Happy new year to all of you readers and random clickers! First lets get some
awesomeness going. Y'all are here for the pictures any way...so am I really. If you don't have photographic proof, it didn't happen. I randomly posted an ad to craigslist asking if anyone could use a sign made for free. Man that was crazy. I got about 20 emails for the hour that the ad was up. Most were just people asking for random crap that didn't stand out too much. One was special. One screamed that it needed to be done.
A lady emailed asking if I could make a sign in remembrance of her daughter and if there was going to be a sign made...that one was going to be it. She didn't have a specific design in mind so I got to play around with the design. One request was to have a butterfly in the center of the sign. To the right is a shot of the initial test cut I did of the butterfly. This was just a generic Google image converted into a vector drawing. I may do a quick tutorial on how to do that later if there's interest. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. I was for sure that the intricacies of the wings would be lost but they worked out well. The only downside was that in order to get enough cut divergence to show the detail it forced the sign to be almost 2'x2'. That would be bumping up against the Y limit of the CNC.
In the end it worked out. All of the lettering was done using a 45 degree router bit. I still havent broken down and ordered a set of real CNC bits other than a couple for circuit board milling. The biggest thing that I notices about the sign that I would have liked to change is the font. I used a font found in AutoCAD and it just wasn't desined to go that big. You can see the individual vectors in many of the letter. The heart outline was done using a 1/4" endmill. As for the heart shap of the sign I found it faster and easier to draw that up in AutoCAD, add the butteryfly vectors, and then import it all into MasterCAM to create the tool paths. All in all it took me forever to get it finished with everything else that was going on but the lady was very nice and understanding since I was doing the work for free. Total cost of the project was $20 bucks for a piece of cedar. This doesn't include the time I spent joining the wood to make a sign blank or the time I spent designing the sign but all that was a learning experience that I couldn't have gotten any other way. I would say that the self test was PASSED...mostly. There's still another sign that I've agreed to make and have just let fall by the wayside due to a whole host of other things. Fortunately the dudes I promised it to have been way uber patient or just completely written it off. I hope to get around to making it... maybe I'll finish it up one day and surprise them.
The most recent CNC news is that I've moved the machine to my house! This was no small feat though. I didn't even want to take before pictures. It was impossible to walk into the office area and even if you could get into the office you couldn't have walked into the works space in the garage from the office due to all the stuff that was in there. It is still a little cramped but fortunately the CNC is on wheels so if needed it can be moved to the main section of the garage as long as my wife isn't parked in there...gah so demanding! The idea is to run the monitor in to the office so you can close the door while its running. eBay supplied a 25' long VGA cable for less than the gas that I would have spent trying to find on locally. I have a wireless keyboard and mouse but the one thing that's bothering me is zeroing the machine. So far this has proven to be my weakest skill.
There is still more that needs to be done to get up and running again but hopefully now that the machine is in my back yard I'll get time more often to play with it. I've got a couple projects I've been kicking around. The first of which is building the tool paths to mill out the lower receiver of an AR-15. I'm not one of the fanatical fans of the AR-15 at this point but its a massive undertaking to build one from scratch. If you dont know me by now, you'll soon understand that I often do things for the wow factor. You walk into a room and say I climbed Mount Everest and people shut up an listen....baring those who are deaf or who don't know what Mount Everest is. This is no means my Everest but its a feat non the less.
The other project I will be throwing at you guys is a cube. Much less awesome factor but it targets building that positioning skill that I mentioned I was lacking earlier. Here's a link to an instuctable that I'm going to try to follow.
And for those of you to lazy to click on it, here is a stolen image from the instructable. I'm going to first try this out of wood because its cheap but if it goes well I might shell out for the aluminum because it looks pretty.
Now that were way down here and most people have stopped reading I'm going to hide a couple of my new years resolutions. I hate announcing these things cause they always seems to be the first things to get swept under the rug and not talked about again after they are made.
- First and foremost I'm going to lose weight. As generic and mundane as that sounds its going to happen and I need to write it down to in an effort to commit to it. Here's what I'm going to do in order to achieve this goal.
- 5:30 a.m. outdoor runs every Tuesday and Thursday
- Indoor run on Sunday
- Nike+ fuelband (2500 fuel points a day)
- Libra weight tracking app (Android)
- This shows trend lines and tries to average out daily fluctuations
- Weighing portions when possible
There is is. Whew. That's rough to write that stuff down but its done. I can always go back and edit it out later!
See you in a coupe of weeks.