Rather than buying just a litre of epoxy, Nine45 sold me an entire ChemTec kit of 11.34 litres. That’s probably more epoxy than I’ve used in my life so far. I mixed about a half litre for painting the top side of the fountain base. I used less than a quarter of it painting the entire top and sides. Then I added small bits of the sample EcoPoxy colour powders that I have. To mix them into the epoxy I used a small painter’s brush to blend them in. I had prepared a tray for the excess. It’s about a third full. This epoxy is quite low viscosity, with a 72 hour cure time. I may do a transparent second coat on the base once this one is cured.
This is a follow-up project to the two Booze Boxes. This is a matched pair, with wood grain running consistently between them. They will hold half the client’s ashes each. I am still working on the lid release mechanism. I’m not sure if my idea will work in practice. I’ll find out tomorrow. If not, I’ll revert to the exposed magnets.
The last of my EcoPoxy was just enough to coat the underside of the base and access panel on both sides. The mix ratio was off on the last batch for the panel, so it will need to cure for a few days longer than usual. It can sit aside while I work on the other parts.
A few days ago I drilled holes in the base for the power feed and switches. If a solenoid activated valve is available I’ll add a power drain feature, which will involve two more holes on the perimeter.
Once this layer is cured the next step is to coat the top and install the light cylinders. That won’t be for at least a few days.
Way back in the dark ages of University I built several Tensegity structures. They were inspired by my reading of the thoughts of R. Buckminster Fuller, a true visionary. Those structures are long gone. This afternoon, lacking any urgent projects, I laid out the components for a test based on a Lego tensegrity structure I saw recently online.
It works. I didn’t get the tensioning screws working, but it is stable enough to prove the concept. I may use this approach in future projects.
Yesterday was a long, noisy, busy day. I had expected that the machining for the top would take 3 days. I started at 10 am, took a brief dinner break, and finished at about 10:30 pm. The time projections were based on 2D work, the 3D times turned out to be a bit less.
There were several areas that had not filled with the epoxy pours. I used epoxy putty to fill the worst ones, but some remained below cut level. I’ve ordered more from Lee Valley, and will manually fill and blend in the missing areas. Once the entire piece is painted in epoxy with selective colouring I doubt any of these areas will be obvious.
A person who liked some of my other work commissioned me to make two commemorative boxes. The are the same general pattern as some others I have made. Each is slightly different, not only in size. These two us the same approach of having two Walnut strips, whereas previous ones only had one. I also made the feet simpler by just using the half inch magnets without the wood dowel to hold them. It looks cleaner and avoids the potential problem of the release magnets being in the wrong direction. I also added two locator marks on the top and corresponding end, since the lids are sized to fit exactly, which makes them non-symmetrical.
I recently had a request form someone who had seen my work at the Valley Artisans Co-op. She wanted a book stand. By co-incidence, Jayne had expressed interest in one as well. The one on the right is Jayne’s, the other for the inquirer, if she likes it. This project took far longer than it should have, partly because I used wood from the leftovers bin. The verticals are inset in the cross-shelf by about 2 mm. I used epoxy because of the small bearing area. In the left one I also added reinforcement corners underneath. Both stands are more robust than they appear.
Whenever I’ve done a flattening run on anything, whether a spoilboard or work piece, there have been low ridges. I finally made a CBE tramming device out of dowel and length of stiff wire. It bounces, but is good enough for my purposes. I got the Y axis set very close, but the X axis isn’t really adjustable. Even so, today’s flattening passes on the fountain base have ridges that are barely noticeable to the finger. They show up visually, but that’s due to the wood fibres. Given that this is end grain, I’m satisfied. The base is now 105 mm thick with a ± variance of about ±0.05 mm in the Y axis and about ±0.2 mm in the X axis. That’s with the spoilboard as reference, which isn’t necessarily flat either.
That was certainly messy! I started with the Shop Vac attached to the dust boot. However, since I was using my longest straight bit, the boot was all but useless. Then I attached the dust system hose and used the Shop Vac to keep the work area from getting too filled with chips. The total cut time was over 3 hours. I had to stop the machine path for the copper pipes. For some reason I had specified them as 12.5 mm. After updating the tool path for 16.5 mm I re-ran it as the last tool path on the bottom.
The piece is now mounted top side up, aligned on 4 dowels. I’ll have to run a flattening tool path on the top. I thought that flattening the bottom would make the top parallel, but there is about a 5 mm difference from one side to the other. The top is also quite uneven, not that that would matter. All the irregularities will be cut in the various toolpaths anyway.
The cleanup took quite a while.
Mitch and Liana dropped off the potted base this morning. Now the long, detailed CNC work can begin. But first I sanded the perimeter clean and glued on sacrificial hold-down blocks. Once the glue is fully set I’ll drill hold-down holes. The bottom is fairly level but I will still run a flattening pass. The top is less flat, so I shimmed the gaps all around. The order of operations will be flatten and machine the bottom cavities first. This shouldn’t take more than a few hours of machine time and is not dimension sensitive for the most part.