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Kit Cutters cheaper than Precision Cut Kits, why?

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Kit Cutters cheaper than Precision Cut Kits, why?

Old 01-20-2018, 08:58 AM
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CK1
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I've built kits cut from almost all of the now leading kit cutters and from some that no longer exist , plus a few from upstart shops too.
They all will miss some parts from time to time . The difference is their willingness to get you those parts quickly . National Balsa has the best wood at the moment and their customer service is stellar . PCK can be slow to respond at times , but eventualy they come through . The one kit that was cut by Lasercut was cut great , wood was ok , all parts were accounted for . I cant judge them either way by only one of their kits .
Old 01-20-2018, 09:09 AM
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My biggest problem with PCK, is I never did get the quality I should have. He used drop material to make parts, and substituted wood that did match thicknesses. My ribs were all different thickness etc. I have had good luck with Laser works and Dynamic balsa as well. WHile Dynamics kits are CNC router cut. But if I can get a design I want from Bob Holman or National Balsa, they are my top choice.


At this point, just about everything I buld is scratched from plans or from a kit cutter. The one tip I can give at this point is to not by full kits. Especially on these bigger models, wood selection is very important. Not just to make sure it is not too hard and heavy, but alsa that it is not too soft. It is very easy to punch your thumb through your wing if the wrong wood is used. Especially because the weight of your components is heavier than say a .40 sized model.
Old 02-06-2018, 07:37 AM
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The last I heard, Kit Cutters was no longer taking orders.
National Balsa seems to be a good place to go to. I've bought balsa from them whilst at Toledo and was not disappointed. I have a set of Hostetler plans for the Aeronca Champ and considering N.B. for a laser cut kit.
Old 02-06-2018, 08:09 AM
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Bob Holman of Bob Holman Plans is doing laser cutting you might ping him?
Old 02-04-2020, 04:04 PM
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Default Kit Cutters

Originally Posted by jollyroger View Post
The last I heard, Kit Cutters was no longer taking orders.
National Balsa seems to be a good place to go to. I've bought balsa from them whilst at Toledo and was not disappointed. I have a set of Hostetler plans for the Aeronca Champ and considering N.B. for a laser cut kit.
I'm told Kit Cutters may be back in business soon
Old 02-04-2020, 08:47 PM
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They were trying to find a buyer but they will need to be competitive if they want to stay in business.
Old 02-06-2020, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bentwings View Post
I used it untill the night I sat on the upturned saw blade.
byron
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:12 AM
  #58  
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Competitive is the tough part. Setting aside the stuff that comes from Asia where the labor cost is low and they are mass producing a specific set of kits, I think this discussion is mostly about the "cut to order" laser business. Some of the larger operations such as National may have a computer person on staff. However, I suspect that a lot of laser cutting businesses are one or two person operations. The cutter with whom I have the most experience with is mostly a one man operation. He would like to be a two man operation but the needed skill set can command more money elsewhere. One of the things we expect from a laser cut kit is good parts fit. If you have ever built from plans or even older kits you may have observed that parts as drawn, parts as cut, and parts as fit are three different things. In preparing cut files the laser operator is essentially redrawing the files into a computer drawing file. Once the initial set of files is done my guy, at least, cuts a set of test parts to check fit and alignment and then goes in and tweaks the parts. If the customer wants something scaled up or down then it is also necessary to go through and adjust all of the stock material sizes so that you don't have to source 64/117th's inch square stock. The point being; even if it is a simple design, the cutter still has several hours of computer time tied up in a cut file. Computer people generally don't work cheap. Kit cutters generally aren't web designers. Setting up and maintaining a website is another source of overhead. Sure, some people have the skills but if you look at a lot of small hobby related businesses a lot of the websites are pretty bare bones. Fancy websites cost money up front and require more effort to maintain. The hardware itself is a pretty significant cost. Industrial quality laser cutters are an order of magnitude more expensive than the cheap Chinese K-40 cutters. Add to this the ancillary equipment required for the laser and the maintenance required for the whole assembly and there is quite a bit of expense to amortize. This doesn't even touch on the other costs of having a small business such as insurance and maintaining the physical plant. Some cutting businesses operate as a part of a larger business and some get by on a shoe string budget. I could ramble on some more but it mostly just to support the point that a lot of laser cutters are small businesses with varying resources. When you look at it that way, it isn't all that surprising that there is a lot of variance in pricing.
Old 02-07-2020, 09:27 AM
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I agree with everything you say Kirk.
Old 02-07-2020, 11:30 PM
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Default Laser cutting

I took a different, creative (?) approach to Laser cutting.

Due to the fact that quality, shipping, and cost and delivery time are not always what you would like, then for my 72" 1/6 Avro 504K build I decided the fuselage parts could easily be cut on my own, but the many wing ribs could be nice to have Laser cut.

So a friend prepared a digital file (using CorelDraw) of the rib, which I then took to a very small local shop that does Laser engraving on trophies and shields etc. and asked them if they could cut it for me from their fine Italian 1/8" lite ply.
They did, in 2 days, for a relatively insignificant cost.

In future I know I can study a plan, pick out the more difficult bits, and have them cut very nicely in a day or two.


Last edited by EF; 02-07-2020 at 11:33 PM.
Old 02-08-2020, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by EF View Post
I took a different, creative (?) approach to Laser cutting.

Due to the fact that quality, shipping, and cost and delivery time are not always what you would like, then for my 72" 1/6 Avro 504K build I decided the fuselage parts could easily be cut on my own, but the many wing ribs could be nice to have Laser cut.

So a friend prepared a digital file (using CorelDraw) of the rib, which I then took to a very small local shop that does Laser engraving on trophies and shields etc. and asked them if they could cut it for me from their fine Italian 1/8" lite ply.
They did, in 2 days, for a relatively insignificant cost.

In future I know I can study a plan, pick out the more difficult bits, and have them cut very nicely in a day or two.
Hi EF, This is what I find to be the advantage of short kits. The complex or high tolerance parts get cut for you while you have the luxury of hand picking the rest of the wood and hardware.

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