Sander Cabinet

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This is my new beast.  I posted about it a few weeks back and have been really happy with it since.  Happy with the machine, but not the stand.  It is too low, and my little shop vac doesn’t really fit under it.  Time for a new cabinet.

I designed this to work with a single sheet of 3/4″ plywood.  The doors, drawer, and back could have easily been made with 1/2″ plywood, but I didn’t have any, and buying one sheet of each didn’t make sense to me considering I can’t really store half sheets.  Besides, the price difference is minimal.

Started with an open box that would house the dust collection, and raise the tool up high enough when castors are installed.

With a shelf added I had room for a drawer in the bottom, and was able to cut holes for the intake and exhaust hose.

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The drawer is a simple box like I have been making for other cabinets and drawer organizers recently.  No handle on the front, just a finger cutout.  This is big and deep enough to hold all the sander’s spare belts and disks as well as some random miter saw parts that needed a good home.

At this point it was assembled enough to apply the boiled linseed oil finish and castors.


Accessory Holders

The sander has two different allen keys to make adjustments and remove guide plates.  Additionally it has a small miter guide for use on the disk sander.  I milled two pine blocks to make custom holders for the keys and guide.  Both sets of tool holders screwed to the inside of the doors.


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Speaking of my CNC mill, I employed it a bit more for this job.  I think calling this thing a beast is really fitting.  I took some two color HPDE and milled out a BEAST Rikon logo.

 


Dust Switch

It won’t do to fumble around inside the box every time I need the vacuum on.  I found safety tool switches online that come with a split up power cord.  You can plug it into the wall, and plug your tool into the cord.  It took some trimming of the flange to make it sit flush on the cabinet side.  Once trimmed and screwed in place though, it looks and works wonderfully.

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Storage, integral dust collection with an easy switch, and a perfect working height.  What more could you ask for in a beast?

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PE Desk Name Plaque

My most wonderful wife has really knocked one out of the park by passing her Professional Engineering exam.  It takes years of experience, many referrals, and an all day examination.  Her year of studying really paid off.  Once you are a “Professional Engineer” you can legally put PE after your name, kind of like being a doctor.

I thought she could use a new name plaque for work that showed off her accomplishment.  The day she left for the test I found a nice looking piece of padauk, her favorite wood, and got started.

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My first attempt was to mill in the letters and infill with black color.  My black infill resin has gone bad.  It came out kind of chunky and left a ton of voids in the infill.

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After that failure I planed off the messed up inlay, and started over.  Instead I tried painting the top surface black, then did a relief cut around the letters.  It was going ok, but the edges were left with a lot of fuzz and fraying.  Sanding the edges was ruining the black surface, so I planed all the paint off.  It looks good as all one color, so lets go with it!  Tons of sanding the mill marks off later, and I had this.

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It took a few weeks of working on this while she was out of the house, but luckily for me it takes the PE board months to get back about the results.  Finally this past week she got the got the good news and I was able to deliver her new desk trophy.  Congrats dear!

Countersink Bit Set

Countersink bits are supremely useful.  Screws that are run flush look nicer, they are easier to install with the pilot hole, and are much less likely to split wood.  The set is from woodcraft and came in a plastic package.  It wasn’t useful for long term storage, and the simpler older set I had kind of rattles around in a drawer somewhere.  I wanted a better fate for this set, so I got to making a nice box for myself.

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I started with a piece of pine in my mill.  I milled everything in the bit area to the same depth that would accommodate the thick ring with the set screw.  In retrospect I would mill multiple depths so the chuck posts don’t rattle around as much.  Nothing is going to fall out with the lid on, but it would have been nicer and rattled less.

I was thinking about milling some numbering in but It would have required a lot of cam work and careful milling to individually make each number.  Instead I used my punch set to put in corresponding numbers.  A fine black sharpie really makes them pop.  I did the sharpie before I spray lacquered the wood.  The marker bled a bit on the soft pine, doing it the other way around next time would be better.

Next I milled a label into the lid and used some acrylic infill to make it really pop.

Everything got a coating of spray lacquer as a protectant.  A simple set of brass hinges made it an official lid, and some magnets keep it closed.  In retrospect, having magnets below each bit would have made this a really snappy cool set.  I guess its not too late!


Bonus Coaster

A co-worker I know is getting a tesla soon, so I figured he needed a nice coaster to go with it.  I was milling the day away, so why not?!  Also I am hoping this will get me a ride or two to lunch.

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Tree Revenge Kit

I love trees!  The whole oxygen-necessary-to-life thing is neat and all, but their dead dried carcasses are where it is really at!  Aged cherry, bright maple, dark smooth walnut.  Every once and a while these trees get their revenge.  Splinters don’t happen often, but when they do… OUCH!  Thus, my Tree Revenge Kit was born.

The kit sits right next to the entry to my shop and contains a single set of tweezers.  I like the ridiculous idea of a monster kit that has all kinds of fancy locks, and when you open it up there is only a small simple thing inside.  This isn’t that extreme, but the box certainly could be a lot smaller.  Or I could just put the tweezers in a drawer.


The Build

This is another mix of woodworking and CNC milling.  The lid is walnut and the base is poplar.  I started by making the top, and milling out the text and tree all in one go.  Each color got masked off and hit with spray paint.  I think this might be my new preferred method of inlaying color into wood.  It is quick and easy, and goes down well over a quick coat of spray lacquer.  Having done a number of color inlay projects at this point, nothing is faster or cleaner than hand planing off the excess paint on top.

Once the lid was cut out and finished I could cut the poplar base to match.  Nothing special was done to it aside from milling out a slot for the tweezers to go in, and some relief cuts for a set of big fingers to pull the tweezers out.

A really funny project would have been to cut the slit, but not the finger relief.  Then, make a tool (with magnets?) to extract the tweezers.  Maybe that tool would get its own box.  It should have a lock to keep people from stealing it.  I digress.

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A set of simple hinges hold the two halves together, and that about wraps it up.

Custom USB Stick With Bonus Disaster

I have a media computer hooked up to a TV that had been running windows 8.  After no end of having system updates failing and reformats I finally replaced it with Ubuntu.  I like the operating system.  It was easy to install, does everything I need on that computer, is fast, and appears stable.  Best of all it is free and can be installed with a USB stick.  I am going to be keeping a copy around from now on.  Might as well have a proper storage stick.

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That is the Ubuntu symbol in case you aren’t familiar.  So my spray painting job isn’t exactly perfect, but I am happy with how this one turned out.  I took a standard USB stick, painted it orange (Ubuntu’s color), then carved the logo into the paint to reveal the white plastic beneath.  It may seem like tons of work just to identify a jump drive, but when you have a mill, things like this MUST be done!

It wasn’t without issue though.  I bought two incase I messed up one.  Good thing too, because I forgot to reset the zero (starting position) in my mill software and plunged an engraving bit straight through the poor thing.

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Yes, that hole goes clean through.  Might as well try again.  The symbol milled into this drive was my second attempt.  It needed minor cleanup, but looks pretty good.  My attempt on the backup USB drive and was the finished product I showed first.

I think this speared usb stick can serve as a good example of what not to do.  Why not keep the engraving going and make myself a reminder sign?  I engraved some outline text into a bit of plywood, and sprayed it with black paint to highlight the lettering.

I went a little overboard with the paint, but after sufficient sanding I got through and had a decent looking set of letters.  I attached the USB stick and placed the new sign on the wall behind my mill.  Hopefully this will help keep me from making future mistakes… Yeah, probably not.

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Wooden Comb

My goatee is getting pretty long and is need of some combing.  I could buy a regular comb for a few bucks, or I could spend hours making my own.  Is it even really a choice?!

Looking at what others have done, the table saw seems to be a popular choice for making the tines.  I figured a 1/8″ mill bit would do a pretty decent job, so lets mill this puppy.

I created a basic low profile pick that fit on some thinner scrap walnut I had available.  I really like how it looks with the lighter sapwood on the one edge.  A relief of half the thickness let me easily inlay some maple.  The grain runs counter to the walnut for strength and is proud a bit to help with holding.  It took a pile of sanding to point the ends of the tines.  A power sander made it pretty quick, but manual sanding is completely possible.  After glue-up and sanding I gave it all a coating of spray lacquer.

So far my goatee is happy with it.  A little oil and a comb post-shower seems to make it lot more manageable.  After all, there is nothing worse than a bad beard day!

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8in Cedar Planter Boxes

We have been bringing home a ton of plants this spring.  Most of them are even still alive too!  Having the flower bed areas covered in rocks lets us do all sorts of potted plants.  Pots get expensive and often aren’t big enough, so I decided to make some customized cedar planters.  First grab a pile of cedar and start cutting.

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I cut 8in boards to 24in length and made some 8in end caps.  It turns out a cedar 2×4 is actually 2 inches by 4 inches.  When you rip them in half they are still a decent chunk of wood.  I took the fronts of each box and milled an “H” into it.

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A touch of spray paint highlighted the letters nicely.  I used a hand plane to remove the excess spray.  The box construction is pretty simple.  I screwed the long segments together and tied the sides and ends together through the 2×2 chunks.

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With cedar wood, epoxy covered screws and a coating of thompson’s water seal, they should last a while.  I moved our two basil plants into one box.  The one on the left was in a plastic pot that never drained well.

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For the other boxes I had help picking out the plants.  Looking around the plant section at lowes I found a pile of bees on the mexican heather.  They seemed to whisper, “pick this one!”

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DSC_0005Lastly, as I was standing in the checkout line a monarch butterfly was making a visit to a pile of scarlet milkweed near by.  That came home with me too.  By the time I got around to planting it was looking a little sad.  Hopefully regular watering will perk it back up.

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The 8″ boxes are a decent medium size.  They totaled about 20 bucks a piece for the materials.  Next I will probably make a set with doubled or tripled up 6″ boards.