Airplane GEEK

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DIY Model Storage

Airplanes on the workshop floor always seem to catch “Hangar Rash,”  but organization is a great way to keep them out of harm’s way. Designed by Model Airplane News contributor Carl Layden, this system is primarily targeted at .40-.60 size airplanes but is scale-able from small electric planes and park fliers to big 50cc gassers.

To construct this storage system you’ll need:

Fuselage Hanger

2 – 8 ft. 2x3s

1 – 6 ft, 1/2 inch dowel

6 ft, ½ pipe foam insulation

10 – 4 in wood screws

3 ft brass plumber’s chain

cup hooks – 2 for every aircraft

Wing Shelf

3 – 10in shelf brackets

½ inch plywood (approximately 2ftx2ft)

6 ft – 1in trim molding (or wider)

2 ft – 1/2 inch dowel

2 – cup hooks

The amount of each will vary depending on how many aircraft you plan to hang this way.  Along with the building supplies you’ll need some basic carpentry skills & tools (wood glue, saw, drill, hammer, etc) and a bare wall, the wall of a garage or shed make a good location.

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The first part of the project is to construct the fuselage hanger.  Begin by arranging the airplane fuselages on the floor with the tail pointed towards the wall approximately 4-5 inches from the wall. If you put the largest airplanes next to each other you usually fit a smaller model between the two, move it a little further from the wall such that it does not interfere with the horizontal stabs of the larger aircraft.  When you have finished arranging your airplane fuselages as you would like them to hang slide two 2x3s under the tails of the aircraft.  The longer fuselages will hang from the 2×3 closest to the wall the smaller ones from the other 2×3.  Record the distance each 2×3 is from the wall, you’ll need it later when mounting the fuselage hanger.  You’ll need to remember the way the aircraft are arranged, write it down or take a picture for reference later.

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Using a square and the fuselage as a guide make two marks on the 2×3 the width of the fuselage at the leading edge of horizontal stab.  Each fuse will hang from its horizontal stab.   The marks for the dowel holes need to be further apart than the width of the fuse.  Increase the gap by making two additional marks 1 ½ inches outside the first two, this will increase the gap 3 inches.  Repeat the process for each fuselage.

RC Model Storage System

Measure the distance from the floor to the leading edge of the stab for each aircraft recording the largest distance.  The dowels will need to be cut 2 inches longer than the highest stab.  In my case the dowels were 10 inches long (highest stab was 8 inches off floor).  Cut two dowels to length for each fuselage you will be hanging.

RC Model Storage System

RC Model Storage System

Drill a ½-inch hole through the center of 2x3s at each mark you made for the dowels.  It is best to use a drill press to keep the holes are perpendicular to the 2×3.  You can do it freehand, however take care to ensure the hole is drilled straight down through the 2×3.  Using good quality carpenters wood glue, glue the dowel s into the holes, let the assembly dry overnight.  When the glue has dried sand the structure removing any rough edges.

RC Model Storage System

Prime and paint the wooden structure, I painted it to match the color of the wall.  After the paint has dried it can be mounted on the wall.  For typical drywall over stud construction walls use 4-inch (#10) wood screws or lag screws(with washer).   In an earlier step you recorded the distance the 2×3 was from the wall when the planes were arranged on the floor.  Measure down from the ceiling this distance, this is where the hanger needs to be mounted.

RC Model Storage System

The fuselage hanger should be mounded level on the wall using the screws to attach it to the wall studs.  The screws must be in the studs to support the weight of the hanging aircraft.  If the wall you are using is of a different construction like concrete block, brick you will need to use appropriate anchors to mount the hanger.

RC Model Storage System

Cover each dowel with pipe insulation cut to length such that the end of dowel is flush with pipe insulation.  Screw a cup hook into the end of each dowel.  Hang your aircraft as you arranged then on the floor (that’s why you took the picture).  String plumber’s chain between the cup hooks on end of dowels making a safety chain to keep the fuselage from accidentally falling. That completes the fuselage hanger construction and installation.

RC Model Storage System

The method I used to store wings is easier than the fuselage hanger.  If you have the space you could use vertical 2×3 & longer dowels in a similar fashion to the fuse hanger.  I didn’t have that much space so a more compact storage arrangement was needed.

RC Model Storage System

Begin by cutting the ½-inch plywood, it will be the shelf used to store the wings.  The shelf should be 2 inches wider than the maximum wing cord, the length of shelf will vary depending on the number of wings.  My shelf is 18 x 18 inches and it accommodates approximately 8 wings with a maximum chord of 16 in.

The next step is to make a ‘lip’ around the shelf to prevent the wing tips from sliding of shelf.  Nail the 1in trim around 3 sides of shelf (not the wall side), keep the bottom of trim flush with edge of plywood this will create the 1/2-inch lip around the perimeter of shelf.  Sand the shelf removing any rough edges, then prime & paint the shelf.

RC Model Storage System Shelf Brackets

Using 2, 10in shelf brackets mount the shelf on wall, approximately 18in above floor ensure the area above the shelf is clear.  I mounted mine a little higher to allow storage of the shop vac under it.  Screw another 10-inch shelf bracket to the wall 30in above shelf aligned with left or right edge of shelf.  Cut an 18-inch length of ½ dowel (or width of shelf used).   Attach ½ dowel to upper bracket, cover dowel with pipe insulation.  Place cup hooks at either end of dowel.

RC Model Storage System Shelf

Put wings on shelf vertically leaning then against the dowel that extends out from upper bracket.  String the plumber’s chain between the cup-hooks as a safety chain.

RC Model Storage System

That completes the construction aircraft storage system.   For a $50 investment (and time) you have a safe way to store aircraft between flying session prevented dreaded hangar rash.

RC Model Storage System



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