|MadSci Network: Engineering|
Thanks for the question, this sounds like an AWESOME hobby to get into. Personally, I don't have the expertise to tell you exactly how to get the correct pitch for your propeller. However, I know it's possible, but probably a pretty time-intensive process.
The propeller is a lifting body designed to feed air into the engine as well as pull the plane->your thrust. The more powerful the engine, i.e. the more horse-power your engine generates, generates more thrust and a stronger pull. The pitch of the propeller is designed for thrust to power efficiency. Like a wing on an airplane, a propeller has to create as much lift as possible while preventing a stall condition.
Therefore, you've got several design items to take into account. First, what kind of maneuvers or flight characteristics is the air craft to perform? Second, how powerful does the engine have to be to pull the aircraft's expected mass through the desired maneuvers. Third, what is more important to the propeller's design-thrust economy or raw speed?
Look in your local library in model airplane hobbiest books and magazines. Also, look on the internet for airplane enthusiast websites. These will be extremely helpful, and don't forget to check out any associated manufacturer's websites, if you have a pre-built body.
Good luck in your new hobby! It should be really challenging and a lot of fun once the airplane gets up and running.
Ronald G. Darner adds the following:
You should be aware that Sport Aviation Magazine (Experimental Aircraft Association) routinely offers plans for making/carving propellors, or even for building a machine to carve wooden propellors. Older model airplanes sometimes required that the builder carve his (her) own prop for rubber-band powered flying types. The EAA has more information than anyone else, I suspect, on such topics. I've been a member since 1978...
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