Category Archives: Projects

Machinist’s Hammer

This weekend I made a machinist's hammer on the lathe. The handle and head are made of aluminum, and the two ends of the head are made of brass and Delrin (a machinable plastic). I had to learn some new techniques for this one, including tapping holes and cutting threads with a die. I've got a little bit to learn there, in terms of how to keep everything straight and lined up. I also learned how to get a better finish on aluminum - these have a sort of "brushed" finish, and look pretty good if I do say so myself. If I had to do it over again, I think I'd beef up the handle a bit more - it looks a bit delicate for that top. But I was struggling to figure out how to hold it to turn it down, so I kept making mistakes that I needed to turn off - so it just kept getting skinnier and skinnier. :)

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Scribing Tools

First project on the metal lathe! This weekend I made a pair of scribing tools for use in the metal shop. They are made of aluminum with a sewing needle for a tip, and are used to scribe layout lines on stock. They should help me a lot on future projects. They gave me practice drilling holes, tapering (for the tips), knurling, and using the auto-feed for getting a good surface finish on the bodies. Although I still need a little practice on that last one - the surface looked a lot better when I used the auto-feed, but I still think it could be better.

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Ruobo Workbench – Finished

Finished the workbench today. I flattened the top, drilled the dog holes, and put on two coats of a tung oil finish. Both vises are installed and working, and I made some bench dogs to use with the dog holes I drilled in the top. I also found some handmade iron holdfasts on etsy. I still don't know what I want to do underneath it, but for now I am calling it done!

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Ruobo Workbench

I've started working on a traditional, Ruobo-style workbench. It's made completely of red oak, and weighs over 300 pounds - it's a beast! The top is over three inches thick, and the legs are about four inches square. The bottle of sarsaparilla is there for scale. It's got a traditional leg vise, and a full width end vise. I still need to install the end vise, flatten the top, drill the dog holes, and apply a finish to the whole bench. I may install a shelf or some drawers underneath, but I'd like to use it for a while first and figure out what would be the most useful. I'll post another set of photos once it is done.

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Shelves For My Toys

Another project I've forgotten to post - I made these shelves in the spring, to hold the growing collection of toys that keep showing up in the Loot Crates. My favorites are the larger Firefly figures on the middle shelf of the largest unit. The box all the way to the left is my new solution for organizing my wire spools - so far it's been working out great.

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Hand Sander

Borrowed an idea I saw in a YouTube video - basically, when the hook-and-loop pad on my random orbit sander wore out, I replaced it and screwed the old one to a nice piece of cherry to made a hand sander. The hook-and-loop still has enough grab to hold the sheets when hand sanding - plus it is nice and comfortable to hold. Although I probably need to add a strap across the back to make it easier to hang on to.

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Bartop Arcade

I'm convinced that I've posted about this project before, but I can't seem to find it on the blog no matter how I search. Back when I made it, it was sort of a rush job to finish it before a party - so I guess I must have forgotten to post it. Anyway, here is a bartop Raspberry Pi arcade machine I built a year or so ago. The best part? It's got a pair of USB jacks on the front that can be used to plug in some USB SNES controller I've got, or you can also insert a memory stick to install new games to the system.

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Weekend Projects

Made a few tools for myself this weekend. On the left is a carver's mallet that I turned on the lathe from a piece of red oak firewood I had laying around. I forgot how much I love using the lathe! I'm going to have to make some more projects on that soon. Later that morning Carter came out to the shop and asked me to teach her how to turn a pen. I forgot to take a photo of it though - hopefully I'll take one soon and post it here. The second photo shows a pair of hand planes I made this weekend. The bigger one is a standard block plane made from cherry with a bubinga sole and a walnut wedge. The smaller one is a chamfer plane made from hard maple (center) and morado (cheeks). For that one, I even made the blade myself from some O1 tool steel. I still need to cut the wedge down a little shorter on that one - it's pretty tall right now. I've also got a long jack plane that I'm working on, but it's not finished quite yet.

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Secret Drawer Keepsake Box

I built this keepsake box recently as a proof-of-concept for an idea I saw online. The top is some burl veneer (I don't remember the species), the main body of the box is black walnut, and the skirt and legs are curly maple. Inside, if you look carefully you'll find a tiny hole. Poke something into that hole (like a paperclip) and one end of the skirt will pop out - revealing a secret drawer below the false bottom.

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Voice-Controlled Mood Lamp

This little project uses a Raspberry Pi and an 8x8 Neopixel grid from Adafruit. I've got some scripts running on it that let me control it via the Amazon Echo. We can say things like "switch the mood lamp to green", for example It's working, but I still need to come up with a way to keep the port served up permanently - right now I would need to log into it and restart the server any time we lose the power.

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