Thursday, February 28, 2013

Carving, Part II: The Machine

When we last left off, the design was in the software.

Here's where the saw dust starts.  I go out and have the machine measure the board I'm going to use.  This one is a reclaimed piece of pine.

It's important the machine measures the board so that it is precise and I avoid scaling issues.  

After measuring the actual piece of wood I'm using, and making sure it matches exactly in the computer (eg.  11.268 inches and not 11.3 inches), I upload this project from my computer to a card that then goes into the machine.

At the machine, I select the project I want to produce from that same card. 

In a typical week, I load all the projects I'm going to carve Monday and Tuesday, the Sunday night before.  That way, it's just setting boards and pressing buttons come Monday, which is helpful while also wrangling a 14 month old during the day.

No, he's not in the garage with me, he's usually corralled somewhere in the house or in his bouncy excersaucer chair thingy.  Always safe.  

This is also where my protective eyewear goes on, because even though there is a protective plastic screen, I don't like to take chances.

I press more buttons, make sure everything is set right, help the machine go through some motions, and then it carves.

I really wish it always went that way.  Sometimes it doesn't test depth right.  Sometimes it doesn't recognize there is a board in the machine.  Sometimes it skips steps.  Sometimes it doesn't measure right.  Sometimes get the gist.  

The machine uses different bits, and carves back and forth in straight lines.  It's pretty cool to watch.  No heat is used in the process.  And, we run green wind energy for electric at home, so it's one more way we're eco-friendly.

Hopefully, after 20 minutes -3 hours, depending on the carve, I see this:

And, not some run time error.  I don't like those.  

Those make me moody.

The machine stating the carving time means it's done!

I pull the board out of the machine, and see what it produced.

And, dust it off a bit.

Not bad.  Not great, either.  Which is why there is always a sanding phase.

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