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Six Suggestions for Installing Tips
on Foam Core Wings

The simplest tip is a flat balsa end rib epoxied in place after the wing is skinned. Aerodynamically this tip is remarkably efficient, too. A variation is the beveled tip, easily accomplished if you have access to a table saw. The end rib must be well over size to allow for the bevel and be at least 1/4" thick in both cases.

The easiest way to make a round tip is to epoxy a slab of foam in place then carve and sand to shape, finishing off with a couple of layers of 3/4 oz. glass cloth and finishing resin. Another method is to build up the tip from ribs and spars covered with balsa sheet. The strong rib bow is laminated from 1/32" balsa strip and white glue around a waxed card or wood form. Note slots for the stub spars.

On wings such as the Midwest Sweet Stik or Top Flight Contender the ribs could not be simpler. Again, they should be built on after the wing is skinned although if It is desired to cover them with sheet balsa then allowance must be made for the thickness of the sheeting.

In common use is the balsa block tip - also epoxied on after the wing is skinned, then carved to shape. The blocks may be hollowed out using a burr in a Dremel Moto Tool, but, the block should only be tack glued in place, shaped, popped off for the hollowing out.

Yet another method to make hollow rounded or elliptical tips is to use thick sheet balsa - say, 1/4", light stack - cutting segments wide enough that sufficient material is left for carving. It would be too easy to carve right through. Note how the segment joints are staggered for strength.

The turned down Hoerner type of tip is surprisingly easy to duplicate by epoxying a fine grade of balsa block to the tip of the skinned wing. A section of broom handle wrapped with sandpaper considerably eases the sanding of the curved underside. Such tips can be vulnerable to damage but a piece of .330" wire epoxied along the bottom and around the curve protects well.

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Last modified: Saturday, August 21, 2021


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