobby after a very long break.Just a question ,how do you keep track of your batteries( charge ,storage etc).What brand of charger do you use?...Thanks again ......John

    1. Hello waxer, I can fly all year round so I don't need to discharge for storage. I have an iMax B6 sitting beside me for charging smaller batteries while I'm sitting at the computer and for out in the field connected to the car battery, and a SKYRC Q200 4 battery charger in the garage for most of the work.

  16. @Andrew Newton --
    could I build this with the alternative electronics? could I make smaller this wing 'n... could I fold the fuselage to be shorter before it's flight..? thnks bro..:)