Monday, July 17, 2023

Acrylic Boxes

 I had some boxes I needed made.  Knowing I had a laser cutter, I did a fast google search and found MakerCase (see note in a few paragraphs in italics).  I quickly downloaded a custom-sized box with box joints, and slapped it through the paces.  It couldn't cut deep enough, and repeated attempts failed to stay lined up.

 I then realized that a $50 sheet of acrylic was a pittance less than a package from SendCutSend in acrylic.  So, off the DWG's were sent, and processing/mailing times were waited.

Apparently, the MakerCase file is on the outside of the cut line.  This means that the box joint cuts will have a minimal overlap.  I corrected this using a file on the joints to fit it, so make sure you fit it up BEFORE you glue it.

I tried to purchase a thin acrylic adhesive, but that got lost in the mail somewhere, so I ended up using e6000 cement from a local hardware supply chain.

This cement is terrible - it immediately starts to congeal, so be aware that long cuts (like I had on my box) will start setting up before to finish applying the cement.  It is also very stringy - so it will be messy.

It should be noted that it is still a workable option for fast prototyping, or for custom one-off boxes.

The Puck Stops Here - Hockey Pens from Penn State Ind

I have some family members who are very much hockey nuts.  My sister is a rabid fan for the Minnesota Wild - and a while back I found out that Penn State Industries manufactured a hockey pen turning kit.  I had to make some - so I bought the three-pack (a chrome, gold, and gunmetal).  The gold went to a St. Louis Blues color scheme (blue and gold), I made an Edmonton Oilers' (Royal Navy and Orange) (#041E42 blue and #FF4C00 orange) using the gunmetal, and the chrome went to Minnesota.

Considering that I couldn't find good pen blanks for Minnesota colors, or Edmonton's, I had to use a pen blank mold kit and resins.

Each was cast using Alumilite's Amazong Deep Pour resin epoxy (avaiable from Amazon in a 4 pack or from your local Hobby Lobby) because of the long drying time.  Please note that exothermic reactions on Epoxy will cause it to mix while it cures, so you will not get good color borders between different epoxies if you use the long-cure stuff like I did.  Each one was allowed to cure for a week in desert heat, even though the cure time is "72 hours".  This is because the "cure" isn't always perfectly hard.

*Note* - make sure you spray mold release/silicon spray into your mold for each one to make the release easier!

The mold I used is a "Lizard Blanks" 1"x1"x6" mold.  I can't find a link to the specific mold kit on Amazon, but you should be able to find one at your local woodcraft store, or order it from them directly.  Other blank molds may do nicely - I don't know.  Even a 3/4"x3/4" might suffice for you.

Anyway, after pouring and curing (I poured all colors at the same time into the mold, hoping for clearly defined colors, but ran into exothermic mixing), I pulled the blanks out, drilled and barreled them, and subsquently turned them like any other pen kit.

Minnesota is on the left, St. Louis in the middle, and Edmonton is on the right. I think they turned out great, though I am not going to make a habit of making these.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

AXA Lathe Tool Holders

 I hated having my tools just laying around.  Some folks sell tool holders on eBay that have been 3D printed, and you can even download the patterns from thingiverse and print your own.  I was too lazy to set up the 3D printer, so I ordered some 3/8" thick x 2" wide Delrin (which is nice - as an oil-based plastic, I expect it to last longer than ABS, and be "slippery" on the tool holders), and then milled at a 30 degree angle to get the 60 degree taper, and kept flipping them until I had them fit nicely.

Now, it should be noted that I used a mill, a torch, and a heat-set soldering iron.  But, you can make these very simply by using only a saw to cut the 30 degree angles.  You don't even need to bend them - you can use angle iron to hold them at 90 degrees.  Essentially, you can make these using the 3/8"x2" delrin, and only a bandsaw and screw driver.

Once created, I laid them out on a board set to drawer slides to make it easy to get access, and bolted them to the board.

I'm pleased with the result of having all of my AXA tool holders easily accessible!