CNC at last…

I’ve been in love with CNC routers ever since I first heard about them over 10 years ago now.  I’m generally fairly impulsive, but for some reason this time I waited, and waited, and waited.

Over the years I bought a “how to build your own CNC” book, I’ve read countless web pages, and almost bought an X-carve from inventables last year.  But as the years went by my interest turned from hobby to business, and so my needs changed.  I have very little free time, and I can’t justify spending work hours to build a machine when I need to be making things to make money.  I know you can argue that building this machine would help me make money later on, but I’m not convinced the savings would work out in the end.  Another issue is I’m pretty impatient, and I might not follow every step, or complete each operation, and chances are the machine might not be perfect, and that will lead to less than perfect cutting, which will drive me crazy.  The Inventables option seemed better, but not so sure if it would put up with commercial work.

So last week I figured I had enough money in the business account, and there was an ok deal on a CNC.  After several days of emails I had just about bought the machine but started to get a funny feeling from the private seller, and was getting frustrated with his communications, so called it off.  The next day I found another machine, slightly different size, slightly more money, but still a decent deal.  Then today looking at old Kijiji listings, I saw a CNC for sale but I was sure it was long gone.  I contacted the owner in the off chance it was still for sale, and it was!  The price was better than the other two machines, and while a bit further from me, I agreed to purchase it.

Due to the distance from me, it’d take me 2 days to go there and back to get it, plus cost me a rental van, gas, food, accommodation, etc.  So I hired a shipping company, that way it gets to my door and I can spend those days catching up on projects that have fallen behind a bit lately.  We’ve had so much snow this week that I’ve spent more time shovelling that woodworking it seems.

Hopefully I’ll have the machine by the end of next week, then I have to figure out how to use it!

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Playgoda – If you really loved your children, you would buy them one…

 

How awesome is this climbing frame?  All flat pack birch plywood, put together without screws or glue.  If you really loved your kids, you would buy them one… or you’d head out to the workshop and make a custom version for them…

 

Check out more of Gregg Fleishman’s creations (especially the furniture!)

 

 

 

Innovative Wheelchair Design

Duncan Fitzsimons has designed an incredibly innovative wheelchair which greatly enhances it’s portability.  In a previous line of work my main clients were in various types of wheelchairs and moving them in and out of vehicles was a logistical nightmare.  Each wheel would have to come off and then all the pieces put into the trunk like a game of tetris.  The biggest issue of course was the large wheels which not only took up a lot of space, but were often dirty from the winter roads.

 

Here we have a new design where the wheel collapses, and apparently is the same weight as a solid wheel.  I’d be curious to know what type of tire is on the chair?  I would assume an inflatable one would not work so maybe it is a solid rubber compound?

 

via Guardian

Nikon D300 vs. Panasonic GF1

To start off, for those of you looking for a comparison between the two, you’ve come to the wrong place as I only own one of these fine cameras… The following are merely some musings of mine regarding my photographic future so to speak…

 

I love taking pictures, but I don’t love lugging around heavy cameras.  My most used camera is an Agfa Optima because it’s tiny, and doesn’t weigh much.  I mean it helps that it takes great pictures, but it certainly isn’t the only criteria.  While I do love film cameras, I still have a digital slr that honestly takes wonderful pictures.  Where it fails me is in the weight department.  I often get great pictures with my Agfa not because it has some wonderful secret touch to it, but because it’s always in my shoulder bag or in my pocket, ready to be whipped out and used, whereas the Nikon is usually sitting on the shelf collecting dust with a big honking lens attached.  When I do take the Nikon D300 with me, I thoroughly enjoy using it, it’s auto focus (of which none of my film cameras are), and the immediate feedback is a refreshing change.  The problem is it gets used very, very rarely these days.

 

This has got me thinking whether I should switch to a smaller system?  I’ve always liked the size and design of the Panasonic GF1, it’s very rangefinder-esque and with the small pancake lens would certainly be very portable.  I realize it’s got a smaller size sensor which isn’t going to be able to touch the quality of the D300, but I so rarely blow up my digital photos, maybe it just doesn’t matter?  I could easily pay for the GF1 by selling my Nikon kit (and have a fair bit of cash to spare), but then I also worry wether this would then replace my Voigtlander rangefinder?  I’d have two cameras with similar focal lengths, similar sizes, but one has auto focus, auto exposure, instant feedback, whereas the other has none of these things…

 

With the recent GF2 announcement, I suspect the GF1 will drop in price before it is sold out, so maybe a deal could be had and I could keep both, cause I really need more cameras at this point…

Rhino for Mac OS X

While I have yet to start buiding my DIY CNC machine, I have started to learn some design software so that I can use the machine once it gets built.  While there are numerous programs out there, I’ve switched almost completely over to Apple right now, so I needed something that would work on my computers.

 

Rhino is a very well respected design software that is just getting ported over to OS X.  Because they are still in the process, they need feedback, and your feedback is worth free trial copies of the software.  There are bugs of course, but the price is right, and since I haven’t really picked a software yet, this lets me “try before I buy”.  So far I’m still in the tutorials, which although good, are written for the PC version so the menus don’t always seem to match up, but on the whole it is fairly intuitive.

 

The other cool thing is that they have an App for the iPad that allows you to show your projects on it, even letting you rotate and zoom.  I think that could be key in dealing with clients, being always able to show your product to them.