I'm looking for a kit version of either a Bristol Boxkite, a Curtiss D3 A.K.A. Curtiss pusher, or similar design of 'Olde Tyme Aeroplane'. Think: Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (the Boxkite first appears at 1:05 in the preview ). Either full or short kit is OK. Even plans are acceptable IF they include instructions, or at the very least an inventory of the not included parts that will be necessary for completion. Pat Tritle has a Bristol Boxkite short kit on his site, but my past experience with his Hobby Lobby Eastbourne kit was that it was way too fragile, at least for my skill level. And not very well cut. I have e-mailed him about the Bristol kit, but I want to have other options in case it doesn't work out with him.
Ideally I'm looking for something in the range of 1-2 meter WS
P.S. I'm putting this in general so to reach the largest audience (the builders' forum on this board is pathetically small ).
Why not find the plan that suits ... outerzone or Hippocket is a good source ... then contact Manzano Laser Works to produce a short kit for you ?
As I understand - he produces excellent kits direct from the plans .. maybe even scales to size you want ?
Alas, no Boxkites or D3/Pushers in either of those. And JetPlane, you are absolutely right, in the case of a model in which the original plane was pretty much just sticks and fabric the plans route I had posted would be the best way (I've had CAD training, and actually had ACAD R-12 on my PC before operating system 'upgrades' rendered it unusable). The Tom Hunt kits I have built are pretty much the same thing: Measure and cut the sticks. I would have to cut the wing ribs, but in most cases these planes had plank wings and therefore all the ribs would be the same. It would be nice if Peter Rake 'made' one of these, I have been very impressed with the build logs of his designs.
That Antoinette is certainly a pretty bird (would be easy to balance too). And just about ALL of this type of planes would be calm day fliers. The actual planes pretty much were.
If you were building from planes I don't think there is much point going the laser cut route for this type of plane. Most of the build, just like the real plane they are based on, would be 'stick built' open framework, so not much use for laser cut parts. Also laser cutting one-off's is very expensive. There is a lot of work involved taking the parts from a non-CAD plan and converting into CAD format suitable for laser cutting. It's usually not an automated process and has to be painstakingly done manually re-drawing each part in CAD (ask me how I know). Plus these old plans being hand drawn and often 'copies of copies' lack accuracy, so the parts are unlikely to fit well and would need 'fettling' anyway.
Those Sig kits look real nice but I'm guessing indoor only, or outdoor in flat calm.
JPF .. I have had chats with Manzano, basically as I am still interested in starting a Laser Cutting service for myself and pocket-money biz for others.
I think you'd be surprised .... and I know he has a very loyal following. You only get that with good pricing for good product.
I've not talked to Manzano but I used to CAD draw kits that Belair (in the UK) laser cut for a couple of different kit retailers, so I have a very good idea of what's involved and the costs. Even with my relationship with Belair and at 'mate's rates' it wasn't worthwhile laser cutting one-off's, at least that's my experience.
There is several hours of work in taking a hand drawn or scanned plan and converting it to the format needed for cutting, and even at a modest hourly rate, well you can do the sums. I used to do the work and just get a free kit or two and modelling bits and pieces, and (very) occasionally few quid for my time, but the likes of Menzano and Belair are businesses that need to turn a profit, so unlikely to work on those terms.
I tried various software packages that turned 'raster' images into vector CAD, but the results were generally poor and needed a lot or work to bring up to the standard for cutting. PDFs that were generated direct from CAD files had better conversion back to CAD because they are vector images rather than raster, but you would only get that on first generation PDF copies that came straight from the CAD file.
Laser cutting becomes economical when you are doing tens or hundreds off.