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Thread: Searching for Cutting Methods for 1/8" & 1/16" aircraft Plywood

  1. #1

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    Goggles Searching for Cutting Methods for 1/8" & 1/16" aircraft Plywood

    Hello All - with all that experience out there, I need your help/ideas for safe, efficient and hopefully quicker ways to cut thinner plywoods. A box or carpet knife will cut through 1/16" ply fairly well, but I'd like a better method. I'd use my bandsaw for the 1/8" stuff - but I don't have one (yet!). I have over 900 small 1/8" (3mm) ply gussets to cut out for ribs of my Pietenpol. One at a time is kinda slow!!

    If you know of any tricks or methods you have found work well - please share!!

    Thanks in advance

    Mark in Northern Ireland

  2. #2

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    If your cuts are short enough, might be possible using a powered mitrebox saw with a veneer type blade. With good layout planning, you might be able to get a lot done in a short time.

  3. #3

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    When you do get a bandsaw, use a blade with more than 1 tooth per wood thickness to minimize back side split out. Also, cut a supporting piece of scrap metal & feed it thru the blade so that the blade kerf is equal to the support kerf - and not the stock gap that came with the bandsaw. Again this minimizes breakout on the back side.

  4. #4
    Chad Jensen's Avatar
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    This would still be a one-at-a-time method, but tin snips work great (and quick) for cutting thin ply. I did use a bandsaw for my Tailwind rib gussets, cutting ten sheets at a time.
    Chad Jensen
    EAA #755575

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by braywood View Post
    I have over 900 small 1/8" (3mm) ply gussets to cut out for ribs of my Pietenpol. One at a time is kinda slow!!

    If you know of any tricks or methods you have found work well - please share!!

    Thanks in advance

    Mark in Northern Ireland
    I've found that you simply glue a over sized piece of ply on the joint allow to harden and run a dremel tool driven laminate trimmer around all sides and get a perfect fit every time.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by braywood View Post
    Hello All - with all that experience out there, I need your help/ideas for safe, efficient and hopefully quicker ways to cut thinner plywoods.
    If you know of any tricks or methods you have found work well - please share!!
    Thanks in advance
    Mark in Northern Ireland
    one of these on a mini mandrel

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Solid-Carbid...0#ht_764wt_983

  7. #7
    Dana's Avatar
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    I don't know if it's still made, but I always used (and still do use) a Dremel Moto-Shop saw to cut plywood and hardwood for R/C models. You can still find them cheap on ebay or flea markets.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Dana; 02-14-2012 at 05:40 PM.

  8. #8

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    Thanks guys! Just what I was looking for.....I did say 1/8" in the first post, but the rib gussets are actually 1/16"!! All 900+ of them...

    The dremel saw blade jewller blade idea sounds the best to me - I have tried the snips method and found it crushed and split too much - maybe not the right snips.....and I am cutting sheets that are 1.2m square (about 47 inches square) to start, so the mitre box won't work, I don't think.

    I will look for a bandsaw - the blade will need 32 teeth per inch for 1/16" ply - if they come that fine.
    Routing around those 900 tiny little 1/16" ply gussets might take a while.......and a few cutters.......
    Thanks again for the suggestions - it has helped a lot!! Mark

  9. #9

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    I cut a zillion different gussets for my (stalled) Hatz project. If you have access to a tablesaw and a scroll saw (or jigsaw), you can go into producton mode.

    What you do is plan out cuts on the tablesaw so you can cut same size strips which can be stacked and gang cut into smaller shapes on the scroll or jigsaw. The strip width is determined by one of the dimensions (and the grain orientation) of the gussets you need.
    Last edited by Kyle Boatright; 02-15-2012 at 11:32 PM.

  10. #10
    Jeff Point's Avatar
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    Try to get your hands on an old, guillotine-style paper cutter like this one:

    302298_sk_lg.jpg

    I made over 1000 little 1X2 gussets with one of these. Cut your 1.2M sheet into long strips with a utility knife, then use this to cut the strips down to size. Look for an old, heavy-duty one.
    Jeff Point
    RV-6 built & flying/ RV-8 tail done
    RLU-1 underway
    Tech Counselor & President, EAA Chapter 18
    Milwaukee, WI
    "It All Started Here!"

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