How to make an RC airplane motor test stand

Written by howard altman
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One of the best ways to break in and run RC engines is on a test stand. The stand is designed to hold a running engine securely while being bolted or clamped to a workbench. Test stands need to be adjustable to hold any size engine. Test stands are easily built using common household tools. Just remember to seal the test stand before using it, fuel and oil will ruin the wood if left unprotected.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 8 inch-bolts, 2
  • 2 wing nuts that fit the bolts
  • Drill
  • 2 linear feet of 1 -by-10 pine
  • Fuel-proof resin or shellac
  • Piano wire
  • Fuel tank
  • Silicone fuel line
  • eye hooks
  • rubber bands

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  1. 1

    Cut the base of the test stand from the 1-by-10 pine. Make it 12 inches long. If you plan to mount the test stand to a bench with bolts, drill the holes for the bolts now. Drill the holes at least one inch in from all sides to prevent splitting.

  2. 2

    Cut or drill a slot one inch back from the front edge of the base. Make the slot six inches long, wide enough to have a bolt shaft pass through but not so wide that the head of the bolt passes through. Make sure this slot is centred on the base.

  3. 3

    Cut two triangles from the remaining pine. They should be two inches wide at the top, four inches wide at the base and four inches tall.

  4. 4

    Cut the top inch and a half off the triangles but do not discard these pieces; they are needed to finish the project.

  5. 5

    Drill a hole through the triangles, from top to bottom. The hole needs to be big enough to pass a bolt through. Use a drill press if you have one for this step, it will help keep the hole straight. Drill a hole in the top of the triangle you cut off previously. Make sure the holes line up to the base of the triangle as best as possible.

  6. 6

    Apply resin or shellac to all wood pieces to fuel-proof the test stand. Fuel and the lubricating oil that's added to it will seep into unsealed wood and ruin it.

  7. 7

    Pass two bolts through the underside of the test stand base and slip the base triangles onto the bolts, making sure the straight sides of the triangles face each other. Now place the tops of the triangles on the bolts and secure the whole thing with the wing nuts.

  8. 8

    Connect two eye hooks with a rubber band and screw the hooks into the test stand base. This will be used to hold the fuel tank. Try to centre the stand behind the triangular hold-downs. Run a fuel line from the tank to the hold-downs so it can be connected to an engine when needed.

  9. 9

    Loosen the wing nuts to adjust the width of the triangles so that your engine's mounting flanges will rest on the triangle base. Now place the top triangle over the engine mounting flange and tighten the wing nuts. This should hold your engine firmly in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure all exposed wood gets sealed Fuel and oil will ruin wood quickly.
  • You can use this stand for electric motors as too. Clamp a motor stick in the hold-down and mount an
  • ESC and battery where the fuel tank would go.
  • Always take extra precautions when testing an RC engine. The props turn at high rpm's and can cause bodily damage.
  • Never test an engine indoors. The exhaust can be harmful, so only test in well-ventilated areas.

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