Simple Shop-made Taps for Threading Wood

Wood can be the material of choice for many kinds of projects, but it often falls out of the running in favor of metal or plastic if it needs to take a threaded fastener. But with a little ingenuity you can make your own wood taps and cut threads that will perform great.

Making wood do things that wood isn’t supposed to do isĀ [Matthias Wandel]’s thing. Hackers the world over know and use his wood gears designer to lay out gears for all kinds of projects from musical marble machines to a wooden Antikythera mechanism. Woodworkers have been threading wood for centuries , so making wood take a decent thread isn’t exactly something new. But doing it on the cheap and making the threads clean and solid has always been tricky. The video after the break shows [Matthias]’ method of cutting a tap out of an ordinary threaded rod or even off-the-shelf lag screws. He uses a simple jig to hold the blank so that flutes can be cut with an angle grinder. The taps work well in the materials he tested, and a little informal stress testing at the end of the video shows promise for long service life of the threads.

Wood threads aren’t suitable for every project, but knowing that you can do it might just open the path to a quick, easy build. This is a great tip to keep in mind.

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Do you have what it takes to make lumber keep time?

[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.

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Creating wooden enclosures

[Matthias] built a wooden enclosure for his keyboard. He’s used to using a Commodore 64 keyboard and decided he didn’t need the num pad found on modern keyboards.

It’s not the finished product that interests us, but the methods he used to create such a nice looking enclosure. From the wooden binary adder he produced we know he’s a talented woodworker. He takes us step-by-step through the use of a scroll saw, table saw, and router tabled to turn out this one-of-a-kind. You may not own these tools but someone you know does. Follow his example and turn out your own wooden wonders.

[Thanks Harald]

The backyard ogre catapult


Today we’ll be setting aside the circuits and solder for a little while in favor of good old fashioned wood and bungee chords to make this backyard catapult. Items needed include nine sections of 2×3 wooden beams of varying lengths, some screws and eye hooks, a bungee chord, a broom handle, and a few other things which are all detailed in the read link below.

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