Studio711

Maker

Wood Sign

Router-carved signs are a common sight at fairs or even in pop up shops at the mall. I’ve been watching a bunch of Dave Rhoten’s videos on YouTube and finally I decided it was time to try it for myself. I purchased a Dewalt DWP611 along with two special router bits and a nice base plate from Dave’s store.

I bought 1×8 select pine from Home Depot (mostly knot free) and put on a couple coats of shellac. Then I used the laser cutter at work to draw the letters that I wanted to cut. That made the layout portion of the project very easy!

The next step was the most time consuming. I used a very narrow V-bit to carefully cut around the outside of every letter. Then I put in a bigger 90 degree V-bit to draw the big cloud around the outside and cut out everything between the cloud edge and the edge of the letters.

After a little cleanup with some chisels to remove any remaining high spots, I covered the whole piece in black spray paint. When it was dry, I sanded the top which removed the paint from the letters and the part outside the cloud leaving the indented part black. The shellac coating helped to keep the paint from bleeding too deep into the wood on the parts where I didn’t want it to stick.

Finally I used my keyhole bit to cut a slot in the back for a screw or nail so it could be easily hung on the wall.

This was a gift for Don’s brother and his wife in Montana as a thank you for letting us stay with them. And since I was making one, I decided to make two and give one to Don as well. It’s a fun and relatively quick project, but it takes patience!

Happy Birthday Tyla!

Happy birthday Tyla! On Saturday she chose to spend some time down by the river in Monroe, Sunday afternoon was spent eating fried chicken with her family and playing board games, and then tonight we are going out for Thai food. That should do a pretty good job at filling up her love cup.

I was happy to finally share a project I made a few weeks back. I laser cut a tree out of a piece of cherry plywood and then dug a mortise out of a block of walnut to hold the tree. The idea is that this can sit on her dresser and hold small jewelry. I used a random scrap of walnut and it had some beautiful grain in it that was perfect for this project.

I didn’t invent this so if you’re interested you can see lots of variations of this idea on Etsy and various craft sites.

Laser Cut Decorations

If you talk to Elijah, the first thing you’ll probably hear is that he is four now. For his birthday, Tyla came up with the idea of a Winnie the Pooh theme because that’s pretty much the only thing that Elijah watches or listens to these days. He had a Tigger shirt, a cake with all the characters on it and decorations around the house. Thanks to Tyla for putting that all together!

She also had the idea of having him hold a large 4 and posing for some pictures. Instead of buying one, I decided to cut it out on the laser. I did two of them with the top one also having his name cut out. I painted the top piece yellow, painted the bottom piece black, and then glued them together. The hardest part of the idea was getting a four year old to smile and look at the camera!

Vinyl Cutter

“The Garage” at work is like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for makers. There are lots of different tools that you can use for free (after you take a training course and usually provide your own materials.) I’ve been having lots of fun with the laser cutters, but recently I got trained on the vinyl cutter.

Our vinyl cutter is kind of like a huge (~36″ wide) ink jet printer that has a knife on the end instead of ink. You “print” on rolls of vinyl that are sticky on one side. When you cut the sheet, you’re just cutting through the vinyl but not the paper that covers the sticky side. You then apply another piece of sticky paper to the top of the vinyl. Peel off one side of your sandwhich and leave either the positive or negative space that you cut out. That made no sense because I don’t know what most of the things are called.

But blah blah blah, it’s fun! The computer side of things is roughly the same as the laser cutter. Files need to be in vector format and I can easily reuse most of the drawings that I did for the laser cutter. The first project was the sign for Tyla’s Mother’s Day gift. I headed back and did a couple more.

The first was vinyl for both sides of one of Ellijah’s toys. He now has a custom semi trailer!

I also printed a “No soliciting” sign for our front door. We get a LOT of door to door sales people and I have a standard policy of never buying or signing anything at the door. I used to have a dinky little piece of paper taped to the door but this looks a little nicer. It’s not quite as obvious, but some people ignored the old sign anyway.

I’m looking forward to spending some more time on the vinyl cutter. It opens up a whole new set of project possibilities.

Mother’s Day Gifts

Tyla and I don’t usually exchange gifts for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but I’ve been wanting to try out the vinyl cutter in the maker space at work and this seemed like a good excuse. You can easily buy a very similar sign on Etsy, but I wanted to see how hard it was to make one myself.

I had quite a bit of extra 8/4 maple laying around so I cut it in half and got it down to the approximate size of the finished sign. Then I spent some time on the vinyl cutter and cut out a couple versions of the sign, figuring that I’d screw one up and need to try again.

I stuck the vinyl down on the wood and the peeled up the letters, being careful to leave the interior of letters like A and O. Then I applied two coats of purple spray paint and peeled up the vinyl. That part took quite a while because the paint had made the vinyl brittle, but eventually I was done and it came out pretty well.

The final step was using a keyhole router bit to cut a notch in the back for easy hanging.

Will I do this again? Ehh… maybe if it’s something really custom, but it did take quite a while. If the sign you want is on Etsy for $20, it’s probably worth just paying for it.

Elijah also made a sign for Tyla. Ever since he saw this piece of purpleheart, he has talked about making it into a sign for Tyla. I bought a white pen and he wrote his name on the board. I finished it up with “loves mommy” and added a couple coats of spray lacquer.

Happy Mother’s Day!