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Balsa wood Answered

Is there a way to make balsa wood stronger? I was thinking I could put a layer of wood glue on it and let it soak in but I wanted to know what you all think.



the best way seems to be encasing it in steel plates. Try karate chopping that!

"Object of balsa wood" What a weird way of saying "balsa wood." Yes, steel>balsa wood. Encasing balsa in steel would make it steel-like...which is the entire purpose of the topic. Now if you had said the purpose of balsa wood..that would be an entirely different story ;)

Fine I'll correct that:

Does that not at the same time defeat the entire object of using balsa wood?

*Attaches steel plates to wings of R/C aeroplane* *Attempts to fly* *R/C Plane crashes into a wall* *Screams "DAMN YOU MICAH"* *Sues*

*picks up your plane* *bends nose back to normal* *tapes rocket engine to plane* *Grabs controller* *Flies in to all other planes...destroys them* *lands gracefully* *leaves*

*Begins standing ovation for Weiiensteinburg managing to land a big lump of steel under no power*

I was working on the assumption that the rocket engine burned out before landing.

I'd be afraid to be in the same field as someone like who's launching rockets. You're making hugely unqualified assumptions..tell me, what do I know about rocketry? ..I really wouldn't trust you as source, seeing as didn't even know they made K engines, and then denied that high speeds generated heat.

Oh, can I join in?

  • Both Concorde and the SR71 are significantly longer in flight than when stationary, due to expansion of the airframe caused by the heatinf of air-friction.

nitpicking (because that's what this thread 's turned into) "were" not "are"

I picked "are" because SR71 still flies, and Concorde should still fly.

I agree, if there not going to build hypersonic, suboribital hoppers, they should bring back the Concord. Oh yeah, check out my Launch It instructable, it's got your name in it.

"Prime competition", eh? Damned sneaky way to increase your view-count, by the way ;-)


Don't look at me, the only rocket I ever launched, lost a fin on take off, loop-de-looped to the height of about 50 feet, lost another fin, dove straight downward and buried its payload into the soft earth. I am sure you all know what happened next.....the model rocket (plastic) blew itself into a million pieces because it could not kick out the parachute, the nose being underground.

Wow! This is the farthest over comment that actually isn't going off topic! ... Well, except for this comment here....

You can cover model airplane parts with tissue paper or silk to strengthen it. what you do is coat the part with dope (25% elmers, 75% water), lay the tissue on, and brush more dope on top. Why are you trying to strengthen balsa wood?

I think I'll add in a little intravenous injection of fact here.

Weissensteinburg, you have made a total of two incorrect statements in this argument. First, good luck controlling an airplane powered by a K engine. You would have full thrust until you ran out of fuel. Secondly, I read an article in High Power Rocketry magazine, which I didn't subscribe to, but got a free copy at an airshow, about a quarter-scale V-2 made of 3/4" plywood and fiberglass. It was powered by a seven-foot-long P motor.That's one size up from an O, and I think, but am not sure, that I saw an article about an R motor rocket. To quote your Wikipedia article, "The letter-scale continues past class-O..."

kruzer495: Six or seven pounds? That would hover a rocket that weighs six or seven pounds. Quite a bit more thrust than that is needed to get massive high power rockets to high speeds. Thrust is not the same as lift; the aircraft might be doing loops due to uncontrollability, but not because of high thrust. In addition, large rocket motors burn for much longer than a second. Try closer to 10-15 seconds. Finally, I quote, "Apparently i do.... i know alot more about the rocketry field than you." Ignoring your lack of capitalization, as Micah said, how can you claim to know so much about rocketry if you didn't know what a K motor is, or how much thrust they produce, or how long they burn? The only knowledge of model rockets you demonstrate is your Instructable on the Patriot, which I question how well it would work with such a heavy, overbuilt body tube.

Make that one incorrect statement. The average man may not be able to control it, but as I demonstrated in the seventh comment in this mini-discussion, I obviously can. Don't be hatin cause you can't control it like I can. =]

You could not make a graceful landing. Any aircraft that would be controllable at full thrust would have far too high of a stall speed to "land gracefully." Rather, you would skid into the ground at blistering speeds. No. Wouldn't work. Shut up.

No, I could. Just because you've never seen it, doesn't mean it's impossible.

Hee hee...we pushed the limits, and it got cut off.

Representative K motor The Animal Motor Works K700. That's about 160 pounds of thrust, average. It burns about 750g of fuel in 2.25 seconds. Don't forget the engine letters are logarithmic (each letter is twice as powerful as the previous letter), so a K motor is some 330 times (between 256x and 512x) more powerful than the B motor mentioned in the "patriot" instructable.

I said, " I question how well it would work with such a heavy, overbuilt body tube." I think that it would work better with a lighter tube. Also, how did you obtain your 700ft estimate? Did you actually check angles and calculate the trigonometric functions of three separate measurement points, or did you use cheap altimeter, or did you guesstimate? And as for your statement about using C motors, that is low power model rocketry, all of the parts for which are available at Wal-Mart. K motors are used in high power rocketry, which is a completely different ballgame. Having knowledge of C motors relates in no way to having knowledge of K motors. As for heating, it depends on the shape of the aircraft.

You could make your own balsa plywood, by alternately layering sheets @ 90o with epoxy resin.


good idea but wouldnt that be heavy?

Depends upon how much glue you use. Much of the strength comes from the complimentary angles gmoon refers to.


Absolutely, L. And the issue with highly porous woods like balsa isn't just the weight of the glue they absorb. It's their tendency to 'starve' the joint--sucking up the glue and leaving an insufficient bond. You could experiment with ways of priming the balsa, I suppose...

Balsa is so porous it might be heavier than other plywoods. This is, in fact, the way custom wooden rowing shells are built (money is no object.) Except not with balsa, but with other lightweight veneers.

Strips are applied in layers at complementary angles (not necessarily 90 dg, but close enough) and the whole thing is vacuum bagged until the glue is set.

I was told by an employee of the Natural History Museum that fragile fossils and bones can be strengthened by painting with dilute PVA glue and letting it soak in then dry thoroughly. Undiluted PVA (i.e. woodglue) is too thick, and merely makes a surface seal.

. OK. I figured out CA (cyanoacrylate), but what is PVA? Polyvinyl acetate? Polyvinyl alcohol? Polish Veterans Association?

They often don't call it woodglue, though, since they sell it for gluing paper, keying walls and adhering small children to the furniture in school.

Let's go into the city and take a poll as to whether people call it wood glue, or Polyvinyl Acetate.

Thanks to all of you. There are lots of ideas for me to try out on some scrap wood before i go all the way with it.

Apparently you don't know how strong a K engine is.