Saturday, 22 June 2013

Week 2...... It started as an idea.

Week 2...
This week has flown by and I have struggled to find time to get in my workshop but I had an idea....... my idea happened when reading this months edition of make magazine (vol 34). There is an article by Kazuhisa Terasaki about using smart phones to control servos. Basically what they had done was write an app (Gluemotor) for use on an Android or Iphone that uses PWM (Pulse width modulation - signals go up and down) to make a servo move. They do this be connecting a small circuit to some old headphones plugged into a phone. The app then makes the servos move.

My idea is to use this app fastened to a pair of wireless headphones to some servos that are modified to continually rotate. If this works I hope to make a robot that could drive around. I have NO idea if this will work.... I will try and get into my workshop to find out... Just need to find some time to do this... its looking like a busy weekend!

So I have pulled apart the headphones. I cam across a problem that I have encountered before! This is the fact that I struggle to take photos at the same time as actually working on an object. The photo below shows that I am also having to work on the edge of my bench. The area that I have set up for doing electronic bits is just not big enough.

This is a panorama of my set up for electronics. Basically by the time I have two monitors, power supply, oscilloscope etc.. I have no room to move. So.... I am putting this project on hold until I have updated my work space!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Week 1: Tool Box (why use one clamp... when I can use 15)

I am often asked to give people a hand with various jobs. So I get my plastic tool box...... problem is that I am put off from using it. The main reasons from this is:

1. I can never find anything!
2. Everything is on top of each other... so sods law always comes into play and the tool I want is at the bottom.
3. My chisel always use the plastic caps so when I put my hand in the box that jump out and attack my hand.... or they have had a fight with other tools and have chipped the blade.
4. After finding the tool I want I have to rearrange the box so that everything fits back in. Only to have forgotten the way everything came out.

When I have an idea for a project I tend to look around the internet (Google images or Pinterest). I then copy images that I like into Evernote. I an idea for a toolbox I liked:

I usually save on Evernote where the image came from, but for whatever reason this time I forgot. Wherever it was though I copied a few different photos from different angles. I like the way that it is sectioned (almost tool cupboard like), this allows you to know when you have a tool missing and where they go.  My toolbox has pretty much stayed the same for years, so I was not afraid of having the issues of adding extra tools.... so my inspiration was set!

The first stage of my build was to make a storage section for my chisels and screwdrivers. This was made using three different sizes of plastic pipe (a mix of electrical and plumbing).

I glued the pipes into some birch plywood using PU glue. In between the tubes at the bottom I glued in some strips of plywood to keep the tubes fixed in a straight line.  Next I used the same system to make a rack for hammers and pliers etc..

At this point I played around with ways to layout my tool box. In the end I decided to make my box large enough to carry a good selection of tools. This meant putting both of the racks side by side. I cut a wooden frame using birch plywood. This was joint by using my bandsaw to cut finger joints on the corners. To make the bottom of the box I cut slots and used some 6mm MDF.

To add the handle section I cut housing joints into the sides and added some 6mm MDF to make the frame. The sides of these were cut to allow access to the inside of the tool box. This created a section in the middles of the toolbox to store a No 4 plane, sealant gun and an adjustable square.

My next stage was to make a way to store a set of spanner and screws / nails / wall plugs and spare hacksaw blades etc.. I did this by using some ply and acrylic (as it is 3mm and it was easy to cut the slots on my radial arm saw). This made a set of compartments that could hold two plastic containers and the spanners.

Whilst waiting for glue to dry I made a handle using some American Black Walnut. I rounded the corners using a round over bit on a router.

Next I added an area to store some PVA glue. I usually use a mixture of Titebond 2 and PU glue. But for my toolbox I chose Titebond 3 because it is waterproof and it would save having to have two bottles in it.  I then added sections to add sandpaper (glued to pieces of MDF), a cabinet scraper and a mortice gauge.

I then started to work on the other end of the toolbox. I have added sections for a coping saw, junior hacksaw and mole grips along the handle support. At this point I didn't take any individual photos as I was trying to get it finished. I added a couple of sections to store safety glasses and a small multimeter. There are also a section of plastics tubes to contain items such as a diamond stone, spoke shave and a rasp.

Tomorrow I will finish the last few bits of storage for items like Allen keys and any other bits I can think needs adding. I will also give the whole toolbox a good sanding, followed by a coat of varnish.  So far I am please with my toolbox.... and yes it is on the heavy side. But at least I will be able to use it without getting frustrated at not being able to find anything!

Day 2:

So today I spent some time sanding my tool box... I didn't think that this stage was worth taking photos! On one end I decided to put a link to my blog, just to personalise my box. I was going to do my name but I already had this template printed out.

I fastened the template down with some spray mount. I like this system as it is easy to remove the paper later on. I then used a router to route out the letters.

A quick lick of black paint was applied. This was painted on quite roughly and then sanded back. I then sprayed the whole box with satin varnish (four coats). I let it dry and then rubbed down the box with 600 grit to take the roughness back after the grain had risen. My plan was to apply a top coat of varnish, but the finish was good enough for the box.

My original plan was to add a saw holder on the side of the toolbox, after having a look around today I decided to keep it simple! I have added a neodymium magnet (screwed on) behind the saw. This keeps the saw in place.  I have also added a section for allen keys and a box full of drill bits.

Overall I am pleased with my toolbox.... just need to use some weights (yeah right!) so I can carry it around! Hmmmm perhaps I need to make something to carry it the 200' from my workshop to my car!

52 Week Challenge

A friend of mine is constantly updating Facebook with photos that she has taken. She keeps doing this through different challenges. I have so many things that I want to make, problem is..... that I have so any things that I want to make, I never get round to making them. So I am setting myself a 52 week Makers challenge! Hopefully I can make 52 things in the next 52 weeks. So some of these things will be quick project whilst others will be a bit more complex.... so lets see how it goes!