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Old Jun 27, 2015, 08:38 PM
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Scroll saw vs router to cut wing ribs

Is there a reason no one seems to use a router to cut wing ribs? Is there something inherently unsuitable about a router using 1/8" end mill bits? Does it toss the work around or do something else?

A scroll saw is too single purpose, heavy, and big for me to bring with me if I have to relocate. Using a Foredom or a dremel bolted to a router table would be more portable and could be used for things other than cutting ribs.
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Old Jun 27, 2015, 09:08 PM
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I've done it with a router, but switched to scroll saw. With the router, it seemed like the rotating bit wanted to pull the stack of rib blanks one way or the other. I just felt like I had more precise control with the scroll saw. Probably personal preference though. I know exactly what you mean about keeping the shop setup compact.
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Old Jun 27, 2015, 10:13 PM
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How big and thick are the ribs you're cutting out?

I've always just used a regular Xacto knife with the basic #11 blade for ribs that are up to even 1/8 thick balsa.

If this is for a giant scale or giant sport model and the ribs are Liteply or similar then I can see using a saw.

My preference in that case would be a bandsaw over a scroll saw or a router. Routers have too much side pull on them so the outlines come out more needlessly wobbly unless a template is used with a router bit that can follow the template.
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Old Jun 27, 2015, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews View Post
How big and thick are the ribs you're cutting out?

I've always just used a regular Xacto knife with the basic #11 blade for ribs that are up to even 1/8 thick balsa.

If this is for a giant scale or giant sport model and the ribs are Liteply or similar then I can see using a saw.

My preference in that case would be a bandsaw over a scroll saw or a router. Routers have too much side pull on them so the outlines come out more needlessly wobbly unless a template is used with a router bit that can follow the template.
I don't ever see myself cutting ribs that are larger than 12". Thickness 1/16" to 1/8" perhaps. 1/8" seems pretty thick so no more than 3/32 probably.

It just sucks that you can't use a fence to cut sticks with a scroll saw.
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Old Jun 28, 2015, 03:52 PM
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Yeah, both scroll and bandsaws produce such a "toothy" cut edge that these saws are no good for producing strips. That is really where a small size table saw comes into the picture. Or a small diameter thin kerf blade on a full size table saw.
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Old Jun 28, 2015, 04:17 PM
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I used to cut ribs with a knife. But, the builds were almost always single airfoil type wings (WWI or similar). I'd make a ply template and just slice them out. Notches and holes done at same time.

Small router type tools would work, but, I find them hard to control on small parts.

What about a coping saw? Make yourself a small cutting 'table' for the vise or edge of table. They work almost as fast as a knife or jigsaw for the thin stuff.

charlie
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Old Jun 28, 2015, 05:26 PM
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I use a shaper with 6-8 ribs stacked on a masonite template.
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Old Jun 28, 2015, 10:11 PM
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I just take a stack of balsa rectangles big enough to blanket my rib outline, clamped together with a "master rib" typically made of plywood on top. Then shape the whole stack on a vertical belt sander to the outline of the "master rib". Cutouts for spars and the like are done on a bandsaw with the guide pulled up high. Simple, quick and gets you a stack of ribs all the same.

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Old Jun 28, 2015, 11:09 PM
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Newbie question.. Pure and simple.
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Old Jun 29, 2015, 01:58 AM
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I have used an exposed router bit in a table. It is rather dangerous if you value your fingers. It can grab the part, and toss it around.
With a template, and a bit with a guide bearing its not to bad. My router had a guide fence, with a flip away guard. So If I set the fence back a bit, and use push sticks, the danger to my fingers wasn't too bad. But the guard spring pressure was a little annoying.
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Old Jun 29, 2015, 07:40 AM
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I bandsaw my ribs. It is easy to cut a stack of 20 or more in a few minutes. The blanks are pinned together, then the saw is checked to see that it is cutting square. The ribs are sawn right up to the plywood master, the slots are cut for the spars, and then the stack is lightly hit with a sanding block and they are ready to build the wing.

These 18 ribs were for a 102" span wing with an 18" cord.

I would think that a router would shatter the balsa as it is pretty soft. The bandsaw puts all the cutting pressure straight down so the ribs are very easy and safely cut.

The finished plane is a blown up version of an RCM trainer. 102" span.
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Old Jun 29, 2015, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bare View Post
Newbie question.. Pure and simple.
And????

He wants a solution that doesn't take up much room and is easily moved. Implied is that a scroll saw (or bandsaw) is too big/heavy.

What are the alternatives?
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Old Jun 29, 2015, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews View Post
Yeah, both scroll and bandsaws produce such a "toothy" cut edge that these saws are no good for producing strips. That is really where a small size table saw comes into the picture. Or a small diameter thin kerf blade on a full size table saw.
Yeah I was thinking about a mitre box wtih a fence and a razor saw (or a full back saw since a razor saw isn't long enough to rip.).

But yeah. Thanks everyone, I gpt a nice used scroll saw since economically it's a lot cheaper than more versatile and portable router setup with a Foredom. Since it's used I can probably sell it for close to what I bought it for when I need to relocate. The router throwing stuff around doesn't seem appealing either.
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Old Jun 29, 2015, 03:14 PM
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There ARE some small tricks you can try to make it better for ripping stock.

First off is to use as wide a blade as you can find. For scroll saws that's not too great since I think 1/8 is just around the maximum.

Another option is to buy a 8 or 9mm wide band saw blade and snap or cut it into scroll saw lengths then using a carbide or cobalt drill bit in a drill press drill pin holes in the blade ends to fit the pins needed. Or if you have the blade clamps like the nicer ones come with grind down the ends and fit the clamps to the resulting scroll saw sized stub ends.

Now the tricky part....... Use a fine or medium sharpening stone to dress off about half or a bit more of the stock amount of blade set. You want to produce side facets of removed set that are roughly 1mm wide along the sides of each alternating tooth.

Use more tension than usual but don't over stress the saw's frame and possibly cause it to warp. You want the blade to be very "musical" when plucked but given the width and weight it should be very much a lower register bass sort of "plunk" than the higher soprano "plink" you get from the regular narrow gauge blades.

Give that a try.

I've yet to try this myself. Too many other projects. But I know it works for reducing the roughness when ripping with a band saw. I don't see why it shouldn't work with a scroll saw too.
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Old Jun 30, 2015, 04:18 PM
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Maybe just try stacking the blank balsa ribs and using coarse, medium, fine sand paper? Then notch spar cut out with a razor saw.
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