Macon, GA What's on litllejedi's workbench!

Discussion in 'South East Regional Discussion' started by litllejedi, Jul 12, 2008.

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  1. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    Awhile back this thread was brought to life by Smiling Otter over at another forum and I admit I grew fond of it. So I want to revive that idea and give it new life over here so that the rest of my fellow clones can see what the heck I'm up to, if they so desire. While it's main purpose was to showcase the lightsaber work that I have done, I intend to repurpose it to include all new works that pass across the work surface of my shop. This will include both Star Wars and non-Star Wars related items. I welcome all questions and comments and hope that you the reader will be inspired or amused by the happenings in the shop of a would-be artist.
  2. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    To kick this off I have a panel saw project to augment my building capabilities. For those who are wondering, a panel saw is a device that allows quick, easy, and accurate single person cutting of large plywood panels. Panel saw's are wonderful and rediculously expensive(read - $3000+) tools. So this post marks the start of my little $100- DIY panel saw. While it wont do every thing a commercially sold panel saw will do, the differece in price is well worth it. Here are the first shots of the new saw coming together.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/panelsaw1.jpg

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/panelsaw2.jpg

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/panelsaw3.jpg

    This is the bulk of the frame as it's joints are drying. The next step is to get casters and the base on so it can be moved to it's upright position for the rest of the framework and shelves.


    edit: I'll try to figure out how to get the pics to show up without links.
  3. Cappy97 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 1
    Can you elaborate further on what that will do? My curiosity is getting the best of me.
  4. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    Gladly. I typically work with full sheets of standard 4'x 8' materials and since I prefer 3/4" thick materials they are very heavy and cumbersome to work with. Currently the only way for me to make cuts in the wood sheets is to set up guides for the saw to follow. To do this the guide has to be offset the distance of the saws' edge from the blade depending on the direction of the cut. Throw on top of that working with stock while it's lying flat gives gravity lots of surface area to drag the piece that I am cutting to the ground which in turn torques the wood making the cut, that was painstakingly laid out, curve.

    This project will let me stand a full sheet of material on its side and support it over its full length while making full length or width cuts with far greater speed and accuracy. Large cuts that used to take ten minutes or more just to set up will be reduced to just two minutes to a finished cut. You have probably seen larger versions of this tool before at a HD or Loews.

    Typical commercial version
    http://riverroadmachinery.com/products/RR%20020%20Safety%20Speed%20Panel%20Saw/RR%20020%20Safety%20Speed%20Panel%20Saw%20005.JPG

    While mine is smaller, the function is the same. Hope this helps.
  5. Cappy97 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 1
    Very much so, thanks for the explanation! As we talked about yesterday, saving time is worth the investment in the long haul.
  6. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    Production continues.



    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/panelsaw4.jpg
    Got the body finished and the casters attached to get it on the floor.


    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/panelsaw6.jpg
    Custom fabricating the support brackets.


    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/panelsaw7.jpg
    Six of them total


    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/panelsaw8.jpg
    Got the shelves and the brackets installed.


    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/panelsaw9.jpg
    Set up to make a cut, minus the saw guide.


    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/panelsaw11.jpg

    The panel saw is designed to be multi-purpose and so when not in use it doubles as moveable stock storage. When cutting is needed the panel supports lock into the brackets by simply aligning the bolts and letting gravity work.

    I put it to use over this past weekend and the performance was better than expected. My time saving estimates were a little off but on the good side, the cuts went faster than anticipated.

    With this project done it is time to start the layout and testing for what will become known simply as "The Chad". More to come.
  7. Allie Fox FanForce CR Macon GA US

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Jan 13, 2000
    star 3
    I'm still a little confused but as you know we know that there is little if anything you can't do once your mind is set to it. In fact, I would dare you by saying "You CAN'T do that." just to see you prove me wrong.

    Cheers dude!
  8. Cappy97 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 1
    The anticipation is just about as bad as Christmas was when I was a kid!
  9. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    I have been slack on this thread so I'll try to catch up. A few items have crossed the workbench since the last update.

    1. A book shelf. This was a welcoming gift for one of the wifes new coworkers. She had a large new room and nothing to store books on so I was asked to make something nice but inexpensive.
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0816081603.jpg
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0817081114.jpg
    It uses pocket screw joinery so that the screws are not seen but the piece has the strength of screw construction. It's basic pine with a puritan stain and seal.
    Here's an example of the screws, this is the view of the underside of one of the shelves.
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0817081023.jpg

    2. Paper towel roll holder. At the studio we have had those cheap plastic holders forever and I finally had enough. They just didn't work worth a flip. I took some metal, a piece of oak, and a piece of tool handle that were all leftovers from previous projects and whipped up something original. I ran the metal through a scroll bender....
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0818081806.jpg
    and made two of them to match.
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0818081805.jpg
    I cut the oak and the tool handle to length and turned grooves in the piece of handle to help it hold its place in the metal scrolls.
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0818081929.jpg
    Then a little paint for the scrolls and some mounting screws and its done.
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0818082030.jpg
    Here's a close up to show how the handle grooves rest in the metal.
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0818082030a.jpg

    3. Storage cabinet. I built this quickly and overlooked getting any pics of the build. The panel saw from above made this a breeze and the assembly was gravy thanks to the dado and brad nail combination. However; the ease of this build was forshadow to the nightmare of getting it off the table and into it's place. Many thanks must be given to Smiling Otter for his efforts and help against a seemingly impossible task. The thing about building things precisely is that anything can go wrong. This cabinet was built 1/16 of an inch smaller than its resting place. That 1/16th smaller turned out to be 3/4 of an inch too large to fit the trapazoidal entrance to its resting place. Anyway, the solution was to remove a portion of the adjacent wall. It now rests perfectly in assinged location thanks to a little blood, sweat, and cursing.
    Victory!
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0825081436.jpg

  10. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    And now for some meat. Progress on "The Chad" is coming slowly. I was dealt a blow when I accepted yesterday that no one with a plotter/cutter is going to do what I want them to do with it. Copyright is just too powerful a dissuader. To make that statement a little more clear for those who may be wondering what the heck?

    "The Chad" is a curio cabinet. What makes it more than just a curio though is the custom aspects that reflect the purpose of the cabinet. "The Chad" is large (no pun intended) as far as curio cabinets go. It has a shelf depth of 20" and a shelf length of 48". It will feature a sliding glass door that gives free unobstructed view to the entire display. One of its most identifiable features though will be the Rebel and Imperial symbols that are etched into the glass of each shelf. This brings us back to copyright. The best way to etch glass is by sandblasting, but sandblasting requires adhesive stencils to transfer the pattern. Since there will be four glass shelves I sought out a company with a plotter/cutter to print the stencils for me and thereby make the etching process quick and painless. Oh well, guess it's time for a oldschool DIY test.
    Take an old plane of glass and clean it up real good
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0826080905.jpg
    Apply resist masking
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0826080907.jpg
    Hand carve (thanks copyright) the patterns into resist using a simple printed image as a guide
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0826080933.jpg
    Ready for etching
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0826080937.jpg
    The payoff...
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0826080944.jpg
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/0826080945a.jpg

    Its not as painstaking as I expected and the actual shelves will have symbols that are considerably larger than the test ones. The toughest part was carving the intricacies of such small symbols so the full size ones should be no problem. It'll just take longer than I hoped.
    More to come as we close in on the start of construction.
  11. Cappy97 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 1
    The etching looks SWEET!
  12. Smiling-Otter Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2001
    star 3
    You're most welcome, but from the last picture it looks like most of the work was done without me... That, or you invented a transporter just to get it into that space.

    And I echo Cappy's sentiments: awesome job on the etching.
  13. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    Some work has progressed since last update. Parts of the design have been decided and materials bought. the majority of construction will be 1x4 Cypruss with a sandply top and bottom. Here's a look at the lumber

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/Thechad-bones.jpg

    A little cutting and measuring (not exactly in that order) we have some boards ready to be prepped and joined. Starting with the sides each board was cut to length then hand sanded by myself and the original Chad. We chose the best matches and prepared to join them. Here the cross braces are being pocket hole drilled.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/Thechad-sideajoints.jpg

    Then the cross braces are glued and screwed to the uprights.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/Thechad-sidea.jpg

    Once fully assembled we begin to see the full scale that is "The Chad" (again: no pun intented). This is one side of The Chad assembled with the original Chad in shot for reference. Since the original Chad was reluctant to be photographed he has been slightly obscured but enough remains to appreciate the scale.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/Thechad-sideaassembled-1.jpg

    And finally some test shots of the proposed crown moulding. This is made up of three seperately routed strips cut to equal depths and glued together to form a single piece of crown moulding.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/Thechad-moldingtest1.jpg
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/Thechad-mouldingtest2.jpg
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/Thechad-mouldingtest3.jpg

    More to come.
  14. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    A little nugget of news today, I built a proof of concept test for the door. The door will be a large 48" x 52" framed solid sheet of glass. Rather than hinge such a massive slab of fused silica we have opted for a sliding door. So the entire door will slide either left or right for access to the full shelf space if needed. The door will ride along a set of bearings recessed into the bottom frame and follow a groove for positioning. Here a short section of bearings and groove come together for a visual aid in planning the final dimensions.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/doorglidetest.jpg

    And here is a piece of frame material set in place to mimic how the door will rest on the bearings.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/doorglidetest2.jpg

    The test was successful and is a good start towards the final engineering.
  15. Smiling-Otter Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2001
    star 3
  16. Cappy97 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 1
    The molding looks awesome! Relieved that the door idea is working out!
  17. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    And now for something completely different!

    While on the camping trail over the past weekend I recognized a commpn problem with coolers. Wallyworlds selection of off the shelf coolers was very lacking in qaulity, size, and value. The choices are; "this one is too small for even one bottled drink", or "well we can put the whole fridge in this one!" Worse though was that all the choices are very poorly insulated. The only cooler that came close to working for us is so poorly insulated that it cant keep ice solid for more than four hours. Those are unacceptable performance numbers for a campsite. Time to do it better.

    The problem with the off the shelfs is insulation. So, what if we add better insulation and more of it?

    For this test we'll use R150 Fomular 2" pink insulating foam. We'll cut down some scrap pieces to form them into a box shape.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cooler.jpg
    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cooler2.jpg

    I'll hold it all together with adhesive caulk and run a bead of caulk around the top so get a good seal from the removable lid.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cooler3.jpg

    The lid is pieced together from two triangular shapes so the test cooler wont be air tight but should be fine to check the effectiveness of this idea.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cooler4.jpg

    Once the adhesive is set I'll load it with ice and see how long it stays in solid form and then go from there with refinements or the drawing board. Results are on the way.
  18. Allie Fox FanForce CR Macon GA US

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Jan 13, 2000
    star 3
  19. Smiling-Otter Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2001
    star 3
    Ingenious. Perhaps a vacuformed outer shell for it?
  20. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    Well, several items have come up since last post and unfortunately time is against me for the next project so the chad updates will come after the completion of the cog.

    I wont get lengthy with the cooler update but sufficing to say it will go into full production. The test results gave me a few solid cubes of ice left in the cooler after three days of exposure. That's not what I hoped for but better than I feared. I'm sure that a few refinements will make it perform closer to my expectations. The test used only three cups of ice so that gives me warm fuzzy feelings about holding a whole bag of ice at near freezing for at least one full week. More to come on this.
  21. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    This years raffle prize is a wall hanging sculpture of the Imperial symbol. As fans, we all know and love the snowflake of oppression and I for one can't wait to see it come to life. This hanging will be made of pink foam with a plaster faux stone covering. It measures 40 inches in diameter since thats as big as I can make it and still be able to transport it to the raffle.

    So, to make this we first need to cut down a sheet of .75 thick 4 x 8 foam into two 4 x 4 sections. then we'll pull the protective vinyl of all the surfaces. To make the design I'll use a digital projector to magnify an image of the symbol onto one of the foam sheets to trace out all the corners of the symbol.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog2.jpg

    Because I'm tracing by hand I only want to mark the corner positions. Later on I'll use a compass and strait edge to connect the corners. This insures that my lines will be strait and symmetrical. Here we see the dots laid out ready for connecting. One small section was traced out as a starting reference to keep all the dots in order.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog3.jpg

    Using a nail in the center of the circle I fashioned a simple compass with a clipped on sharpie to fill in all the round sections.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog4.jpg

    As the dots get connected a familiar shape quickly emerges.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog5.jpg

    A jig saw makes quick work of cutting away the excess around the outside.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog6.jpg

    After the inside is cut away I'll transfer the outside circumference to the second piece of foam that will be the backing for the cog.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog7.jpg

    and here's the two pieces cut out and ready for finishing.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog8.jpg

    Since I believe in testing everything I do I have glued up several sections of the waste pieces to use for many different tests. The tests will include gluing, surfacing, coloring, texturing and painting to name a few.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog9.jpg

    Lastly, to give a sense of scale, here you can see yours truly holding the cut out cog for a size reference. Since yours truly objects to being photographed, he has been obscured; though enough remains to gain an accurate representation of scale.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog10.jpg

    More to come!
  22. litllejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2001
    star 1
    To keep on with the progress of the cog we'll first add some structure to the back of the cog by cutting down a piece of 1/8th inch luan wood with a some slots cut out of it. The slots are to cut down on weight. Here the slots have been laid out using rules and a compass and is ready to be cut.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog11.jpg

    Here the slots and the edges have been cut to size.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog12.jpg

    While that sets up I'll trace the top piece onto the bottom as a reference for laying down the surface texture on the back. To get the best adhesion between the two peices I only want to texture the exposed areas of the bottom/back.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog13.jpg

    Now I can apply the texture to the back. I decided to go with a mixture of paint and plaster for the base. This means the color is combined with the texture instead of painted on. So if the texture were to suffer a scratch then the color would not change. To get the texture I'll use a putty knife to apply a layer that is random thickness between 1/100th and 1/16th of an inch. I'll purposely leave knife lines and uneven features in the surface to look more organic. After the plaster is spread ou I'll go over it with a clean sponge roller to pull the plaster up in random tightly packed bumps.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog14.jpg

    With the back textured the top can now be joined to it. Here the top has been glued on and weights have been placed to hold pressure between the two while the glue sets up.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog15.jpg

    After they have dried We'll take the now one piece cog and set it onto a rotating wheel and sand down the outside edges to a uniform and perfectly round level. Then I'll mix another batch of textured paint for the top. To keep to look of the inspiring cog the color of the top will be lighter than the bottom for contrast. The same texturing tecnique was used for the top with the exception of a slightly thicker coat. Here are the two colors together.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog16.jpg

    For a fun-with-optical-physics moment this next image will use a process known as macro photography to try and convey a sense of the textures detail.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog17.jpg

    As you can see from the last pic the edges of the top are still left to be done. Along with the edges there is some detail painting to enhance the texture left to do before its finished.

    http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/litllejedi/cog18.jpg

    If I have'nt mentioned this before let me say now, it's big and it's freakin' cool.


    More to come!
  23. Smiling-Otter Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2001
    star 3
    A little something LJ constructed for me:

    [image=http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o22/Tuaidh/EvilSaber.jpg]

    I designed it so that there would be no doubt that it is NOT the weapon of a Jedi.

    The strange surface texture is due to the hilt being cooked at 1700 degrees. (It's all steel.)

    I don't think that I have to point out (so to speak) that not only is the saber lethal even without the blade, but the prop itself is lethal on both ends.

    Much thanks LJ!
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