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Thread: CNC Pietenpol Ribs & More

  1. #11

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    I have found that the "backwater states" are far more amiable to access, as they are seemingly less afraid of litigation.

    I put the whole idea of CNCing the ribs as just part of the "Education" you'll experience in building your aircraft. So go for it.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  2. #12
    DaleB's Avatar
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    There's a "Do Space" here in town. Sort of a public maker space, built in a former Borders location. 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, all kinds of neat toys. Free for most of it, you pay for materials. One of our chapter members used their laser cutter to cut some acrylic panel mockups to test control and instrument placement, etc. I don't see they they have a CNC machine, but laser cut ribs would work.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  3. #13

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    I used a CNC router for a lot of the wood parts for my Hatz Classic. The rib nose and tail pieces were a minor part of what I used it for. For a while it was my favorite tool. I also had all the metal parts laser or water jet cut. It saved hundreds of hours of work. As mentioned, the problem for most people would be creating the gcode files. I have a background of using AutoCAD for work so it wasn't a problem. I redrafted the parts I needed and bought some software to translate the AutoCAD to gcode.

    The recent article about the Skyote in SportAviation is a good example of using modern methods to build classic airplanes. The idea of having the gcode for the CNC cutting in public domain is also a good one. Whether the CNC work is done in house or hired out is mute. For the most part my metal pieces cost a few dollars each to have laser or water jet cut. My CNC router cost $2G but is limited to wood and the max size is 21"x15". Cutting a full rib was out of the question. But there was no end of small pieces that I could CNC cut much better than I could by hand. The wing walk tail piece was the most complicated part I CNC cut.

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  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunni5ac View Post
    ...I was wondering, has anyone tried to utilize a CNC machine to cut out the wing ribs and other items requiring more than one nearly identical parts?
    Hi Charles,

    ...I only mention this because you asked about CNC ribs for a Pietenpol specifically.

    I made a set of CNC'd plywood replacement ribs for an old Pietenpol that was damaged in a landing accident.

    If it was a whole new "per the plans" wing it would have been very quick and simple to make the CAD and CAM files and cut the ribs (I've done several all CNC'd "per the plans" rib sets), but for this airplane I had to scan one of the old ribs and go from there. There's a short thread on the process here: http://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/fo...ad.php?t=23156

    IMHO you can build light, strong wings ...very quickly using a CNC machine. http://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/fo...ad.php?t=20101

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz View Post
    Hi Charles,

    ...I only mention this because you asked about CNC ribs for a Pietenpol specifically.

    I made a set of CNC'd plywood replacement ribs for an old Pietenpol that was damaged in a landing accident.

    If it was a whole new "per the plans" wing it would have been very quick and simple to make the CAD and CAM files and cut the ribs (I've done several all CNC'd "per the plans" rib sets), but for this airplane I had to scan one of the old ribs and go from there. There's a short thread on the process here: http://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/fo...ad.php?t=23156

    IMHO you can build light, strong wings ...very quickly using a CNC machine. http://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/fo...ad.php?t=20101
    Hi Fritz,

    Thanks for sending these links. You and mmarien look like you have successfully utilized this process for building aircraft components. Do you think it would be possible to digitize the Pietenpol's plans and have the majority of the aircraft cut out?

    Yes, I know for 1 builder it may or may not be a good use of time. I am looking at the long run. My thought is if a collection of individuals get together to fund this project, they could take a 1000hr project down to a 400-500hour project that are looking to get into homebuilding an aircraft.

    I could see this being a situation where the project is crowd funded and the plans are given to a small group of people that can determine what parts of the aircraft can be CNC'd and what parts will need to be built traditionally, digitize the CNC eligible parts into workable files.

  6. #16
    SaltedTailfeathers's Avatar
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    I'm new to this.

    One of the things I expected to see, (maybe I haven't looked in the right place yet) but haven't, is rental tooling.

    If someone is building a tail feather for a Cub there is a fair bit of layout and lofting (boat building term I don't know if it applies) before the metal gets cut and welded together. Building the tools to build the parts is a significant amount of the work. The hydroform process for making ribs is another case.

    For a few hundred$ you can ship a pallet box of tooling almost anywhere. I kind of hoped to find that there would be a rotation among the chapters. (Chapter 1, would build the dies and hydroform boxes for ribs and control surfaces. Chapter 2. Tail jigs. Chapter 3, engine mount jigs..........)

    I understand that would require a significant number of people to want to build the same aircraft and have the faith to accept the next guys tool construction of a design that probably only a few folks could agree to.

    At the least builders who have completed stages and tools could have an exchange?

  7. #17
    Sam Buchanan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaltedTailfeathers View Post

    I understand that would require a significant number of people to want to build the same aircraft and have the faith to accept the next guys tool construction of a design that probably only a few folks could agree to.
    And you are still wondering why the tool rental program has never been a success?

    A couple of thoughts:

    1) Custom-built aircraft take shape in an extremely fragmented manner--some build a set of ribs in two weeks, others are still working on them twelve years later...

    2) Die-hard builders want to own their tools.....collecting a shop-full of airplaney tools is part of the fun!
    Sam Buchanan
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