Cost: < $5
Time: ~10 mins
Tools Required: Glue gun, level, Dremel / rotary tool (optional)
Parts Needed: Washer, bubble bits
Difficulty Level: Easy
Yes, I know you can buy a swashplate leveler at most hobby stores, or from any number of online sites, but why buy one when you can easily build your own in 10 minutes for less than $5?
Another problem with purchasing a swashplate leveling tool is that they’re not available in sizes that fit all helicopters – I haven’t been able to find on that fits my Logo heli, so I made my own.
(home made swashplate leveler)
Before we get into the thick of it, I just wanted to mention a few things: When you pick out a washer to use, you want to be sure to get one that’s flat and one that will be big enough to fit on your swashplate, but be small enough to not sit on the ball links.
Also, most major hardware stores carry the little bubble things found in levels, but if you can’t find them, you can just buy a cheap $3 or $5 plastic level and pop them out.
(parts / tools required)
If you want to be able to slide your swashplate leveler onto your RC helicopters swashplate without having to remove the head unit, you’ll want to complete these fist two steps (though they’re optional).
Step 1 – Optional
Using a permanent marker, mark out the area of the washer that you want to cut out.
(area to cut out marked with a permanent marker)
Tip: You’ll need to make sure that the cut in the inner diameter of the washer is large enough to fit on to your heli’s main shaft.
For example, if your main shaft has a diameter of 10mm, you’ll want to make sure the piece you’re taking out is larger than 10mm on the inner diameter of the washer. Usually a cut a little less than 1/4th of the washer works pretty well.
Using your Dremel or other rotary tool, cut out the area you marked.
(area cut out with a Dremel / rotary tool)
The washer will get a little hot, so use a pair of pliers or a vice grip to hold it. Also, be sure to wear safety goggles and not cut next to a puddle of gasoline or any other flammable liquids etc.
Use your level to make sure the surface you’re working on is completely level in all directions.
Tip: I like to use a small piece of plywood as a work surface and prop it up with business / credit cards to make sure it’s equally level. If you’re not working on a perfectly level surface, you won’t get the bubbles level and your swashplate leveler will be useless.
Using the glue gun, glue the bubbles onto the washer making sure that they sit perfectly level (ie. bubbles are centered). They should be 90 degrees to each other (see pic). After you get them on, double check using your level to make sure that the bubbles are centered properly.
(bubbles glued on – swashplate leveler completed)
Tip: If possible, use a high heat glue gun with high temperature glue. The high temp glue will be harder when it cools than regular glue and is more likely to keep the bubbles consistently level over multiple uses.
That’s it! Building your own swashplate leveling tool is easy, fun and something that you can use to fine tune your RC helicopters performance.Have a question about this article or anything else RC Heli related? Ask it in our brand new RC Helicopter Forum and you'll get expert answers quick.
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