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Post 62A – Doing Something for Nothing (Do-Nothing Machine)

The first version of the do-nothing machine will be the standard “toy” version.  I have a purpose in mind for this that will require a fairly large version.  The first step was to look for materials, so off to the local home materials “big box store”.  I wanted something inexpensive for the 1st attempt and I was looking at some sheet type material.  However, on this first version I am taking the easy way out and will use a router to make the groves.  Some of the composite materials such as particle board or MDF is hard on tools so I decided instead to choose a wood plank.  I ended up buying a 1X8 piece of poplar.  I had looked at pine, but decided against it, because most had large knots and other defects and it really was not that much cheaper.  I was also concerned that the pine would not route very well because of the course grain and that it might actually split.

The 1X8 is actually 3/4″ X 7 1/4″.  My intention is to cut “dovetail” V-groves, as shown in the first picture.  I purchased a dovetail router bit with the dimensions as shown on the back of the box. (2nd Picture).  I already own a router so this is not only the easiest option for me but also a reasonable priced on.  (Is there such a thing as a reasonable price to build something called “The do-nothing machine”?)

A router does it’s job by using a rotating cutting bit. The bit is held in the router and spins at a very fast speed.  For example, my router turns at 25,000 rpm.  The router can be used “freehand” but very seldom is.  There is two problems with using a router freehand.  First, because it is removing a large amount of material, lots of sawdust is created, making it hard to see the mark.  The 2nd reason is the router must be firmly guided and this is not easy as described in the next paragraph.  Normally some sort of guide is used.  Often this is a bearing on the end of the router bit, but because of the shape of this bit, that is impossible.  The other methods are to use guides resting against the side of the router or bushings that are installed in the the base of the router.

When using a router against a guide there is one thing to be aware of.  The picture to the right shows a view from the top of the router bit spinning.  If we were pushing the router upward in the picture the reaction of the bit cutting the wood would want to push the router to the left.  In this case we would be better off to have the guide on the left side so the router naturally would push toward the guide.  If we have the guide on the right side then it would be best to move the router downward in the picture into the material.

Normally it is recommended to take a small cut with the router and then successive deeper cuts.  That is impossible with this bit because the bottom of the bit is the widest part, so the first cut must be the correct depth.  On all routers, there is some sort of adjustment to control the depth of the cut.   On my router, this is done by loosening a clamp on the aluminium base and then turning the red ring on the motor, the black part at the top, and then tightening base clamp.  The white dial is used to show the depth of the adjustment.

My intention on building the base of the machine will be to clamp a guide on the left side of the board and push the router into the board.  This will probably require using a spacer board, because the router base is 6″ in diameter.  This means I will only have 5/8″ overlap between the guide board and the work piece.  (7 1/4 divided by 2 = 3 5/8″ to center and 3″ will be consumed by the router base.)  I have purchased some 1/2″X1/2″ square hardwood rod to become my sliders.  It will be necessary to remove some material from the top of this make it V shaped to fit into the dovetail groves.  I will do this with a knife to get the rough shape and finish shaping it with sand paper.   On this particular version of the machine I do not mind if I have a loose fit.

I will provide photographs of the work in process as well as the finished machine.  After this version is completed, I will create some other versions using simpler tools.

Announcements:

I have created another FAQ statement explaining my comment authorisation policy.

This is the first post using my new categories.  I will go back soon and categorise the previous posts with the new categories.  The new categories are based upon the process of creating and making things:

  • Inspiration – dreaming up things.
  • Design – design. calculation, and drawing skills
  • Theory – explaining the how and why
  • Construction – Using tools and methods to actually construct things.

There will be sub categories for each of these.

You lucked out, I really wanted to come up with words that kind of rhymed, but I could not come up with something that worked for design.

You may follow this blog by using the RSS or Facebook Icons on the home page or signing up for the e-mail subscription at the bottom of each page or near the icons.   I also have a link to my YouTube page by clicking the YouTube Icon.   I strongly urge you to consider one of these methods to know when new posts have been published.   In addition the e-mail subscription entitles you to download some extra material on the Subscriber Resources Page.

Gary

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