question about making wing ribs from scratch - RC Groups
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Dec 01, 2003, 08:13 PM
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question about making wing ribs from scratch

I'm going to build my first "from scratch" sailplane. My question is: Is there an easy (or easier) way to cut the wing ribs out of stock Balsa than to just cut close and sand one by one?
Do you guys have any special method for precutting all the pieces?
Is there some type of affordable lazer cutter?
Please don't laugh too hard while reading this, I figured I'd at least ask before going though my own little personal Hell.
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Dec 01, 2003, 08:19 PM
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vintage1's Avatar
(i) make a metal or hardwood or plastic laminate template and cut tyme all using that.

(ii) make two of teh above, drill a coulple ogf holes through them, and sandwich about an inch of rib blanks between, carve and sand em all in one go. Use file to make spar slots

(iii) build yoir own CNC machine and use that instead.

(iv) take teh drawing to someone who has a CNC machine.

(v) give up and buy an ARTF.
Dec 01, 2003, 08:41 PM
Registered User
The rib sandwich sounds good (and tastie also). And although I live in the Silicon (not Silicone) Valley, I don't know anyone who has a CNC machine laying around so that's out of the question. And for the price of an ARTF, I probably could build a CNC of my own.
So, as I suspected, the only way to do it is just to do it.
I won't be starting for a couple of weeks, so if anyone else has any words of wisdom, they would be greatly appreciated.
Dec 02, 2003, 12:36 AM
averen's Avatar
If you have the plans in autocad form or can get them there you might want to check out

Dec 02, 2003, 04:02 AM
Registered User
The sandwich method has been used for many years and works really well. It's very quick and easy cutting out rectangular blanks and shaping them to templates. It's a bit wasteful of wood though, you can get more ribs from a sheet if you lay them out properly.

But basically you're right, at some point you'll either have to do some work or pay someone else to do it for you .

Dec 02, 2003, 04:11 AM
Single-task at best...
tim hooper's Avatar

If all the ribs are the same, I'll cut a master from 1/16 ply using scissors, harden the edge with a little cyano, and simply use it as a template to cut around.

Easy peasy.

Dec 02, 2003, 04:44 AM
Will work for planes
omega blood's Avatar
Hobby people has some gliders for reasonable pricess. I hear the spirit is a very good res plane.
Dec 02, 2003, 07:57 AM
Rip-N-Burn's Avatar
My technique
Dec 02, 2003, 12:24 PM
Registered User
Rip-n-burn, I knew there had to be a thread on this subject already. Thank you for the link.
Maybe that thread should be moved over here?
Dec 03, 2003, 07:33 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Robins View Productions (610-746-0106) has videos on Bob Hunt's "Lost Foam" process. You would not believe how light he can build a strong wing.

Dec 08, 2003, 11:11 PM
Dismembered Member...
arx_n_sparx's Avatar
I make one template out of 1/32" ply, harden the edges with cyano, and then poke a thumtack thru at the front and the back. Drive the template/tacks thru the balsa into a cork board, and have at it with an exacto knife. It only does one rib at a time, but I can flip the template over to "nest" the cutouts to save wood. It takes more time to make the template than to cut the ribs!