Balsa VS Foam

Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2020 10:47 am

With the current balsa situation I thought it would be a good time to discuss foam as an alternative. Wild Fred has proven that foam is a good alternative and could be a replacement if balsa becomes too expensive or hard to get. I honestly expect it to get worse before it gets better. Prices are going up and quality is going down.
I am not 100% sure I can even get the balsa needed to do a descent size run of 60 size slabs, I will do my best.

What do you see as the pro’s and cons? Would you buy and build a kit that was mostly foam?

Building would probably be easier and quicker. In my opinion finish is not as good with foam, does that matter with profiles?

I am just looking at foam as an alternative if balsa becomes unavailable or quality gets too bad.

What do you think Bro’s?
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2020 1:20 pm

Doug G wrote:With the current balsa situation I thought it would be a good time to discuss foam as an alternative. Wild Fred has proven that foam is a good alternative and could be a replacement if balsa becomes too expensive or hard to get. I honestly expect it to get worse before it gets better. Prices are going up and quality is going down.
I am not 100% sure I can even get the balsa needed to do a descent size run of 60 size slabs, I will do my best.

What do you see as the pro’s and cons? Would you buy and build a kit that was mostly foam?

Building would probably be easier and quicker. In my opinion finish is not as good with foam, does that matter with profiles?

I am just looking at foam as an alternative if balsa becomes unavailable or quality gets too bad.

What do you think Bro’s?



Wild Fred is the foam expert. He has shown it can be done. I agree with Doug, Ive not been overly impressed with the finish of the few foam projects I have done. Sux about the balsa shortage. I love to build, and set in my ways, would be tough to change. But, it may be that or nothing down the road :drink:
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2020 5:00 pm

But Doug, I came here to get away from the foam!

All Kidding aside my personal opinion is that foam planes can be fun, but most of them suck. I almost always have at least one foam plane in flying condition and one in a box so when my kids go down the street to the park I can get some stick time.

My personal wish list for a foamie would be something like the following, and I have at different time thought of making something like this as a kit for at least myself:
1. Airfoil wings with a pre-cut spar slot. I know the flat wings mostly fly ok, but for the love of George Cayley I'd want an airfoil wing. This means wirecutting or some seemingly complicated setup, and a lot of material waste, though. If you could incorporate the off-cuts from the wings into a clam-shell hollow profile body and slot it for the body tube I think this could be a win---maybe...

2. hinges...I may be an idiot, but I don't think the 'Welders' hinge or any contact cement glue hinge setup works. For me about half of the time they end up too stiff or they don't last. If you get a new kit out every couple of weeks I guess they are fine, but if you actually want to fly the plane for a while these are no bueno. The pre-hinged kits from Twisted hobbies and similar seem to work, but I'be been just using the classic du-bro hinges, sometimes slotted in and sometimes just glued on top of the bevels. My point is that the experience would be a lot better with something besides glue hinges.

3. Probably a bad idea, but I saw a video of a guy that covered his EPP foam plan with covering material. I think he used doculam, and that's what I used on mine. It added maybe an ounce and the plane was slick and TOUGH (not just for meetings with earth, but a lot less flex in flight, etc). Since the foam planes go together so quickly otherwise it really doesn't make it a long build to cover the plane and it could still be optional. But, if everything is shaped in such a way that it isn't too much of a PITA to cover and that was recommended I think the experience would be a lot better than average foamies.

Those are just some things that come to mind and I may be and outlier, but it just seems like there are so many flat-cut kits for $55-$75 out there that I thought that this would be something different/better.
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2020 6:02 pm

I built a couple foam lam yaks. Flew great. Had tons of fun with them. That being said, I like balsa better. If I have to build work foam, I know a good plane can be had.
I'll dig around for a link to my yaks.
Edit
Link to the build
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=39673&hilit=Foam+lamyak
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2020 10:37 pm

FlightCrazed wrote:I built a couple foam lam yaks. Flew great. Had tons of fun with them. That being said, I like balsa better. If I have to build work foam, I know a good plane can be had.
I'll dig around for a link to my yaks.
Edit
Link to the build
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=39673&hilit=Foam+lamyak


Wow I had not seen that thread yet---wire-cut wings, covered, wood frame...that looks great!
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:42 am

I am hopeful on the balsa situation - that shortages will not be permanent or balsa become unavailable forever.

As you guys are probably aware, it is the wind energy industry that is sucking up most the balsa now. It's going into those giant (and smaller) wind turbine blades - which sadly need replacing more often than most expected (not to mention new installs). The blade makers have contract directly with a lot of the balsa plantations for their harvest years in advance. Harvests fluctuate and if it is under or close to what the plantation has under contract they have very little or none left to sell to other balsa buyers that year.

A manufactured alternative for balsa may have been developed and there is serious money behind it. If it works out the blade manufacturers will be all over it and move away from balsa rather quickly. Then there would be a balsa glut and balsa plantations and wholesalers would have more balsa than they know what to do with. Balsa outlook may be very good in the future.

Balsa vs Foam? I hope to not have to use foam.
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:29 am

foam is the future! :P

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=40171&hilit=foamerita

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=40239

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=38450

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=38924

just a few.

the finish ok if you sand it well.
DSCF2479.JPG


a bunch of these around. all probably still flying, they tough! still got yours, doug?
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:51 am

Wild Fred wrote:foam is the future! :P

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=40171&hilit=foamerita

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=40239

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=38450

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=38924

just a few.

the finish ok if you sand it well.
DSCF2479.JPG


a bunch of these around. all probably still flying, they tough! still got yours, doug?

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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:02 am

Wonder how it would work to cut the ribs out of foam and still use balsa sticks to frame it up with?
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:44 am

foam is good for packing.
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:37 am

Dr Constrictor wrote:fudge is good for packing.


:shock:
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:43 am

here's a famerita flying video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJuQ0NoZCiM does it all. ton of fun, tough, looks decent, flies great!
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:16 pm

I have flown some awesome flying foam planes. Twisted hobbies veloxity is probably the best thing I have ever flown.

And with the advancements of the lipo batteries getting a full 5+ minutes of hard stick banging in an affordable package is really made it hard to knock.

But if you could find a way to put a glow motor on a plane or make something that was as floaty and lethargic as a mojo 60 without costing a first born child would be awesome.

Foam greatly reduces build time and repair times (at least for me) as most are already cut. But I can see how it would reduce the creativity because you couldn't really change anything.

I got into this hobby a day late and a dollar short and I just hope it doesn't die because I dont like flying fatty 3d and scale is just so boring.
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:57 pm

gomer wrote:I have flown some awesome flying foam planes. Twisted hobbies veloxity is probably the best thing I have ever flown.

And with the advancements of the lipo batteries getting a full 5+ minutes of hard stick banging in an affordable package is really made it hard to knock.

But if you could find a way to put a glow motor on a plane or make something that was as floaty and lethargic as a mojo 60 without costing a first born child would be awesome.

Foam greatly reduces build time and repair times (at least for me) as most are already cut. But I can see how it would reduce the creativity because you couldn't really change anything.

I got into this hobby a day late and a dollar short and I just hope it doesn't die because I dont like flying fatty 3d and scale is just so boring.


Still might have to give up your first born for glow, price of fuel is getting silly too :mrgreen:
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 5:23 am

gomer wrote:I have flown some awesome flying foam planes. Twisted hobbies veloxity is probably the best thing I have ever flown.

And with the advancements of the lipo batteries getting a full 5+ minutes of hard stick banging in an affordable package is really made it hard to knock.

But if you could find a way to put a glow motor on a plane or make something that was as floaty and lethargic as a mojo 60 without costing a first born child would be awesome.

Foam greatly reduces build time and repair times (at least for me) as most are already cut. But I can see how it would reduce the creativity because you couldn't really change anything.

I got into this hobby a day late and a dollar short and I just hope it doesn't die because I dont like flying fatty 3d and scale is just so boring.


the foam lammy's were a direct copy of a lamyak. if you got mojo 60 plans, a root and tip rib, then you can make a foam/ply mojo .60- with tube- for like 30 bucks in materials- and have enough leftovers for 3 more... plus tubes. the wildcrazed yak is 60 size. all foam/ply. used 2" thick styro insulation. I used a 20cc gas on it, but an os 1.20 or ys 1.10 would be a pound lighter and more power. i think a piped 1.20 would balance about the same as the 20cc, anyone want to build one or cut cores/fuses/ply parts, feel free to do so. make as many of my designs as you can sell, i ain't in the business! would love to see some foameritas in production. maybe simplify the nose with external doublers or something, mount battery sideways through nose between fuse crutch and add a sub crutch like wee-38 probably better. might have to make a re engineered one just because. I need another anyhow, sold mine to ad3d.
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:54 pm

If they keep putting all our balsa into these wind farms we are screwed.
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 4:06 pm

It is to bad the balsa can't be salvaged from the old blades when they replace them, instead of putting them in a landfill.
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 6:30 pm

3Dreaming wrote:It is to bad the balsa can't be salvaged from the old blades when they replace them, instead of putting them in a landfill.


I'd imagine all that composite to cut through to get at the balsa makes it even more than totally unfeasible.
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:39 pm

Many of the blades filler is crushed and ground balsa with a light glue binder. It would be useless even if you could salvage it.
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Re: Balsa VS Foam

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2020 5:30 am

ThumbSkull wrote:Many of the blades filler is crushed and ground balsa with a light glue binder. It would be useless even if you could salvage it.



really? maybe they should be the ones using foam!
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