Shave a bit here and there.

A friend of mine needed a bushing assembly for his street bike to be reduced in width by about 0.230″.  Having a 1930’s South Bend Lathe in my shop, I naturally said “come on over”.

My respect for machinists just went up a few notches (it was already high).  I’m also glad I got a 4 jaw chuck for the lathe instead of a 3 jaw.

4-jaw chucks allow you to hold irregular work and precisely center it. The process for doing so can be tedious, but it’s a good feeling when your indicator reads in at less than 0.001″ variance from side to side.

This little project was fun for a few reasons.  The assembly comes apart into several pieces.  The little ring has multiple inner diameters used for different things, so it needed to be machined carefully on both sides.  Holding small and irregular parts is a challenge.  But seeing it all come together was great.

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Prototyping In Woodworking

Prototyping In Woodworking

Years ago the kids and I small spice rack that we had very much outgrown.  One day over the weekend I decided to organize our baking goods (which of course turned into a multi-day project of organizing the kitchen!)
 
With all of the kitchen counters and table covered in various containers of spices and baking goods, and it being already 9:00 PM, I took one of the kids over to the shop to put our skills to use.
 
Much to my dismay I found that we had a high-voltage condition on our utility power (133V), and my Phase Perfect 3-Phase converter would not start. This ruled out using the table saw, jointer, planer, and CNC router.
 
I thought for a couple of minutes and decided that one way or another, a spice rack was coming out of that shop without further delay. So we went into “prototype mode”. I grabbed a box of screws, a drill, an impact driver, and a bunch of OSB scraps off the rack. We used the Makita compound miter saw (fortunately not 3-phase) and a good old tape measure to whip together an (awful looking) but quite functional spice rack. We installed it, along with the iPad for recipes, and loaded it up all by 11:00 pm or so.
 
I am so glad it worked out this way. The concept of “prototyping” is something that is often overlooked in woodworking. But most of what we woodworkers do ends up being functional as well as gorgeous. Prototyping allows us to verify and refine the functionality prior to putting all of the effort into the real thing.
 
I also know from personal experience this applies to writing, software, cooking, building, inventing, sewing, and many other disciplines.
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A new part for an old Bentley restoration

At Sinking Valley Woodworks, we take on odd jobs from time to time.  One of these odd jobs was some car parts for an old Bentley restoration.  Wood was a much more common material in cars in that era.

This particular piece is what goes at the top of the windshield and connects to the roof.  It has curves on all faces, and compound curves on most.  The new part was made out of Ash, carved on a CNC router, and finished by hand.

Below is some before and after pictures.20151002_141251 bentley part

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Wood working + 3D printing = Chess

Here is a closeup of a 3D printed chess piece.  We designed them in solidworks and printed them using a MakerBox Replicator 2 with PLA plastic.  It’s on the chess board dining room table.

Chess Piece 3D Printed

Here is the chess “board”

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Here are the ceramic tiles going into the chess table before the bar top was applied:

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Kittens!!

We had a litter of five kittens three weeks ago:

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Here they are – sleeping or nursing

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We have two “named” so far.  One is named P.J which stands for Patches Junior because she looked a lot like her mom (who is named Patches).  The other is named Dozer because he is huge and pushes the other kittens out of the way to nurse.

Here is Dozer, P.J, and the others sleeping:

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P.J. is on the top left and Dozer is the one closest to the camera (that looks like a tiger).

They all have their eyes open now, but unfortunately they were mostly sleeping when I took this picture:

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What should we name the other three?

Making a Candle Holder with the CAMaster Cobra CNC Router

I have been rather impressed with the accuracy of our CAMAster Cobra 508 ATC CNC Router.  Here is a picture of a similar machine:

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For having a travel of over 5′ x 8′, it still handles the fine details with quite a bit of repeatable accuracy.  I helped to make a candle holder out of a piece of curly oak.  It turned out to be very pretty.

In the following picture, you can see 4 toolpaths.   The large circular pocket (0.25″ deep), the small inner pocket, the radius around the edge of the circle, and the engraving.

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The rest of the project was completed using a bandsaw and conventional tools.  CNC brings a lot to the table (pun intended), but it is more amazing what a craftsman can do by hand.

Did you know that Okuma, who is a manufacturer of state of the art CNC machines, hand scrapes all the seven components of a machine foundation?

From http://www.okuma.com/handscraping:

Unfortunately, there is still no technology available to achieve the geometric precision that hand scraping does. Components need to be aligned within a millionth of an inch. And it’s where that kind of precision is needed that makes it even more critical: your machine’s foundation. The seven components of a machine’s foundation simply must be hand scraped to create ideal flatness, to develop proper oil pockets, and to achieve those tight tolerances.

In the world of CNC routers, we talk in “thousandths of an inch”.  But in the above, they are talking in “millionths of an inch” and “by hand” in the same paragraph.  That is simply amazing to me.

Here are some pictures of the finished product.  The sum of some  of the efforts of man, machine, and nature.

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