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Posts Tagged ‘techshop’

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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“Two great corrugated-jello-head surfaces that mentate great together!” Hmm, ok, not the most catchy slogan ever devised. Another reason I don’t work in marketing.

TechShop open house today was great. Did a bunch more scanning of stuff from my old notebooks that either I never built or that I want to build again, but better this time. Hopped into the CNC Level 3 class, ShopBot, even though (ssh!) I haven’t had Level 1 yet. But since I signed up for it this Tuesday, it will all go together in my head, like peanut butter and chocolate. The instructor, Matt, was awesome. The classmates were awesome. In fact, we all talked so much about so many cool things that sometimes we had to drag ourselves, collectively, back into Class Mode. Machining, modeling, keyline permaculture, solar refrigerators that use wax as a liquid to run a compressor, the insanely cool LightScribe pen and notebook set (with audio!) that one classmate was using to take notes with, polarizing fresnel lenses to optimize solar power transfer while minimizing heat takeup, and more, way more.

Heraldic lion rampant, line art cleaned up in Corel.  Except for the fershlugginer TOOLPATHs.

Heraldic lion rampant, line art cleaned up in Corel. Except for the fershlugginer TOOLPATHs.


The trouble with coming home from TechShop is that my brain is still exploding long after I get home. If it’s late, like now, I have to do something to wind down, like, um, hey! Back up the scans from my USB drive, and maybe blog a little. After the ShopBot class I tried to put my new knowledge to use but got bogged down in stuff that isn’t covered in the class, like how to get my scanned line art into a form that Cut2D will like. For some reason, Gimp pulled in my scanned file as Indexed Layers which I couldn’t find a way to compress, so I couldn’t use Threshold to clean up the image from the scanned Black & White Drawing Form. I pulled the .bmp into Corel Draw instead, and was able to get what looked like decent line-art by using the Hair-thin transform. Alas, saved as a .dxf and pulled into Cut2D, I had two different sets of vectors, which partially overlapped, and a weird edge case that turned out to be parsed as a line, rather than as a toolpath. Bah. Gave up at a little after 11pm, but will be BACK AGAIN. 😉 I have So. Much. Art. Fortunately a lot of it is already scanned at 300 or even 600 dpi. I just have to learn to convert it correctly.
One of many bits of line art accumulated over years of drawing; this one in particular Id like to make as cutout art and inlay translucent plastic or glass into.

One of many bits of line art accumulated over years of drawing; this one in particular I'd like to make as cutout art and inlay translucent plastic or glass into.


Yes, but where’s the epistemology, I hear you say. Ah, that is the following diagram, which I rediscovered when going through one of my old notebooks that I brought to scan things from. I stayed up late a few nights with a friend in 1991 and was doing a lot of reading at the time about knowledge representation, NLP, metaprogramming, etc. This diagram was my attempt at creating something of a Unified Field Theory of the stuff I was studying (informally) at the time. I think it would take me at least an hour to explain it, probably two. I compressed a lot of info in there. Some of it may be BS, but some of it may be compression loss for those who don’t have the reconstruction set. Commentary welcome, flames less so. 😉
In which the Author discovers transform-state diagrams, and gets carried away.

In which the Author discovers transform-state diagrams, and gets carried away.


Like anyone will actually spend precious heartbeats puzzling over this diagram! Ah, the blogosphere, where all vanity is made manifest. 😀 But my brain has stopped whirring quite so noisily, and now I can go to sleep. Tomorrow: Farmer’s Market, Sunnyvale Art & Wine Fest, and I really need to transplant those Tiger’s Eye bean seedlings… AFTER I put up snail fencing.

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