In writing an article to try to show how to get into the hobby for the least amount of money out of pocket, lots of little expenses that I never took onto account started revealing themselves. Others I had to be smaked upside the head with by someone in the comments area, because I completely forgot to factor them in.
So it got me to thinking, what are all of the hidden costs involved in the hobby that we spend money on, and don't even know it. I start off my month with a budget, and then it's almost as if little Ninjas were stealing my "fun" money right out of my wallet.
Let's pretend you're brand new to the hobby, and you've decided that a cheap way to get into flying RC is to build one of the Flite Test Dollar Tree foam board designs. Sounds cheap, heck the plans are even free...
Go ahead, click the picture, it has a link.
Then there's the ever devious cost of a "$1.00 foam board" airframe. Sure you got away for a buck but then there's all of the other components. The motor, ESC, speed controller, servos, batteries, charger, transmitter, reciever. Fortunately they've been budgeted in with the build so we're good there.
Yeah, this one has a link too.
Time to build the plane from plans. Plans you printed out. Either you're going to need to have a printer with paper and ink, or you're going to the copy shop, where they'll print your plans out for you.
Next you'll have to cut the foam to the patterns. Cutting means tools, a razor knife for a hobby knife will be a good start. Don't forget extra blades though. You might as well get in the car and head to the harware store. Don't worry, I've got a list.
Alright, utility knife, some extra blades... What's next? If you want to cut a straight line you should probably buy a metal ruler. They've got yard sticks at the hardware store, right?
We'll need some glue, epoxy, white glue, gorilla glue, hotglue. You'll need the gun for the hot glue, I'll find it
You'll need some tape too. Duct tape, packing tape, painter's tape, scotch tape. Toss them into the cart.
Do you have a drill? Some drill bits? I'll just put them in your cart too.
How about some screw drivers? Maybe a needle nose plyer, or a regular plyer?
I bought myself a dremel, it's a great tool for the hobby.
You'll have to do some soldering, come on, we'll go to that isle too. Soldering iron, solder, soldering paste. Yup, that should do it.
While you were at the dollar store, did you buy some bamboo skewers? It's ok, they have dowels here. Might as well get a few sizes of them, round and square.
Do you have a dedicated work bench area? That's ok, most folks don't. You wife will kill you if you cut up her dining room table, or cover it in glue. You might as well buy a sheet of 4'x8' hardboard, and cut it into smaller pieces you can use as work stations. No sense adding the cost of a divorce lawyer to your already growing bill.
Speaking of keeping things clean. Do you have a tool box to keep all of this in? Yeah, you might want to add one of those.
While we're in the tool box isle, might as well pick up one or two of the little bins that divides small items. You're going to end up with odds and ends electrical connectors, nuts, bolts and screws too. They don't do well loose and on their own.
Zip ties is another idespensable tool. You can use these things for all sorts of solutions to problems you didn't think you'd have. Might as well get some velcro too.
That should do it for this trip. That cart is looking heavy, I'll help you push it to the rgister.
Did we get out for under $1000.00? There's plenty of other things you'll end up buying later. Specialty tools such as servo testers, prop ballancers, volt meters, hex drivers, and so on.
Don't let this list scare you away from scratch building. You don't have to buy all of this at once. Like I said at the beginning, as I was going through the things I've acquired over the years, and as people pointed out items I neglected to include in my "Budget" article's figures for getting into the hobby,
I don't often make it through a trip to the local Lowes, or Home Depot without tossing something inthe cart with the intent of using it for my hobby. Same goes for a visit to the dollar store, or even Walmart. I didn't even mention things like paints, or sharpies. Rubber bands, paper clips, and a variety of things from the office supply section are very useful when building or repairing your aircraft. I have shelves lined with small plastic tubs that I use to organize various odds and ends like extra motors, old speed controls, servos, props, and so on.
I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at some of the things you buy and forget to include in the cost of the hobby. Hopefully you enjoyed it too. But as a bit of advice, I wouldn't recommend letting the wife read this one...