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.

Week Ending 27 May 2018 Update

Boy, ever have one of those weeks where you you spend way more time dreaming about being i n the woodshop than actually getting to spend in the woodshop?  Well, I didn't even get that far.  It was a rough week with the day job which kind of stretched into the evenings too.  Couple that with a long holiday weekend and an extra day of vacation (in which you'd think I'd have more shop time) and a desire to get away a bit and my shop time was very slim.  But I saw Deadpool 2, so there's that.

What did I do?  Well, a bit.  I made a second top for the engagement box out of some scraps so I can work out the locking mechanism for it.  I tried one mechanism and while the movement would unlock it, it would re-lock itself.  That was frustrating as I had hoped it would work.  But alas, no.  So, back to the drawing board.  I think I'll switch back to more key driven ideas while what I was trying was a piece slid to the side when an angled wedge was pushed in.  A more traditional key would rely on the turn to move slider methodology.  

Having gotten stuck on the lock, I did spend a few hours fitting existing pieces of the engagement box.  I wanted to make sure everything was working perfectly and a few pieces movements were still just a bit fiddly.  Bit of sanding here, curve an edge slightly there, widen a gap just a tad.  The lock that holds the side door shut wasn't working the way I wanted.  So I decided to remake those pieces and change the mechanism just a bit.  At first I thought the new ones were a no go because they were too wobbly, but then I realized my gap was just a tad too large.  The gap was about .26 inches and the piece was around .238 inches.  I know, that seems tiny but it left a noticeable wiggle I didn't like.  Once I reduced that gap, it's snug but still movable.

I did some sort of woodworking.  I mean, I was working, and wood was involved.  I've had a stump from a pine tree that blew down over a year ago in the barn lot.  My last chainsaw died and I bought a nice shiny Stihl 311.  But, this stump eats chains.  I'm just trying to make the stump small enough to move, but these things grow around all kinds of rocks and dirt which means by the time you see the chain smoking in the cut, you know the blade is gone.  So, I got mad and picked up an axe.  It's going surprisingly fast, actually.  I just swing for 5-10 minutes when I'm free and I should have the stump cut down in another few chopping sessions.  Old School!

On the digital side of the business I added a new page to the cipher wheel section.  I didn't get time to record a new video even though I have an interesting one to do on a numeric rotation symbol cipher.  That should be fun!

Until next week, stay dusty!