All creatures great and small

After completing my set of anatomically correct dinosaurs from MakeCNC, (the other three are in my office already), I then decided to make a pteradactyl as large as I can fit on my machine.  Cut from 12mm thick MDF, it has a full wingspan of 3.3m, and physically measures 2m tip to tip, and 1.2m long.  Despite being skeletal, it is realtively heavy!

It is destined for my daughter’s science class, to hang up in the classroom.

dino-1It really seemed like bones as we put it together.

It would be cool to do one of the anatomically correct ones to the same scale!  I really like the one that has its tail up in the air, which is the velociraptor.  Be awesome to have one of those life sized.  (That isn’t unrealistic, as they are relatively small as we saw in Jurassic Park).  Might scare the bejesus out of any unwarranted visitors in the middle of the night.  The plans only come with 3mm, so I’d have to accurately scale it to suit the 12mm thick material – job for another day.

Back to the large pterodactyl, (called a Flugsaurier Archosaurier on the MakeCNC website, which is German for Pteranodon, a type of pterodactyl).  It took 3 sheets of 12mm x 900×600 MDF, which is not too bad, considering the size!  It was cut with the Amana Tool 3/8″ solid carbide compression bit 46172 from Toolstoday.com I still ran it at 40mm/sec, but with a 3.25mm DOC.  Tabs were 10mmx10mm (still 3D, which made them easier to cut by hitting them with a chisel) to hold the pieces in place during the cut.

What to do next……decisions, decisions.

Tokunaga Furniture and The Art of Wood Working Without Sandpaper | Spoon & Tamago

Tokunaga Furniture and The Art of Wood Working Without Sandpaper

An interesting article, particularly the difference in microscopic view of a piece of timber that is planed vs one that is sanded.

For Numismatists, Notaphilists & Coin Collectors

Here is my latest project, ready for the next edition of The Shed magazine.

Coin-1

It is a coin storage cabinet, with spaces for 1200 individual coins, stored in acrylic trays.  It has a curved top (using kerfing) and tambour door.  By replacing a 6mm thick tray with two sheets of 3mm clear acrylic, bank notes could also be stored and displayed.

Each tray has a tab with a descriptor of the tray engraved in it, such as “Australia 50c Commemorative”, and each coin slot is sized to the specific coin that it is to house.

When the edition of The Shed comes out (soon), the article goes into detail how it was made, using both CNC and non-CNC techniques.

In the Firing Line

I recently met with a new owner of the SawStop, and took them through some of the specifics of the machine, including some of the basics of safe operation of a tablesaw.  As they were an experienced operator, the focus was certainly around the brake mechanism.

Six months later, and I get a call.  Turns out the SawStop mechanism got tested for real.  Scared the bejesus out of him – not only when it activated, but more fundamentally, that it happened at all.  So we are going to have another session, and this time running through the A, B, Cs of tablesaw use.

Had my own experience last weekend.  Not of the SawStop mechanism, but a reminder of basic safe operation.

I try to ensure that I am not standing directly in line with the blade when it is cutting.  That isn’t always possible, but it is a good practice, and this time was no exception.  I was standing to one side while ripping a piece of timber, and a piece of the offcut splintered from an unknown internal fault in the timber.  It got spat out by the blade, and sailed right past my ear.  Close enough for me to hear it pass by.  Close enough that I felt it brush the ear.

Reinforces why I like standing to one side while cutting!  Even if it had hit, it is unlikely to have done any damage, but it is a good reinforcement why we practice safe use.  And why eye protection is mandatory.

I finished off the cut – nothing wrong there, so the technique was fine.  It really came down to a weakness in the timber.

As much as I was out of the line of fire, it was a full-depth cut.  And while having the riving knife fitted helps protect against kickback, having the full dust guard fitted when it was appropriate for it to be used would have prevented this happening at all, at least as far as having a small missile launched in my general direction goes.

Episode 115 Here be Dragons CNC

Design from MakeCNC.com

Multiple Materials

I’ve been trying out some different materials on the CNC, using some of the other router bits in the Toolstoday.com Master Collection.

Using the 51411 “Spiral ‘O’ Flute” upcutting plastic cutting solid carbide bit, I tried a bit of polycarbonate.  This is 3mm thick, which ideally suits the plans I currently have.  I started with some clear, to try it out as much as anything.  I slowed the feed rate down (given I am currently restricted to 12000RPM), then slowed it down further.  I found it ran pretty smoothly at 10mm/sec.  I plunged at the same speed, but for future reference, ramping the bit down should be a better approach.  With a 1.5mm depth of cut, things worked pretty well.

dragon-1My next endeavour will be to approach the same model again, but choose different materials for the different components.  So far I have about 4 different polycarbonate colours (one being fluoro), some aluminium and brass in the design.  Hopefully it will all work together and not look too mismatched.

Clear red poly for the flames, aluminium for the nostril smoke, and for the centreline of the body (up to and including the tail), brass for the small plates on the underbelly (like Smaug and his gold-encrusted hide), and a combination of solid green poly and fluoro green poly (for the scales, and head).

Work in Progress

While I wanted to wait until the project was complete before showing it, I have just finished a mammoth step, so decided to share the progress.

Starting with a slab of American Walnut

DSC05827It has been resawn into two pieces, and joined together to create a slab of the required width

Then, after 24 hours of solid routing on the Torque CNC

DSC05838And a quick initial application of Danish Oil (as much to find where I need to do additional sanding), the result is starting to show some promise. (The gauges are only to test fit, they will not join the project until it is pretty much complete).  The top station (the celtic design within a circle) is not just decoration, it will also be a clock.  The gauges are all high quality German-made ones I bought from Carbatec.

DSC05849Exhausted getting this far, and I still have to have it finished by Sunday!!  And tomorrow is a day away from the shed :(

Big push at the end coming – how unusual………

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