Airfield Models - Installing Robart Hinge Points

Install Robart Hinge Points in a Model Airplane

May 03, 2015

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Airfield Models ( the Hinge Sandwich Technique with Robart Hinge Points

I chose not to use the stock tail surfaces for my Miniplane.  Although there is nothing wrong with them, the plane needs additional tail weight because I elected to use a larger than recommended engine.  I also do not like the thick surface outlines.

I built surfaces having a 1/8" core with 1/16" x 1/4" ribs and outlines made from three laminations of 1/16" balsa.  The new surfaces are slightly stronger and heavier.

I have used this hinging technique on several models, including the tail surfaces and ailerons for Hammerhead.  This method guarantees that the hinges will be perfectly centered along the hinge line.

  • Begin by cutting the outline of the surface(s) you want to hinge.  Hinge slots for the control surface and fixed surface can be cut at the same time to ensure they align perfectly.

  • Use double-stick tape to attach the control surface to the fixed surface such that the leading edge of the control surface is over the trailing edge of the fixed surface.

  • Draw a pair of lines to mark each hinge locations.  The lines should be spaced the diameter of the Hinge Point.  It is best to locate the hinges at existing rib locations.  The ribs will enclose the hinge slots.

  • Taking leading and trailing edges into account, mark the maximum depth to which the hinge will be inserted.  It is better to cut the slots too shallow rather than too deep.  The holes can be drilled deeper later if necessary.  If the holes are too deep then you will add weight and waste glue by filling the void.

  • Cut the slots with a hobby knife or a scroll saw.  Alternatively, the parts can be pushed through a table saw with the part standing perpendicular to the table and the blade raised to the depth of the slot.  Use a miter gauge to push the parts through.

Another way to install hinge points.

Note that the leading/trailing edges are drilled to match the cutouts.  On the right is a finished stabilizer half with the ribs in place.  The ribs cap the slots and hinging is finished.



Use a Drill Press to Install Robart Hinge Points in Stick-Built Control Surfaces
Align and Glue Hinge Points in any Control Surface

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Copyright 2002 Paul K. Johnson