Bowls, Bowls, Bowls, etc

I recently completed my first segmented bowl turning as a birthday gift for Kate and decided that I was long overdue in posting the various bowls I’ve turned.  I’m still in the beginning stages, trying different techniques and woods, but, so far, I’ve been pleased with what I’ve been able to produce.  I hope you enjoy them…

Here is Kate’s Bowl in finished form:

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Side view of Kate’s Bowl showing ‘Diamond’ pattern of Cherry segments.

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Kate’s bowl, inside view.

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Side view of Kate’s bowl showing full profile.

And here is how it started ‘life’ as a bowl…

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Kate’s Bowl showing how segment rings were stacked and mounted on Lathe Chuck.

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Kate’s bowl showing the inside arrangement of the segmented rings.

For Kerry’s birthday I made some Walnut bowls that were originally rough turned in Nov. 2016.  Since they were turned from ‘green’ wood, I left them thick, but uniform thickness so that they could dry without cracking before I did the final turning.  They came out well enough that I plan to do a lot more of this kind of turning.

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Two Walnut bowls I made for Kerry, these were turned from a single chunk of tree trunk I gathered locally.

And this view gives you an idea on how these bowls began…

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Two bowls stacked to show how they were originally grown.

Finally, here is the collection of bowls I’ve done to date…

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Miscellaneous bowls I’ve turned. Note bowl in foreground is my first turning. The light center was from the Maple patch I had to add because I cut through the bottom! Good save, I’d say!

And lastly, because these begged to be photographed when I took the bowl photos…

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Miscellaneous Wood Working Projects.









Upgrade to CNC Router

In my previous posting on updating my CNC Router, I replaced the mechanical system with a whole new system that was more stable structurally than my original home brew system.  I mounted the new mechanical system on the old system’s frame (as it was mobile and could be folded up for storing) and kept the old system’s electronics.

I soon found that the old electronics were not going to work very well with the new mechanicals.  The new mechanism had a lower resolution movement per step of the stepper motors (to allow faster movement), but this meant the electronics had to be modified for finer steps per revolution (microstepping) and the old electronics were implemented with low cost stepper drivers and could not drive the motors fast enough with the increased stepping rate.  I concluded that it was time to totally redesign the electronics to meet the improved stability of the new mechanicals.

I purchased the electronics in the Winter of 2016 but only recently got around to working on it.

The results are SPECTACULAR!  Not only is the new system a lot faster (3-5X), it is also a lot quieter with the faster switching electronics.  The resolution and accuracy appear to be excellent and MUCH smoother!

Here is the old hybrid system with the new electronics sitting on the table next to the router.  I did this to make sure everything was tuned up before I tore apart the old electronics.

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CNC Router after previous upgrade and readying for new electronics.

The results were very promising but only after I also replaced the Z Plate in the Shapeoko mechanicals.  The old Z Plate had too much flex and would not be able to handle the work loads I have in mind.

Here is the new system with the new electronics and enclosure with the wiring cleaned up and routed through cable carrying drag chains.

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System upgraded with new electronics and cleaned up wire routing.

Here is a closeup of the new electronics in the enclosure.  The drivers are much more powerful and the power supply for the motors was doubled in voltage (48V) to increase the stepping speed.

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Closeup of the CNC Router upgraded electronics.

Here’s the new unit stowed.  It tucks into its spot a lot closer now since the platform closes to full vertical now and I got rid of the attached display and keyboard.  The new system uses Virtual Networking Console (VNC) so I can run the system from my laptop without any wired connection.

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CNC Router stowed away. Fits much better than the previous two versions!

Finally, for the first test, I decided to try the Pottery Stamp I’ve made with my original router. I checked in with Matt and asked if he wanted any changes before I made another one.  As it turned out, he wanted a smaller version, which made this new one much more challenging!  Happily, the new router was up to the task and produced a very high quality cutting with walls as thin as 18mil and wall height of 187.5mil (10:1 aspect ratio)!

Having made some progress on my wood lathe, I couldn’t stop there and simply HAD to turn a better handle on the stamp.  Here ya go:

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Closeup of first test of the new CNC router electronics. Excellent detail. The wall thickness is 0.018″ (0.457mm) with a height of 3/16″ (10:1 aspect ratio!)

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Side view of the first test of the CNC Router, turned on my wood lathe.





3D Printer for the Little House in the Village!

The 3D printer that ‘Santa Claus’ brought to us in December, proved to be SOOOOO useful, I knew that I couldn’t live without one at the Little House in the Village (LHV)!  So…

I ordered one about 8 weeks ago and it finally arrived last week!  Having built the previous one, with the help of the entire family, this one was a breeze to assemble, although it did take longer in elapsed time doing it single handedly (about 5-6 hours).

I considered going with a different printer, lower cost and not a long lead time, but the quality and features (Auto calibrate being the most significant) of the Prusa convinced me to stick with a winner!

I noticed a few improvements or tweaks in the design since the previous unit telling me that the company is constantly monitoring their product and continuously making improvements – a very good sign!

So here it is:

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Finished Printer with miscellaneous parts. Note the mounted camera to the left.

I did make a mistake in assembly that cost me during the calibration cycle (you can see a nasty dig in the right hand side of the platen).  This can be replaced, but, so far, I haven’t printed anything so wide that I would need that area of the bed.  Since then I was able to realign the assembly and was able to perform a good calibration of the unit.  I think this unit has much better print quality than the first one.

I switched cameras on this one, using the small camera designed specifically for the Raspberry Pi.  The reason for this is that I discovered that the camera really needs to be mounted on the platen, otherwise the timelapse videos will drive you nuts as the workpiece keeps moving with respect to the camera.  With this arrangement, the camera and workpiece have the same frame of reference and you can easily see it being ‘built’.

The camera mount came from  However I made a mistake printing this in PLA.  The part connected to the platen ‘drooped’ after I printed a couple of ABS parts (which has a much hotter platen).  I’ve since reprinted the one piece in ABS.

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Closeup of camera (Raspberry Pi Camera V2.1) and filament dust filter enclosure. This is a hinged piece printed in a single pass.

The 3D Print server works very well with this camera:

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View of screen running 3D Printer server, complete with video!

Having a queue of projects and add-ons for the printer, I spent the next couple of days printing various items…

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Close up of Extruder Filament guide adapter plate. Teflon tubing connects this to the filament dryer filament feed guide. Also note the filament dust filter. Normally this will be located just before the upper feed guide as the tubing will keep the filament dust free after that.

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3D printed drip valve, just waiting for the PCB to control it.

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Miscellaneous parts printed on the new printer. Overall the quality appears better than the printer at the House In The Woods. Probably due to better calibration and newer printer firmware.

With my limited space at LHV, I knew that the printer would be relegated to the garage/workshop, which is both dusty and humid.  Humidity and 3D filaments don’t mix well – or, I should say, they mix TOO well with 3D filaments LOVING to absorb any moisture in the air.  So, I needed a setup where the filament was kept in a dry spot.  After some research, I discovered that Food Dehydrators are very popular mods for 3D printers and this led me to this next series of photos…

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Filament dryer base (Cake Transporter) with final modifications sitting on top of unmodified Food Dehydrator. Note lazy susan bearing and 3D printed hub to keep spool aligned and turning easily.

I found a Food Dehydrator and a plastic Cake Transporter that appeared to be ‘right sized’ for this application.  The Food Dehydrator was PERFECTLY sized with the cake transporter base fitting just inside the rim of the dehydrator, I didn’t need any modifications for the dehydrator base.

I was then able to cut out openings in the cake transporter base with a flush cutting router bit in my trim router.  The lazy susan, used to allow the spool to spin freely, was also ‘off the shelf’ and it just took a couple of simple 3D printed add-ons to complete the dryer!

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Filament dryer base (Cake Transporter) with final modifications sitting on top of unmodified Food Dehydrator. Note lazy susan bearing and 3D printed hub to keep spool aligned and turning easily.

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Filament Dryer with spool and filament guide. The fitting holds a teflon tube that guides the filament down to the extruder.

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Completed Filament Dryer, drying a spool of PLA.

I’m trying a simpler enclosure (a large cardboard box) this time around, but I may go the same route as HIW as the cardboard box is a bit too rickety.  We’ll see and I’ll update this when I reach a conclusion…





March For Science

In preparation for the March For Science (Kerry and I will be participating in the Raleigh march) tomorrow (April 22), I’ve prepared my signs.  Here they are (opposite sides of the same poster board – click on photo to see larger view):

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As you can see, I’ve got a bit of learning on my airbrushing technique.

I cut the stencils out of Mylar on my Laser cutter.  For the most part, the stencils came out fine, but the problem is that the Laser cutter can only deal with 200x300mm material so I had to piece together the 20×30 inch sign and didn’t do as good a job as I could have… sigh.  Next time…

Chloe’s Spot

Sadly, we lost our dear friend, Chloe, in January.  Time had finally caught up with her and we had to release her from her infirmed body.  Fortunately, all of our family were able to be present and she died peacefully while Clare and Kate gently comforted her.

As I thought about my time with Chloe, I knew that I had to make some kind of momento to commemorate her time with us.   I decided to make a plaque to mark the spot in our yard where she had spent so much time; the spot where I could look out my office window and count on her being there.  With this plaque, she’ll be there once again.

Thanks to our friend, Tom Ash, who is a Wizard of Photoshop, I was able to have him process one of my favorite photos of Chloe to remove some unsightly, but entirely necessary, radio collars we used to keep her in the yard in Texas.  With the collars she had free reign of almost the entire yard, without visible fencing or lines.  However, with this photo, I wanted to remember Chloe as we knew her without the bulky constraints.

Here is the resulting photo:

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Dear Chloe in her prime

I was then able to process this photo so I could engrave her plaque with my laser engraver and a bit of woodworking.  This plaque will be mounted at her spot for all to see and know how much we loved her.

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The plaque I made to commemorate Chloe’s favorite place in the yard.


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