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Old 05-02-2006, 15:09   #1

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Question How to Measure Complex Curves?

A lot of you have done headliners from the material at Lowe's or Home Depot. These are flexible, yet rigid panels. I started our headliner today, but I found out... I STINK!

I have many complex curves to do, and measuring points every 6 inches doesn't even come close to cutting it. When I do my cut, I get a wavy line.

What's the best technique for making a template, or measuring out a complex curve? (ie: a flat, squarish piece of material where all 4 sides are not a straight line?)


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Old 05-02-2006, 17:25   #2
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The answer is "tick stick". Very ancient and very precise way of measuring such complex curves/surfaces. Do websearch for "tick stick" ... (quotation marks necessary). One of the better explanations:

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Old 05-02-2006, 20:14   #3
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Not sure exactly what you are after but there are two ways of doing what I think you are doing.
1 Make a pattern from a piece of material.
2 Take lots of measurements starting from the middle going out.
The measurements will need to be taken close together at the outer edges. HTH.
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Old 05-02-2006, 20:34   #4
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You might try going to a drafting supply place (if such places still exist). There is a thing like a flexible french curve that you can bent to shape by pressing it against the existing curve, then align it to your measured points. Should smooth out the wavy lines problem. Alternatively, I often head to the dumpster for large pieces of cardboard to cut to fit and then trim or extend with masking tape til you have a template that fits. Or you could just buy a square boat
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Old 05-02-2006, 22:22   #5
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1/2" PVC piping Sean. It bends and curves very nicely and yet remains stiff enough to run the pencil along.
Use cardboard to make a template.
Place the carboard into the position and run a pencil taped top a block of wood around the obeject you want to copy. It's called profiling.
Depending on what it is exactly you are cutting, if you use a jigsaw, place masking tape on the area you are cutting. This stops the edges of those ceramic faced boards from chipping away.

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Old 06-02-2006, 12:41   #6

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Thanks, everyone. I am using a modified version of what you all said. Sometimes one method works best, other times, it's another.

Much better to trace these out as suggested. Measuring was getting tedious!
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Old 07-02-2006, 07:35   #7
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Get it right - we demand pictures of the finished product!

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