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Doing the balsa wood bends??

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crashinj

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I'm building the Ringhawk in the last issue of Sport Rocketry, anyone else building one? If so how did you form the wing rings?

My first attempt failed. I soaked the strips of balsa in hot water in a pan for an hour. Then I tried to form a loop and put them inside a 4" coupler just like the instructions said. Results, the wood cracked every 3-4 inches..unuseable!

I'm on attempt #2 now. Soaked the wood for an hour, was able to form them into loop in a large pot. I filled the pan with more hot water and have it heating on low heat. I plan to let it boil for an hour or so, then soak over night. Then hopefully it will fit into the coupler.

Do you guys know of any other way to do this?

CrashinJ
 

jflis

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Biggest thing is you want to *nudge* or *pursuade* the wood, not "bend" it, in so many words :) The key is slow and gentle.

I had looked at that design and was wondering if it would work with 1/64" aircraft grade plywood although that wood may be too dense...

jim
 

sandman

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crashinj,

Having built my fair share of wooden boats with "steam bent" ribs let me give you a tip or two before you destroy any more balsa.

1.) Understand what you are doing to the wood. When you bend wood either by soaking or steaming remember this. Wood does not stretch!

You are slightly "crushing" the wood fibers on the inside. Just slightly.

2.) The water or the steam fills the wood fibers and makes them more suptle. Add a little dish detergent to the water to make it "wetter" so it absorbs more quickly.

3.) With that in mind go very very slowly. Allow the wood fibers to crush evenly in the inside radius. Feel the wood...be gentle...carress the wood into bending to your will...don't force it...it will submit...be gentle.

Is it hot in here? Whew!...I'm getting a little...I have to go now!

sandman
 

n3tjm

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What about using a thin paper tube? Like an Estes 4" tube... maybe if FlisKits stocks such a tube, I will try it ;)
 

jflis

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nope, we don't stock a 4" tube yet. I beleive that the original designer didn't use tubing (or plywood as I suggested) because it is too dense and would be too heavy to trim properly.

I am trying to get a line on 1/64" balsawood which would be perfect for such applications...

jim
 

Stymye

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definately need to use A grain balsa for this technique
 

crashinj

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Well I want to thank you fellows for the tips. Right now I've got one drying and looks like its going to turn out fine. After it dries, I'll take it out and see what I have. Heating it in a pot for a couple hours on low, then letting it soak all night seemed to do it. Also S-L-O-W and E-A-S-Y!

CrashinJ
 
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