Originally published November 1996
Many of the parts on our aircraft are defined not by dimensions but by full size patterns. This generally includes any shape that does not consist solely of rectangles and triangles. I have found that using a graph paper overlay and CADD software, I can redraw these pieces, print them out at full scale, and thus have an expendable pattern without cutting up my plans.
The problem always seemed to be how to attach the pattern to the work piece. Various methods using tape have been used with varying degrees of success. I tried Rubber Cement to glue my patterns to my wing rib forming block, which worked reasonably well, except that the pattern was not easily removable. In fact, half of it is permanently attached. While this is fine for tooling, it would never do for actual parts.
Sticky pads (Post-itTM Notes) had always intrigued me, and it seemed it would be nice to be able to apply the adhesive to a pattern and stick it to the part long enough to cut out the part, then peel off the pattern. While at Staples doing some undercover research for Project Police publications, I came across the Avery (not the tool company) Removable Glue Stic. It's just like a glue stick, only not quite as sticky. It's like the stuff on sticky pads. I tried it, and it seems to hold paper to aluminum and wood acceptably. I haven't tried it on any other materials. It works great, and, best of all, it's cheap! If you happen to get a little too much on the paper and some of the adhesive transfers to the aluminum, it will wash off with water.