Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What Christmas Is All About CNC Displays Are Completed

With some careful setup of my CNC machine I was able to complete the acrylic stands that I needed for the What Christmas Is All About cnc displays that I have been working on.  In my last post I showed you how the actual displays looked before I varnished the wood.  I needed the stands also built so the displays could be admired on a table top. 
 I started with a simple shape for the arms for the stands. The image above is the layout that I needed for my CNC machine so that both arms could be milled at the same time.  Saving setup time and material in the process.

The CNC bit for cutting plastic did a great job on this part of the project.  Both arms for the stand only took around five minutes to be cut out using the bit.  The clear acrylic is 1/4 inch thick and I had stored here at the shop from a previous project.  

The arms of the stand were then drilled with holes to match the small brass hinges that hold the assembly together. Being as the arms are only 4.5 inches tall and 4.25 inches long these little brass hinges were just what I needed.  Drilling out the holes for the hinges was a simple matter of taping the hinges to one of the arms in the position I that looked best and using a 5/64 inch drill bit.  A simple task that my drill press made quick work of.   I then taped the drilled arm to a blank arm and drilled the holes again using the first arm as a guide.  This way both arm holes would match and the hinges would line up perfectly. The hinges mounted to the arms quickly and the screws that came with the hinges were a little long so I needed to grind the tips down to make them just a bit shorter for the project. 

Here's how the first display looks after I finally got it varnished.  I am very pleased with the look and the detail of the display.  

The second display as you can see is laid out a little different from the first one and has the complete Linus speech from the Charlie Brown Christmas show.  Just as much detail in this display as the first and I am happy that both turned out as well as they did.  The display with the full speech was much harder to work on using the CNC machine as with all of the wording the text got quite small and needed to be engraved very shallow to retain the detail and readability.  My efforts as you can see paid off nicely. 

The back of the displays I left unvarnished as there was really no need to seal the entire piece.  I thought it simpler to not to have to worry about messing up the already completed faces of the displays as they already look great.  All I need to do is sign and date each display just for future reference and posterity.  LOL.
  I could have bought the stands for the displays but thought I would try my hand at making them instead.  In the long run I learned a couple of things and both stands for the displays only cost me $2.00 to make.  As usual being able to say I made the displays and stands myself is priceless. Enjoy the photos!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Time For A Christmas Project!

Christmas time is here once again in the Midwest and so far we've been lucky enough to have little snow.  Not that I don't like the look of it as it makes the Christmas season be more right with the world.... at least for me anyway.  But that is about as far as I want it to be and can live without the cold weather and shoveling a foot of the wet heavy stuff.  So with the season upon us I thought I should at least get this project started and the past couple of weeks have given me the incentive to get going on it.  
  Everyone who is anyone knows of the Christmas show "A Charlie Brown Christmas".  The one thing in the show that has stood out for me and a lot of people my age is the message of what Christmas is all about. Charlie Brown struggles to find the answer to what Christmas is all about.  So with that in mind this project came to be. 

I came across this image online some time ago and immediately was struck with the idea for a new project using my CNC machine.  I liked the idea of making a living room display but at first thought I would use Linus's entire speech that he gave in the Charlie Brown Christmas show.  I had to find the video of that scene and get the wording correctly to start.  This was the easy part.  So with that in hand I began to lay out my project in the computer. 

Here was my new layout of Linus and his entire Christmas speech.  I knew that this was way to much wording to be put on an acrylic lighted display and so that did not even cross my mind when I laid this image out.  I would engrave it into wood and then decide if it was exactly what I was looking for. 

Here is the computer generated image of how the piece will look when it is engraved.  Still looks good at this point..... so I moved forward on the project.  After I ran several test pieces and was happy with my efforts I engraved the first piece of wood. I still had second thoughts about all of the wording.  Just seemed a bit to busy yet.  

Here's how the piece turned out.  It was difficult to get the depth of the words just right to have it easy to read clearly.  So still undecided I set up to make another version of this display with less wording and a little different layout. 

This version was simpler to engrave and took a third of the time to create compared with the first version which took over an hour and a half to just engrave, not counting the time it took to cut it out.  I was able to engrave the letters deeper due to the fact all the words are larger on the display.  Both displays are exactly the same size and so it was easy to compare. I will have to varnish each piece next and then the lettering will stand out better and be much more visible.  Once I get the displays finished and figure out stands for them I will post this project again to show you how it all turned out.  Hopefully in the next few days. One display I will keep the other will be a gift I am sure.  Still not sure which one I will hold on to yet.  
  Also I may paint Linus in color on the displays as well. I would paint the blanket on his head a light blue with black shoes and pants and a red and white shirt.  It should make him stand out a bit more as well.  Just will have to see once I get that far with this project.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Blender 3D Creations Page Has Expanded To Page Two

I was sorting some files on my computer this morning and came across more Blender 3D images that I had not posted to the blog.  These images are of projects that I had created some time ago and will be a nice addition to the blog and in posting them here I find that I needed an additional page to show them off.  Here are a few of the images that you will find on the new page listed as Blender 3D Creations Page 2 at the top right corner of the opening page of the blog.  Check it out and if you find it interesting please let me know. I can always use encouragement to create more 3D models in this wonderful software.
  For those of you who do not know of Blender 3D software you can down load a free copy of it online from  Go to their site and you will find the link to get the software.  This software is a 3D modeling, animation, and gaming software that I use just for fun as well as concept work here at the Tinker's Workshop.  There are a large number of tutorials and forums online that will help you get started with the software so check it out when you get the chance. 
  One more note on this software..... Blender will take you some time to learn.  It is something that cannot be taught in a couple of hours.  My advise is take a least an hour a day to learn all the functions of the software and inside of a month you will be well on your way to creating what I have here on my blog.  Don't be in a rush to learn the software and you will progress faster than you think.  It will take a bit of work but will be worth it in the end.  Believe me if I can learn it anyone can.  Enjoy the new Blender page and these few examples from it.