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Spinning Props

To make the propeller spin, we'll make use of the brass tubing method.  Purchase two adjacent diameters of K&S brass tubing from the hobby shop.  We used 1/16 inch and 3/32 inch.  The tubing was cut into sections as needed with a motor tool and cutoff wheel.  The edges of the cut were cleaned up with a small file.

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A section of the 3/32 piece was inserted in back of the spinner (after drilling to widen the hole).   A section of 1/16 was used on the fuselage (after cutting off the styrene rod that came with the kit, and drilling a hole) and secured with CA glue.  Be careful to drill your holes on center, to make sure that the spinner lines up with the fuse.  If not, you may have to do some extra gouging and filling till it looks right.  We found it helpful to align the two parts with tape to check the alignment before gluing the fuse rod.  Put a drop of light oil in the larger tube (bicycle oil worked well for this).  This will prevent excess glue from locking the parts up, and will of course improve spinning later on.

spinning prop on model airplane

You're probably thinking that your planes' props can spin when you flick them with a finger.  But if you're thinking of trying to make this sustained spinning effect without using brass tubes (just the native kit plastic), don't bother.  The plastic is neither round enough nor smooth enough.  Without brass you could blow on the prop till you're blue in the face but the prop won't spin (ask us how we know).  The brass tube reduces the friction enough to make it possible.

If you're planning to photograph the model with the prop spinning, will need to keep your head and hand out of the picture.  So it will be easier to spin the prop with a hairdryer set on low or medium.  Turn on the dryer and move it slowly into position.  The prop will get up to speed fairly quickly.   Having the camera on a tripod and using a countdown timer if it has one, will make your job easier.


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