[Johan von Konow] wanted to make something special as a wedding gift to his wife. He decided a pair of interlocking miniature rings would be the perfect keepsake. He started his search for a way to mill the wooden rings from a solid piece of wood, and documented his journey for our enjoyment.
This project poses an interesting challenge. Most CNC mills offer three axes of freedom, but he only had a 2D mill meant for routing PCBs. This means the cuts can only be made from the top down at one depth. In order to fabricate the rings he needed to cut from more than one side. With more study, [Johan] discovered that it would be necessary to cut the wood stock from eight different angles before the rings would be complete.
The solution to the problem was to first mill a jig to hold the wood stock. It has positions to hold the stock at each different angle. The final step before starting the cut was to mill the stock itself to perfectly fit his custom jig. We think it turned out great, thanks in part to hand filing, sanding, and polishing to smooth the marks left from milling.
Here’s a project that’s hard to categorize. It generates electricity by burning wood. The diamond-plate wrapped column to the right is a magazine that stores the wood, which is gravity fed as pieces below are consumed. The heat is used to drive a power turbine which is responsible for generating the electricity.
This begs the question, is this a sustainability hack? From one perspective it’s burning renewable biomass. Right now that’s wood, but it could be compressed blocks of grasses or wood manufacturing byproducts. So in this sense it is sustainable. Unfortunately it still doesn’t solve the problem of carbon emissions.
The build log for the project is both image and video heavy. You can see the initial prototypes which are not self-feeding, but burn so hot that there’s a nice pink glow to the entire assembly. But by the time they get to the final prototype it’s running much more efficiently, and can put out a peak of over 100 amps!
[Frank] sent in a link to this fantastic wooden clock. The design was dreamed up by [Clayton Boyer] and he’s got full-sized templates for sale on his site. We’ve marveled at his creations in the past, having featured his useless machine that was made from wooden gears. This “Bird of Paradise” clock steps up the complexity quite a bit, creating a timepiece without a case to show off the beauty of all of those teeth.
We wondered what goes into building one of these yourself. From the FAQ page it seems you could get by with a scroll saw, drill press, Dremel, and sander. That’s the medium-tech method, but you could opt to scan the plans in order to laser cut your parts, or just use hand tools. But in addition to building tips, there’s advice on how to fine tune clocks that don’t want to keep running, thoughts on finishing the wood parts, sanding, tweaking the teeth, and much more. It’s no secret we have a love for digital clock projects, but there’s something very seductive about a design like this that uses no electricity. Don’t miss the clip after the break to see what we mean.
Continue reading “Do you have what it takes to make lumber keep time?”
Behold the wooden machine (translated) that is used for… well it does… it was built because… Okay, this is a case where asking what it does or why it was built is the wrong question. [Erich Schatt] began building the piece that he calls “Wheels” back in 1995. It took just seven years to complete, and is made entirely of wood. The video after the break shows a multitude of moving parts.
The chains were modeled after bicycle chains, which are used to transfer motion from the “rider” throughout the machine. The gearing for each segment was meticulously calculated, then perfected through trial and error. The complexity even calls for a differential and universal joints. It’s mesmerizing to watch and for that reason it’s made appearances at conventions and been featured in art exhibitions.
It’s also worth mentioning that this comes from a very humble-looking shop. [Erich] posted some pictures of his studio and aside from the abundance of bar clamps, it’s just your average garage or basement setup.
Continue reading “Wooden machine belongs in Willy Wonka’s factory”
Feeling pretty good after putting together your brand new standing computer desk? Step aside please, [Kagen Schaefer] has something he’d like to show you.
His Pipe Organ Desk is undoubtedly one of the coolest pieces of furniture we have seen in a long time. The project took [Kagen] over three years to complete, which sounds about right once you see how much attention was put into every last detail.
This desk is amazing in several ways. First off, the entire desk was constructed solely from wood. The drawers, the supports, knobs, screws, and even the air valves – all wood. Secondly, when one of the desk’s drawers are pushed in, air is directed to the organ pipes at the front of the desk, which plays a note.
A small portion of the air is also directed into the desk’s pneumatic logic board, which keeps track of each note that has been played. When someone manages to play the correct tune, a secret compartment is unlocked. The pneumatic logic board is an unbelievable creation, consisting of well over 100 wooden screws which can be tuned to recognize any number of “secret tunes”.
Sure a well-placed axe can open the compartment too, but who would destroy such a fine piece of work?
We can’t think of a single person who doesn’t enjoy playing with a handful of rare earth magnets now and again. We know that [Dave Johnson] certainly does. As a gift to his father in law, he constructed a magnificent machine that does little more than manipulate spherical rare earth magnets with hypnotizing grace.
The machine is constructed almost entirely from wood, save for a few fasteners and rods. Even the gears have been carefully cut from wood, with special attention paid to ensure smooth operation. When cranked, the machine slices off a single magnet from one end of a long chain, passing it along to a lift arm. The lift arm deposits the magnet into a metal tube, and with the help of eddy currents, it drifts slowly down before being redeposited at the end of the magnet chain.
Be sure to check out a video demonstration of the machine after the break, it really is fun to watch.
Continue reading “Hand-cranked magnet machine is endless fun”
[Michael Thompson] has been hard at work for well over six months building a bicycle made entirely of wood. The project started as a bet between two friends, and has become much more over the last few months. The SplinterBike, as it is being called, has been constructed solely from wooden parts, as well as glue and paint – but not much else.
The bike uses many different woods in its construction, each chosen to fulfill a particular purpose. The axles are made from hardwood ekki, while all of the gears, wheels, and frame parts were constructed from birch plywood. Oiled ironwood was chosen to serve as a replacement for metal bearings wherever moving parts came together due to its durability. Other parts were constructed with random scraps that [Michael] had sitting around in the shop, such as the handlebars which were cut from an old broomstick.
Now that the bike is complete, [Michael] and his friend [James] are gearing up to set a wooden bike land speed world record. It should be doable, as they have calculated that the bike should hit about 31 miles per hour provided [James] can pedal fast enough. A date for the record attempt has yet to be set, but keep an eye out – it’s likely to be an entertaining show.