Posts Tagged ‘shopbot’

So grey and rainy that it was very difficult to actually get up and get to Master Gardener class today. Grandiose plans for laundry, packing, etc after class interrupted by major nap attack. Feeling groggy but slightly more human now, still worried that I might be catching a cold. Might have to cancel tomorrow’s ShopBot session and rest up instead– really don’t want to miss this weekend’s birthday trip out of town.

Now have a total of four fullsize tree sides completed. Forgot the hearts and birds from the heartbird tree! Left them on the table saw extension bench, probably someone has thrown them away by now, oh well. They were cute. At least the tree itself is safely in my storage unit, along with the rest of the plywood to cut.

Increasing the plunge depth to a quarter-inch was successful. It slightly exceeds the rate at which the milling bit can eject material, so that the traces are full of sawdust. However, that does not see to impact the overall cutting progress. The wood is not heating excessively or scorching, so I deem it a success. That means 4 passes to full cut instead of 6 passes, so that’s a significant time saver over many trees. Especially if I switch to half-inch plywood, as I’m tempted to do for the next tree batch.

Among many things I’m learning on this project, I just tried and successfully figured out how to move files from my Blackberry to my Mac via Bluetooth, as I couldn’t find the serial cable easily. Now I have pix to put up of the fullsize cutouts.


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News flash: Forest of the Heart will be at Maker Faire! Come see us!

Came out largely victorious in my battle with the ShopBot today. One tree engraved and cut, with only minor (.001 inch) ply left in some places where the wood flexed. Need to bump up the files to cut to .79 from .78 and all will be well.

Realized (hel-LO!) that my saves were taking a long time because they were going to the USB and likely doing block by block ACKing. Sure enough, takes less than 10sec to save to the desktop, and only 15 – 35 sec to copy to USB. So redoing the other files tomorrow will be speedy, yay.

Clamped yesterday’s tree that was a whole ply’s worth from being cut out into some raised clamps and milled part of it out by hand using the busted mill bit in the cordless drill. That gets old fast, lemme tell ya. Got a genuine owie ‘shoving the drill around’ callus on my right palm at the first finger joint. Cut the last third of it out with a jigsaw, and while it worked faster, it was a much scarier process. I’m much happier jigsawing thru something between sawhorses, below my chest level, parallel to the floor. Not freehanding between a quarter-inch groove, keeping the saw from catching, at eye level, perpendicular to the floor. Whee. But it’s done.

Now of course comes much sanding and finishing and painting and all that, but not until I have a critical mass of trees done. I should be able to do some sanding, tho, on finished pieces while another piece cuts, assuming I keep an eye (as required) on the piece in progress.

Between tramming the plywood onto the ShopBot table, installing the bit, setting the XY for the session, using the automatic Z-setter, and starting an air pass to assure sanity, it takes about 20+ minutes to set up. Each piece takes from 1:25 to 1:47 to cut. I have the machine for a 4-hour window. So until I get lightning fast with setup, I am going to only be able to cut one tree face per day, and each tree has 3 faces.

What I can do is see how well this bit cuts with a plunge depth of .25 inch vs the default .0125. If I can eliminate half the passes, I can really improve the cut time. I might have to slow down the cut traversal speed, but I should still save overall on reducing the passes by half, as I doubt I’d have to slow the traversal speed by more than 10 – 25%.

Gonna be spending a lotta time at TechShop in the next few weeks, for sure.

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