This is not actually a page of Frequently Asked Questions. It’s more of an SAQ page, with “sometimes asked questions”. Most of these have been asked once. But if one guy asks, maybe another guy is also wondering. These questions deal with laser cutting services and short kits, because when somebody asks me a question about building techniques I will turn it into an entire article.
How do I order a short kit?
Using the “send Rob an email” link on the main menu, send me an email and tell me what kit you are interested in. Ask me any questions you may have about it, and I’ll answer them, give you a price, and tell you where to send payment.
Why don’t you have a paypal button or a shopping cart? Wouldn’t that be easier?
I have actually gotten this question several times. I have four box sizes. Shipping costs vary with size, weight, and distance. If you order more than one kit in the same box, you can save money by combining shipping. But I don’t want a paypal cart that says shipping for three kits is X dollars, because it’s more complicated than that. Weighing each kit and each box and all the padding ahead of time to properly set up a paypal shopping cart or pay button would be ridiculous. If you just tell me what you want, I’ll tell you the cost, and you send the money. If we make it up as we go along, you get a lower price.
Do you ship to foreign countries?
That’s a great question. I will happily ship to Canada and the USA, but please be advised that shipping to Canada is ridiculously expensive. I can cut costs by cutting parts shorter, so if you want to save 20 bucks I’ll cut your fuselage sides in half, etc. This will change a 40 dollar charge to 20 dollars in most cases.
Shipping to destinations outside North America is an unattractive prospect for a couple of reasons. Large, lightweight boxes have a high potential for damage on long trips across the world. This alone makes me unenthusiastic about shipping overseas. Additionally, there are quite a few countries that present the additional prospect of theft or mishandling. I don’t want you to spend your money on a box that won’t arrive, and I don’t want to spend my money replacing it and trying to make it arrive, when the influences acting upon the package are totally out of my control. The post office will sell me insurance, but rather than assume responsibility for making an insurance claim in the event of damage or loss, I prefer to just not get involved. I have been in a position to make a claim on an insured package, and at that time I wished I had never sent the package. So instead of wishing that I could turn back the clock on a transaction, I’m going to choose not to turn it forward in the first place.
If you are outside of Canada or the United States, you are responsible for the package. If it arrives damaged or fails to arrive at all, that’s your problem. I’m not going to pay for it, refund your money, or ship another one for free. You are responsible. I still like my friends overseas, so here’s how you can get what you want. Order a kit from a manufacturer that ships overseas, or cut out your own parts and build from scratch. If you don’t know how to build from scratch, you’re on the right website. I’ll be happy to tell you how.
I don’t like to type. Why don’t you post your phone number so we can talk about it?
I spend a lot of time outdoors and I don’t like playing phone tag.
Everybody has a cell phone. Give me your cell number and I’ll call, and you can answer anywhere.
I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t like the cell phone lifestyle. Also, cell phones don’t even work at my house. I have a land line, but I don’t want you to think I’m sitting here waiting for it to ring. I like email because it’s just a faster version of mail. We don’t have to interrupt each other’s lives.
There are some really great people out there, and my website has allowed me to become acquainted with a lot of them. I love you guys, but I can’t talk to everybody on the phone all the time. Just send me an email.
Can I specify balsa grade for my short kit?
I’ve been building balsa planes since 1986 and I have never weighed my balsa. I’m a cheapskate and I order from a discount supplier who sends me whatever is available. It’s generally good stuff, but about 10% of it is too hard or warped or something. I use the warped stuff for small parts, because then it doesn’t matter. I try to use the heavy stuff in appropriate applications. Other than that I don’t pay much attention.
I’ve received compliments on my wood quality. Either the satisfied customers don’t know what they’re looking at, or you really can get good stuff from a discount seller. I find that I can always build a plane under the spec weight because of modern miniature radios, no matter the balsa selection. My advice: Don’t worry about it. It really doesn’t matter.
Do you sell plans?
What if I buy a short kit? Does it come with a plan?
You’re sending me a package anyway. Why don’t you just include the plan?
I have my balsa wood and my laser cutter at home, which is in the middle of nowhere. If I were to send you a plan I would have to either buy a large format printer or go to the city to get a print made at a store. I have a better idea. You go to the store and have a print made.
Where do I get plans?
There are multiple sites online where you can get them. They used to be published in magazines, but now that we have the internet you can find websites where people have been uploading old magazine plans. My favorite website is outerzone. You need to download the plan you want and transfer it to a data storage device such as a flash drive or SD card, then take that to an office store or printing company where they will print it for you for a fee. You can also buy paper plans from various companies that still publish them, or buy old ones on ebay.
If I want you to cut me a kit, how do you get the plan on your computer so you can make the parts? Do I send you the plan in the mail?
You don’t mail me any paper, and I don’t mail you any paper. If you want me to cut out a specific kit, somehow I need to get a PDF of the plan. Either you download it from the internet and email it to me, or send me a link of where I can download it myself, or you get your paper scanned somewhere and email me the PDF. I can also use files in DXF format.