Tools and Materials for Building FPV Fixed Wings and Planes

by Oscar

Here is a list of useful and essential tools for building FPV wings and planes: including the many types of glue and tape, materials and spares parts. Some of the stuff are not necessary but will make building and flying wings much easier, enjoyable and reliable.

banggood

Tools

Soldering Iron

We explained in more detail what soldering tools you should get in this tutorial. Here are what I use:

TS100 – AliExpress | Amazon | GetFPV | RDQ

Compact and portable. It can be powered by a 3S to 6S LiPo which is great for field repairing too. See my review. As for solder, you won’t go wrong this this one:

Kester 63/37 Solder: https://amzn.to/3Y9QxrO

Hobby Knife / Utility Knife

Hobby knife is great for cutting and removing foam and tape. Or at least get a box cutter, perhaps less precise and sharp.

Allen keys Set (Hex Screw Driver Set)

As known as Hex drives, is used to tighten or loosen the hex screws used on the motors. Having a set of Allen keys of different sizes available can be extremely helpful.

Screw Driver Set

multicopter-building-tools-screw-driver-set

For the screw sizes typically found on RC planes and wings, both cross slotted and single slotted.

Wire cutters

multicopter-building-tools-wire-cutter

Used to cut zip ties, electrical wires, control rods etc.

Pliers

multicopter-building-tools-pliers

For gripping components while working with other tools. It can also be used as a nut wrench.

Scissors

multicopter-building-tools-scissors

An obvious one, I guess everyone should have a pair scissors in the house, right? :)

Pearl Head Pins

For holding foam parts / carbon parts together if you are using glue that takes a while to dry.

Sand Paper

multicopter-building-tools-sand-paper

You want to sand the foam surfaces and carbon fibre spars before apply glue to them, it makes them stick better.

I’d say anything between 40 grits to 240 grits is fine. It depends on your preference really, as long as you’re not ripping bubbles off the foam. I personally use 80 to 120 grit, I find anything less will make the beads of foam pop out, and anything more than 120 takes a long time to achieve the desired result.

Servo Tester

It’s useful for testing servos, and centring them when setting up elevons. Also useful for troubleshooting and testing ESC and motor spin direction. You may also use it for motor thrust testing.

multicopter-building-tools-servo-tester


Tapes

Tapes and glues are so important for building wings and airplanes, they deserve their own sections :)

You can probably get 90% of the jobs done using 2-3 types of tapes, but it’s useful to have the variety for different applications too.

Scotch Heavy Duty Packing Tape

The must have tape for general purposes – covering, reinforcing hinges, laminating… Sellotape tape is okay, but I find good quality packing tape are normally thicker and stronger.

Color Packing Tape

Sometimes referred to as wing tapes, color packing tapes are great for decorating your wings, and adding some colors to it. It’s often used for covering and laminating.

The ones I use are thinner than the heavy duty packing tape and aren’t as strong. But it doesn’t add any noticeable weight to the aircraft which is what I like!

Fibre Tape

AKA Reinforce Packing Tape – it’s extremely strong and sticky! Often used to protect leading edges and reinforcing weak foam parts and joints. It can also be used for covering your servos in the wing.

Double-Sided Heavy Duty Mounting Tape

Get the 3M Scotch brand, that’s the sh*t! :) Great for sticking two separate things together, like a receiver to the plane.

Masking Tape

It’s basically just sticky paper :) You can tear it off the reel with your fingers, very convenient to use if you just want to hold something in place temporally during the build. It can be removed easily without leaving any mess behind. You can also write on it since it’s just paper.

Electrical Tape

For isolating electrical joints and wires.

Outdoor Vinyl Tape

It might feel similar to electrical tape, but it’s less stretchy and has a shiny finish and stick much more securely. It’s also twice as thick as packing tape. It conforms to irregularity well, great for applying on control surfaces, like on top of servos, it gives it a very smooth finish

Duct Tape

Stronger than packing tape and works much better on irregular surfaces, but it’s also much heavier; it’s easier to remove and replace; another disadvantage is that they tend to wrinkle up under the sun. it’s usually a choice between this or outdoor vinyl tape


Glue

Any foam friendly glues would do!

Hot Glue

multicopter-building-tools-hot-glue-gun

Hot glue is probably the most popular option for building/repairing foam models. Because they melt into the foam like a chemical glue, but also creates an extremely strong physical bond at the same time.

The strength is also its downside. The bond is so strong it’s near impossible to remove without ripping the foam apart. Sometimes you might want the foam to just fall apart in a crash rather than completely destroyed? It’s a personal preference.

The other properties is that it sets very quickly as it cools down. But that’s also the disadvantage, because you have only a short time to position the parts. That gets worse in cold weather.

E6000 Glue

Currently my favourite glue, I am using this as a replacement to hot glue and CA for building/fixing wings. I have a whole article to discuss why I like it so much.

UHU Por Glue

UHU POR glue is ideal for gluing hard foam like styrofoam. It is flexible, resistant to aging and waterproof. Takes 10-20 mins to set, becomes transparent when dried.

Gorilla Clear Glue

A very popular option for RC model building. Strong stuff for a great range of materials, but personally not a big fan of Gorilla glue, because getting it on your hands can be worse than epoxy!

Thread locker

Apply a tiny bit on your motor screws prevents the screws coming off due to vibration. I have an article discussing what it does and which one to get.


Spares

Zip-tie

Velcro

Spare control horns

Pushrods

You can get some dedicated pushrods, alternatively some stiff 0.047″/1.1mm Piano wires would do too.

2mm carbon rods

Useful for reinforcing flexible pushrods that sometimes cheap models come with; recommended if you plan to fly fast. Banggood: http://bit.ly/2SCxu7b

Weight for CG

These are weight blocks you can place in your wing to balance CG. It’s not a bad idea if you want something neat, but I normally just use coins. Actually coins turn out to be cheaper.

Edit History

  • Dec 2018 – article created
  • Feb 2023 – updated links

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6 comments

Zack 14th August 2022 - 12:12 am

You don’t need a flight controller?

Reply
Oscar 14th August 2022 - 8:31 pm

FC is not necessary for a basic wing.

Reply
Roddy 10th September 2019 - 9:52 am

Concerning the camera.
I have seen your review and I’m impressed with Falkor’s image quality as well. I assume I will use it for my wing project.
My question is, which lens option would you recommend? Falkor is available with 1.8 mm (wide) and 2.5 mm (narrow but moderate distortion), which shall do better job for a wing? Or rather something in between?

Reply
Oscar 10th September 2019 - 6:43 pm

I’d get the 2.5mm, a lot less fish eye distortion.

Reply
soundblaster 21st April 2019 - 7:13 am

please update the links, they are already out of date

Reply
Tim 30th December 2018 - 9:06 am

Good list for beginners!
However, you should be aware of the different types of servo testers (5V and high voltage 6-7V) also not all testers are compatible to digital servos.

Reply