Let's talk about rigging

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by dfarrell, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. dfarrell

    dfarrell Member

    My favorite things to build are Bi-planes from the W.W.I era. Up to now I haven't done much rigging on them, but I think that I have reached the point in my modeling career where I need to add that level of frustration. I would be interested in hearing what you guys like to use and how you go about attaching it. In the couple of planes that I have rigged up I tied thread around the struts, but the angle that results looks wrong. Any words or pictures on this subject would be a great help.
  2. Lepercan

    Lepercan Member


    I use thread from pantyhose or footlets ( you can beg them from your wife/girl or ask for one at a ladies shoe shop where thy're usually kept for try-ons ) just cut anywhere and start pulling, wrapping around a piece of cardstock as you go. They stretch, aren't so strong as they warp your wings, and can be held in place by a dot of Elmers.

  3. B-Manic

    B-Manic Peripheral Visionary

    I've used craft wire painted black an invisible thread blackened with a sharpie.

    The wire has the advantage of being rigid and easily placed once cut to length. The thread can have any slack removed by a quick application of heat from the "love of my life's" hair dryer gun thingy.
  4. Gearz

    Gearz Member

    Lets talk about rigging?... yes please! I'm sorry this isn't an answer, just another question.

    I'd imagine models like a.... 1/72 scale bi-plane?, would need pretty fine rigging to stay in scale. I have zero experience applying rigging, so perhaps one of our experienced aviation or maritime guys could help with a solution for a rigging dilemma..

    I've all but finished developing an Zeppelin (Crimsonskies - Pandora) It has a series of small masts arranged along the hull, with wires connecting the tips laterally (red line on the pic below) The problem being, the masts will be really delicate, so they wont be able to take much strain.. if any.

    Q Has anyone built a model with this sort of problem / suggest a practical method/material, to build it with rigging? (each mast will be approx? 1 inch ~ 3cm long) ....~ I thought of making the (card) masts stronger, by extending/ bracing them further into the hull, although, it would require a major redesign = Pandora Kaput!


    Attached Files:

  5. rmks2000

    rmks2000 Member


    Why not use a bamboo skewer through the hull? You could use two for the diagonals, and part of one for the top mast which could rest on the spot where the other two intersect within the hull.
  6. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    Try laminating the masts with cardstock twice or thrice, or use a very sharp cone?
    Capture a Microspider...and train him!
  7. Gearz

    Gearz Member

    mmm.. good thinking, it would solve all problems if the masts were stronger (without redesigning).. I can see some optional steps in the making.. Card masts just for effect OR templates to make bamboo masts for the rigging... yep... I like it. Thanks rmks2000 !
    :-D :-D

    Phil ~ lol.. good ideas, but for the last, you'd have to build me a MICRO whip and chair.. "Spin.. Spin... you wild beast.. wwhooot chssssshh!"
  8. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    Your keyboard Paints pictures very well!
    Whip and Chair...micro...GOT IT! :)
  9. Teamski

    Teamski Member

    Rigging really drives me up the wall. I really want a nice full rig for my ships, but I haven't found a really good method other than thin thread and gel magic glue. The wire idea is something to look into. Hopefully I can find a thin enough guage....

  10. alaimo@jcu.edu

    alaimo@jcu.edu I need a Pin up girl. . .

    I used carbon fiber rod, (I don't remeber the thicknes, I think .020, 0r .002-I'm lousy with numbers.) on a Travelair mystry ship I did. It made the plae stiff and looked like real rigging, I suppose it was cheating. . .
  11. Pace

    Pace New Member

    I got the bright idea of rigging large biplanes with elastic thread. I didn't have to worry about getting the right tension. Big mistake! A year or two later the elastic lost its elasticity and all the rigging hung in festoons.

    Don't ever make that mistake!
  12. MapleLeaf

    MapleLeaf Member

    What about ship rigging

    What about ship rigging. I built a simple model (Egoist) and would like to add rigging but cannot seem to find any source of information as to just how the rigging should look or be arranged.
  13. KCStephens

    KCStephens Member

    Rigging is not as difficult as you would think. The secret to it is having the right tools.

    As far as the riggging itself - Go get yourself a spool of heavy nylon upholestry thread. Nylon thread works great, it's not fuzzy like cotton thread, it's cheep, and it comes in many different colors.

    OK, here's the key: If you don't have one, go get a pin-vice with a very-very small drill bit. The one I use most often is .029" which is just a little larger around than the thread I use. You can pick one up pretty cheep (fot about $5.00) including the bits at Harbor Freight or Widget Supply. For a few bucks this is one tool you will get alot of use out of.

    The last thing you'll need is a tube of GEL CA (super) glue. Make sure it's the gel kind, don't use liquid CA here, as it will bleed into the paper and discolor all your hard work.

    First, drill your holes. You'll have to do a little pre-planning here and drill them as you build otherwise you may not be able to put them where they need to be after everything is assembled. Card stock drills pretty easily, just keep rollong the pin-vise back and forth between your thumb and index finger untill you drill thru to the other side. Just be careful not to break off the bit - as they are very small.

    Next, cut a piece of thread keeping it a few inches longer than what is needed and with a pointed scribe or sharpened tooth pick apply a small drop of CA glue on to the hole. With a pair of tweesers insert one end of the thread into the hole and let it go 'till the glue sits up and dries. Once the glue is good and dry (maybe 5 min.) apply a spot of glue onto the opposite hole and insert the other end of the thread. Keep a little tention on the thread until the glue sits. Once the glue is good and dry trim the excess thread off with a new xacto blade (I've found that the sharper the better).

    There ya go! There's really not much to it. Just have patients, take your time and you will be very pleased with your results.
  14. David H

    David H Member

    For ship's rigging I use the mini drill - CA method but prefer to use a natural fibre such as thick cotton or my favourite of the moment linen thread (well linen is in my blood).

    When using thread the ends can / will fray. To get around this I lick the freshly cut end, just a tiny dab of spit, then apply a blob of CA glue and very quickly roll between finger and thumb.

    This also hardens and stiffens the end of the tread and makes it dead easy to pass it through the pre-drilled rigging hole. I have tended to notch spars and attach rigging with the the tiniest spot of CA while using long lengths of thread.

    Don't mix up this process and get thread stuck to your tongue!

    V108 - 12.jpg

    selma Library - 4815.jpg

  15. dansls1

    dansls1 Member

    While I don't have a pin vise yet, when I did the rigging for the GeeBee (yeah, amatuer rigging compared to most) I used a punch to make the holes - before assembly. I then used my blade to trim the excess material on the back side (I punched from the front). Then I dabbed a little CA around the hole to make sure I didn't fray the edges while dragging the thread through the holes (the rigging went through the wings and through the wheel struts, both starting and finishing in the fuselage, there are a total of 4 pieces of string used for my model).
  16. KCStephens

    KCStephens Member

    You're very brave! I hope you keep a bottle of debonder close by!
    Knowing my luck I'd have all my digits glued together!
  17. rmks2000

    rmks2000 Member

    For ships in bottles, I've used nail polish to keep the ends from fraying.
  18. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Pure Filament Silk Thread

    I use only YLI Pure Filament Silk Thread for aircraft rigging. It consists of the pure silk strand from the silk worm and is strong and durable. It accepts most coloring agents and will shrink slightly when moistened and blow dried.

    For model ship work look into 100% cotton crochet thread in several different weights. Dying the thread before use is recommended. After installation it can be soaked with a solution made from bees wax dissolved in paint thinner followed by a brushing with a dry brush. This rids the rigging of the dreaded fuzzies...,

    Below is the unpainted output of a spoked wheel project that uses YLI Pure Filament Silk thread for the spokes (the rest is made from various paper types). The thread was untwisted and individual single silk strands were removed and used...,


  19. David H

    David H Member

    I believe the discussion is over... thank you Gil!


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