Finally bit the bullet and started. Drew up curvy bits such as wing, stabilizer and rudder ribs on CAD. Printed them out 1:1 scale and traced them on to the 6061-T6. Only done the 0.016" bits so far (oh and the 0.025" spar webs), but it was good to finally get some aluminium out and start work.

Question now is what the best tool is for long cuts. 300mm shears? Nibbler? I know for damn sure I won't be making 12 foot cuts with aviation snips!

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Comment by Chris Aysen on September 28, 2010 at 8:58am
Straight cuts can be made with a regular circular saw (with the aid of a back-stop) with a fine tooth carbide blade. More curved cuts (fuselage sides, top, and bottom) can be with either aviation snips or shears (pneumatic or electric). Also for straight cuts what Robert just suggested. Granted aviation snips don't do a perfect job but for those curved cuts they're pretty good and cheap. I prefer the long straight ones instead of the short left & right models. Good Luck and remember to have fun.
Comment by Robert Pelland on September 28, 2010 at 7:28am
Marty, the best, and least expensive way is with an OLFA 800 cutter. The blade almost never wears out, and you can cut a full length strip in a 12' sheet, in about 5 minuts. You must use a straight edge, and scribe the aluminum multiple times with the blade, then bend carefully on the scribed line and " presto " it will seperate cleanly on the line. In the past I have purchased an assortement of different store bought straight edges, but the best I have found is by using an aluminum bar. I purchased a 12' length of aluminum 3/4" thich by four inches wide, and this is what I now use as a straight edge. I clamp each end to the table, and I can cut 12' strips cleanly. Good luck


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