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Twin Needle Thermal Hopper with a Cage Mount.



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Post  batjac Sun Jan 09, 2022 9:15 pm

One of the things that we got for Christmas for my wife and myself was a Cricut Maker machine.  If you don’t know what that is, a Cricut machine is a fabric and vinyl cutter used for crafting and scrap booking.   It can also be used for making custom t-shirts, signs, custom mugs, etc...  It is actually a small CNC cutting machine.  Since scrap booking and crafting are so much larger hobbies than us aeromodelers, there was a big enough demand for someone to design and build an accurate CNC machine for hobbyists.  These things are actually very quality built.

I’d seen them in the stores, and heard of people using them to cut vinyl graphics for their planes, but they seemed way too expensive for just cutting trim graphics for a plane.  Especially the small planes I build.  Something that I was interested in was a laser cutter to cut kits.  I’d looked at those for a couple of years, but I wasn't looking forward to learning CAD and GRBL and all the other stuff I’d need.  Besides, I’d need to 1) build the thing, 2) build a safety enclosure, 3) get the proper safety goggles for working with a laser, 4) find a place that I could properly vent the enclosure to, and 5) have a safe place to do the cutting.  All that for just making my little planes seemed out of the question.

I recently found out that the Cricut Maker model can cut 1/16 and 3/32 inch balsa and basswood sheet.  Hmmm…  What can I test this on?

I looked around a little bit and found the Skybolt design on Outerzone (Here).  Let’s see where this goes.

The Crafty Mark
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Post  layback209 Sun Jan 09, 2022 9:33 pm

Awesome Mark. Glad the hear it. Let's us know what your learning. We also splurged on the same thingy. More for my wife quilting, cards stuff like that. Once I realized what it was I definitely thought about the modeling hobby side.

So far on the list of stuff to try is cutting is; venturi, silencer and engine case gaskets. I was shocked at how well and accurately it cut card stock...

Tough call though learn the thing or just cut it out by hand lol. Probably be the same time to do it by hand until you get thd hang of it.

Here is the rig we ended up with on some kinda sale.

Let's see where this goes... 20220117
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Post  Cribbs74 Sun Jan 09, 2022 10:18 pm

I can see it useful for ribs and templates for fuselages. I also see it being useful for creating designs when you want a tangible result off of paper.
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Post  roddie Mon Jan 10, 2022 7:42 pm

Yes.. so glad that you two now each have these machines! Somewhere here;

HERE

I mentioned the possibility of cutting "reeds" from Mylar.. or other materials, using the Cricut machine. What do you think?


Last edited by roddie on Mon Jan 10, 2022 7:46 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added link)
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Post  layback209 Mon Jan 10, 2022 8:01 pm

@roddie wrote:Yes.. so glad that you two now each have these machines! Somewhere here;

HERE

I mentioned the possibility of cutting "reeds" from Mylar.. or other materials, using the Cricut machine. What do you think?

Oh cool, never even thought of that. Thats a great idea to try it on. I know you can program it to make multiple cuts to get to depth on thicker or more difficult materials. There is a bathtub shape in the software you can size and try to use to match it. Just need the material once it's ready.
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Post  batjac Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:35 pm

To use a file in the Cricut cutter, it has to be a .svg file, a Scalable Vector Graphics file.  I’m using Inscape to make the file.  Are there better programs to use?  Probably.  But Inkscape is Freeware.   Are there better Freeware programs to make the .svg file?  Possibly.  But the default file format saved by Inkscape is a .svg file.  Are there better freeware programs that will output a .svg file? No doubt.  But I have no one to teach me, so I’m teaching myself Inskscape.  Would another program do what I want simpler and faster?  Most likely.  But I’m using Inkscape, so there.

I spent a couple of days watching YouTube videos, and then began tracing the .pdf file to get my ribs and top/bottom sheeting.  I started off by expanding the .pdf so that the ribs took up the whole screen.  I then used the Bezier tool to trace around the ribs.  Initially a made a lot of points around the W1 rib, at least 200, so that I’d have a lot of points to rare in for a smooth rib.  Then I did the W2 rib, but only made points at the points where there was an acute change of direction and used Inkscape to bend the curves the way I needed.  That resulted in 13 points only.  So I went with the minimalist approach for the rest.

Let's see where this goes... 20220104_212108
Let's see where this goes... 20220104_213331
Let's see where this goes... 20220104_213825
Let's see where this goes... 20220104_220719

Then I superimposed W2 over W1 And tweaked to make sure everything was aligned properly and would result in ribs that matched and would result in a straight wing.

Let's see where this goes... 20220104_220838


Then I sent the file to the Cricut machine to draw it out with a pen to see how it would come out when cut with a knife.

Let's see where this goes... 20220105_014925
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Post  batjac Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:52 pm

Once I was kinda sure it would work, I went ahead and drew out all the ribs and the upper/lower fuselage sheeting.  This got me the file I wanted-ish.

Let's see where this goes... Template


Sending it to the Cricut for a test went pretty well. The only problem I had was that the holes for the leadouts disappeared when I did the cut.  Other than that, it looked very good.  Well, the other thing is that my good wood packed up, so I had to buy some from the local Hobby Lobby to do the tests.  All the balsa was rock hard and uneven, so when the cut was done, one side cut through cleanly, and the other side was 99% cut through, but didn't just pop out of the wood.

Let's see where this goes... 20220109_181214
Let's see where this goes... 20220109_181235
Let's see where this goes... 20220109_194417


I posted in an RCG thread on using Cricut cutters about the disappearing holes, and got advice on using a different setting in the Cricut software.


The adjustment worked a treat.  


Let's see where this goes... 20220111-222148
Let's see where this goes... 20220111-224511



As you can see, the ribs are pretty nigh perfect.  I'd never be able to do them that clean with an X-Acto knife and a sander.  Now that I know how to do it right, I can do the fuselage sides.  

The Cutter Mark
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Post  davidll1984 Wed Jan 12, 2022 1:10 am

Thumbs Up It looks perfect, I wish I could do that too But how long will it take me to learn how to use this technology? confused cnc 3D printer Computers are a little out of my field of expertise, I have difficulty with it But to see all that we can do with it makes me want to learn this is cool stuf Airplane
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Post  batjac Wed Jan 12, 2022 1:45 am

@davidll1984 wrote:Thumbs Up It looks perfect, I wish I could do that too But how long will it take me to learn how to use this technology? confused  cnc  3D printer   Computers  are a little out of my field of expertise, I have difficulty with it But to see all that we can do with it makes me want to learn this is cool stuf Airplane

Took me three days.

The Concise Mark
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Post  getback Wed Jan 12, 2022 8:17 am

Very Nice Mark , i had seen these machines on TV adds and was thinking about the same thing as to cutting ribs and other parts . As the ribs you show have that dovetail at the trailing edge I end up with a point thats to short most the time lol! Thanks for putting this out here for us . This Site Rocks!
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Post  944_Jim Wed Jan 12, 2022 9:47 am

Awesome! Subscribed...I really need to get off the other time eaters in order to learn a CNC Router table in my possession. Same with my son's unsused 3D printer.
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Post  layback209 Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:17 am

Wow fantastic work Mark! That turned out great.
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Post  batjac Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:26 am

Funny, a text went out to the local CL club that the weather was going to be good yesterday and we would be flying at the field. While I was there, one of the guys started talking about the Cricut Air 2 that his wife got him that can cut 1/16" balsa. I just quietly pulled out my phone and showed him the pictures of the ribs I cut. Now he's excited for me to show him how I did it.

When I got home, I downloaded another plan from OZ. He's wanting to use this for FF planes, so I picked a rubber FF plan of a Champ. I spent just under three hours of work making the .svg file.  I still need to do a little cleanup on it, but it’s late and I don’t feel like working on it anymore tonight.  I won’t need it for show and tell until next Sunday.  First pic is the .pdf that I downloaded, and second is what I made, obviously.  I forgot one hole in a part, and one fuselage former point is off, but I fixed those in a couple of minutes.


Let's see where this goes... Aeronca-Champ-PDF

Let's see where this goes... Aeronca-Champ-SVG

I’m having so much fun, I also downloaded a .pdf from OZ for the RCM 1/2A Trainer and made files for all those parts.  I’m gonna have to get more wood….


The Enthusiastic Mark
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Post  cstatman Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:49 am

wow wow wow

Inkscape and LightBurn seem to be the 2 big "freebie" programs to do this. and I cannot wrap my old tired brain around how to use either.

I have big dreams --- of scanning printwood to PDF. Converting PDF to DWG - and using the floxy confuser (foxy computer - it was an old comp-sci class task to write a program to fix spelling on your TRS80) I wanna use the floxy confuser to drive a cutter, any cutter --- to cut out the bits, so I am not doing it.

Everyone I chat with? who seems to be doing this for a retirement- hobby job? tells me its easy, its simple, but they cant describe it, cause they are cutting short kits and selling them, and dont want competition.

I dont wanna sell short kits. I just dont wanna sit with my xacto for 5 or 6 nights trying to slice ribs and not fingers....


SO this is super encouraging to see. Keep up the good work! and keep us informed!
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Post  944_Jim Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:53 pm

Mark,
Can you check your copy of Inkscape for G-code output? I think that is what my CNC router takes.

Thanks in advance!
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Post  batjac Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:33 am

Jim,

These are the available formats to save a file in with Inkscape:

Let's see where this goes... File-formats




The Optimized Mark
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Post  batjac Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:37 am

@cstatman wrote:
Everyone I chat with?   who seems to be doing this for a retirement- hobby job?  tells me its easy, its simple, but they cant describe it, cause they are cutting short kits and selling them, and dont want competition.

I'm making a simple tutorial on how I do it.  Won't be fancy or polished looking.  Just video of my screen as I go through the steps captured with the Windows 10 built-in video capture tool that I will be editing with the Windows 10 built-in video editor program.

The Professor Mark
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Post  batjac Sat Jan 15, 2022 2:24 am

This thing is AWESOME!   Here's the result of my Aeronca FF model cut on my Cricut Maker:


Let's see where this goes... 20220115-014433



The default for cutting 1/16" balsa on the Maker is four passes.  Since this is a FF plane, I used contest balsa on it, so I paused after three passes to check.  Three passes was just enough, so I stopped the cut so that I didn't cut into the mat.

Oh, and I also downloaded another 1/2A CL design last night that I had seen before, but I didn't consider it because it was a little radical design and would have been a pain to build.  But with the Cricut Maker, it should be an easy build.  

The Reconsiderate Mark
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Post  getback Sat Jan 15, 2022 7:16 am

Darn Mark you will have so many airplanes lol Does the machine feed the wood from front to rear? Don't see were it can bee that wide to get 36" piece into . Looking good !
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Post  fredvon4 Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:37 am

look at the mat scale
the balsa used is 3" x 13"
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Post  rsv1cox Sat Jan 15, 2022 9:31 am

One of those and a 3D printer add imagination and the possibilities for our hobby are endless. Great work Mark.
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Post  cstatman Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:15 pm

@batjac wrote:I'm making a simple tutorial on how I do it.  

I'm eagerly waiting! Smile (thank you)
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Post  batjac Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:17 pm

Unfortunately, the video is coming out longer than I had planned. I filmed (videoed?) it like I would be teaching someone sitting next to me, so it's a little repetitive and boring, but I like to stress everything I'm doing as I do it. It's about an hour long just on the tracing portion. Not sure how long of a video YouTube will let me upload. May have to break it down further. The next portion showing pulling it into Designscape should go faster. I'll have it pulled together soon, but I can't get into my YouTube account to upload it right now. Gonna have to figure that out in the next day or two.

I see that the Maker3 is supposed to do longer than 24" material. I wish I'd known that before I bought the Maker. I would have splurged for the Maker3.

The Bloviating Mark
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Post  rsv1cox Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:37 pm

I'm looking forward to your video Mark.

Get a 3D printer too and do a video, I want to know how the darn things work for our hobby. There are a lot of videos online about them. I want one that I can lay a part on one stage and have it scanned, then print it on another. Maybe another ten years? Chinese printed a whole house with one, looks like a log cabin, finda rough.
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Post  batjac Tue Jan 18, 2022 1:16 am

Okay,  I got a little time to do some more work on the Skybolt.  I cut out the larger parts from 3/32” sheet.  The plans call for 1/8”, but this thing is so small I can’t see using 1/8”.  I would have done 1/16” myself, but I’ll compromise at 3/32”.   Also, finding some 4" wide sheets is nice. It gives me more options on layout, and allows less wastage. Too bad I can't find any good 6" sheets.

Let's see where this goes... 20220118-002644
Let's see where this goes... 20220118-003306



I need to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s to get a building board.  Then I can do some more on this.

The Mediator Mark


Last edited by batjac on Tue Jan 18, 2022 7:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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