Thu, Jul 21 2011 03:46
Every once in a while, I get myself into making something and it just seem sthat everything that can go wrong, will and is going wrong. But when I press on through it, the product at the other end is a wonderful mixture of good intentions and adjusting to the circumstances at hand. This piece in particular exemplifies the term, happy accidents.
I take everything in stride (or at least I try to), but I am always amazed at how strange accidents seem to clump up. Between having my house struck by lightning which damaged the CNC controller and speed sensors in my Lathe. Not to mention fried various other lights and electronics through out my house, cracking a bearing in my CNC Mill (completely unrelated), Which knocked out a second machine for over a week, Snapping a few expensive bits relearning the joys of working in copper, and a few other smaller things not worth mentioning, I still managed to make this sculpture while adjusting and adapting to the ever changing tooling and set ups at my disposal. I hope that does not sound like I am complaining, I am simply trying to relate the circumstances that influenced many of my design choices while making this work.
So to start out, I had been playing with the idea of doing a more free form piece for a while, meaning not planning so much, and instead, began by picking up pieces of metal, and started cutting to see where it lead. Naturally my eye drifted to this gorgeous piece of copper I had sitting around and I worked from there. As I alluded to above, Copper is as difficult a material as there is to machine due to it being very soft and very sticky (as far as metal is concerned) It requires lots and lots of cutting oil to keep the tool from binding and I was reminded of this rather quickly as I started this project.
So just when I would start to settle in on a final design, be it lightning or another break down, I would have to stop, rethink what I was doing, and adjust, which lead to a number of design changes that I think in retrospect worked out for the better. The process for this one was much more fluid and dynamic than usual and though a bit more uncertain and stressful, more rewarding in some ways. In the end, I had to bypass some of the fried circuits in my lathe so that I could operate the burned out parts manually, I did a few operations the old fashioned way, and design around the rest. It was lots of fun.
Sat, Jul 2 2011 05:31
My latest creation everyone. This one took some time, but it was well worth it.
It stands about 19 inches tall and is about 8 in diameter.
I utilized a lot of what I learned during my two previous studies to work out exactly the right way I wanted to plot the markings around the radius shape of the body and to be doubly sure there would be no mistakes. It turned out better than I expected.
This piece also afforded me a chance to try out a new way of cutting metal. After building a spindle lock and this custom tool holder, I used my mill as a slotting machine where as the bit takes long slow slices out of the metal with a stationary bit, rather than using a spinning tool. Only good for types of slotting, but then that is what I need.
Lastly for the what I will call the leg details on the piece. A custom arbor was employed to cut the radius shape around the circumference of the three brass dowels and do the slotting on them as well. As I have said in previous posts. sometimes you spend a good bit of time building custom tools, only to use them once. But if it is what you need there really is little choice. The arbor can be seen in the top left. It could almost be turned into a part of a sculpture on its own, Maybe I will come up with a use for it yet.
Sun, Jun 26 2011 12:54
Finished this drawing for my current project. The Machining is still under way, but this is a little teaser for everyone to look at. More in a week or so.
New small works
Sat, Jun 11 2011 01:31
These two are the second and third
installments before I move on to a bigger project. This first one is more a
technical achievement than anything.
The machining of the center piece on this one involved writing a program
that wrapped a helix around the sphere. rather than run the cut straight
through It took quite a while to figure out the tool path geometry because
it involved changing the helix as the cutter progressed deeper into the work
piece. Not an easy thing for me to solve. Also making the actual cuts in
Stainless steel called for some extra care as well.
This one was a little more straight forward and was practice for the one at the top.
I used it as a test piece to work out Trying to machine stainless using a
tool path that brought a ball mill in an arc vertically over the work
surface rather than around, which creates an ever changing cutting force on
the bit as it shifts from a vertical to horizontal cutting action. I am sure
that is an inadequate description, but I would have to show you.
a process shot of this one for the record.
and just one more two show them in the real word rather than the black void.
As always, I like to hear thoughts and comments.