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    What have I got?
    "That is a good model of a Thames lighter and I imagine the boat that started this post was very much like it before the wheelhouse was put on. Is it available as a kit, or just the plan?" It's a standard EeZeBilt 50+ model. That means it's been designed to be cut out of balsa sheet and assembled in the simple EeZeBilt fashion, and the plan has been put out for free download. It's capable of being made at any size or any material, but making it at 16" just nicely uses a single 1m sheet of 1/8"balsa. The idea was to produce simple, quick, cheap model barges so that the tug boys had no excuse not to be pulling a whole string of them. If you want it as a kit, I can send you a .dxf file and you can get someone with a
    CNC machine
    to do the cutting for you. Do you have a MakerSpace anywhere near you?
    11 months ago by DodgyGeezer
    EeZeBilts From Keil Kraft
    All the hard work would have now been done, if I had got the waterjets and had finished designing the stern. We will have to wait for that, as well as a delivery of balsa... But I have a couple of spare sheets of balsa and a few final parts, so I can give you a short sample of how things will go on from here while the machine is cutting them. We want to cut parts out of a 4"x36" balsa sheet so I draw up the boundaries, and fit the parts in at appropriate places (fig36). The sheet is oriented vertically, because that's how my
    CNC machine
    wants to see it, and the top right corner is positioned at 0:0, so I know where my origin is. Then I remove all the lines that I don't need to cut. Because I have lined up the long straight edges with the edge of the balsa, I don't need to cut along them. I don't need to cut the boundary lines either - so I have a rather odd drawing for final cutting as at fig37. From now on we don't need to look at any more drawings. I save just the bits I want to cut as a .DXF file - which is a standard CAD drawing format. Then I take this file and input it to a free software package called 'DXF2Gcode'. Which, you will not be surprised to hear, outputs instructions for cutting those lines in G Code, which is a standard language for controlling cutting tools. The language looks like this - my comments in brackets: G90 (Absolute programming) G21 (units in millimeters) G17 (We are working in the XY plane) G40 (Cancel automatic tool radius compensation.) G49 (Cancel tool length compensation.) G28 (go to the pre-programmed Zero position directly over the balsa sheet) G92 x0y0z0 (Set this position to Origin Zero. All distances will now be measured from here) G0 Z -10.000 (drop the cutting tool to height -10mm - just above the balsa) (*** LAYER: Layer1 ***) (* SHAPE Nr: 2 *) G0 X +0.000 Y -68.551 (go to the first place to start cutting) F60 (set the feed rate to 60) G1 Z -15.400 (drop the cutting tool through the z axis to height -15.4 - this cuts almost completely through the balsa, leaving just a thin web underneath to hold the part in place) G1 X -25.258 Y -68.525 (Move the cutting tool along the x,y axis to cut the first line) G1 X -25.255 Y -65.350 (Move the cutting tool along the x,y axis to cut the second line line) G1 X +0.000 Y -65.350 (Move the cutting tool along the x,y axis to cut the third line) G1 Z -10.000 (raise the cutting tool along the z axis out of the balsa) You can easily learn the basic commands - but you don't need to as DXF2Gcode just creates a working cutting file for you. Next, you put some balsa in the machine, turn it on and send the G Code commands to it. This is done with another free software package called 'G Code Sender'. The names are quite descriptive! I enclose some photos of what happens next, and a 'media file' (video) which, as you know, you download by clicking on it, and then clicking on the miniature little blue square on the top left of the screen. As you can see, there is very little dust with a thin cutting tool, and the sound from a 12v motor running at 10v is low. This was recorded with a camera within a foot of the cutting tool... After that, it's just an evening of taking the parts out of the balsa sheets, assembling them and gluing up...
    1 year ago by DodgyGeezer
    Hintsand tips - Decals made easy
    "....It's a lot easier and cheaper then buying a vinyl cutter and learning how to use it. It might not cost much more than a pack of decal paper...." I can't report on the 'learning how to use it' part, since I haven't started, but having a
    CNC machine
    means that you can add all sorts of tools onto the cutting end. At the moment I just use a small router to cut balsa - I would use a bigger one or a laser to cut ply - and I have just bought a 'swiveling knife' set to cut vinyl. Cost of a mount and 15 blades - ยฃ4.37. Should let me cut any size or shape character out of vinyl (or anything else) sheet...
    1 year ago by DodgyGeezer

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