How to make homemade RC hinges

Written by howard altman
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How to make homemade RC hinges
Movable elevator (empenage corsair image by choucashoot from

Radio controlled aeroplanes have movable control surfaces that change the plane's direction in flight. Most RC planes have movable rudder, elevator and ailerons. The rudder is used for ground handling and to swing the tail left or right in flight. The elevator will make the plane climb or dive and the ailerons will cause the plane to roll to the left or right. These control surfaces need hinges to allow their movement. RC hinges can be bought, but there are three cheap and easy ways you can make your own hinges in your workshop.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Iron-on covering
  • Sealing iron
  • Old floppy disk
  • Hobby knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Epoxy glue
  • Clear packing tape

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    Iron-on Hinges

  1. 1

    Cut several strips of iron-on covering about 1/2 inch wide and 1 inch long. It is best to use the same colour for the hinge as you will use on the entire part.

  2. 2

    Turn the strips so the surfaces with the glue face each other. Position the strips so that they overlap by a half inch. Use an iron to bond the strips together. There will be a glue side facing up and one facing down.

  3. 3

    Place the strip between the movable and stationary parts. The first strip will be over the stationary part and under the movable part. The next strip needs to be opposite, over the movable part and under the stationary.

  4. 4

    Iron the strips in place to complete the installation. These hinges work best on elevators and rudders.

    Floppy Disk Hinges

  1. 1

    Cut open the sleeve of the floppy disk and remove the magnetic media inside.

    How to make homemade RC hinges
    Old floppies make great hinges. (vintage 5"" 1/4 floppy disk image by Albo from
  2. 2

    Cut the media into strips that are 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide. These strips will become the hinges.

  3. 3

    Use a light sandpaper to scuff up the hinge material on both sides; this will help the glue adhere.

  4. 4

    Cut slots in the stationary and movable surfaces with a sharp hobby knife. Take care and make sure the slots line up on the two surfaces. Use epoxy to secure these hinges in place.

    Tape Hinges

  1. 1

    Bevel the lower edge of the movable surface that needs hinging. Make the bevel a 45 degree angle. Use a sharp hobby knife or coarse sandpaper to create the bevel.

  2. 2

    Align the stationary and movable surfaces so that the movable piece is at full deflection downward. Apply a strip of clear packing tape along the top edge so that the tape touches the movable and stationary pieces equally.

  3. 3

    Position the movable surface so that it is fully deflected up. Apply a second strip of tape along the edge so that both surfaces are equally covered by the tape.

Tips and warnings

  • Only use tape hinges on electric "foamy" aircraft; the oils from nitro fuel will cause the tape to loose its stickiness.
  • When using floppy disk hinges, you can use the sleeves for hinging material on larger planes.

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