Going to build from plans

I have a few questions as I've been looking threw some plans for my
first attempt, along with any other tid bits, or places I could visit
to get my knowledge base up to par before I start.
First off, what is the best way to transfer from plans to wood?
Something like trace paper, then lay it on top of the balsa/or ply?
Photo copy? What are the best methods for that.
Also, I have a pretty decent wood shop, but I'm courious to the light
balsa and how to go about cutting it. I would think a bandsaw would
be to aggressive on it, a scroll saw my be a tad easier on it, but
still could see it catching and breaking the balsa. So it just a good
sharp knife the best way to go. (I'm thinking of when I will be
cutting the ribs for the wing). I know my table saw and band saw
would be best on the plywood.
Thanks in advance, as I'm just trying to pave the way before I start
making saw dust.
Cheers
Reply to
Kevin R
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On 7 Feb 2007 13:59:27 -0800, "Kevin R" wrote in :
-- pinpricks through the plan -- copy the plans, place upside-down on wood, brush acetone over the back, rub, lift carefully (Careful! Copying can introduce distortions in the x-axis, the y-axis, or both.) -- copy the plans, cut out sections, rubber-cement to the wood -- trace plans, cut out tracing paper, rubber-cement to the wood -- copy onto card stock, cut out parts, trace onto wood
Try both. I like a fine-tooth bandsaw myself. I cut outside the marks and sand down to them, more or less. YMMV. Whatever works for you is "best."
For a simple design, you can cut stacks of ribs, sand to final shape, and cut notches while still in a stack. Tack-glue, pierce with nails, bolt the stack together ...
For more complex wings, you can make a root and tip template. stack the stock in between, have at the stack with a razor plane & sandpaper. Gently sand a perpendicular surface on each rib afterward. You might want to mark the low (good) line with a pen so that you don't inadvertently spoil the piece by sanding too much off.
Sin bravely. Then let us know what worked!
"One observation is worth 10,000 expert opinions."
Marty
Reply to
Martin X. Moleski, SJ
I like to trace curved shapes onto plain white paper with a pen, cut it out, and trace around the template with a pen onto the wood. Then cut the wood out, erring on the side of being oversized. Then sand with a sanding block and compare to the plans repeatedly, until it's just like the picture on the plans.
When dealing with straight edges and angles, nothing beats measuring the plans and transferring the measurements onto the wood using a ruler.
I make ribs one at a time. I make a master rib, then trace around it and rough cut the rest of them. Then I hold each rib against the master in one hand while shaving the extra balsa off with an XActo knife in the other hand. It sounds time consuming, but it's pretty fast when you get the hang of it.
A lot of guys use rubber cement to attach paper to the wood, etc, but that's just extra steps if you ask me. Even if you glue paper to your parts you're going to sand and compare the part to your master plan anyway, so why not just do that without all of that copying and gluing?
By the way, what plane are you going to build?
Reply to
Robert Reynolds
I'm also a woodworker. I've found that a hacksaw blade on my band saw gives fairly smooth cuts in balsa, modeling plywoods, and even foam. For small cuts or thin material, I use a surgical scalpel. They are a little sharper than a modeling knife and the blades are cheap if bought un-sterile, by the 100 pack. My table and scroll saws just cut too aggressively for my liking, regardless of the blade I use. Finally, if I want to use a power sander (bench or palm) I have to use a really fine grit (150 or finer) to avoid taking off too much stock, too quickly. Experiment - you will quickly find what suits you.
Reply to
Randy Maheux
Good for you -- scratch building is the way to go.
I usually transfer parts to wood using the pin-prick method.
For straight wings I make a master rib of plywood & use it as a template. There are a number of ways I've seen recommended to hold the rib to the wood -- I just glue a strip of coarse sandpaper to the master rib, and cut carefully to not dislodge the master from the rib.
For tapered wings I make a pair of master ribs & cut a stack. I leave the (excessive) taper in the ribs, then sand it off after the wing is assembled with sanding paper on a long (one or two feet) bar -- this gets _everything_ straight.
I use a coping saw for balsa thicker than 1/8 inch, and for plywood. Sometimes I use a knife for thin plywood, but it _always_ breaks the tip of the blade.
Get an X-acto knife or the equivalent, and buy blades by the 100. Replace them often, and _always_ start with a new one for a critical cut.
Reply to
Tim Wescott
On Wed, 07 Feb 2007 18:09:29 -0500, Randy Maheux wrote in :
I forgot to mention in an earlier post that I have a little 4" "table saw." It's like this one:
Except that I only got one blade with it and may have paid a little less for it a few years ago.
The last time I cut a kit from plans, I used at least three saws: the band saw, the jig saw, and the 4" saw. I don't remember now why I preferred one saw to another--except for inside cuts, of course.
Marty
Reply to
Martin X. Moleski, SJ
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I print on a laser printer, turn teh paper over and rub dope thnners through. Printed wood results.
Razor saw, scalpel and permagrit block to sand it.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
The message from "Kevin R" contains these words:
A method I have used for accurate copies is to scan the plans using Photoshop and a good scanner, the error is approximately 1mm in 36'' which can be absobed quite easily, scan a secttion of plans then when you do the second scan overlap the first at an identifiable point so you have a reference to match the two sheets to and so on. Align the two sheets with a good straightedge such as a 1'' wide 36'' steel rule or strip of metal then glue the sheets together at the edge and then compare the tiled sheet to the original, once you know you can make accurate copies all you need do is scan a pattern or whatever and print it then cut the print out and stick it on the wood. I have been using this method for a long time with scale sailing ship models of large warships like Constitution and Victory etc and never had problems with distortion or inaccuracy worth bothering about. One method I had to use because of the bad state of the plan was to print on tracing sheet then place these over the top of the original plan to match them before fixing them together, once assembled I laid the tracing over a sheet of white paper on my drawing board (yes! some of use antiques still use them.) for clarity, this allowed me to work on the plan without causing damage to the original,
regards, Terry
Reply to
Terence Lynock (MSW)
Terry: I use a band saw on ribs in a gang saw method. The blade I use is a metal blade because of the teeth being close together and creates a smooth cut. Tracing paper is a good method and I just cut close to the the edges and glue the template right to the top rib. I drive good size pin all the way through the ribs and cut the ends off with a side cutter so the ribs will slide smoothly on my band saw. Cut as close to the line. Use a use a circular sander to then bring it right to the lines. For the bottom stack your wood so that your bottom ribs will be flat and flush already. Take your time. For large ribs I use a slide to slowly and progressively remove my slots. Again leave surplus and use a balsa stick with sand paper on two sides to true up the edges and depth. Test with the sticks that your going to run through your channels for a good tight fit. Doc Ferguson Oh using a french curve really helps in transferring and following lines while tracing.
Reply to
Doc Ferguson
Kevin I do have a power point presentation on gang sawing ribs made by me and James Taylor renound builder. send me your e-mail address and I will send you the presentation. Doc Ferguson
Reply to
Doc Ferguson
Thanks everyone, I'm seeing (as I figured I would) that there is more then one way to skin a cat. I will be starting on my project fairly soon, as I have a few arf's in boxes that I need to get in the air, since I crashed my only flyable plane a week back. ( Dang tree was closer then I thought). I think I will be going to build up a small electric park flyer, for when I can't make it out to the field. That should let me work threw the unknowns before I tackle a scale war bird.
Thx Again --KR
Reply to
Kevin R
Having built a few planes from just plans I have settled on the following....
Save your pizza and cereal boxes !
Cut them up to obtain nice, flat sheets of cardboard and store them.
Put cardboard (that you carefully saved) and carbon paper under the plan. Put plastic film on top of the plan. Trace around the part with a ball pen (leaves a nice sharp line), the plastic protects the plan.
Cut out the shape that has been transferred onto the cardboard and use this as a template to mark the balsa.
A French curve, or one of those flexible strips that can be bent to any shape is handy for tracing around curved parts.
For wing ribs I normally use the above method to make a thin plywood "master" template.
Once parts are cut gently sand until they match the part on the plan.
I use a scroll saw a lot and find it invaluable.
Making your own "kit" from a plan is very satisying.
Reg
Reply to
tux_powered
I make templates for curves like ribs. To make the template, I use a piece of hardboard, or something like that. I lay the plan over the hardboard, and prick the plans with a pin, about every quarter inch, more when the curve is sharp,less when it is straight, or close to it. I then take the plan away, and connect the dots with a French curve, cut on a band saw, and sand to agree with it laying on the plan with a drum sander, or disc sander. The sticks I just lay over the plan and cut with a razor saw, and then use a miter sander to true it up.
Reply to
Morgans
Some request were made of me to post to Kevin's new site and I have uploaded two so far. check out the new site. Doc Ferguson RC builders group
Reply to
Doc Ferguson
I use a product called See-Temp. I purchased it from a vendor at the Toledo show years ago and now am ready for a new supply. I believe he advertizes in one of the model mags. I did a web search and found two places that sell it.
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These are the two. The stuff I used is a milky color but I see the first link has an orange color. Anyway, take a look and once you use it you will not use any other method.
Reply to
IFLYJ3
The message from "Doc Ferguson" contains these words:
Hi Doc, been using this method for a few years on ships hull frames and it works well, built a sanding faceplate out of an old washing machine motor running at 1425 rpm and screwed an 8'' faceplate to the pulley with a flat table in front of it, cost about $4 and it has been going strong now for 15 years or so. Problem I have with Balsa is the fine dust gets right up my nose and I have an allergic reaction to it so it is face masks and and a vacuum system when I am cutting the stuff with power tools,
regards, Terry
Reply to
Terence Lynock (MSW)
Well, I had to do a repair job over the weekend from one of my kits I build awhile back, (dang tree). I ended up using trace paper to get something on paper, then used a thin double sided tape to make a template, if I was doing a one off, on thin balsa, I stuck the tape to my shirt a few times to lose the tackiness (is that a word?) of the tape so it just was strong enough to hold the paper with out damaging the balsa. I did use my bandsaw, but did find it rather eager to eat up the wood, but not that bad. I would have used my scroll saw but the clips to hold the blade in place needs to be replaced.
Thanks again guys everythign worked great
Reply to
Kevin R
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I also use "seetemp". Personally I prefer the red colored version as it is easier to see. Suggest that you purchase the bulk pack as it works out cheaper. If you do not have or run out of see-temp and you need a small piece, go to Wally-Smart's crafts section. They sell quilters templates that are clear and can be used for tracing plans.
Stearman
Reply to
stearman

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