One of our members got married yesterday, and I crafted a fine gift for him and his wife at the Makerspace. The happy couple enjoys whisky, and I thought that providing a tour might be a nice idea. The tour starts at inexpensive bourbon, moves through wheated whiskies, and on to rye. The tour continues in Scotland with some easy to enjoy Sherry cask finish bottlings, and then moves on to rare, Islay and finally mature bottlings (25 Year old Talisker!).
I found some old mohogany baseboard that had some aging varnish on one side and some old caulking on another. After cutting two 18″ long sections, a few minutes of belt-sanding had them looking great. I used a 1 1/4″ Forstner drill bit to bore 0.3″ deep pockets for the bottles to fit in. I used one of our two laser cutters to etch the name/age/proof of each of the whisky sample on top, plus a congratulatory message on the reverse side. To bring out the rich orangy-red mahogany color, I wiped on Beeswax / Mineral Oil . Check it out close up, while imagining the symbolism of things getting better with age!
I made the car “Sling Shot” to enter in the 2012 Milwaukee “Nerdy Derby” at Barcamp7 this weekend. A lot of people were talking about adding motors and fancy electronics, but my car is powered by a spring – a 10 foot length of surgical tubing that is stretched to another block of wood that must be clamped down. I added wheels, but they aren’t necessary – they don’t actually even touch the track.
Check out what may end up being the only two runs the car has. Fortunately, JRock captured some video of them. I’d estimate that the car took 0.1 or 0.2 seconds to travel the 40 foot length of the race track, giving an average speed of 300 feet per second (200 mph!). The great part about this “sling shot” design is that the car is accelerated by the surgical tubing spring throughout the first 30 feet of the track – until the surgical tubing is completely unstretched. “Beautiful!”
Last week we got the 60 watt laser cutter “officially” online and working. We even got a bunch of people trained on using it. There’s still an issue with homing, but if you follow the instructions, it works fine.
And by “works fine” I mean it “works great!”
I ended up cutting my Nerdy Derby car last week, and I also did this laser-etched coaster, which is about 3.75″ in diameter and 3mm thick. There was a little bit of scorching at the bottom, but I may be able to sand that off easily. I was still playing with the cutting settings a bit. I may also play with the masking tape idea to prevent scorching the surface when cutting.
It turns out that my angle grinder cannot be stopped. In the last few days I used it to create another piece of furniture: a 22.5″ tall night stand. It’s made from less than $10 of wood, and looks even crazier than my previous piece. Check it out:
At Noon today, the Cacophonator decided to enter the RPM Challenge! This challenge is simple: Compose and record an album entirely during the month of Februrary, be that 10 individual songs or a single 35+ minute track of original material! After a thirteen second test, Cacophonator was proven to not be up to this challenge as a solo act – It’s just too loud. Enter Mohoganator: The distortion reducing, level adjusting perfect partner for this challenge.
The Dynamic Duo of Cacophonator and Mohoganator teamed up with Auditionator (I.E. Adobe Audition) to record a session for 10 minutes and 32 seconds at a blazing fast 192kHz sample rate. This recording was then slowed down to the customary rate of 44.1kHz, thereby expanding the work to its final 45.5 minute length. Within twenty minutes after the recording was made, Cacophonator had a profile set up on the RPM Challenge site and the piece normalized, saved as a low bit rate mp3 and uploaded. You’ve read that correctly, in less time than it takes to listen to this piece, it was composed, recorded, processed, mastered and uploaded. Talk about Non-Causal Audio Delight! Check out the piece here, by scrolling down to “my player.” This all happened very fast, but Cacophonator still isn’t quite finished – it hasn’t yet mailed a CD to RPM HQ, 10 Vaughan Mall, Suite 201 Portsmouth, NH 03801. Interested participants still have over 11 days to enter the challenge!
The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) and Chipstone Foundation recently invited an international selection of artists to create art objects using only a single tool. Works made using just one tool, be that a saw, glue applicator, pin vise, utility knife, etc are on display at MAM now through March, 2012. More information about the works in the museum can be found at artbable.org. Interestingly, the Chipstone Foundation has extended the offer to all Milwaukee area artists, creatives, and makers to enter their own single tool work in a show at Sweet Water Organics on March 17th from 1-5pm. Three works will be selected to join the works already at the Milwaukee Art Museum for the remainder of March. If you are interested in participating, email Claudia at Chipstone.org as space is limited.
Inspired by the Chipstone Foundation’s origins in collecting furniture and decorative arts, and to gain some experience with my chosen tool (Angle grinder with chainsaw cutting disk), I created a small table (and piles of sawdust) in an hour or two yesterday. After seeing the works at MAM and watching the videos on the website, I realized there are various interpretations for “one” tool, including “two,” “three,” and “five.” With this creative numerical spirit, notice that this one tool work has legs attached with wooden dowels inserted into holes made by a second(!) tool: A drill. Don’t worry though, I used the angle grinder to pound in the dowels.
There’s an old saying “Don’t take any wooden nickels” but I say “Do take some wooden nickels!”
Especially if they’re laser-cut wooden nickels from Milwaukee Makerspace.
Here’s my file in CorelDraw, with different colors to indicate the front etching, back etching, and the cut.
I taped down a piece of 1/8″ Baltic Birch plywood to the laser cutter platen so it wouldn’t move, and then I set the laser cutter to etch the front (which is our logo, in blue) and ignore the other parts.
Once I was happy with the front etching, I changed the settings to cut the outline (in red) and ignore the black and blue. After the cut was complete, I pulled out the pieces and flipped them over for the back etching.
(Here’s a tip for you: I mentioned that I taped down the piece of wood so it would not move, but the other trick I have it to use a piece of tape to check if the cut is all the way through. I just stick a piece to the cut piece and see if it will lift out.)
Our nickels have the front etched, have been cut out, and now they’ve been flipped over and put back in place to etch the back.
And here are our completed wooden nickels! Ready to be handed out at any event we might be attending, or to guests of the Makerspace.
I’m not 100% happy with them, mainly due to some weird file formatting issued between creating them in Inkscape and importing them into CorelDraw as DXF files, but those are all minor issues we can tackle next time.
For Christmas I made my lovely wife this lovely sign that lets me (and everyone else in the room) know that she is right.
She can easily point at it to end any disagreement we may be having.
I think I’m going to call it the “wife is right” sign, and I’ll be taking orders from wives to make them signs soon. I’ll also be taking orders from husbands to prevent me from taking orders from their wives. Either way, I see it as a great business opportunity.
In all honesty, the sign comes from a joke my wife and I had a few months back. When we got the laser cutter at the space, this was one of the first things I made with it.