Thursday, December 24, 2015

I Come To Carve Caesar, Not To Bury Him

What do you get for a foodie Classics professor?

I dunno. Maybe a new tie or something.

Or maybe something else. I had to make something for someone this year, what with all the technology I've got kicking around now. The recipient ended up being the older brother. Something I've wanted to do is to make a Caesar-shaped knife block so you can stab him in the back every time you put your knives away. However, the best possible design, with a fully 3d Caesar, requires a 360-degree scan of a statue or something similar, and I don't have that. And at any rate, I'd need to do the design in chunks with the 3d printer. So I'm falling back on something simpler.

The body of this thing is several sections of birch plywood with 1/8" grooves of various widths routed diagonally through it. One was made with the CNC machine, the other with a router. Not sure which method I prefer. I get more control with the CNC, but working with the router doesn't take too long and doesn't tie up my computer for hours at a time.

The face is a piece of marble floor tile I got at the hardware store for about a buck per square foot. The design comes from an old coin. It's engraved using a v-bit and cuts a mere 0.02" into the tile. Came out rather nicely, I think.

Once all the pieces were made, it was easy to glue all the wood bits together, sand them down, and attach the marble with some all-purpose construction adhesive. Knives fit into the grooves in opposite directions, and with the stand, it really puts the "stab" into "stabat."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Steampunked Cookie Season

Remember the Heaven and Earth Lamp? OK, probably not. I do, though. I got the biomass portion of it spruced up for the holidays.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

In Which 3d Printing Saves Christmas

Certain persons I am married to have a nativity set to which there is considerable sentimental value attached.

 If it looks a bit worn, it's because it's probably older than anyone reading this. Possibly their parents. Maybe their grandparents. It was a wedding gift to Stephanie's grandparents when they got married, the same day the Americans and Filipinos recaptured Manila from the Japanese.

The barn/animal shelter part of the set has a little hole in the back where a light can be put in and shine through the star-shaped opening in front, for the better guidance of a trio of either monarchs or Zoroastrians.

In past generations, they'd used a cord with a single Christmas tree light to light it up, but in the 21st century, I figured it was time for something better. By which I mean, of course, time to throw vastly too much technology at the problem.

We had some battery powered tea lights kicking around, which seemed about right, but how to get one to shine through the hole? My first thought was to make a tall stand for the light with the 3d printer. However, that turned out to be just slightly bigger than the largest dimension my printer could handle, so I had to rethink the design. What I settled on was a holder for the tea light with a little clip on the front so that it could hang on the edge of the hole. It's ultimately a better design, since it uses far less material than the freestanding approach would have.

Turn it on, and you get the warm flickering glow of a far-off nova shining on a bunch of plaster figures.

So merry cookie season, everyone!