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Old Dec 06, 2012, 06:24 PM
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United States, NV, Reno
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Tool suggestions

I would like to try a scratch build, but it seems to be very slow going when I cut ribs or something.

What tools do most people use when scratch building to cut the parts (ie ribs etc). I have only shaped parts that needed to be replaced in a kit so I did that with hand tools and sanding. It seems that if you were doing a lot of parts you would use a better tool (powered). Also, I have somewhat limited space in my shop and am on a budget.

Any suggestions appreciated. Links to the tool are appreciated as well.
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Old Dec 06, 2012, 07:19 PM
May the Wind Always be Good
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Old Dec 06, 2012, 08:17 PM
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A guy showed me his gadget for making ribs. I don't remember all the details, but you could rough cut the rib, and then put it in this jig which would ride against the bearing on one of those router bits which are made to follow a template or an edge. I think they're called "flush trim". Lots of companies offer them.

A long time ago, Herk Stokely had a column where he described hot wiring balsa. Very smoky! However, apparently t he results are pretty good. You could hot wire a virtual core and then slice ribs out of it with a power saw or miter box. Obviously you'd want to go slow, using little force, and lots of wire tension. And you'd want to do it outside. I know this seems implausible, but I've hot wired a tree branch myself*, so I suspect it works ok. Best done not too long after a rain as you may have some tiny sparks. Or at least I did.

I suspect if you have steady hands, you could do a fine job cutting a small stack of ribs with a scroll saw or a small band saw. Not cheap unless you can find one that's being thrown away, like I did.

Long ago, I cut 80 or so ribs with an Xacto knife for a model where I spaced them at one inch apart. Even though it was only 1/32 balsa, it was very tedious.

*For the curious, it was approximately a 4 inch branch in an awkward location where I wouldn't have been comfortable with a saw. All I had to do this way was get a wire over it. Wet maple takes a long time to cut with a hot wire, but it works.
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Last edited by lincoln; Dec 06, 2012 at 08:17 PM. Reason: added "with an Xacto knife"
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Old Dec 06, 2012, 08:20 PM
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United States, MT
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New lazer cutters are very nice too!
*shown here in hard to find green


Oh , and a dremal tool W/ EVERY type of attachment, band saw, table saw, routers, drills, jig saw,variable angle circular saw, and LOTS of CLAMPS!!! Did I say two sizes of perma-grit sanding bars?DUST MASK covering iron lots of carbon fiber,DUSK MASK heat gun ,level,soldering iron,, flux, solder,incidence meters computer, computer sailplane design program, printer, pinter paper, a cool fuse jig like Mr. Kite has.....



* man, just go out and buy a moldie & save yourself the $$$ and headache! Ok, I didn't post all the links to tools , but all youREALLY need is a knife and some sand paper....http://www.xacto.com/products/cuttin...t-Locking.aspx
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Old Dec 06, 2012, 09:18 PM
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Not all the ideas I presented involved lots of money. I think my rig to cut the tree branch cost me maybe $15, and most of that was the really long wires to get up into the tree. All you really need is some scrap wood, a 12V battery (maybe even just get 12V from your car), and some wire. And a small flat table, I guess.

Around here we have a used tool store that I get lots of stuff from. I bet I could pick up a usable router or scroll saw for less than $25.

You can never have too many clamps!
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Old Dec 06, 2012, 09:49 PM
Balsa addiction since age 3
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Upstate NY
Joined May 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fickle flier View Post
I would like to try a scratch build, but it seems to be very slow going when I cut ribs or something.

What tools do most people use when scratch building to cut the parts (ie ribs etc). I have only shaped parts that needed to be replaced in a kit so I did that with hand tools and sanding. It seems that if you were doing a lot of parts you would use a better tool (powered). Also, I have somewhat limited space in my shop and am on a budget.

Any suggestions appreciated. Links to the tool are appreciated as well.
I have now made 2 planes from scratch this year (well, technically the second is almost done but i cut the parts out by hand).

I use Profili to lay out the ribs and make the "plan" - if you have a plan - make a copy (ensure its correct size - not all copiers do it appropriately).

I print out what I need from a rib perspective and then attach via 3M 77 (others I am sure will work with less permanency).

I then cut roughly. I then sand each rib using this belt sander which is hard to be for $39:
http://www.harborfreight.com/1-inch-...nder-2485.html

If I have many ribs to make - like in a constant chord wing - I will make 1 rib out of very hard balsa or real plywood (not lite ply) and make it "perfect". Then I put CA glue on the edge to protect it as I use it for a template to cut each rib and sand by hand. For this I use a very thin double stick tape (no foam, just very thin cellophane with adhesive both sides) and or pins to hold the part while I cut it.

Oh yea, I am now allergic to balsa dust - be careful when sanding - use a mask.

Scott
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Old Dec 07, 2012, 12:06 AM
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Scott, your work looks great, gotta ask about the allergies, what kinda symptoms, I've heard of others with this,
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Old Dec 07, 2012, 03:02 PM
Balsa addiction since age 3
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Originally Posted by IHAVAWDY View Post
Scott, your work looks great, gotta ask about the allergies, what kinda symptoms, I've heard of others with this,
Symptoms are sore throat and dry cough... Mask solves the problem.

Oh yea, CA glue - some really cause my eyes to burn bad - I now use a fan when I do use it although the odorless bother me less. Both, when dry and sanded, will cause me problems so mask again helps that.

I try to avoid using CA but sometimes you just gotta have it! I generally use wood yellow glue, epoxy and then CA in that order.

Scott
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Old Dec 07, 2012, 04:06 PM
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I have developed allergies to CA, when I have to use it....I put a small fan on top of the table, on low, blowing across the work, and it works great....I also use a lot of thinned wood glue now....I will tack with a drop of thick ca, and then use a small stick and spread thinned wood glue along the rest of the joint, clamp or weigh down.
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Old Dec 07, 2012, 07:58 PM
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What are you waiting for? Go buy you an X-Acto knife and 100 #11 blades, a pack of fine, medium and coarse sand paper and get after it! Git'r done!
Ha! Experiment, test and try your own ideas and see what works for you. These guys have some great ideas, so pick one you really like and seems to suit you and try it out.
Good luck, and be sure and post your results so we can all offer help and some good advise!
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Old Dec 08, 2012, 03:45 PM
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I have never scratch-built a wing myself (only a fuse), so this is based of my own wishes combined with what I've read from others.

As mentioned a sharp knife and a steel ruler is a good start. I would love a Permagrit, but it is still on my wishlist. On the other hand I'm very satisfied with a home-made sander made from a 180 grit sandpaper wrapped around three sides of a 12*12mm pine list.

Another thing on my wishlist, which I've read others have had good use of in rib production, is (what I think is called) a disc-sander (please help me out with the English here). I don't need any of the fancy ones, just a disc attached to my electric drill and with a perpendicular table in front of it. Maybe not as exact as the router mentioned earlier, but I think it would fit my wishes better.

Another option is to draw your ribs in any program that could export to DXF, and then send the file to any company that cnc-routs or lasercuts for a small fee. From what I've heard the cost for on-demand production has gone so cheap it's almost a steal (but then again, it's just what I've heard, I haven't tried myself).

/Stefan
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Old Dec 09, 2012, 02:45 AM
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Bandsaw and belt sander make short work of rib sets. A good steel rule, 48" minimum, 72" is better. SHARP knives ... X-Acto #11 and a few others. Sandpaper from 220 to 600 grit, wet/dry. Drill press and a Dremel rotary tool.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 03:19 PM
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Maybe I am making it more complicated than it needs to be.

I have a fairly large assortment of knives and sandpaper and a dremmel. I was thinking to produce a scratch-built kit most would want a scroll saw or something. Maybe I will just give it a go with what I have. Anyone using a dremmel (I only have the old one) to do the cutting bit? I assume they may have a router or something that works, or do most people use the sanding attachments?
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 03:31 PM
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I find router attachment good for alot of things, cutting ribs is not one of them. High speed barrel sanding attachments = moments in high speed! Some use belt sanders on ribs, The don't work w/any rib that has any amout of camber...
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 06:32 PM
Balsa addiction since age 3
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Upstate NY
Joined May 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fickle flier View Post
Maybe I am making it more complicated than it needs to be.

I have a fairly large assortment of knives and sandpaper and a dremmel. I was thinking to produce a scratch-built kit most would want a scroll saw or something. Maybe I will just give it a go with what I have. Anyone using a dremmel (I only have the old one) to do the cutting bit? I assume they may have a router or something that works, or do most people use the sanding attachments?
By attaching the template to each rib and then cutting to the attachment outline, I can make ribs that are highly accurate. It may take 2 hours to cut/sand ribs for a 115" glider (3" rib spacing). And I should note that is 1/16" material that a xacto works just fine on - 1/8" material will take a little more time (not much).

The weakness of the method is when you want to remove some material for example like lightening holes (easy enough to drill hole) where the shape is not circular.

Scott
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