Ok, so I'm a glutton for punishment...  I decided to make all my ribs from scratch.


The Bubble Dancer uses 8-10 lb. 3/16" ribs in the center panel and 8-10 lb. 1/8" ribs for the rest of the panels.


I laid out the opposing ribs(in this picture, #s 1,2 and 3) on the same balsa plank to ensure even weight distribution. Once the papers are cut to fit the plank, I sprayed the rib printouts with 3M #77 and let the paper sit, sticky side up, for about 20 minutes. Then I pressed the paper down onto the balsa.

I did all my cutting, sanding and shaping directly up to the printed lines on the paper while it remained affixed to the balsa.  The benefit was that all my ribs were conveniently numbered for reference when I was done.


Utmost care must be taken during the detail work to maintain a perfect 90 degree face on all the rib edges. The edge of my bench is conveniently square and works as a guide for my sanding block.


For the curved edges, a small square sanding block sitting on the top of the table does the job, by holding the rib still and running the block along the rib.

Here was the first rib I finished. 


Fine tuning of the spar notches was left until the wing panel was dry-assembled.  At that time they could be sanded as a group to the precise width of the spar.


As an interesting aside:  I was traveling a lot during the time that I made the ribs, and ended doing the tedious repetitive work sitting in hotel rooms.  All I needed for a "shop" was a 12" square board, my X-Acto blade and my sanding block.   All in all, a great way to "keep the project going" even though far from home.

A shot of all the ribs layed out in various states of production.


Making the ribs this way was a lot of very detailed work but I think in the end it turned out quite well.

Here we see all the ribs completed and grouped in by their respective sections.

Note:  If you aren't as "dedicated" as I was, you can order the ribs from Mountain Models for $43.