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Simple Magnetic Flight Stands


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Leadpusher Supporting Member of TMP writes:

One magnet on the plane, the other on the end of the rod and you are all set.

Just make sure of your polarity on the magnets.


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13 June 2016page first published

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©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

I've been painting up some models for Aeronef (Victorian sci-fi aerial game from Wessex Games), and the models (from Brigade Models) come with the standard clear plastic base: base and peg. And the models keep falling over. The bases are just too small for many of the models.

Which started me thinking about magnets and flight stands again. Previously, I've taken a look at Litko acrylic flight stands and tried a very simple magnet stand for aircraft. You've also seen my spaceships, using magnetic adapters (which are no longer available).

What I want to do now is come up with a technique that is simple, but does a better job at keeping the model on top of the stand (compared to a bare magnet).

Flight stand components

Here, I'm starting with two Aeronef models, an acrylic flight stand (from Litko), two magnets, and a small piece of tubing.

Flight stand tubing

The idea is to get a tubing size that will slide over the flight stand's peg, without too much wobbling. It doesn't matter if the tubing is brass (which is what I am using), aluminum, plastic, or something printed on your 3Dprinter. If the tubing sticks a little, use a round needle file to improve the fit.

Cutting the tubing

There are many ways to cut the tubing to the right size. Here, I am using a tube cutter made for small sizes of tubing. You could also use a small saw and a mitre box (to hold the tubing in place), or a small hobbyist power tool.

And what's the right size? Well, you'll figure that out for yourself the first time, and then you'll just keep repeating yourself so the other stands will match (and be interchangeable). You want the tubing to be long enough to fit over the flight stand peg enough to be stable, and long enough to fit over the magnet we're going to put in the model itself.

Flight stand magnet

Here's the small magnet glued to the top of the flight peg. It is ⅛" in diameter, and ⅛" tall. There's a similar magnet glued into the model, also ⅛" in diameter but a little taller. Make sure the magnets are oriented so they attract, rather than repel!

Also, before you glue the magnet down, make sure the top of the peg is flat. That used to be a problem with the pegs from Litko, but I've noticed lately that the ends are coming out suitably flat.

(I glued the large magnet in place in an earlier article.)

Glue the tube

Ahead of time, you should have scratched a mark on the peg so you know where the tube will slide down to. Apply glue to the side of the peg, and slide the tube down over the magnet and peg until it is in the correct position, and let dry.

Flight stand

Wait a day, and then test the model out with the new flight stand. It should slide into place solidly, but not too sharply (or the magnets might break – they look like metal, but are actually ceramic magnets).

Flight stand

And now my Aeronef model is on a stand wide enough so that it won't topple over, but the stand comes off so the model can more easily be stored after the game.

I'll probably paint the tubing a nice sky blue color eventually.