updated: 13 OCT 03

Hinge Slots

I've never been very happy with the methods used to make slots for hinges. Using a #11 Xacto blade to start or make the slots works OK, but lining them up is not easy, and if they are not aligned, the resulting hinged surface is not as free to move as it should be.

Another method, tried once, was to use that nasty little circular saw that comes with Dremel rotary tool kits. If you've ever tried that saw freehand, that is, holding the work with one hand and the Dremel with the other, it's just an accident waiting to happen. The saw blade can grab the work, and in my case, the saw climbed over the work and found my thumb!

The latest project here is a Playboy Sr. for the SAM RC event 'Foxacoy'. The plane will have a Fox .35, although it could have a McCoy stunt .35 instead. Controls will be a fuel cut off plus elevator and rudder.

The stabilizer of the Playboy is elliptical in outline, meaning that it tapers in thickness as it goes toward the tips. It was decided that the hinges should be located about 3/16" up from the flat bottom - that will allow room for 3 hinges on each elevator half.

Years ago, I had bought a Dremel shaper/router table. This accessory item will hold the Dremel vertically, with its cutter projecting through a table. The idea here was to again try the small saw blade, but now with the tool held stationary. Not only that, but the saw blade would be located securely such that all the slots would be lined up.

Here's how the setup looked while cutting slots in the stabilizer. The saw blade is 7/8" in dia. so it can cut shots about 3/8" deep. The blade is .010" thick Having the tool stationary works very well and one can uise both hands to guide the work piece. What was really surprizing is that there was no tendency to grab the work and all of the slots were cut in less than a minute!

Here it is cutting the elevator slots.


The rudder tapers even more quickly than the stabilizer, so those slots were cut in the hinge spars before they were tapered.

It should be possible to rig up a similar table/Dremel clamp arrangement without having to buy the shaper/router table. What is important is that you have a way to set/adjust the cutting tool's height above the table.

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