Last week my flashlight was only made out of paper so I knew that I wanted to focus on actually working with some of the different tools this time around. ITP has quite a few that I’ve never used before and though I have some minor shop experience, it’s been many years so I’m beyond rusty. I wanted to get comfortable with some of the basics and being tasked to make at least 5 of something, repetition is fortunately a great way to achieve that!
After coming up with the idea of a simple stacking toy, I found a thin dowel and a pretty long piece of wood. Both of which would need to be broken down, but would provide me with plenty of extra material should things go wrong.
Slicing my main piece down to manageable lengths was pretty straight forward but trying to split those in half was more troublesome. This wasn’t the correct saw for the job and moving to the band saw made quick work of it. This did result in a scar however, that ended up on the bottom of what would become my heads.
Getting the bodies cut for my stacking toys was more involved. I knew roughly what shape I wanted and that it would be wise to work with one long piece before moving to individual parts, but had to ask for some advice on how to achieve the slant I had planned for on both sides. I was told it would be difficult…
And since I had already chosen the router as my best bet for getting out the middle channel, I tackled that first!
I’d never used anything like the router table before so this was one of the things I was a little more apprehensive about. Some other students let me watch them go about it and after some time, I tried my own hand on a piece of scrap just to get a feel for it. It was fine! And then being sure that I wouldn’t take a chunk out of myself, started on the real thing. Trying to increase the depth little by little, this took A LOT of passes. The space I wanted was also slightly wider than the router bit available so I would alternate sides to remedy that.
Now I had to get those slants. The bed for the band saw will tilt which is handy, but also meant my wood liked to slide off of it. I practiced on some more scrap again to get the angle down but also to figure out how to keep the wood flush.
It turned out ok after a few tries and that meant I could finally cut this piece apart! I tried first on the miter saw and that was definitely a mistake. I tried clamps to keep everything in place but unfortunately the process took chunks out of some slices. I moved back to the band saw… It may have a wobble to it, but it didn’t destroy anything.
To take a break from sweating inside of my safety goggles, I decided now would be a good time to make some arms. I’d found a thin piece of wood that was fine for the laser cutter and and having never used one before, found it incredibly straight forward (with some setup help from the staff)! Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera on me at this point and I couldn’t leave the laser to go get it so I only have pictures of the final thing.
With that and after slicing down my dowel, I finally had all of my pieces!
I only needed to drill some holes and these guys were close to being assembled. I found a drill bit the same diameter as the dowel for the holes in the bottoms, and one slightly larger for the heads (since I wanted them to be interchangeable). I marked off the depth I wanted with tape on the bits, found my centers, and set up the drill press.
I really wish I would have thought a little harder about some way to go about this part. All of my pieces are pretty small and liked to move around on me while I was getting them into position. The first one I did is actually off because it moved…
Regardless, I do like how they turned out when assembled. I’d like to do a nice sand on them and smooth out some of their rougher edges; paint them to make the pieces actually worth swapping. But for now they’re pretty ok! And I certainly learned a lot and want to give tons of appreciation to the shop staff. Thank you for patiently answering my constant stream of questions and pointing me in the right direction! These little buddies would be much rougher without you…