(I will not go into how you should mount the feathers themselves, since I don't have the know-how to do it correctly. I just moun them straight and with 120 degree spacing. It works for me.)
This is how I built my own feather-cutter that gets consistent results, every time.
You will need:
- A fused bench power-supply. A standard one that can output 0-40V should be plenty.
- A few scraps of wood.
- Two long bolts and four nuts and two wing-nuts (I've used six nuts as I didn't have any wing-nuts then).
- Wire (I used 0.8mm Stainless Steel Welding wire)
- Flat-nosed pliers.
- A drill/electric screwdriver.
- Wood-screws suitable for your wooden scraps.
- Cables and alligator-clips for your power-supply.
I am in no way responsible for you getting electrocuted, burned, cut, etc. while following this instructable.
Step 1: Making the Base for the Cutter
Drill two holes through the bottom of the base, countersink the holes for the bolt-heads if you wish. Thread your bolts through and tighten them to the board with one nut each. Add the two remaining nuts and the wing-nuts to the top of the bolts, making sure they line up approximately with a thought line from the v-part to the nock-groove.
Step 2: Make Your Heat-wire Form.
Above are some inspirational designs you can try to make. The first one is the one I use for my arrows.
Step 3: Glue Your Goose-feathers to the Shaft
I will not go into detail about how you should attach your feathers here, as I do not know the correct way myself. I attach mine straight with a 120 degree spread around the shaft with an outer vane 90-degrees to the nock.
Step 4: Attach Your Heat-wire and Start Burning
Place your arrow in the v-groove and position the nock in the nock-groove.
Attach your wire-form to the terminals (DO NOT CONNECT THEM TO THE POWERSUPPLY YET) and line up the form so that it touches or almost touches the shaft. Rotate your arrow so the wire-form is between two vanes.
Attach the alligator-clips to the bolt-terminals and the other ends to your powersupply. Turn up the voltage until the wireform is slightly red, if you put too much voltage through it, it will burn like a lamp-wire and melt, and you will have to make a new wire-form.
If you have a wooden wireshaft, you can rotate it with your bare hands, but otherwise you should use an isolating glove to isolate yourself from the shaft.
Apply some light pressure to the arrow towards the nock-groove to make sure it stays in place and doesn't jump out.
Slowly rotate the arrow one full rotation. The wire will burn off the feathers and leave you with three perfect cut fletchings.
Turn off the electricity and carefully remove the arrow from the cutter, taking care not to nick it on the wire-form as it is still hot.
If any residual quill is left on the shaft, you can cut them off carefully with a sharp knife.
You're done! Enjoy your new feathercutter!
Step 5: Possible Improvements
- The entire cutter could be made in a sturdier material
- The nock-groove could be replaced with a bearing of some sort, to make the arrow easier to rotate
- The v-part could be replaced with some sort of openable bearing, that grasps the shaft, again making the cutter more consistent and the arrow easier to rotate.
- The bolt-terminals could be replaced with isolated posts, adorned with screw-terminals for added safety.
- A built in transformer or small-powersupply could be added to the base.