iris mechanism

Cryptic Woodworks Weekly Update 14 Oct 2018

So, a few weeks got away from me. The day job was busier than normal, a few more personal obligations than normal and suddenly I find myself not in the shop. These things happen when you are a part time woodworker. Occasionally my non-woodworking life takes over. The important part is to try to limit the amount everything else takes (where appropriate, things will happen).

I didn’t get a ton of time back in the shop, but I got some! I have several things to do so I just had a to pick a place to dive in. I chose a rebuild of the iris drawer which is part of the engagement box commission (more on it’s hold up in a bit). The iris was beginning to bind up in the oppressive humidity we’ve had lately in NE Pennsylvania recently and wasn’t working smoothly. Initially, I wanted to get this done and just glued the box together, top and all. Which, of course, means I had no way to fix the mechanism. So, I decided to make a new one which had a removable top. The main build was quick, just four side pieces. I had the plans for the CNC so cutting new iris parts was simple. The change I made was to add corner blocks with threaded inserts which would hold bolts that come in through the top. That just took a bit of measuring but was pretty simple. I also didn’t extend the dowels of the iris up through the top so it looks much cleaner. Lastly, the parts are made from cherry ply to match the rest of the box (I didn’t have that initially). My retaining ring did break and I had to make a new one, but that was no big deal. Bead moulding is on the front, recess for the latch is on the bottom, oil is applied. Now I wait a few days before topcoating.

I had a bit more time to turn my attention back to the lid of the engagement box. I had wanted to make some hearts that would cover the keyholes but could swivel aside. This just took a bit of time in v-carve to draw the design then a mere minute or two to cut on the CNC. I have to clean them up but they look nice and will add a bit more visual flair to the lid. I’m thinking of trying a relief carving for the top as well.

The hold up on the box has been the laser engraving. I want to use a nearby Fab Lab (makerspace) so I get to learn the equipment and can continue to use it in the future. Back in June they were moving to a new space and were supposed to be done my mid July. Well, that turned into early September with delays and problems. Once they were running again I called to grab some time only to find out the laser wasn’t venting correctly and a fix could take another couple of weeks. So, here I am in Mid Oct hoping I can get the last pieces done soon. Hey, the delay gave me time to make the new iris drawer so it was kinda good, I guess?

About 2 weeks ago I also completed my article for an upcoming issue of The Metagrobologist Magazine. The publisher loved the article and is working on getting it in place. Very excited to see that move forward. I loved writing the article and it’d be great to do more. I can’t believe I’m going to be published. That’s a direction I didn’t originally see my life going. Some of that old college education is coming in handy.

Light week for me, but at least a few things happened!

Until next week, stay dusty.

Week Ending 17 June 2018 Update

Hey!  I managed to get some shop time this week.  It felt sort of novel, actually.  Weather was fairly nice which made working in the evenings nicer too.  Looks like the nice weather is about over as summer closes in though.  I didn't do a ton of work, but I felt good about getting some small but necessary things designed and done.  I am liking this weekly update format - it keeps me thinking about what I've done and hopefully I can give some ideas or a bit of entertainment to other woodworkers or creators.

Engagement Box Lid Lock Assemblies.JPG

The time this week was spent on work for the engagement box as I close in on completing it.  I mainly spent the time working on the lid locking assembly.  On the sample lid, I made several incarnations of the lock and key assembly and found the one that worked.  This is a fairly typical lock and key that uses a wood spring and a wedge on a pivot to move the locking bar back when the key is turned.  I had a few tries to get the wood spring right.  It is made from ash and is 1/16" thick.  I epoxied the spring into the lock body.  I need to adjust (or make a new) piece on the left one here as it's a little short and doesn't extend the spring quite as far.  I think it's easiest to make the rotating piece a tad big and then sand it to final size.  After the main lock was in place, then I could mark out the hole location for the bars that will actually lock the lid.  I just drilled that out near size then completed it with jigsaw and chisel.  I want to put a piece across the top of both bars so that it can't ever move in any other direction.  The CNC came in handy for making sure the holes for the pivot pins aligned perfectly with the cutouts in the top for the keys.

Acrylic Iris.JPG

Next up was something fun.  I tried cutting acrylic plexiglass on the CNC for the first time.  I must say, I expected some type of catastrophic failure, but the result totally surprised me.  I had wanted to try cutting an iris mechanism out of acrylic and after getting some advice at my last CNC club meeting, I decided to give it a try.  While at the meeting, I picked up and 1/8" upcut spiral - you really want to get the chips away or the plastic will weld itself back.  I ran the router as slow as I could, about 8000 RPM and kept a slightly slower feed rate.  I also had the dust boot off and was following the bit with the vac.  It is very messy, throwing plastic around.  I kept a respirator on as this process can release some nasty fumes.  My only real problem is that while I had the sheet held down well, since it was thin the middle pieces tried to lift.  I should have also stuck it down with some double sided tape.  I broke one leaf that I needed to re-cut.  I cut the pieces free, assembled them and it worked.  It worked fine.  I was frankly very surprised.  I could do this again.

While at the CNC club meeting I also got a tip on a product called Oramask 813.  It is a stencil film that supposedly can take being on a CNC and stay down on even very small parts.  It's pretty cheap too, from just $5-15 per roll.  I hope with this I can lay down the film, cut the letters and symbols on cipher wheels, paint them then pull off the stencil.  I could try different colors on the wheels, all kinds of stuff.  I'll post more once I've had a chance to try it out.

Not a bad week as things go.  Hopefully I can keep this momentum into next week.  Even bad days in the shop are still pretty good.  And the only thing worse than a bad day in the shop is no day in the shop.    I got some small awards from the day job that I think are going towards something new for the shop too.  Stay tuned.

Till next week, stay dusty.