Sunday, February 18, 2018
News & Updates


If you need help building or understanding a kit, please email me at


What type of glue is recommended for these kits?
  In general, I recommend medium CA for construction.  Though thin is fine if you have excellent control, there's always the danger of instantly gluing you (big and heavy) to the part (small and light), which is bad.  Medium works well.  Ambroid shouldn't be overlooked either.  It's a fine glue and affords the chance to reset glue joints by depositing a small drop of acetone on the joint.  Titebond Red label is also an excellent glue--an aliphatic resin--and it dries surprisingly fast.  Wood glue from the hobby shop, such as Duco Cement or Testor's Cement for Metal and Wood also works well.

What do I do if ribs don't fit well into spar slots?  This can be a problem simply because wood varies in thickness, even though it may nominally be 1/16th of an inch thick.  If too tight, just squeeze the tip of the rib a little.  If too loose, moisten the tip of the rib with water so it swells.  Or just lick it when no one's looking.

Do I cover both sides of a wing or stabilizer?  Nope--just the top of wing or stablizer, and one side of any vertical surface.

What's HDPE covering material?  HDPE, or high density polyethylene, is just plastic bag material.  It's quite light, and in most sport-flying situations, is the next best thing to a microfilm-type covering.  You can find plastic bags in many colors (Best Buy, Taco Bell), but some are heavier than others.  You'll quickly get "calibrated" so you can spot just the lightest stuff.  The lightest commonly found bags I've seen are the ones you tear off from rolls when you buy your fruit & veggies at the supermarket.  It has one great advantage over tissue:  shrinkage is not a problem.  Variation in humidity will never cause a wing to twist in between flying sessions.

My plane flies like....   How do I fix it?  Conventional wisdom goes like this:  First, get the Center of Gravity right, then worry about other issues. Add weight to the nose until it stops stalling.  Most models in the world come out tail-heavy to begin with, so if your plane dives right into the floor without first stalling, you may have an elevator incidence ("up-angle") problem.  If so, bend, crack & reglue, do whatever it takes to get the plane to climb, not dive.

Once Center of Gravity's in the right place, and the plane wants to climb, you're in the game.  Now trim comes down to making the plane fly in pretty left circles inside the room.  Several strategies apply.  Easiest is to add a little left rudder.  The problem is that the rudder induces a roll.  Too much rudder, and the plane will just roll hard into the floor.  Therefore, an easier strategy is to add drag on the left side:  Either make the left wing a little longer, or try adding incidence on the left side.  Both of these are a big counterintuitive, and would seem on the face of it to make the plane roll right, not left.  On a low-speed free-flight plane, though, the extra drag seems to predominate over the additional lift, resulting in a net influence to the left.  Another idea (especially if your plane is a lifting tail model), is to twist tailboom so the horizontal stabilizer tilts to the right.  This points the tail's lift vector to the right, swinging the tail to the right, making the plane go--left! 

Now--some planes, despite all the adjustment in the world, just don't want to make a nice turn to the left.  If that's the case, try letting it turn right! I can't tell you how many planes I've seen change from sow's ear to silk purse just by letting them do what's natural.

Purchase Orders  OR Paying by Check  Schools and other organizations are welcome to use PO's, in accordance with the following:

1. No delay of payment is offered or implied by the use of a PO.  Just as individuals pay before delivery, so too do schools.  It's only fair.

2. No hard-copy invoices, extra correspondence, copies of orders and so forth, will be produced.  In particular, I won't participate in the "you send me a PO, I send you back an invoice, you send me back a check" sequence.  That's a quaint 19th century practice that slows everything down, makes the Post Office rich, and keeps airplanes from the kids who need them.

3. To place an order, send me an email indicating what you need.  I'll respond by email with the total cost including shipping.  My return email, along with your original, constitutes your invoice.   This is what you the teacher or coach electronically forward or hand-deliver to your accounting department so they can cut the check and get it in the mail without delay.  Please don't ask me to deal directly with your accounting department.

4. Then you must make a nominal $.50 purchase via credit card or Paypal using the button below.  This places your order in the electronic queue and causes it to appear in my production list.  I'll credit your $.50 in your total.  This will also permit me to get your order started prior to the arrival of the check.  

5.  Upon receipt of the $.50 electronic placeholder order, the main payment and completion of production, your kits ship.

6.  Oh, one last thing.  Please don't ask me to apply to become an "approved vendor" or some such thing, and please don't send me tax forms to fill out.  I hereby declare myself "approved" by virtue of the fact that I have cool airplane kits to sell and you want to buy them!  (This always cracks me up.  You don't walk into a restaurant and ask them to apply to become an approved food vendor!)  Trust me--I pay my taxes and I declare every penny. Here's all the info you need:

Laser-Cut Planes LLC

2711 West Bijou St.

Colorado Springs, CO 80904


Please make any checks out to "John McGrath/LCP"

Exceptions:  If you're purchasing a large number of kits--say, a classroom set or some such thing--I'll play the PO game.  We'll be swapping a few emails before an order like that comes about so we can talk about it then.

I'm sorry to be such a pill about PO's, but Laser-Cut Planes is a web-based microbusiness, made possible only through efficiencies afforded by the internet and electronic payments.  Because I'm the one guy who cuts the wood, packs the kits, gets the printing done, does the shipping, maintains the website and develops new airplane designs, I just don't have the capacity to do much in the way of bookkeeping or hard-copy correspondence.  


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Special for Timothy