Tools for the Free Flight Modeler


Winding the motor of a rubber powered model is no longer the "finger in the prop" affair it was when we were growing up. For longer duration, motors are lubricated and stretched while winding with a mechanical device, usually offering ratios like 5:1, 10:1, 16:1, 20:1. This allows many more turns to be packed into a motor in less time. Below are a few pictures of some of the winders available. These are generally used for smaller sport and indoor type models. The larger rubber motors for outdoor models require heavier gears and handles.

5:1 Peck Polymers Winder 16:1 winder

Winders are available at quite a price range. Basic plastic ones cost close to $10, while nicer machined ones range up upwards from there. I started out like many others, buying a Peck's 5:1 ratio plastic winder from a local hobby shop. It has served me well, and I still use it for models requiring larger motors. Notice that the hook has been covered with a piece of heat shrink tubing. Doing this has helped ensure that the winder doesn't accidently cut throught the motor. I also bought a 16:1 winder for smaller and lighter motors in peanut scale and other indoor models. as these motors were smaller, I tapered the hook to a point, then polished it smooth, to help in loading and unloading motors. After I broke the handle on the 16:1 winder, I decided to upgrade to the winder shown below.

Bob Wilder 20:1 Winder

Formerly made by Bob Wilder in Texas, This winder was one of the nicer available. It has a 20:1 ratio, and also has his optional torque meter mounted. Notice that on the back of the winder around the handle there is a pointer that references a numerical scale. This counts the number of turns put on the motor. Each revolution of the pointer represents 500 turns to the motor. Alas, this fine winder is no longer available.

Knight & Pridham 15:1 Winder

This K&P winder has a 15:1 ratio and is well worth tracking down. It is priced similarly to other plastic winders, but is more durable. It also seems more capable of winding slightly larger sizes than the black 16:1 shown above. I do not own one, but a local flying friend does and likes it very much. The few times I have used it I found it to have very smooth action, as well as good feedback of the rubber torque.
This winder can be purchased at Indoor Model Supply for $16.95. The minimum order is $25 so you might as well order something else too. I recommend the following book for anyone interested in indoor FF models.

Indoor Flying Models by Lew Gitlow, $22, shipping and handling are extra.

Indoor Model Supply is a division of
A2Z Corp.
3955 S Mariposa St
Englewood, CO 80110
Phone: (720) 833-9300
Toll Free: (877) 754-7465
Fax: (720) 385-2118

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