Monday, June 13, 2016

CNC: Come to Fruition

So THIS happened, nbd:

And you may be wondering:  how did such a PERFECT, wooden circle come into being?  CNC, baby.  That's how.

I'll spare you the gritty details, dear reader, involved in tackling the learning curve to use this beautiful beast.  But suffice it to say, it was hard.  Like, really, really hard.  And totally still is.  The amount of learning still left is overwhelming to say the least.

Ok, I take it back.  I need you to feel at least some of the pain.

Building it: That was hard.  But not as hard as I thought.

Testing it:  That was positively terrifying.  You guys, routers spin fast.  Like, kill-you fast.  Say you were to run up to me with a helium balloon and a pin.  I would quickly run away from you.  I just can't take that kind of pressure.  So you can imagine how calm I was for Test #1.

Feeling confident that I tightened everything adequately to avoid it vibrating to pieces and murdering my face:  Not very.

Learning how to get from CAD software to CAM software to Controller software without mucking up the Gcode and, you guessed it, having it murder my face:  So very difficult.  And each job is a new murder-adventure possibility.

Understanding how the speed of the router interacts with the feed rate of the machine and how deep you're cutting in one pass, and how that depends on the material and what size bit you have and how rigid your machine is, and how many flutes the bit has, and whether it's an up or down spiral, and whether you should leave an onion skin at the bottom and risk the wood not being consistent by thousandths of an inch or just go with tabs but then need to master a new CAD/CAM program that can handle the tool paths for that, and how to clamp the workpiece to the spoil board so it won't (well, you know), and on, and on, and on:  Shall we just say mind numbing and call it good?

Anywho, it's exciting and terrifying, and a bit of a love-hate-mortal dread relationship right now.  But the take home for you is, if you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks, you'll know what happened.

(In case you wanted to nerd out, you nerd:   )

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Post-Apocalyptic Table + Wire Wrapped Ringzzz

As some of you may recall, my CNC baby was born last week.  The UPS stork dropped him off on my doorstep, and it was love at first sight, despite the sleepless nights.  (Remember: CNC machine is basically a computer-controlled router that will cut wood for me in THREEE dimensions.  No big deal except it is :D )

And while assembling this beautiful creature will be no small feat, first thing's first.  When something weighs more than a typical adult and has the potential to "kill you so hard," one must prepare proper accommodations.  Thus, project CNC Table was begun.  And trust me, this thing will survive a nuclear blast, and you'll hardly even hear the impact thanks to the Torsion Box of Destiny.

Here is your tutorial:

Step one: Scour the CNC forums, a delightful hive of knowledgeable nerds and only mild villainy.
Step two: Fool little brother, who just got a Master's in engineering, into helping.  Promise him food and that "it will hardly take any time at all."
Step three: Buy SO. MUCH. WOOD.
Step four:  Build a torsion box (as pictured above) so that vibrations and noise will be reduced, because science.

Step five: Be a dummy and get minor injuries throughout the whole process.

Step six: Give each leg three 2x4s and bolt those things to the torsion box like your life depended on it.  (Because... it actually kind of does...)

Step seven: Create a storage deck with cross supports, plus leg supports.  Make sure little brother can jump on it with no wobbling.

Step eight:  Saw, saw, saw, bolt, bolt, bolt, screw, screw, screw, jump, jump, jump.

Step nine:  Pose triumphantly on top of your hearty table to prove that it can hold an adult, that you know how to hold a drill, and that pictures of yourself actually do exist. (And don't worry, I'm about to become unaffiliated with that poor, broken elephant on my shirt :(  )

And there you have it.  It's too heavy to move, so I hope Chris doesn't mind parking in the driveway for the rest of his life.  

And since there's just no good way to transition smoothly to this, I'll make this as abrupt as possible.  Oh hey, look at these wire wrapped rings I made with my Activity Day girls.  (You know, since this blog is about stuff I make...)

I still can't bring myself to wear jewelry, so they're up for grabs if I like you. (So don't even bother asking, Helen Hunt.)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Nerd Earrings?? Don't Mind If I Do.

As you may recall, dear reader, this blog is my makin' stuff archive.  And while that stuff usually consists of woodworking and home improvement projects, I do like to dabble elsewhere.  (I was hoping you had forgotten by now about my miniature [non edible] artisan bread phase...)  And since my life has been consumed as of late with this other project I made,


...I've been relegated to creator of ShrinkyDink earrings.

Now, now.  It's not just for kids.  Well...ok, I did buy the supplies to use for my Activity Days girls, so I guess it is for kids.  But in testing out my planned activity, I rediscovered how amaze-balls shrink art is. (Credit to MaryAnne Loveless for being the kind of mom who just always had shrink art on hand.)

I'm going to have the girls make CTR rings and earrings, so my very scientific material test of course involved BB-8 earrings.  And I'm the first to admit that I'm a fair weather fan (JJ revivalist) of the Star Wars franchise.  (Oh just admit it, without your nostalgia goggles, the old ones are mediocre movies at best.) But what kind of sociopath doesn't love BB-8, answer me that??

So anywho, I did a quick rough sketch with this delicious pack of ultra-fine-tipped Sharpies, cut them out, and had an anxiety attack watching them shrink.  (Oh, you know shrink art... they're not going to make it, there's no way that's not just rolling up on itself, why didn't I just go with a triforce, no, no, no, no, no....oh, they're fine.)

Then I took the cooked pieces up to my tiny little sanctuary of order and delight.  (Remember this beautiful monument to organization I built?  All babies are strictly prohibited. Oh that's right, because it foooooolds up, yo.  Drop the mic.)

So then I attached some jump rings and earring hooks, et voila!  Nerd earrings (that I'll probably just give away to the best behaved Activity Day girl, since I'd be an imposter if I actually wore Star Wars earrings.  But, you know, awwww, BB-8!).

I have to say, craft projects designed for children emit far less swearing.  And I'll be honest, if there are any leftover supplies, I'm totes making more nerdy plastic jewelry.  Except I'll pick a franchise that didn't blow it with its first 6 films.  So then I guess Rocky is out.  (ZING!)