Build a Model Building Board


Introduction: Build a Model Building Board

I have been building balsa wood models for about 13 years now and have a good supply of kits stock piled up waiting to be built, a few of these kits are small stick and tissue rubber band powered models that I have picked up here and there. Normally when I build a large model I well dig out my big old 6 foot long building board that I put together quit a few years ago but for these small models it is not very practical to use such a large building board and it would be a lot more comfortable to build models, at least the small ones, inside and not in the unheated garage. So to solve my problem I have decided to make another building board that is small and better suited for small models.

I have to credit my friend Dan for this one, he showed me that you can use a ceiling tile for sticking pins in, he has a nice smooth work bench so he just lays the tile on that. I mount mine to base boards so they are more portable, the large one I have I set up on saw horses when I use it, and can be stuck up against the wall when not in use.

Step 1: Materials

The main idea of a building board is to have a flat even surface that you can pin parts to to make the different bit of the model. To make the board flat and even I use a piece of 1/2" plywood as a base. To make it so I can stick pins in the board I use a cheap ceiling tile, the back is flat and the material is soft so you can stick pins in it.

I am making a board that is 2' by 2' but you can make the board any size you like by simply increasing the size of the materials.

-Plywood, since I am building a board that is 2 feet square I picked up a precut piece of plywood that is 24" by 24". Make sure you board is flat. You can make any size board you like just increase materials accordingly.
-Ceiling tile, just get a cheap basic ceiling tile with square edges, not the ones with the beveled edges. The tiles come in 2' by 4' pieces so for my board I well only use half of a tile.
-Double sided tape, the thin kind not the thicker foam style it can make lumps on the board.
-Cutting implement for cutting the tile.

NOTE: If you build a board larger then 2' by 4' I recommend that you make a frame for under the base board to reinforce it so that it stays flat, on my 6 foot long board I used some pieces of 2" x 1/2" pine and went all around the edges and had two stringers going down the length of the underside of the board. Also make sure the grain of the plywood goes length wise, not really important on mine as the length = the width.

Step 2: Apply Tape

Decide which side of the plywood board is the smoothest, this is the side you want to stick the ceiling tile to. Take the double sided tape and put tape all around the edges of the board and diagonally.

Step 3: Add the Ceiling Tile

-Stick the ceiling tile to the taped side of the plywood base board.
-Trim the extra ceiling tile off with a sharp knife.
-Done! Simple as that. When the ceiling tile gets chewed up from being poked with pins and gouged with a hobby knife when trimming parts, just peel off the old tile and stick on a new one, in my case the other half.



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    It's so perfect. I'm surprised that I didn't know that. I've built many more than flown.

    It's ashame you can hardly find rc kit planes any more they are all eather almost ready to fly or ready to fly which takes out the fun and satisfaction of building your own airplane

    a really cheap way is to tape together several large peases of card board together(works for me)

    5 replies

    That is another great way to do it as well but I find that the ceiling tile holds the pins more stable and last a long time so the expense is well justified for me.

    well i cant get celing tile and my dad wont let me use his expensive cork boardso i go for the next best thing card board(i also use cardboard as a building material too, great for small RB airplanes pending on how thick it is of course)

    hey i just thought of something using several sheets of that foam board glued together might work as a pin board(now i just have to try it out)


    I have seen people use sheets of styrofoam about 3/4" thick as well and it works great too, again another cheap material as you can reuse it from packing material. I have done the card board as a building material as well, a long time ago I found a plan on the web for an RC glider made from corrugated card board that was shaped as a giant paper airplane. Have you seen the SPAD website? They make models out of corrugated plastic, like what signs are made of.

    yes ive seen those, in one of the earlier model avivation magazine (or was it model airplane news) there was a article on a RC nitro card board P51 mustang (it showed how to build one)

    Hi, I used to use a sort of "Fibre Board" but as you can imagine when it was full of holes etc I had to get rid. I couldn't find another????? But this is a great idea simple & effective Cheers.....:-)

    i've heard about this idea but never tried it, right now i have a big 1 inch blucor building board, and i'm building a fazer on it. i have a smaller blucor board that i'm building a midwest tri-squire on. that is one hell of a good flying plane! also, if you have an RC groups account, we need you votes on an electrics to glow conversion forum! we only need 10 more yes'es! Thanks, Nick. BTW, i'm Mr.Me, the starter of the thread.

    Hey I'm building a RC D8 for ic use :) its an origonal veron kit

    4 replies

    Yeah for some reason I like D.8's, I built one from scratch using an old 1941 Model Airplane News plan and I up dated it to RC with a Saito FA40 for power.

    It seems a nice simple manoverable plane :) cant wait to get her up in the air :)


    Nope my friend dboyfly is going to do a conversion instructable, his first which should be cool, I might post pics of mine with his as a comment but he has done the conversions more then me so I well leave it to more experienced hands.

    I hope u can take us thru the construction and conversion of the D8 :) would make a good instructable for some beginner RC modelers :D

    Good Job Nate! Flat, portable, inexpensive, effective. I wish I had thought of that! Keep up the good work. D.

    Its interesting that there would be a post concerned with a working space. I definitely think this can't be over looked. I always built models at a work bench with a carpet top, just recently I framed out the bench, added fluorescent tube, a power strip, cord suspension system, with spool holder and tool rack. But this is a great place to start if you don't have room for a hobby bench

    ah, cool. i need one of these, my room has stuff everywhere, i work messy..

    I build rc planes as well. I like your board for smaller planes more portable that way for sure. btw i love the sterling fokker D-8. i am trying to scratchbuild a couple of different electrics. one is a cub and the other is a spad 13


    huh? What do you mean? You need a building board to make stick and tissue model airplanes, or any other built up frame style model for that matter, so you have a flat surface to pin parts to while you glue them together.