Butterfly

I had a friend apply her much-more-artistic skills in decorating one of the models, and this is what she came up with.

Goes to show what someone with talent can do!

Jeanené is an artist and does facepainting for markets among her other creative outlets. She can be contacted via email at nanni.com.au@gmail.com or on 045 206 1416.

Photos by Kara Rasmanis

Butterfly plans from MakeCNC.com

Episode 120 Making the TT Rex

Material: 3mm Acrylic
Router Bit: Amana Tool 514411/16″ Spiral-o-Flute upcut from Toolstoday.com
CNC Router: Torque CNC 9060
Spindle Speed: 12000RPM
Horizontal Cutting Speed: 5mm/sec
Vertical Cutting Speed: 10mm/sec with ramping

Plans from MakeCNC.com

Episode 119 Kerfing on the Tablesaw

I made this video while I was creating a vertical garden for an article in The Shed magazine.

garden-1

Lost the files for a while (and forgot I had shot the video!!), but here it is at long last!

Garrawi

Cockatoo-2

The 45190

It sounds like another Whovian thing (or more precisely, Torchwood) (aka “The 456“), but instead, it is a lot simpler than that.

The 45190 is a router bit.  For my current activities on the CNC, it is THE router bit.

It is not overly complicated – a straight 1/16″ (1.59mm) 2 flute solid carbide cutter embedded in a 1/4″ shank.


Amana Tool 45190 Carbide Tipped Straight Plunge High Production 1/16 D x 3/16 CH x 1/4 Inch SHK Router Bit

from: Tools Today

But it is what I have been able to do with it that sets it apart.  Or rather, that it gets done what many other router bits have failed to do.

As many would know, I am cutting out a lot of patterns on the CNC, particularly from 3mm thick MDF. To get the level of detail I need, I am using a router bit that is around half that thickness so it can get right into the various corners.  But it also needs to do some miles, and that is also where this router bit has been scoring some exceptional goals.

I have tried other router bits, with some (but decreased) success – spiral upcut bits work, but have a tendency to pull the resulting piece that has been cut out, right out of the sheet.  It can then be thrown or bumped to a point where the router bit plunges through it while cutting another.  I’ve even found small pieces that have been cut out subsequently stuck on the router bit, trying their best to emulate a helicopter!

Downcut spirals work better, but they still have a problem that the dust they are carrying downwards gets deposited under the sheet, causing it to lift, and in the worse scenarios, to completely detach from the vacuum table.  Granted my vacuum table might not be as strong as a commercial one, or may not be able to carry away any sawdust produced so this doesn’t happen.

I’ve also tried larger bits (specifically 1/8″), but they do not give the same degree of detail, and the joints are not as tight.

So that leaves the 45190.  Yes, I have broken a fair few (and am again down to my very last one, that makes me nervous!) but that has always been the result of something other than cutting normally.

So far, the router bits I have broken have been:

Forgot to slow the feedrate back to 100% from a previous operation, and the router bit tried to cut 3-4 times faster than I have worked out to be a good speed for my machine for that bit and that material.

I’ve hit the clamp on at least one occasion, and a screw on a couple of others.

I’ve had a piece come loose and wedge itself against the spinning bit, and it has broken when the CNC moved in that direction.

Sadly, I have occasionally forgotten which is Y and which is Z (or have simply clicked the wrong button), and instead of lifting the bit, have tried to drive it through the material.

And more than once I’ve had the CNC get its + and – directions confused, and it has driven down hard, rather than up.

In spite of all this, when the router bit is treated correctly, it does the energiser bunny thing – it keeps going and going and going.

dino3

Check out the teeth on the dinosaur (Spinosaurus) and you will see what I mean about retention of detail.  Remember that MDF is 3mm thick to give you an idea of scale.

The straight cutter is also not the worse solution either.  The dust that is produced gets packed into the cut, which helps hold the piece being cut from moving.  The top and bottom surfaces stay pretty smooth, and only a very light sand is required.

The detail is retained, which is important, and the yield from each sheet is maximised.

vac-5

So when I am doing these CNC MDF jobs, and I keep mentioning this one router bit, there is good reason. The 45190.  Its a Whovian thing!

torchwood-welcome-the-456

 

 

Acrylic Snowman

While the MDF snowman worked out nicely, and it looked ok painted up, I wanted to get back to trying my hand at making some models from acrylic.

Given that Christmas is rapidly approaching, I thought I’d tackle the snowman again, and see just how well the CNC, along with a new set of router bits specifically for plastic from toolstoday.com would work out.

Just an aside for a second.  I have just gotten an iPad Pro, and while writing the article, have used one of the pro’s features of being able to run a second program simultaneously, and on screen at the same time.  Awesome feature! 

  
I also found a better supplier of plastic sheet goods, so that will be great (and dangerous to the wallet).  They also sell acrylic ‘glue’, and it is a vast improvement over using Superglue.

I still have some processes to work out to make things run smoother on the CNC process of working with acrylic, but for the most part it went very well.  Acrylic is pretty flexible when it gets thin, even worse than MDF it seems, if that is even possible.  So I found myself supervising the whole job while it was machining.  I was using an upcut bit, and perhaps that also has a lot to do with it.  While chip clearance is important (especially with a material that can melt), lifting the piece is not the best way of ensuring it is stable.  I still don’t have revolution speed control, so am still running the bits slower than I would like, and again that is probably a real factor.

Still, the result is a great snowman. Looks awesome (especially with Kara Rasmanis wielding her camera)  

 Next one to tackle – an acrylic AT-AT (Imperial Walker) in greys and black plastics. And there will be video, just once I have a better idea of just how to manage this material!

Xmas is here already?!

No idea where that year went.  Good grief.

My wife and daughter have been having a bit of fun painting up the Santa’s Workshop (from MakeCNC)

xmas-1.jpg

xmas-2.jpg

My first time, I hit a bit of a snag, as I used the 6mm plans by mistake and still cut it from 3mm MDF (which is the model above).

Since then however (and despite the warning to the contrary), I’ve been quite successfully making the workshop from 3mm MDF, using a 1/16″ router bit from Toolstoday.com.

It is a fun kit to assemble (and paint if you have the patience).

As you can also see in the first photo, I gave Frosty a treatment as well, using an airbrush for the most part (he was already fully assembled that made it a bit tricky).  My suggestion for him would be to assemble the hat, then paint it, but then paint the rest of the snowman while still in pieces.

I used acrylic paint for this job, which goes on quite well on MDF, although MDF is like working with rough cardboard.  Doesn’t pay to rush the painting either, but seeing as the year has finished before I realised it had begun, I did anyway just to get the job done.

I am still in two minds about painting the models – they do look good painted, but equally, they offer a different quality in their raw state.  Like looking at a scene and deciding if it is better depicted in a colour photograph, or a black and white one.

Certainly for the Xmas decoration aspect, the painted model wins hands-down.  Next time I’ll have to think about how to run some fibre optic lighting through the place!

I obviously have a young daughter – while painting Frosty, I kept getting an adapted line running through my head from a certain movie

“Do you want to paint a snowman?”

 

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