- June has been a busy time at the studio! We have 3 summer students working here now, and they are keeping me busy – and producing a lot of cool stuff.
- Good progress on the Bell Project – a lot of new bells have arrived, and we are making good progress with the software and hardware portions of that project.
- We updated the sign outside the studio (THERE IS LIGHTLY FRIED FISH FILLETS FOR DINNER). I like to imagine that some people cooked up some fish after driving by our sign.
- I’ve been working on some items for my house, including a dining table and a door.
- Brooke has been working on the finishing for a guitar. Once she’s finished, I think we may set it on fire. And that should be interesting.
- We got a large metal delivery, and the plasma cutter has been busy cutting it up precisely. And now we are welding it all back together into interesting shapes.
- We updated the sign again! We generally change it every two weeks.
- We’re working on some T-Shirt designs.
- We’re planning to have a little booth at the Britannia Village Art Crawl on July 22. We’ll probably have some T-Shirts for sale, and some of our projects on display.
- For the Chain Drive Clock – the numbers we had cut on our laser were too brittle. We needed to switch to Polycarbonate (Lexan), but we can’t cut this on our laser as it gives off chlorine gas, which will kill us. We had numbers cut at Carleton University on their waterjet cutter – and this worked great, with fast turn-around, and excellent accuracy. I’ve also ordered components to do a 1:3 reduction on the gearing for the stepper motors so that they’ll be able to handle longer chain lengths and heavier numbers. I ordered teeny tiny drive chains for this and they are impossibly cute. I wanted to stick with chain, obviously.
- The CNC router rebuild is coming along nicely. I ordered a bunch of parts from AvidCNC for the Z axis and a new spindle – 8.7HP!! I built an adapter plate out of 3/4″ aluminum, machining it on the F5 mill. Just lovely to use that machine. The CNC Router is back up and running, and I’ll be working on the dust collection next.
- The wine racks for dfwine.ca are about done – just getting their last coat or two of finish. I tried to cut corners and put on a heavier coat of finish – which just ended up dripping and running and looking horrible. So, now I get to sand it back to flat, and then do more finish coats. Gotta learn to avoid shortcuts, and just do things right.
- The Nazca cat in the window of our studio is getting dimmer, which is annoying. The fake neon LED strips seem to fade out after a month of continuous illumination. It’s a pain to have to replace all these LED strips. And where the heck can I find better quality lighting for this?
- Another big-ish project this month was drilling out all the holes on our welding table to 5/8″. We had originally cut them on the CNC Plasma a bit small, with the intention of drilling them out. Well, Reg got into it, and spent a couple of days drilling holes. Thankful we had the mag drill for this.
- I came into the shop on the weekend just to play around with the CNC. I used the Stipplegen2 program to process some images and then cut them on the CNC Router. I did things like Einstein, The mona Lisa, a big banana, a fingerprint and my logo. It’s interesting to see how stipplegen2 works and how to best process images for it, and how to CAM the output so it looks decent.
- i found out that the rack and pinion drive system was causing me some issues on the CNC. I can actually see the rack gear flexing enough to make the whole CNC Gantry move by up to 1/8″ when it reverses direction. I’ve ordered some more rack clips to see if I can stiffen the system. And then I’ll finish the fine tuning by relaxing the motor acceleration parameters a bit.
- Back to the Chain Drive Clock – assembling with the waterjet cut digits and a much longer chain. I’ll have to revamp the code to deal with the longer, heavier chain. I have also ordered the parts for a 3:1 reduction in case needed. My feeling now is that it won’t be needed.
- I played around with box making software like https://en.makercase.com/ and the built-in Vectric box gadget just to try to get a recipe together for fast boxes. Every solution has issues, but I made a bunch of useful boxes and parts trays for projects on the go! I also wasted quite a bit of plywood. It’s odd that the Vectric box gadget doesn’t save some of the important settings – but the code for the widget is available and pretty easy to modify, so I’ll just do that. I found another box gadget on the Vectric forums – but the code was a nightmare. Impossible to fix it’s issues.
We were very happy to see an article about us published in the excellent Ottawa Arts web site Apt613.ca!
Bruce Burwell wrote a very nice article about us, focused on the sign out in front of our building, which we’ve been updating every few weeks. Thanks for the nice article Bruce, and for taking the time to come visit.