Scratch Building: Transfer A Drawing To Wood

1928 Fairchild FC-2W2
1928 Fairchild FC-2W2

We’re converting a Hobby Lobby Telemaster into a 1928 Fairchild FC-2W2 for a National Parks Service program. This aircraft was the first ever owned by NASA and later the first owned by the National Parks Service. Information link at bottom.

While making a complex former, I felt the method was simple, interesting and important to share. Having arrived at the shape, I used the following method to copy it onto the material I wished to cut it from. The simple technique could help you build any aircraft from your own or purchased drawings.

Drawing of Fairchild FC - 2W2 Former
Drawing of Fairchild Former

1. First we need a drawing. If your making “one off” parts as I am in this example, simply draw the part on standard 20 lb copier paper using pencil. I make lots of changes and mistakes as I go, so it’s important to have an eraser equipped pencil.

Headless Telemaster/Fairchild

1B. Here is the front of the modified fuse where our soon to be made former will be installed.

Fairchild Imagination
Fairchild Imagination

1C. Holding up our drawing to imagine what it’s going to look like. Does it look correct?
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein

Former Drawing and Copy
Former Drawing and Copy

2. If your using an obtained drawing or you wish to preserve your drawing, use a copier or all in one printer to make a copy of the area containing the part you want to make. In this case, I made a copy of my pencil drawing just in case I discovered and error and wanted to alter the drawing before I finished.

Fairchild Former Heavy Pencil
Fairchild Former Heavy Pencil

3. Heavily pencil over the lines we wish to transfer to the wood. I used a standard #2 pencil.

Fairchild Formula 560
Fairchild Formula 560

3B. There are multiple uses for Formula 560.

Fairchild Former Drawing Face Down
Fairchild Former Drawing Face Down

4. Place the drawing, heavy pencil down against your material. You will notice the grain is running the wrong way in this former. However, it’s just a jig for building the nose, it’s not intended to provide any structure. The nose of this model has many facets of 1/4″ thick balsa. Although I’ll leave the former in the model, it could be removed if I wanted too. As this model has a short nose needing weight up front, I’ll be leaving it in.

Fairchild Plan Pin Down
Fairchild Plan Pin Down

5. Place two pins through the paper into the wood to prevent the drawing from moving. I choose top and bottom locations. Notice you can see the drawing through the paper. Makes me feel like Superman, you?

Fairchild Nickle Rub Down
Fairchild Nickle Rub Down

6. Find something curved and smooth like a coin, I choose a nickle to rub the pencil into the wood.

Fairchild Lift & Inspect
Fairchild Lift & Inspect

7. Because we created a way to register the drawing to the wood, we can lift the paper up and look at our results as we progress. No danger of losing our alignment.

Fairchild Former Transfer Finished
Fairchild Former Transfer Finished

8. Ahhh, thats what I’m talking about! The drawing has new been transferred to our material. It will be easy to cut it out now.

Fairchild Former On The Bandsaw
Fairchild Former On The Bandsaw

9. Doing what the band saw does best.

Fairchild Drill Hole
Fairchild Drill Hole

10. Drilling for the Scroll Saw

Fairchild Former Installing on Scroll Saw
Fairchild Former Installing on Scroll Saw

11. Installing on the Scroll Saw

Fairchild Scrolling Along
Fairchild Scrolling Along

12. Doing the inside, what the scroll saw does best.

Fairchild Former Against Print
Fairchild Former Against Print

13. How does it look against the print?

Fairchild Former Goes About Here
Fairchild Former Goes About Here

14. The former goes in about this position.

Fairchild Former Positioned
Fairchild Former Positioned

15. Former positioned and ready for addition of next nose sheeting segments. Since we are working with a model that is already built, we elected to jig the next two formers to the front of the fuse. when the 1/4″ thick balsa segments are added from the front of the fuse to this former, many facets will be formed representing the nose of this model. Using this method, we only need to make the 3 sides of each sheet accurate, they can be allowed to extend past the former. We can cut them off and sand them down against the former as we go. After all plates in position, we’ll snap out all the scrap sticks used to hold the former in place. The sanding bars are banded tightly to the fuse sides so I could measure and put the former in the center. They make a great straight edge.

I thought solving the problems of making and installing this former would be interesting to readers and hope you made it this far into a very long post.

Story of the National Parks Service first aircraft in the National Parks Traveler

Stars And Strips, a Fairchild FC 2W2 at the target=”_blank”>The Virginia Aviation Museum.

Byrd's Fairchild
Byrd’s Fairchild

Admiral Byrd used the Fairchild FC 2W2 as a Aerial Photography Platform including in the South Pole.

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Chance To Fly At Huffman Prairie Aero Carnival


Please Tweet, Post or do whatever you can to help me the the news out to pilots that might want to fly their early aviation models at the Wright Aero Carnival at Huffman Prarie.

I am working with the National Parks to bring demonstration flying of early aircraft to the Wright Aero Carnival at Huffman Prairie. The Carnival is a celabration of the Wright Brothers and early aviation. Models may be brought for demonstration flying of any aircraft through 1916. All models are welcome, not only Wright machines. You may bring any aircraft, Curtiss, Langley, Bleriot, many WWI aircraft qualify, even controversal or failed aircraft are welcome. Essentially anything the Wrights might have read news accounts of, hear rumors of, anything that might have been part of the what was going on in the development of flight up to 1916. All of these aircraft help to tell the story of early aviation and that is the point of participating in the event. Flying will be from 10am to Noon and 1pm to 3pm on Saturday August 18, 2012. The public will be in attendance. It’s is a very special and rare opportunity to get a photo of you and your aircraft flying at the worlds first airport, Huffman Prairie.

Aero Carnival Flyer 2012
Aero Carnival Flyer 2012

Aircraft need not be museum scale. Stand off scale, is welcome also. Models of any size are welcome. We will be flying over the same grass as the Wrights flew over. A paved road ajoining the field is available for a runway. I plan to be there with my 1905 kit which is stand off scale. Won’t you bring your model an help fill in the story of early flight?

Flying is not allowed at Huffman Prairie at any other time.

Please contact me if you can come. davthacker77@aol.com (remove the 77, it’s there to foil spam email spiders) There is a limit of 10 pilot slots for this event.

This rare opportunity to fly at Huffman Prairie is also a great way to set a positive example for modeling with the US Airforce and the National Parks Service. Decision makers within the National Parks Service across the country will be reading accounts of this event. What you do here in Dayton on August 18 could have a big impact on modelers elsewhere in the country.


View Larger MapMap showing overall area including I-75, I-70 & I-675 highways.


View Larger Map
On the day of the event, you’ll enter at the Golf Course and follow the signs in. (zoom the map 1 level + to see the road names) On the map above, the west end of Pylon Road will be closed. You’ll drive around the field by following Hebble Creek to right on Marl to right on Symmes to right on Pylon. Our pit area will be between the replica launch derrick and Pylon road at the turn circle.

1905 Wright Shed & Derrick Photo
1905 Wright Shed & Derrick Photo

The view from the flying area of our pit area.

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