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Where and which jig to buy

Old 01-18-2002, 02:43 PM
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Default Where and which jig to buy

Looking to start building from kits instead of buying ARF's. Need a good jig. Help!
Old 01-18-2002, 04:56 PM
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Default Where and which jig to buy

Most kits are designed to be build flat on the building board so you really don't need a jig to start kit building.

For example the ribs will have a little tab at the end that keeps them level while framing the wing up. After sheeting the top and part of the bottom of the wing you cut off the tabs and finish sheeting.

I've built 10 or so kits now and never felt the need for a jig. I do however make regular use of triangles to insure that the parts are lined up correctly before gluing.

I'm not trying to say that jigs aren't useful. Just that you can start kit building without one.

- Spike
Old 01-18-2002, 05:19 PM
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Default I agree, no jig is needed

The only things I use are a flat door and a bunch of weights to hold things down. Occasionally I use a few pins as clamps. Small "C" clamps or spring clips from a stationary store are useful too. And don't forget the rubber bands to hold the fuselage together.

Tom
Old 01-19-2002, 07:34 AM
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Default jig

It's true, you can make a reasonably straight wing without a jig. I've seen lots of models fly OK with visibly warped wings, tails, etc. OK means you can take it off, loop and roll, and land it safely.

But, a straight alignment will improve the smoothness, stability, controllability, etc. of whatever you're flying. To me, flying is largely a matter of trimming and tuning, getting the most out of the model. For this level, a jig is pretty much indispensable.

I have used a home-made jig which worked well enough. I've used the GP jig, also works OK. But the jig I use now and recommend is the AeroAlignment Wing & Fuselage Fixture. Check it out on [URL=http://www.aero95thsquadron.com].
Old 01-19-2002, 08:16 AM
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Default Jig

If there's one thing that really bugs me is when I have to buy two when I should have spend more and just bought the right one first.
Looks like they are $90 plus $8 / module. Am I really looking at 14 modules for a 90" wingspan? More/Less?
Thanks
Steve
Old 01-19-2002, 11:00 PM
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Default aeroalignment jig

stevta, the standard jig comes with 16 fixtures or modules, not 14. The $90 price tag includes shipping, which is nice. I have never felt the need for any extra modules, but if I were building a very long once piece wing, I might want extras.

If your balsa was perfectly straight and rigid, you'd only need two fixtures per leading/trailing edge. Most balsa will be warped, if at all, in a bow shape, so for that you'd want three fixtures per edge--two for the ends, and one to correct the bow to a straight line. On occasion you'll see a stick that is warped in an S-curve. For that you need four fixtures per edge--one for each end, one to correct each turn in the ess curve. Even a straight stick will tend to sag in the middle, so with a long straight stick that sags even 1/32", it helps to have two intermediate stations to support the weight of the stick.

With 16 fixtures you can build the entire wing, both halves, aligned together, with dihedral jigged in, or polyhedral or whatever. Lots of times two straight wing halves get a little twist when they're joined in the middle, but not with this jig.

I find a laser level (Harbor Freight) is just the thing for getting the jig set up straight. I build on a cheap lauan interior door blank from the lumber store, surfaced with 2'x4' ceiling tiles (good for sticking pins in). Even the door blank is not completely warp-free, but with this jig and a laser level your wing can be as straight as a ray of light.
Old 01-29-2002, 08:35 PM
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Default Where and which jig to buy

I just wanna tell ya that jigging is a pain and building straight without a jig is a very simple matter of being a little extra careful.

I'm a guy who's been building planes for decades and using the cheapie jig (the RCM jobbie that Great Planes sells for about $15 or $20 and I bought for $2) for about two years. (Before that it sat unused for a couple of years.) I would not (DID not) use a jig on my first building project (or many, many thereafter) and I had a reputation for impeccablly built planes long before I tried the jig for the first time. I use it now -- on virtually all of my wings. They come out unbelievably straight. BUT I don't need it and if I'd spent the money that the fancy jigs cost, I might have been dissapointed enough to give it all up some time ago.

I don't know your money situation, I don't know what skills you bring to your first building project, but I do know that if building a wing straight without a jig is very challenging for you, you will have real trouble with some part of the building process for which you can't use a jig and you may very well be gone long before the jig becomes a worthwhile investment.

I'm not down on jigs -- like I said, I use one all the time now -- but I do hope that you don't feel like you need one or that you need the fanciest one out there. It really isn't so.

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