Solenoid Engine with Woodworking Chops

Simple, elegant, and well executed. This solenoid engine build is everything we’ve come to love about [Matthias Wandel]’s work. If you don’t recognize his name you probably remember the name of his site: Wood Gears.

In what feels like an afternoon project he put together a solenoid engine. It translates the linear motion of a small solenoid into the circular motion of a flywheel. The only specialized part in this hack is the solenoid. It has a pretty long throw and includes a hinge pin at the end.

The rest is crafted mostly of wood — it is admirable how he uses that table saw like a surgeon uses a scalpel. The wooden components include a base, flywheel, very interesting bearing blocks, and a few mounting brackets to hold everything in just the right place. Add to this a coat hanger for the cam shaft, the internals of a terminal strip for the cam, some heavy gauge wire, and you’re in business. The latter two make up a clever electrical switch that synchronizes the drive of the solenoid with the flywheel.

It’s amusing to hear [Matthias] mention that this engine isn’t very practical. We still think the project has merit — it’s great for learning about how simple an engine can be, and for developing an intuitive appreciation for how great commercially available motors and engines actually are. Plus, if you can mimic these fabrication techniques you can build anything. Great work on this one [Matthias], another thing of beauty!

Check out his video below, then go back and check out his air-powered engine and of course, a hack that actually uses wood gears.

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Matthias Builds A Belt Sander

[Matthias Wandel] is the preeminent YouTube woodworker, with dozens of machines constructed from wooden gears, amazing machines that produce perfect mortise and tenons, and home-built table saws and jointers. Actually building something instead of buying it is a hallmark of [Matthias]’ channel, and he’s at it again, building his own woodworking machines. This time it’s a 1″ wide belt sander. Of course anyone can go out and simply buy one of these sanders for under $100, but what’s the point in that when you can build one out of plywood and a motor you picked out of the trash?

The design of this belt sander – just like the commercial version he’s improving upon – uses three wheels to guide the 42″ long strip of sandpaper around its course. [Matthias] is using rollerblade wheels for the front wheels. Rollerblade wheels aren’t the best shape for bearings, this can be fixed by using a table saw as a lathe. Yes, [Matthias] lathes with a table saw. He’s just that good.

The rest of the frame was carefully constructed out of plywood and powered by a 1/3 horsepower furnace fan motor pulled from the trash. There are a few interesting features that make this belt sander exceptionally useful: a rounded platen behind the belt makes sanding interior corners very easy, and is something that isn’t usually found on commercial belt sanders.

You can check out [Matthias]’ video below.

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Cake Knife Tessellates Cake

Rectangles? Squares? Pie slices? Who says dessert has to come in that shape? Why not triangles, circles, or even hexagons? Master of all things woodworking [Matthias Wandel] decided to solve this problem, and delved into a bit of metal working.

Using a strip of 26 gauge stainless steel, [Matthias] threw together some wood clamps in order to bend the metal into funky looking blade. He then put slits into a nice wooden handle and assembled the whole thing with a very slight positive curve, allowing you to roll the knife as you cut your confectionery.

As you can see in the following video, it works pretty well — and always, it’s a pleasure to see this man work.

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Circular Saw to Table Saw Conversion

Corded circular saws are a dime-a-dozen at any old thrift store, yet table saws are a bit more of a costly investment — have you ever wondered if you could just make one out of a circular saw? [Matthias Wandel] did, and he just so happens to be very good at woodworking! He makes a lot of great woodworking videos to share on YouTube, and in his latest blog post, he shows us a rather elaborate way to convert a plain old circular saw, into a functional table saw.

While the concept seems simple, unless you do a lot of woodworking, you’ll probably marvel at how easily making things comes to [Matthias] — we know we did. By the end of the video he has a fully functional table saw that can raise and lower in height, and cut at different angles.

If you’re interested in making one yourself, he does a very thorough job explaining the process in his video — check it out after the break!

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WonderHowTo inteview of [Matthias Wandel]

If you’re an avid Hackaday reader chances are that you immediately recognized [Matthias Wandel’s] name. He’s been featured many many times to go along with his many many talents. Most notably, his ability to do some amazing things with wood. But really, it’s the idea that counts, and he seems to have a duffle bag full of them. [Rachel adn Justin] over at WonderHowTo recently published a full interview with Mattias. In it he shares his thoughts on where some of these ideas come from, how he approaches his projects, and even shares some advice for those just getting started.

This is usually the time where we make a witty remark and try to work in links to feature articles from the past. If we were limited to just one it would be pretty tough (although there’s a special place in our hearts for the wasp sucker). Luckily we’re not limited, so here’s a list of some of [Matthias’] projects which Hackaday covered previously: