Almost two years ago Jay bought a Shapeoko CNC Router. He has spent many hours learning the various software that is required to not only draw up what you want to cut out, but then translating it into a language that the router can understand. Luckily there are a ton of resources for you to learn the open source software.
Well, almost from the beginning he wanted to get the laser head that you can put on the machine. As his second anniversary of not having a cigarette rolled around I told him to go ahead and get it.
Learning how to use the laser is a whole other ball of wax. He started out transferring pictures to pieces of wood. We even stumbled across a way to do this that really sets the image without the charred wood smudging.
Well, then he decided that he wanted to try actually cutting things with the laser. He started with MonoKote, which is used to cover RC airplanes. It’s a thin, heat-shrinkable plastic covering.
Many RC Airplane kits that you buy nowadays are all laser cut. They used to be die-crushed (the manufacturers claimed they were die-cut, but the blades would become dull and just end up crushing the balsa instead of cutting it).
Suddenly the door of possibilities was wide open!
The old airplanes that he loved, but could no longer build because nobody made the kits anymore were suddenly at his fingertips! As long as he can get the plans he can cut his own kits!
This isn’t all of it, but he even put in an order for a LOT of balsa wood pieces of various shapes and sizes. The model airplanes were flying around in his head. All he had to do was sit down and put them into the computer.
Enter Kenny and his want of a ME163 Komet. I found this picture on the Smithsonian’s website. You can’t really see it in this picture, but when I did an image search online this airplane reminded me of a pig with wings. Do a search and tell me that I’m wrong!
Anyway, Jay found the plans and is bringing it to life for Kenny.
He thinks that my cross stitching looks tedious and boring! This looks like a cure for insomnia to me!
You might wonder how Jay is going to be able to assemble these airplanes since all he has is the plans with pieces. He doesn’t have the actual instructions.
The thing about Jay is that airplanes are a sixth sense for him. He just automatically can put an airplane together as long as he has all of the pieces. He’s been assembling Chad the Spad and I don’t think that he’s actually used the instructions for that since before he started sheeting it. Once all of the stringers were in place on the fuselage the instructions became something that was just in the way.
How is that going to end up being something that can be flown??
First he had to glue pieces of balsa together. That’s what the block weights are sitting on in this picture.
It starts with carving all of the extra balsa out of the way. When asked how he does it he said, “I just removed everything that wasn’t part of the wingtip until all that was left was just the wingtip.”
He must have been channeling a bit of his inner Michelangelo.
Those are all of the pictures that I have of the KFP right now. I will post more as Jay continues to assemble it and take pictures. That last part is the hardest to accomplish… progress pictures!