Oscillating Spindle Sander

spindlesanderI’m really enjoying my Grizzly band saw. It comes in handy on almost every single project. Now that I have the band saw, I find myself cutting a lot more curves. Curves were tricky to sand with my existing tools so that meant a lot of sanding by hand. With pine or other soft woods, that’s not too bad, but sanding walnut and maple can take a lot of effort.

To speed things up, I purchased an oscillating spindle sander. You install cylinders of various sizes into the machine. Each cylinder is covered in sand paper and it spins around. That’s the basic idea, but if it stopped there, the place where the sandpaper connected with the wood would fill up with dust very quickly and reduce the effectiveness of the sandpaper. In addition to spinning, this machine also moves the cylinder up and down which gives the sandpaper a chance to “breathe” and throw off some of the dust. There’s also a dust collection port which pulls in dust right around the cylinder so it keeps the air pretty clean.

This setup is really handy for sanding curves. Even if you don’t have a cylinder that matches your curve exactly, it will still be better than using a flat sanding surface.

I picked this one up at Harbor Freight for $99 with a coupon. I figure this is a great tool to buy from them because it doesn’t need to be super precise or perfect.

My shop is pretty well-stocked for tools now. This was the last power tool on my list. Obviously there are always more tools you can buy, but I feel like I’m well-equipped to handle most of the projects that I’m interested in. I’d still love some kind of a CNC machine or 3D printer, but I keep reminding myself that I have access to them for free through work and I haven’t even taken advantage of that yet. Those purchases are going to be a ways down the road which is fine because it will give the technology more time to mature.

Now I need to get started on some shop furniture. My jointer, planer, router table, drum sander and this new spindle sander don’t really have a good home and they each alternate between the floor and a folding table. I’m planning a few more rolling carts with storage underneath.

Amazon Handmade

amazonhandmadeWhen you think about buying handmade craft projects online, you probably think of Etsy. They’ve been around for a long time and they’re the uncontested leader in the market. However, Etsy has left a lot of angry makers in their wake. You can read a good write up about that on Wired, but for example, Etsy made a change to allow companies to sell their products. So if you’re thinking about selling a few of your crafts on the site, you’re going to be competing with a company doing a million dollars in sales. Not only does it make it really difficult for the individual maker to survive, it also dupes buyers into thinking they are buying something handmade when really it might be just churned out by a company.

Amazon is capitalizing on that frustration with their Handmade section. They emphasize that items must not come from a factory and they must be genuinely handmade. Products on Amazon Handmade aren’t cheap but that’s viewed by many makers as a good thing because hand making items is not cheap. The prices seem to reflect actual costs for someone trying to make a living doing this type of work.

It’s just getting started but they already have over 80,000 items. That’s a small number compared to Etsy, but it’s worth checking out when you’re looking to purchase, and it might be an interesting option if you’re looking to sell your crafts too.

Working With ISOs

isofileWe don’t get a lot of software on discs anymore, but it does still happen. What do you do when you need to install that software on a computer without a DVD drive? You could buy a USB DVD drive but that’s a pain to hook up. Instead, consider turning that DVD disc into an “ISO” file. It’s a single file that fully represents the disc. With modern versions of Windows, you can “mount” the ISO file and Windows treats that file just like it would if you had put the actual disc into the computer. If your computer doesn’t have this mounting feature, there are plenty of free software solutions. Virtual Clone Drive is a great one.

How do you make an ISO? Grab a free copy of ImgBurn. It has tons of options including making an ISO from a disc and burning an ISO back to a disc.

This might seem slightly geeky but it’s a great way to get rid of all those discs sitting in the closet. Just rip them to ISO files and then toss the discs. You can easily access them from any computer in your house and if you really need a disc again, you can burn it.

New Poster Frame

After the success I had putting a new picture into an existing frame, I decided to try my luck again with the other big picture in our living room. This one was a little trickier to cut because there is no matte so the picture needs to be cut exactly to the right size. I printed this one at Walgreens again because they had another 50% off sale. That meant that a 24×36″ print was only $15.

The replacement went well and I think it looks great. The photo is an HDR shot from our vacation to Lake Cavanaugh a few months ago.


Fantasy Football – Week 11

2015_week11_newtonIs there some way that the Seahawks can play the 49ers every week? They make the Seahawks look good. The first two series were awesome. It was three and out for the 49ers and then the Seahawks drove down the field and scored, just like a real team! They have very little chance of making the playoffs, but if they want to keep a glimmer of the dream alive, they need to win these tough games against Pittsburgh and Minnesota.

I continued my slide and my run for the longest losing streak of the season. Congrats to Logan who is now tied with me for first place! He has also climbed to the top of the power rankings. Watch out for Austin though who is on a 4 game winning streak and is looking to repeat his late season run from last year. We have three games left before the playoffs. Logan and I have clinched spots but the other two spots are still up for grabs.

Here are the power rankings I mentioned earlier:

1. Logan (+2)
2. Austin (-1)
3. Ben (-1)
4. Luke (+2)

Now on to the weekly awards.

This Week Season All-Time
Highest Team Score Logan had 150.95 Tim 200.51 (Week 3) Tim 200.51 (2013)
Lowest Team Score Jim had 63.68 Andy had 62.50 (Week 10) Luke 47.01 (2011)
Biggest Blowout Logan beat Dad by 53.74 Ben beat Dad by 111.43 (Week 8) Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest Win Austin beat Ben by 7.92 Ben beat Andy by 2.46 (Week 7) Jim beat Ben by 0.12 (2012)
Highest Scoring Player Cam Newton had 41.44 for Austin. Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (Week 8) Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Longest Active Winning Streak Austin has a 4 game winning streak Ben had an 8 game winning streak (Week 8) Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had an 8 game winning streak
Longest Active Losing Streak Andy has a 5 game losing streak Was Luke, Austin and Tim had 5 game losing streaks. (Weeks 5, 7 and 8) Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)