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Old Mar 21, 2012, 07:48 PM
shinck is offline
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Utah, USA
Joined Jun 2007
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Meeting minutes, March 20

IMSF Meeting Minutes

Location: Alta High School (one-time only for construction demo)
In Attendance: 14
Time: 7:00 to 9:00pm

Welcome and refreshments
No visitors or new members
Treasurer: current account balance; AMA charter will be sent in tomorrow for renewal
Contact information checked
One member paid dues

Topic: designing and building wood models
A little less than half of those in attendance had used computer software to help design models—Adobe Illustrator/AutoCad/CorelDraw/CompuFoil/etc.

Lee Chaplin showed off his latest scratch built scale project (his third), a 135” Carbon Dragon microlift sailplane (full size is 44 foot span and empty weight is less than 150 lbs)
He talked about how he enlarges small plans and draws his parts using AutoCad
Lee puts airfoil coordinates into AutoCad to make a 10 inch plot, then scales as necessary for all the ribs
Currently, Lee cuts his own parts using standard power tools & sanding blocks

Scott Hinckley talked about using Adobe Illustrator to trace parts from scanned plans
The scanned parts are put on a locked and tinted background layer, an upper layer is used to trace the parts
Copy and paste common elements like stringer, joiner and spar cutouts
If the part is symmetrical, draw half, then copy, reflect/mirror and join
The planned Illustrator demo did not work, as the software was not set up the same as my desktop computer on the laptop being used; it only took 30 seconds the next day to figure out what was going on; sorry about that

Airfoil generation:
If you know the airfoil, it is much more accurate to generate using airfoil software than to trace by hand
For complex wings—changing airfoils, washout, multiple tapers, CompuFoil is the way to go, though is costs and has a learning curve

Laser prep:
Engraving vs. cutting; cutting vs. marking and using different colors for each
Vector vs. bitmap—must use vector
Type—use single stroke vector type, or convert regular type to outline/vector, or the cutting will take forever
Lines should be joined (polyline?) for faster cutting of shapes
Sort individual parts by material and thickness, then combine on standard size sheets for cutting
DXF is the standard file format, so your software should be able to save or export this format
If sending files out for laser cutting, get their specs so you know what you need to do, and what they prefer to do themselves

Laser Cutting:
The laser cutter used was 30 watts, has an X-Y axis moving head, and can cut up to 1/8 birch ply if it is working at its optimum
The DXF file is imported into CorelDraw and checked for errors—right reading, colors correct, centered on material size to be cut, etc.
Power and speed can be set for each color (marking vs. cutting)
Cutting lens is focused, using a jig, for each change in material thickness
Print, Run and watch the show!

There were good discussions from the group during the discussions and demo—other ways of working, different software helps, and clarification of points made. This interaction is really what makes the club valuable.

A big thanks to Ron Strohm, CAD/Engineering/Robotics teacher at Alta High School, for use of his classroom, equipment, and expertise.

by Scott Hinckley
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Old Mar 23, 2012, 10:40 AM
utpinhead is offline
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Salt Lake City, UT
Joined May 2004
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IMSF meeting 3/20/12


Thanks for a very informative presentation. I appreciate you taking the time to take us through the process of laser cutting parts.

David Ruster
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