Fletching Jig, a 3D Printed Tool

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I'll show here my approach to creating a new jig. This particular jig will be used to place the fletchings (feathers) on an arrow shaft. The design will be done in Sketchup with the intent to 3D print the jig for use. I guess not many people need a fletching jig so I'll try to layout the process... so you could make whatever jig you may need.

Help yourself to the Sketchup files.

And happy making to everyone!

Step 1: START AT THE END

It's counter intuitive but, when you build a jig you don't care about the jig. You care about the finished product. So, when I put something like this together I start with what I want as the end result. Right now I want some arrows with three evenly space fletching set at a 1 deg offset to the shaft. That should give a nice balanced spiral as the arrow flies to the target, ok just to the side of.... Over the top of.... Little to the other side.... Well you get the point.

I have found in the past when I start by building the jig I ended up over built and more complicated than I needed. So, start at the end.

Step 2: FIND YOUR INTERFACES

Again, try to keep the jig simple. What needs to be held in place relative to what else? My first interface to the arrow is the knock (Notch in the back of the arrow where the bow string goes). I'll want the feathers so far forward of the knock and the first feather to be perpendicular to the knock. So support and locate the knock.

My second interface is the feather itself. I need something to hold the feather in the right orientation to the shaft while fitting the curve of the shaft.

Step 3: HOW TO GET FROM a TO B

You will need to decided if the jig is one or more pieces and how it moves your parts from A to B. Let your project and process answer that question.

In this case I need to apply glue to the feathers and then hold them to the shaft until it dries. So if I put a pivot on the feather holder I can insert the feather, apply the glue and swing into place..

And then I'll do it two more times...

Step 4: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

The last piece of my jig connects the two interfaces, the Knock and the feather. This should make a nice compact assembly that allows me to glue all three feathers at once.

Step 5: FINISHING TOUCHES

Last, I walk through the process in the garden of my mind.

Think about issues your jig might have. I know I will miss some things but a little forethought can save you time down the road.

I think the feathers could slip out of the holder if i don't allow for some clamps. I could use small paper binders, so I'll add some cut outs for those. Also a smaller notch at the end of the jig will allow me to use a rubber-band to hold everything in place while the glue dries. Kind of important since that is the hole point of the jig...

And print... No matter how many times i see a 3d printout I'm still a little amazed at the concept and how well it works. (Shout out to Max for running the print for me)

Step 6: Results

I'm happy with the results!

I did miss a few things. There was a lot of play in the pivot points of the jig. I should have added features at the end of each feather holder that inter-lock to keep the spacing even. Also the rubber band at the end was a pain. I should have just printed a ring to collar the end of the jig.

A quick google shows my jig is not as original as i hoped.... I kind of hate that about google :) But I hope you enjoyed my take on this project.

Thanks for having a look, and happy making everyone!

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    Discussions

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    Penolopy Bulnick

    20 days ago

    I've never seen these put on an arrow before; it's nice that you were able to make your own :)