"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Flight of Fancy


I had a long hiatus (about four weeks paid time off) away from my regular employment, creating time to take a good long at the route I should be heading with my at-home workshop activities. What I do for the rest of my life should be something I really enjoy. I have been making small wax carvings by hand and machine.

I have come to a personal decision about my capabilities in creating precision miniature wax carvings. The results of my experiments have shown that even with my PN, I am capable of detailed hand carving but not in the speed and degree of accuracy that I would like to perform. I suppose that is because I have spent most of my life being very accurate with dimensions and machine tools and maybe six months wax carving by hand. Duh?

My plan at this point is that I am going to continue putting effort into perfecting my CAD/CAM creative effort but not abandoning the hand work.  I have discovered both to be very enjoyable. To those of you who follow my “in the shop” ramblings about machines and machine software, you will see that machine carving will continue.

Everything I do in my CNC interests is scalable. That means the effort and skills to do small scale carvings are the same whether one inch high or twenty four inches high. The size of the tool bits and the machine just change.

I am totally blown away by what I can do with small machines and tiny milling bits. This is where I have spent most of my time and money. I presently have what I need as far as the machines capable of doing the detailed work. I will be writing a lot more about how they work and how I use them.

Wax is presently my primary medium and will lead me to a lot more lost wax casting. I am fully committed to setting up my shop for in house lost wax metal casting. I will certainly be doing some cold resin casting as well as I have already made some useful items with that process.

I also enjoy work with detail machining directly in brass and aluminum, and of course I still have my complete midi sized shop for other metal working and machining. Nothing is being abandoned! I can still make parts for engines and other machines.

My software needs are fulfilled with what I presently own. My CAD is mostly 3D these days which is fully capable of 2D and 2.5D design. The best part is I have the capability to generate the G Code to run the machines in any of those modes. In fact my Taig micro-mill system (software and hardware) is 4 axis capable. I just haven’t created anything (yet) that needs the 4th axis. I am working on that.

Currently I am doing some 3D CAD work in Rhino. I upgraded to the newest version back when it came out and I am presently flying a bit behind the power curve on fully using all the new features, but I am not grounded. Starting out cold with Rhino is probably like a non pilot being handed “the keys” to an F-16 fighter jet and told to “go fly.” Fortunately I do have a pilot’s license (but not yet qualified for the F-16). Ha!

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