Checkerboard Pattern for Wings

I was asked if I have anything to create a Checkerboard Pattern to be placed on rc aircraft wings. I immediately thought it would be easy using the Zing, and I was half right…

Thinking about it, my first thought was to cut opposing squares on two different sheets of vinyl.  However, when I really thought about this, I would have to offset one layer color over another during the cut, or create opposing cad diagrams with the squares perfectly offset. While neither is an issue to do, it would be tedious to join the opposing colors… And I have ZERO Patience!

So, an easier way would be for the wing to have the primary color as the base – this could be the natural color of the foam, or a square area could be first painted. This would allow for a simple template to be applied to the foam, then spray painted with only a single color.

Once the template is removed, a natural checkerboard pattern is achieved.

This sounded simple enough, but I quickly discovered there needs to be an Offset between each square on the template, otherwise the squares will not remove cleanly from the overall template piece. A minor offset of a few mm is enough to create the “areas” to hold each square together.

As usual, since I have no patience, I quickly printed out two templates using inexpensive sticky backed repositionable paper that I had kicking around, stuck them to the ends of the wing, and blasted them with black paint. Actually not a bad look and more than good enough for a foamy!

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3 thoughts on “Checkerboard Pattern for Wings”

  1. Hi Peter,
    You mention your Zing CNC machine in a few posts, and this post says how well it works. I searched the Zing website and patience not being my strong point either, I thought I’d rather ask you what type of machine you have, pricing, maintenance, if it’s a router or a laser affair (or both). I haven’t made up my mind about which machine to buy and have cold feet. Sure enough, for a couple of hundred USD you can buy a kit from Banggood but seing the timing belts, the small stepper motors, the screws… I’d rather spend more money on a good piece of machinery. Excuse my English, as it is not my original language, and thank you in advance for you information. Building and flying model aircrafts is the best hobby there is.

    1. Hi Bruno,
      The Zing is only a machine that has a blade for cutting material, such as decals. Mine is quite a few years old now, however I find I still use it quite a lot for making decals for planes.
      Its a well designed machine that I have had to put very little money or time into over the years, as really, the only thing that wears out is the small blade that cuts.
      There is no exact model sold today, so I would say the closest one to what I have is the Zing Orbit 15, found here:
      Would I buy it again? Yes, as long as I am building planes, and have a need for decals.
      If you are wanting to do laser cutting, such as balsa, thin plywood or decal material, you are right in that banggood does Not have anything worth buying. I did pick up one of their laser kits just to try, and found its no good to cut anything, however I do use it to burn images or logos onto wood for woodworking. And yes, there were hundreds of tiny parts to put together 🙂

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