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Model Airplane Tail

I bought the Emblaser to cut out balsa wood parts for building and flying radio-controlled model airplanes. I am designing and building a flying scale model (6ft wingspan) Fokker E3 Eindecker, which was a World War I German airplane. Here is the assembled tail section. It consists of 3 laminations of 1/8" balsa, glued together with cyanoacrylate glue, to make a 3/8" thick section. Because the size of the parts exceeds my Emblaser workspace, each balsa layer is made from 2 sections joined together - you can see the laser-cut lines at the join points. I am using 24" x 4" sheets of balsa wood.

After some trial and error, the best setting for my wood seemed to be 10mm/sec with 2 passes. The parts fit is perfect. As you can see, I used two 1/4" dia. holes (and 2 wood dowels) to align the layers while gluing.

Many more parts to go before the model is complete, but now I know it can be done!

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Fantastic work.

Please take pictures along the way. Model plane construction like this looks so cool before they get covered!

Working on the horizontal tail section now. Pic’s 1 and 2 show the laser cut parts. Two points to share here: 1) I learnt the hard way that in designing the parts, I must leave little uncut tabs (approx 1/32 or 1/16 inch) so that the parts don’t fall out; for, there may be cutouts within the part which the laser has not yet cut out!; 2) Sometimes a faster speed with more passes is better - 10mm/sec with 2 passes was scorching the balsa much more than 15mm/sec with 3 passes.

The following pic shows how the parts will be assembled and glued together. This is only 1/2 of the horizontal stabilizer - there will be another identical piece (mirror image) joined by a 1/4 in. hardwood dowel threaded through the holes. Also, there will be 3 more laminations of balsa to make it 1/2 in. thick.

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Making great progress.

Nice pics!

Did the trial run for the wing ribs, on a 12"x4" sheet of balsa. This sheet must have been a bit harder than the rest, as my normal 19mm/sec with 3 passes didn’t make it through by a smidgen - I will need to make a minor adjustment (18mm/sec with 3 passes). The ribs in the picture will cover a 4" section of wing…meaning… yikes, I will need soooo many ribs for a 72" wingspan!!!

Emblaser has worked flawlessly, and I am so impressed by the accuracy - all the parts I cut out are fitting just perfectly. Thanks, Darkly Team.

Well done Mohammed! I too bought the emblaser with the main purpose of building scale RC planes. Am about to trace plans and cut ribs for my CAC Wirraway. Is there a quick and easy way to leave the spaces so the parts don’t fall out in cut2D?

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Hi Sandy. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to your question, as I do not use Cut2D to design. I use it in the workflow to only do the toolpath and pass it onto the Emblaser. I do all my design work in TurboCAD and create a .dwg file which Cut2D can import. In TurboCAD I draw a 1/16" dia circle and remove the vector inside the circle to leave the slot (then, finally deleting the circle as well)

In the direction of the balsa grain, I use 1/16" slots; cross-grain I use 1/32" slots. This way its very easy to use an x-acto knife and cut it out quickly. This has worked fine so far.


You can use the ‘Interactive Vector Trim’ tool in Cut2D-Laser to do this. There are a few steps, but it’s pretty quick to achieve.

1: Start with your design (It will most likely be more creative than mine!)


2: Draw some rectangles where you want the vectors to be cut.

3: Select the ‘Interactive Vector Trim’ tool.


4: Click on the sections you want trimmed.


5: Continue selecting the sections you want trimmed.


6: Done!

Thanks Domenic, That technique works a treat!


UPDATE: Right wing completed, as shown below. Now, onto the left wing.

It’s so cool to see this plane coming together!

Haven’t kept this updated in a while… but the airplane is almost complete now. Just waiting for a warm day to spray paint the enging cowl, and build the landing gear. Emblaser still working perfectly (and accurately!)

Looking fantastic!

Nice job on the covering.

Can’t wait to see pics of it all completed.