Wooden Jet Plane
I was walking around the mall the other day and noticed a metal plane decoration. My immediate thought was “I can make that”. So I did… well, with some slight modifications, the first being my plane was made out of wood and not metal.
I wanted the plane to be solid wood. This eliminated the use of wood 3D printing, but still left open laser cutting and CNC carving. I wanted to make the plane fluid and smooth while remaining within the capabilities of the machines i have access t. I decided that I would CNC carve the plane body and laser-cut a stand for the plane. Knowing how I was going to manufacture it, I jumped straight into designing.
I googled pictures of planes until I found one that I liked the look of, and used those images for reference. I decided to create my models in Fusion360, instead of my usual SolidWorks, this was to improve my CAD skills and my ability to move between different software.
From Idea to 3D Model
Modelling the plane was an interesting task. utilising a various array of tools available from the software to make the curves and various parts of the aircraft. I also had to make sure that the entire thing was manufacturable. This was a difficult task at times to make sure that I had the least amount of tool changes, the shortest cutting time and the ability to put it all together in the end.
Here is my final model, with a stand and everything
From Conception to Reality
After I had modelled it all, the next task was to turn it into g-code. This would involve using the Manufacture section in Fusion. I have only played with the manufacture section, never tried to make anything with it before this, so this was definitely something new. With lots of googling I managed to produce some tool paths that I liked the look of and got them ready to post-process.
Since I was using the Carvey I had to make sure the tool setup and the post-processing watched that machine. This was an easy step as it’s already provided by Inventables, and lots of documentation is available. One thing I noticed was that when producing the different tool paths for Easel, you will need to export each different bit separately, rather than all of the different tool paths together.
I tried to make sure that I didn’t have to move the piece once I started milling. I was very close but only didn’t manage it as I wanted to make sure the multiple parts lined up the first time.
So here is the final product. It’s slightly different to the original models as I modified them later to make them smoother around the cockpit.
I am very happy with how it turned out, with almost every part being a press-fit into its place. But I ended up glueing it just in case. I also applied a clear coat of lacquer to bring out the colour of the wood. I also now know how to use the Carvey more, Fusion360 more and a better idea of different things that could be made on different machines.
Some things I would do differently next time:
- try to use less drill bits to reduce time changing bits
- make sure the piece doesn’t move between paths
Overall I enjoyed this project. It allowed me to put my engineering skills to the test and create something for form, rather than function.
Let me know what you think and happy making!