How to install an RC airplane hinge

Written by phillip james
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How to install an RC airplane hinge
(Jupiterimages/ Images)

Model aeroplanes rely on moving control surfaces to deflect air around the plane and control the direction of flight. In real aeroplanes, these control surfaces are engineered with heavy hinge assemblies to resist the massive stresses placed on them as they force the aeroplane to turn one way or another. Thankfully, the control surfaces on model aeroplanes don't experience anything near that level of force. The hinges on model aeroplane controls are usually made of nylon, or in some rare cases, strips of cloth. They are also very easy to install.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hobby knife
  • Cyanoacrylate (CA) model glue
  • Straightedge

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    Nylon Butterfly Hinges

  1. 1

    Use a straightedge to mark the hinge line along each of the two surfaces that will be hinged together. This line will almost always be along the centerline of the part thickness.

  2. 2

    At regular and matched intervals along the hinge lines, cut a pocket for each hinge flap to slip into. These pockets should be slightly less than the thickness of the hinge, to allow for a tight fit. Space your hinge pockets evenly along the control surface; check your model aeroplane plans for recommended hinge locations and sizes.

  3. 3

    Insert hinges into each pocket along the aircraft side of a hinge line and secure with several drops of CA glue on each hinge. Be sure not to get any glue on the actual hinge mechanism.

  4. 4

    Align the control surface you're installing with the hinges installed on the aircraft and press into place. Secure the hinges into the control surface with several drops of CA glue.

Tips and warnings

  • Butterfly hinges are the most common model aeroplane hinges, but pin-style hinges are also popular. They are installed the same way as butterfly hinges, except that each hinge pocket is a drilled hole instead of a slot.
  • Epoxy can be used in place of CA glue; put it on the hinge flap before inserting into the hinge pocket.
  • Don't use regular CA glue if you are installing hinges into foam; it will eat the foam. Hobby stores sell special foam-compatible CA glues for this purpose.

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