Monday, March 26, 2012

Bigger than a bread box.

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.  I'm preparing for a mural that will start once we know the temperature will remain steady and rain won't bother us (at least not too much).  I've prepared a scale version for the client and have it painted.  I won't show the painted version here, yet...but here it is without the's 40" long.

I've also been making phone calls, reservations and generally preparing for something big. How big? Big enough to take up most of this space.  It's been in my thoughts and plans for the better part of two years. Some (with big imaginations) would call it a pea shooter. I can't wait to show what a pea shooter can do!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Open and Closed Case.

I made a few adjustments for the second version and BAM! Once I put in all the bolts, is works like a charm.  What a great bit of fun.  It's no sculpture class with my buddy Dan, and it isn't quite as good as a St.Patrick's Day with Kyle...but it isn't too bad.

This would be a great deal of fun to include in a door!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Luck O' The Iris

I had planned to be elsewhere this fact two sets of plans for it didn't work out.  Such is life. Plans fail.
I decided that instead of letting it bother me, I would do something I've been meaning to do for some time.  A group of people over on the "Shopbot" forum worked together and came up with a pretty cool plan for an opening "iris" like a camera.  The were kind enough to offer the files to anyone who wanted them.  As you might imagine, they've required a fair amount of modification in order to work on the CarveWright.  Sizes had to change...bit size too. I also had to modify certain shapes but only in so much as to have the final piece come out like the original.  It was not quite a 1:1 transfer. No matter...the pieces for version one came out great! This little machine continues to amaze me.  In this case, I decided to use an importer for the CarveWright called the "DXF importer".  I suppose the easiest way to explain is to say it takes a set of lines and creates carving paths. It also does some other cool stuff, too...but for now I'll stick to the path cutting.
As you know by now, dear reader...I like me some gears.  When they can move and do something? Oh yeah, that's good.
Some of the holes in version one need tweaking, and I need to adjust some spacing as well, but I think a working unit is very much in sight.
Why? Because I wanted to do something fun that would teach me some new tricks.  I wanted to focus on my skills for an upcoming class on CarveWright I'll be teaching and I just plain thought the thing was cool.
I'll route up version 2 and soon the bolts will be in place and with a little Irish luck it'll be time to turn the wheel...can't wait. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

These pictures are better...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Th-rust on full.

I did some painting this week. Lots of design work, too.  The designs are for future projects and then it was time to get some paint on things in the shop.

First up was the "compass".  I did several base coats before I assembled it (it's 2 pieces) and then began with various glazes, highlights, washes and dry-brushing.  It's faster than it sounds.  I took the photo with my phone, but will update it with a better one once I step across the street for some fresh batteries for the digital camera.

The it was time to get some color on that new rocket.  The rocket was pieces together using slices based on Autodesk123D make.  Once assembled, I sculpted over the armature of slices to get a final rocket.  I wanted to keep it simple and only added a very small amount of additional detail.  By pure coincidence, the rocket legs fit perfectly on top of the compass seen above. I thought I'd just shoot a picture of it on there.  Why not?  You have to use happy accidents to your advantage.  Assuming, of course, you believe in happy accidents.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Did I mention...I mean Dimension!

Working on several projects- one of which is a presentation for a group called "fast track". It's designed to promote new business in our area and get entrepr..entrepren..people with ideas to share them.  There is an excellent prize package if your idea wins.  I'll be showing a couple things and showing what I believe is possible.  It should be a great time.

One of the things I'll be showing is the concept of dimensional, portable murals done "fantastic creation" style.  I have been working on a design, and have a second in the works. One of them is based on the work of a high school senior who is soon off to art school!  I wanted to show that designs for these dimensional murals don't necessarily have to be from my designs, and this is a chance for her to scale up an existing project that's just amazing.  Her name is Shannon Ingles and I'm confident that she's going to do amazing things in and after college.

Here is one of her amazing pieces:

This is a piece I'm working on for one of the murals. It's a 2 piece carve hot off the CarveWright...It will be a dimensional "add-on" to the mural.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Buck Rodgers Stops Here.

I've stated in this journal many times how much I like Magic Sculpt (Abracadabra Sculpt is comparable if you are in Canada).  It's simply amazing. It acts like clay, and yet hardens as an epoxy and will stand up to all kinds of conditions and abuse.  Having said that (again), I've had a sample for some time of a different product that is similar and yet very different.  It's a product from "Abatron" called Woodepox. It was designed to help repair exterior and interior wood on homes. It's durable, shapable and paintable and although it says "wood" it seems to stick to about everything.  The primary difference between it and Magic Sculpt is weight.  It weighs very little.  For instance, identical pails of Magic Sculpt and Woodepox are: 2 gallon  Magic Sculpt- 10 lbs (each), 2 part woodepoxy- 3 1/2 lbs (each).  I suspect that about 9 1/2 times out of ten I'll want Magic Sculpt.  Where it may be handy is:  items where weight may actually be a consideration.  I can imagine a few times when less weight might be better (for instance the exterior of a trailer I'll soon be doing).

Anyway, I thought I'd give it a try on this assembled 3D rocket I built using Autodesk123D make.
Having glued all the pieces together, I'm ready to do some sculpting and bring it to a final shape ready for I mixed up a healthy batch of Woodepox and went to work.

Thoughts?  Well, it handles differently than the Magic Sculpt for sure.  Even the weight takes getting used to.  I find that on some surfaces, it doesn't immediately "stick" (like the Azek).  The answer was that once I did a "scrumble" coat (rubbed the product over the material instead of just slapping it on) it adhered fine.  It seems to sculpt best once it's had a bit of time to set up.  It's so pliable in the early stage that it's easy to over apply pressure in sculpting...wait a bit and then it does fine.  Even with that, my initial coat will require a second round to lock it down the way I want it.  I'll be curious to see how it paints and then how it holds up.  As I said, I don't see using it outside of those times where weight is a consideration (carved and sculpted ceiling anyone?).

Friday, March 2, 2012

Any Way You Slice It.

As I continue to look at 3D applications, it's clear that there are some really neat tools out there.  We've reached a point where any creative person who has an internet connection can create an object...upload it to an online application and get it "printed" in 3D.  You can even take a 3D object and use a tool like Autodesk123D Make to automatically slice the 3D object and have pages of cardboard laser cut and mailed to you or your child so they can "build" the object!  Take a look at this familiar object:

You can tell the application which way you'd like the object sliced and then have it sent off to be printed!  You can also download various size sheets and cut them out yourself. 

Seems like a lot of work to cut out all those pieces of cardboard and end up with a great model that will melt the moment some water gets on it.  Hmmm...ought to be some other way... Oh! What if you took those pages into CarveWright's using their DXF importer? And then what if you scaled them up to some fun size and cut them out of Azek? Then you could spend an hour assembling them and adding glue...but who would do all that?

Ok, why do all that? Good question. The answer is that sometimes the simplest way to get to the end goal is to figure out which road is faster.  I could spend hours creating a 3D object and have fewer detailed slices carved...the carve time increases heavily the more detail you have. Another method is to do something like you see above.  The carve took less than 40 minutes as it was only carving the outlines of the shapes.  It took about an hour to glue it up.  If I went the first direction, I'd have completed only the first couple of slices for this 32" rocket.  Now I can coat it with epoxy and sculpt all kinds of cool things on it and still have less than 2 - 2 1/2 hours in creating it from scratch.  The amazing thing? Outside of my CarveWright application...every piece of software needed to make this was online and free.  Any way you slice it, that's pretty cool.