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How flat should a workbench be?

Old 12-21-2011, 03:47 PM
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nefariousrc
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Default How flat should a workbench be?

I'm getting setup for my first stick build and I'm wondering just how flat does the surface need to be?
I'm using an old Ikea deck with a solid 1/2" thick laminated MDF top.
With a 60" level layed across the bench I can fit ~4.5 sheets of paper between the surface and level in the middle. Is that too much? Would a hollow core door really be that much better?
Old 12-21-2011, 04:17 PM
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karolh
 
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

Yes that is too much of a belly. To build straight and true models you need to have a work surface that is as flat as possible, and a good quality hollow core door is a very good choice for a work top, which by the way is what I use. Plus any time the working side gets too abused you can just flip it over and use the other side.

Karol
Old 12-21-2011, 05:45 PM
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SeamusG
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

Check your local building supply stores to see if they have any damaged hollow core doors. Hey, if they dinged a corner or put a hole in one side it will work fine for our use & should be pretty inexpensive.
Old 12-21-2011, 08:21 PM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

The building surface will only be as flat as the framework it is laid on top of. Take the time to build a good base. I used on of the aluminum strait edges bade for use with a circular saw to cut stringers out of a sheet of 3/4 ply. I have a build thread for my bench (and others) somewhere on RCU. Try a search. I went a bit over board but it should be a ounce in a lifetime bench.

Not only should the bench top be flat it should also not have any twist in it. You can check this buy leveling it from opposite corners.

Good luck in your quest.

Ken

Found it... [link]http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_10732121/anchors_10732121/mpage_1/key_new+work+bench+for+me/anchor/tm.htm#10732121[/link]

The base frame, believe it or not, used one sheet of plywood[X(]
Old 12-21-2011, 09:07 PM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

Now I am probably going to get flamed for this and please understand that flat surfaces are necessary, but there is a point of dimensioning returns. What is the point of having the surface accurate say to the 1,000th when the wood is only accurate to say the 100th. A college engineering professor spent much of his time trying to drill that concept into my thick head and it finally sunk in. If I had 2 numbers that were to the 100's place to be multiplied and I punched them in my trusty calculator and came up with a number 1,000's place, he would mark it wrong saying that it could not be any more accurat than to the 100's place. He compared it to a chain. The rating my be a 1,000 lbs, but if one link is only 500 lbs, the whole chain is 500. Those are my principles and I'm going to stick by them. Do what ever makes you feel good. Take a look at some of the control line fourms and see how fanatical some of those guys are. I'm amazed that anything I have ever built flew.

John
Old 12-22-2011, 06:43 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

I'll agree with rubbernecker - to a point.

What are you building? That bench will be fine for anything save the most accurate pattern ship or other extremely precise plane
Old 12-22-2011, 07:17 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

I was of the opinion that ALL planes should be built as accurately as possible.

Karol
Old 12-22-2011, 07:31 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

Yes, but when you're talking about the thickness of 4 sheets of paper over a 5ft span... That's usable, not perfect, but usable

If you want a quick fix, you could lay four sheets of paper in the center of the table to level it out, then lay a door or piece of sheet rock over the table and paper.
Old 12-22-2011, 09:09 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?


ORIGINAL: karolh

I was of the opinion that ALL planes should be built as accurately as possible.

Karol
That is true, but how accurate are the tools that you build with. I bet the rulers you use are not as accurate as some claim the building board should be. One good way to tell, is how much did you spend on them and then go to a machinist's web site and see what the cost of those tools are. There is a price to be paid for accuracy. I just find it comical that some will spend all this time to shim,level, adjust yada yada yada on a table and then throw a ceiling tile or piece of sheetrock on it to build on. Just how tight are the tollerances on those. I like MinnFlyer's idea with just put 4 sheets of paper under what ever surface you will build on. My guess is that 95% of the flyers out there could not tell the difference in the flight characteristics if you built the plane without the 4 sheets of paper. Not trying to hound the issue, just giving you the practical side. Have fun no matter what and do what you are comfortable with!

John
Old 12-22-2011, 09:19 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

4 sheets of paper is about 1/64 on an inch. Not enough to matter. Build away.
Old 12-22-2011, 02:38 PM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

If you are concerned about building a warp into the wing. Place the root ribs and the center of the "bow" and build right and left from that point. Each wing should have the same "warp" built into it?????

Like many things here we start splitting hairs for no reason. I guess if it were me I would decide how much time and effort I wanted to put into a work bench. I went a bit overboard on mine but I had the materials on hand except for the actual building surface and a few of the fasteners.

Good luck on your quest for a new bench!

Ken
Old 12-22-2011, 05:58 PM
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nefariousrc
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

Thanks guys.  To answer some of the questions:
I'm building a Goldberg Super Chippy.
I plan to use a ceiling tile as my build surface.


Thanks for the advise everybody.  I think I may just go for it and stuff a few sheets of paper in the center between the table & ceiling tile.

Old 12-22-2011, 08:41 PM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

Depending on the plane, 1/64th of an inch can discernible in flight. I have a friend with a Sun Racer that has about 1/64" washout in one of the wing tips (probably because it was popped out of the mold too soon before the resin had really set). I noticed the plane wasn't tracking through loops without a tendency to start rolling out about half way through. Then I saw he'd cranked some aileron trim in to try and counteract the slight warp, which of course only worked perfectly at the precise speed it was trimmed at. A fast pass at buck thirty, and that trim didn't work anymore.

FWIW, if you're serious about building, the gold standard would be a machinists table or piece of granite countertop. I noticed Home Depot has some relatively inexpensive granite these days. A couple hundred bucks worth of countertop would make for a very nice building surface.
Old 12-22-2011, 10:30 PM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?


ORIGINAL: nefariousrc

Thanks guys. To answer some of the questions:
I'm building a Goldberg Super Chippy.
I plan to use a ceiling tile as my build surface.


Thanks for the advise everybody. I think I may just go for it and stuff a few sheets of paper in the center between the table & ceiling tile.


Instead of ceiling tiles, try a sheet of Homasote (it's really cheap and you can cut it to size) or sheetrock. Homasote would be the desired building pin-board to work on. The pins go in fairly easy and the Homasote holds them well. Sheetrock can be a bit tougher to pin into.

.... Plus, you can lay your 4 or 5 sheets of paper under the single sheet of Homasote. [8D]
Old 12-23-2011, 07:47 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

I don't usually worry about the work bench, because I don't build on it. I make building boards, cut up and modify hollow core doors, use a 3/8 thick piece of plate glass, etc.

Les
Old 12-23-2011, 03:23 PM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

Plate glass makes a great building surface. A bit difficult to pin into, though...
Old 12-23-2011, 07:35 PM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

I've noticed that steel is becoming popular for a working surface. Magnets are substituted for pins. I guess I'm to "old school" for magnets.

Ken
Old 12-24-2011, 05:36 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?


ORIGINAL: Rubbernecker


ORIGINAL: karolh

I was of the opinion that ALL planes should be built as accurately as possible.

Karol
That is true, but how accurate are the tools that you build with. I bet the rulers you use are not as accurate as some claim the building board should be. One good way to tell, is how much did you spend on them and then go to a machinist's web site and see what the cost of those tools are. There is a price to be paid for accuracy. I just find it comical that some will spend all this time to shim,level, adjust yada yada yada on a table and then throw a ceiling tile or piece of sheetrock on it to build on. Just how tight are the tollerances on those. I like MinnFlyer's idea with just put 4 sheets of paper under what ever surface you will build on. My guess is that 95% of the flyers out there could not tell the difference in the flight characteristics if you built the plane without the 4 sheets of paper. Not trying to hound the issue, just giving you the practical side. Have fun no matter what and do what you are comfortable with!

John
I really like your post about what your teacher told you. It does get me sometimes how someone will spend thousands on so many redundant things only to have a $2 item in the chain somewhere. Dual this, dual that, gotta get this tool, gotta get that tool is sometimes just wasting money. Don't misunderstand me, I am a firm believer in using good high quality tools and such but as you implied we can go overboard.

I was at the flying field one day and a guy was showing me his Pilot Sbach and it had all this high dollar redundant stuff. The thing was loaded with dual everything and extremely expensive items. Another guy was standing there and I said something along the lines of, what happens if your radio glitches (I never saw anyone fly with two radios at one time), will that stuff fly the plane for you?

In other words all the redundancy in the world won't save the chain if it has one weak link in it. Another example might be a plane that someone has 3 grand in and yet it has an $8 fuel tank in it that is developing a small pinhole to stop working at the wrong place and time. If it quits at the wrong time the plane is dust

I had a great chuckle that same day when some of the old timers at the field whom have been flying large gas models mostly above 50cc. When they walked up someone asked if they had all the extra goodies to fly the plane like the Pilot Sbach had and one of the old timers said, "I have been flying for 35 years and don't have any of that stuff." Some of the others chimed in with the same sentiment. Believe me, that brought about a great laugh and if you have been flying for 35 years, I have great respect for what you have learned!

It is good to build a better bench than needed, but it don't need to be too much better than what will be built on it [8D]
Old 12-24-2011, 09:10 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

I think your work bench should be as flat as you can reasonably make it...I use a solid core door picked out from a used building supply place with a sheet of donna conna on top..The solid type that comes in a 4x8 sheet... I place this on top of sawhorses that I custom make for the project..I have a second hollow core door shelf about a foot under the top door and then another one about a foot under that one...I have lot of space for tools and building materials etc..I can access my bench from all sides and it is reasonably easy to move if I need to. I have had a lot of positive comments from fellow builders about how handy they think it is...I think there might be newer and maybe better systems out there now , like the one with magnets etc. but for an old timing man like me this works well. You can buy aluminum sawhorses that work great for this too.. I have a set that my son gave me but you can save the expense by building your own...
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:31 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

A easy fix for the table is to lay 1/2 dry wall sheet on it. Dennis
Old 01-10-2012, 12:22 PM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?


ORIGINAL: cutaway

Depending on the plane, 1/64th of an inch can discernible in flight. I have a friend with a Sun Racer that has about 1/64'' washout in one of the wing tips (probably because it was popped out of the mold too soon before the resin had really set). I noticed the plane wasn't tracking through loops without a tendency to start rolling out about half way through. Then I saw he'd cranked some aileron trim in to try and counteract the slight warp, which of course only worked perfectly at the precise speed it was trimmed at. A fast pass at buck thirty, and that trim didn't work anymore.

FWIW, if you're serious about building, the gold standard would be a machinists table or piece of granite countertop. I noticed Home Depot has some relatively inexpensive granite these days. A couple hundred bucks worth of countertop would make for a very nice building surface.
If you call $ 25 a sqft cheap[X(] How flat do you think the building tables in China are? A reletively flat surface will do it for most all of our planes, except maybe the most precise pattern planes. I rather doubt most planes are that straight after being stored in garages and basements for the winter. Check the doors you buy for warp at the home centers, the way they lean standing up can put a pretty good bow in them. If you use a saw horse make sure you use 3 so the middle is supported.
Old 01-11-2012, 11:42 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

My work table is flat as I can get it. 1/4 ply on a flat table with smooth drop ceiling tile on top.


Pete
Old 08-01-2013, 09:46 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

There is Anal Retentiveness and there is Significant Digits. You are correct your accuracy is only as accurate as the inputs. Another way of saying it, If your inputs(daylight under the straightedge) are inaccurate then your result is inaccurate.
Old 08-02-2013, 03:48 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

Your work bench/building board should be as flat as you can possible make it, crooked or warped airplanes fly, but straight airplanes fly better, it is kinda like drilling holes with a dull bit or making a larger hole by wallowing a small bit around in a hole to achieve a larger hole; you can do it, but its a lame way to go. I say swing for the fence by first spending the time to true your building surface. JMO

Bob
Old 08-02-2013, 05:37 AM
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Default RE: How flat should a workbench be?

I built a Kaos on an old kitchen table with a 1/4 inch thick glass shelf on top. Taking into account setting up the parts prior to gluing, checking incidence angles and keeping things square, no trim changes were needed on the first flight. It's just a matter of how much you want to spend on a building board.

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