CNC Milling of balsa?

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Well-Known Member
May 25, 2002
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Does anybody have any idea how much it would cost to have some boost glider solid balsa wings cnc milled such that the airfoil is preformed into the wing? in small quantties?

any information will be appreciated....private emails welcome on this subject
Custom mill work runs roughly $50/hr, including the time required to write the CNC program. Once it is running, figure a minute or two per part, depending on the complexity. A very rough guess would be about $300 for the first 50 parts (not including material). Less than 50 parts will not be any cheaper due to the setup cost, but extending the run to 500 parts would not cost much more.
thanks jeff/loki.....guess I'll scratch that idea and let people sand their own airfoils....
You might be able to do what you want to do by using hot wire cutting with foam. I am thinking about trying that out when I get around to cloning the Aerotech Phoenix. I will first make a jig that fastens to the styrofoam, and then use the hot wire thingy to cut it. After that, remove the jig, and coat the wing with balsa...

Besides the wings... the Phoenix should be a easy glider to clone....
A new CNC router will cost you about $7,000 visit:

Ummmm, not entirely true, for what you seek a CNC router capable of milling Balsa and other types of wood, you can build one for under $500, search the web, there are plenty of people who have done homebuilt CNC projects, I'll see if I can dig up some of my old links.

There are 3 basic components that make a CNC machine different from a standard power tool, and that is one a Stepper motor on each axis to move the toolhead to the appropriate X/Y/Z position, two a controller board to link it all up with a PC, and three software to control it all, all but the software can usually be come by fairly cheaply, and there are a few free CNC software packages out there, you just have to scour the web, there are plans and schematics on the web for homemade controller boards, or you can buy a premade unit from Geko or a few other manufacturers for a couple hundred bucks. If you only intend to use the machine for milling wood you can build the frame out of pine 2x4s, plywood, 1x4s, 4x4s, or just about any lumber you can come by.