CNC Table Saw Jig

table saw jig

[] seems to be a wealth of clever hacks, and this CNC box joint jig is no exception.  Although one has to manually move the jig to make the actual cut, it still gives the user a lot of extra functionality. One only has to click the mouse button to advance the workpiece.  One drawback to using a table saw, even with this jig is that some internal parts still may have to be cut. Check out the video after the break to see this device in action, or skip to around 3:08 to see what hand operations still have to be done.

Besides just being a cool build, we loved the box-jointed project enclosure for the electronics. As this was made in 2003, it’s nice to see that the idea of “self-replication” (at least in part) didn’t start with the [Rep-Rap]. The 10 year old (as of 2003) Thinkpad notebook computer running QBasic in DOS is a nice “hacker” touch as is using 100 Watt light bulbs as power resistors. Pretty clever electronics, especially for someone that’s known more for his excellent woodworking skills than his obvious electrical engineering knowledge! [Read more...]

Making giant wooden balls

One day, we hope, we’ll be as awesome as [Keith Holaman]. He makes humongous wooden balls with a chainsaw, crane, and a truck-mounted lathe.

[Keith] got his start making wooden balls on a small lathe at home. For some reason he always wanted to make a bigger wooden ball, but his equipment at the time couldn’t handle this size in [Keith]‘s imagination.

To make his gigantic wooden balls, [Keith] skulks around his local forest looking for downed trees and stumps. After getting these huge logs home, he roughs out the sphere with a chainsaw, mounts a chuck on the log with huge bolts, and attached it to a diesel motor.

Because the logs are so huge, he can’t turn the log very fast. to remove a whole lot of wood very quickly, [Keith] spins his tool head at a few thousand RPM.

There aren’t many build details or even an indication of how big these wooden balls are. We’d guess they’re easily over a meter in diameter. If anyone knows where we can see these balls in person, drop a note in the comments.

A 3D Pantograph


It seems that there is no end to ingenious woodworking tools, such as this 3-D Router Pantograph from []. The pantograph, a design using linkages to trace and scale drawings, may have been invented in the 1600s, but if we were honest, most of us haven’t heard of this device. This particular pantograph is able to trace letters or other stencils in three dimensions by pivoting about an additional axis.

If you’re wondering where to get these stencils, they’ve got you covered with an online stencil generation tool. However, if you want to make even more detailed stencils, we might recommend using a free drafting tool such as Draftsight (here’s a review), or Sketchup.

[Woodgears] gives a good explanation of how it’s made in the video after the break. You can also buy plans for it if you want templates to use to cut everything. [Read more...]

A Wooden Engine Powered By Compressed Air

You may have seen an air powered engine at some point, but most are made out of some sort of metal. This engine, however, is made entirely out of wood (and fasteners). One might wonder how a design like this was conceived, but this may be explained by ['s] tagline: “An engineer’s approach to woodworking.”  It should also be noted that this is actually [Matthias'] sequel to  “Wooden Air Engine 1.

The engine itself is a neat device in that it uses power from compressed air (or suction from a vacuum cleaner) to make the piston and connecting rod cycle back and forth to spin a flywheel.  The other connecting rod is used to switch which side of the “clyinder” received air pressure (or vacuum).  A really neat mechanical assembly, and one that took a good amount of skill to make out of wood.  Check out the video after the break to see how it all works!

If you’d like your woodworking to be more automatic, check out this post about how to set up a CNC router for your personal use.

A Wooden Computer Case, Monitor Stand, and Keyboard

Wood and electronics don’t generally mix nowadays, but if you yearn back to a time when radios and the like had a nice wooden finish, this wooden computer case may be for you. Combine that with a Wooden keyboard enclosure, and maybe even a LCD monitor stand and you’ll have a setup that should fit in with any wood-themed decor!

The wooden computer case is actually more of a cover in that it uses most of the stock case to house all of the components.  It would definitely be a pain, and possibly a fire-hazard, to make a back mounting plate for all the components out of wood. To go along with this, the LCD monitor stand was engineered for a 21″ monitor when the owner of it wasn’t satisfied with the stability of the stock stand.  In the end, he ended up building something quite sturdy and nice looking to replace it.

The highlight for many for the keyboard would be that it was made, in part at least, out of a desire for a Commodore-64 keyboard.  It appears to function well andlooks great, so be sure to check out the other pictures after the break! [Read more...]

A CD Changer Made of Wood

Although this is by no means a new hack – it was made circe 2002 – this wooden CD changer is an interesting piece of machinery. The whole thing is a simple pick-and-place device. The gripper is brilliant in it’s simplicity, using only a rubber band, wood, and a solenoid. It grips the CD by the middle hole, picks it up, and the assembly then travels to the CD tray or the stack. Everything works with DC motors and string, and several micro-switches make sure everything is picked up and dropped in the correct position.

Although we may think this is a pretty cool device, [Matthias] is quite humble about his machine’s abilities. In his estimation, although one could probably duplicate 12 CDs with relative ease, if you really wanted to duplicate a large number, it’d be best to buy one. Maybe he works in manufacturing.

[Read more...]

Laser-cut puzzle box

One of our fondest memories from the 1980′s is watching Magnum P.I. on television. Higgins, Magnum’s employer, had a puzzle box that Magnum could never figure out how to open. Now you can laser cut a puzzle box for yourself and recreate some scenes from television’s glory days.

The design for the box pictured above is not new. The plans for the Cubey 2 project have been around for a while but relied on your mad-woodworking-skills to turn out the pieces. Since we’re not great with a chisel we were happy to see vector graphic and encapsulated postscript files to robotically aid in production. Once the puzzle parts have been assembled a facade is adhered onto each side to hide the pieces. This means you can go for Higgins’ traditional puzzle-box look or sport the hellraiser.