turning nose cones

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Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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OK, a few questions for all you who turn small cones using a dremel - how do you do it? Do you strap it down like you would a power drill, or do you hold the dremel and shape the cone against sandpaper?

If you use a dremel lathe (I do have both, but the lathe is second-hand and I don't have any accessories), do you chuck the piece in the drive head and turn it or do you turn the cone like a spindle and then cut it from the rest of the stock?

I have heard of people using drills, but not a dremel. What you do is chuck some wood in a drill (by way of a dowel in the wood) and then strap it to a table, if it is small enought you could leave it at that but you might need to make supports. Then take files and file it down to your liking. You really need tools
The tool I use is sandpaper:)
I use a drill and turn the balsa fairly slowly. I then shape it with sandpaper and compare it to a template. I use a small file to make the shoulder
do a search on nose cone and you will find several good threads where descriptions are provided on how to turn balsa and wood or foam nosecones....
*don;t* use a Dremel "moto-tool", it is far too fast for the job...

The Dremel lathe is great for small cones, even if you don't have all the accesories.

One way is to drill a 1/4" diameter hole all the way through your balsawood stock, then put it between the centers as you would any other wood. You can shape with sand paper.

You can chuck just the balsa but it has a tendancy to strip away from the head.

Another device i made is to obtain the flat head (plate) for the dremel lathe (you should be able to purchase this separately). It is a flat metal circle with 4 mounting holes and it screws on the motor of the lathe in place of one of the points.

I then bolted a small circle of ply wood on it, brought it up to speed and inscribed a few circles with pencil at about 1" diameter. This gives you markers for gluing a short length of BT-50 to the wood circle. This comes in handy for doing some finish work on a nose cone sized for the BT-50. I have several of these for all BT sizes up to BT60

just some rambling thoughts as I pack for LDRS...
I usually just glue a dowel into a balsa block and chuck it in my drill.

I then use coarse sandpaper to get the general shape.

An emery board makes a great tool to cut the shoulder.

After the shoulder is cut, slip a 1" piece of body tube on it and then you can shape the cone down to the tube with fine sandpaper.
I use a dremel lathe. mostly with Basswood rather than balsa, balsa grain is usually too heavy for good tiny (Micro size) turnings. it's OK for BT-5 and up. I drive a piece of 1/4" brass square brass tubing into the end of the blank block. then center with the tailstock. Shoot a picture is worth a thousand words. take a look that these.

I found a Head adapter and "set of telescoping square brass tubes at Pearl art supply in the dremel accessory section. I think it was about 10 bucks. well worth the price.

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