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Feb 24, 2016, 11:05 PM
Summit Model Aeronautics
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New Product

Plans Cutting Service


I’ve recently started a plans cutting service using my CNC router to cut short kits of parts for model airplane plans available in the public domain (Outerzone, Aerofred, here on RCG, etc.) The way it works is simple:

- You find a plan you’d like to build and send it to me electronically, either by PM or e-mail
- I decide whether I can cut it satisfactorily
- I trace the plan parts into a CAD program at no cost or obligation to you
- I send you a firm quote to cut the parts
- If you’re still interested, I cut the short kit following receipt of payment from you
- I send you the parts

I’ve imagined the questions that most people might have about my service in the following list of FAQs:

What plan file formats can you cut?

- I can use most bitmapped (PDF, JPG, BMP, TIF etc) and some vector (PDF, DXF and DWG) file formats.

How long does it take?

- If I don't have any other orders in the queue, it usually takes about a week to trace the plan parts, assemble a cutfile, cut the parts and get them in the mail to you. Standard shipping using Canada Post/USPS Expedited Parcel takes a week to ten days to deliver across Canada and the continental US. When you send me a plan for a quote, I'll give you an estimate of how long it will take before I can start working on it, given any orders ahead of yours.

How much will it cost?

- Every plan is different, and the final quoted price depends on the number of sheets of balsa or bass and the total square inches of plywood used to cut the parts for the short kit:

- Each 4”x24” sheet of balsa parts (1/16”-1/8”) - CAN$9 (about USD$7.00)
- Each 4”x24” sheet of balsa parts (3/16”-1/4”) - CAN$10 (about USD$8.00)
- Each 3”x24” sheet of bass parts (1/16”-3/32”) - CAN$10 (about USD$8.00)
- Plywood (1/64” to 1/4”, several grades) per square inch – CAN$0.05 – CAN$0.20 (USD$0.04-$0.14)

I do my best to nest as many parts as possible onto each sheet in order to minimize cost, and I don't mark up packing materials and shipping costs.

Shipping typically costs $CDN $10-$15 within Canada, and between USD$15-$25 for shipping within the continental US.

What's included in a short kit?

Short kits contain wing ribs, fuselage formers and other shaped sheet balsa, plywood, bass and Depron parts. Fuselage slab sides, tops and bottoms will be included, as will tail ribs and outline parts if these are not merely unshaped strips or sheeting and outlines for them are provided on the plan. I won't include sheeting for wings or fuselage covering or strips for stringers, spars or leading or trailing edges unless these are cut parts. Typically, to complete the build you will have to buy balsa strip and sheet wood, wire, fittings and accessories (hinges, screws, nuts, bolts, control horns, etc). You will probably also need a paper copy of your plan.

What can I expect from a CNC machine-cut short kit?

- A CNC machine-cut short kit is similar to a laser-cut kit, with a few minor differences. Parts are cut using small-diameter, high-speed rotary cutters that resemble drill bits. I use 1/32” and 1/16” diameter cutters depending on the thickness of the wood being cut, so parts are precise and detailed. Short kit parts are held in their wood sheets with small uncut tabs until you cut them out for assembly, similar to laser-cut kits. Unlike laser-cut parts, machine-cut parts do not have burnt edges, although there is occasionally a little wood “fuzz” along some edges, especially if the wood thickness approaches the maximum cutting depth of the cutter. This “fuzz” is easily removed with a stroke or two of a sanding block. I'll include a hardcopy parts key print-out to allow you to identify the parts in their sheets against the plan.

Do you guarantee the parts will fit?

- Unfortunately not. What I'll do is trace and cut the parts as they appear on the plan; since I won't have built the design, I can't guarantee the parts will fit together, but I will guarantee they'll accurately reflect your plan. Essentially, if the designer drew an accurate plan, the parts will fit together, if he didn't, then they may not and you may have some fiddling to do. Note that not all plans (or PDFs) are exactly symmetrical; if I find this is the case for your plan, I will cut symmetrical left and right-side parts for wings and tail surfaces, and symmetrical fuselage formers that may not fit exactly on your plan, but at least your model will be symmetrical. I will ensure that stringer notches and other cut-outs for standard-sized strips and sheets are accurately sized.

What size materials can you cut?


- I can currently cut balsa, bass, ply wood and Depron up to ” thick, and fiberglass sheets like G10 or Fliteskin up to 1/16" thick. My standard-sized parts sheets are 4”x36”, 6”x36”, and 8”x24”, but my machine can cut stock 14” wide and up to 48” long. I can cut large parts into smaller sub-parts with interlocking tabs so that they all fit into the machine cutting area, but can be readily and accurately built up into their larger assemblies.

Can you provide paper plans with the short kits?

- Unfortunately not.

I have a CAD plan. Can you cut it?

- Probably. If your plan or cutfile is in DXF format, I'll be able to import it into my software and assess whether or not I can cut it.

Can you do custom modifications to existing plans?

- Sure. I've scaled plans both up and down, modifying wood thicknesses and notch sizes appropriately, adjusted a European plan to use North American standard wood sizes, and redesigned a wing to use geodetic construction with ribs on a 45 degree angle and interlocking construction. If you have similar requirements or other ideas on modifying a plan, let me know what you want and I'll see if I can do it. Since these kinds of modifications are beyond the scope of a typical “trace and cut” order, I'll give you a quote for the additional CAD work before getting started.

What if I'm not happy with the product, or it gets lost on the way?

- If your short kit isn't up to your expectations, I'll do what I can to fix it. I use Paypal exclusively for transactions, so you benefit from Paypal's Purchase Protection for all orders. In addition, I ship using tracked and insured postal services. If your short kit gets lost along the way, I'll cut and ship you another at no charge.
Last edited by Steve85; Jun 28, 2019 at 07:23 AM. Reason: Updates!
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Feb 25, 2016, 01:03 PM
Registered User
Pappyjkns's Avatar

Cnc


Steve:
Hey, that looks like a very valuable service, especially for me as you are only 300 kms away from me in Hamilton. I'm going to mention your service to the members of my r/c soaring club. I'll plant the seed and we will see what sprouts from there!

Cheers!
Lyle
Feb 25, 2016, 01:06 PM
Summit Model Aeronautics
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Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pappyjkns
Steve:
Hey, that looks like a very valuable service, especially for me as you are only 300 kms away from me in Hamilton. I'm going to mention your service to the members of my r/c soaring club. I'll plant the seed and we will see what sprouts from there!

Cheers!
Lyle
Thanks very much, Lyle! I'm going to put some photos up in this blog of the ten or so plans and short kits I've cut so far, so folks will be able to get a better idea of what I can do.

Steve
Feb 25, 2016, 04:02 PM
Chess club geek with wings
blunight's Avatar

1/4 scale Jungmeister


Steve has cut a rather extensive and complicated Bucker Jungmeister short kit for me - the results were fantastic! The kit was well packaged and he provided a tracking number for me as well. I will be having him cut my next project as soon as I finish with this one.
Feb 25, 2016, 11:10 PM
Summit Model Aeronautics
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blunight
Steve has cut a rather extensive and complicated Bucker Jungmeister short kit for me - the results were fantastic! The kit was well packaged and he provided a tracking number for me as well. I will be having him cut my next project as soon as I finish with this one.
Thanks, blunight! Yours is the biggest kit I've cut to date.

Steve
Feb 28, 2016, 01:01 PM
Registered User
DadaSauce's Avatar
I leave in US (WI now but MA by the summer). how much do you charge for packing and shipping?
Feb 29, 2016, 01:24 PM
Summit Model Aeronautics
Steve85's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DadaSauce
I leave in US (WI now but MA by the summer). how much do you charge for packing and shipping?
Hey DadaSauce (neat user ID, BTW)

Packing and shipping through Canada Post/USPS to the continental US so far has ranged from $15-$20. For that price, the kit is insured, has a tracking number you can use to follow it online, and gets delivered in 4-10 days.

Steve
Mar 03, 2016, 04:03 AM
Registered User
Steve hi,

do you plan to offer international shipping?

Antonis
Mar 03, 2016, 12:48 PM
Summit Model Aeronautics
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharkovios
Steve hi,

do you plan to offer international shipping?

Antonis
Hi Antonis,

Regrettably, I think this would be a little too complex for the size of my business at this point.

Steve
Mar 17, 2016, 03:11 PM
Summit Model Aeronautics
Steve85's Avatar
Thread OP

Metric Wood Sizes Now Available


For those of you who'd like me to cut a European or international plan drawn in metric units, I can now supply and cut balsa in metric sizes.

Steve
Mar 19, 2016, 10:09 PM
Steel by day,Balsa by night
Patzpaint's Avatar
Steve, what size can you cut? i.e. 4" wide balsa by how long, and what size is your plywood?
I want to send you a .dxf of balsa and ply I would like you to price
Pat
Last edited by Patzpaint; Mar 19, 2016 at 11:06 PM.
Mar 20, 2016, 10:40 AM
Summit Model Aeronautics
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Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patzpaint
Steve, what size can you cut? i.e. 4" wide balsa by how long, and what size is your plywood?
I want to send you a .dxf of balsa and ply I would like you to price
Pat
Hi Pat,

I usually cut 24" long sheets of balsa, but the ends of my machine are open, so I can cut longer sheets by doing tile cuts, moving and re-indexing the sheet for each tile. I've cut 36" sheets this way, and could easily cut 48" sheets the same way. I've cut balsa up to 6" wide, and could fit 9" wide sheets if these were available.

My ply is 12"x24", which I usually cut down to the needed width. Again, my machine is limited to 9" widths. I can source ply in 48" lengths if needed.

Hope this helps, and I'd be glad to give you a quote for your file.

You can e-mail me at summitmodelaeronautics"at symbol"outlook.com.

Steve
Oct 06, 2016, 08:24 AM
Summit Model Aeronautics
Steve85's Avatar
Thread OP
I've updated the list of plans cut to date. The inventory of ready-to-cut short kits now includes over 20 different models. Check it out here:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2612429

Steve
Oct 20, 2016, 02:53 PM
Registered User

Happy customer


I just had Steve cut parts for a large sailplane for me. Excellent results! The wood was first rate, Steve checked to see what kind of plane the parts were for so he could choose wood appropriately. He responded quickly to all questions. The cutting is clean with small tabs holding the parts in place. They are easily removed with a quick sandpaper swipe. No laser burn marks.

Packing was excellent and carefully done. Steve sent a Canadian PO tracking number.

I highly recommend Steve's services.
Oct 20, 2016, 08:39 PM
Summit Model Aeronautics
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Thread OP
Thanks for the kind words, Barry. Yours was the third sailplane I've cut, and I enjoyed the challenge.

Steve


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