Friday, April 21, 2017

How to make, a mini DIY crossbow

I made this toy bow out scrap pieces of 8mm baltic birch plywood. 

This was an experimental build and the design evolved throughout the making process.

I begun by designing my bow’s arches in a piece of plywood. Using carpet tape I glued two pieces of plywood temporarily together.

I then cut those pieces out, on the bandsaw. I used my rasps and sandpaper to finish the shaping. I also drilled the necessary holes using my drill.

I then used a spatula to separate the two pieces. To remove any remaining tape I used my heat gun. 

On another piece of plywood, I drew half the body of my bow and cut it out on the bandsaw. I then used it as a template on a piece of cardboard. I flipped the cardboard around and drew  the other half of the bow’s body.

Using two dowels, I temporarily placed the bows on the body. I predrilled two pilot holes and screwed two screws with washers in place. These screws will connect the springs with the bows using nylon string.

Following the same procedures, I mounted two springs on the body of my bow. These two springs provide the bow with the force it needs, in order to operate.

Using washers, threaded rod and butterfly nuts I mounted the arches in place. I also added two screws that act as stoppers, to prevent the arches from moving around.

I then added the string, that connects the springs with the two arches.

At the ends of the arches, I added two dowels. I connected them with another piece of nylon string. I secured the string in place, with zip ties.

I then made the front handle using 20mm plywood. I cut the shape out on the bandsaw. Using my rasps I created a chamfer on it’s edges to make it more ergonomical. I glued it in place. I predrilled and countersinked two holes. I secured the handle with two long screws.

I then used the bandsaw, to cut two arrow guides. I glued and nailed them in place. 

The back handle slides in place. I also used the bandsaw to cut a piece out in order for it to receive the cock of the trigger. I temporarily added all the pieces of the trigger in place and freehanded the shape of the cock. I used the bandsaw to cut the cock in shape.

I glued a small piece that acts as aiming point. It also keeps the arrow in place.

I glued and screwed the back handle in place. I secured the cock in place using a small nail as pin. 

On both sides of the bow’s body, I added two screws. A rubber band is wrapped around the screws and the cock. This mechanism acts as spring to keep the cock down.

The arrow is just a dowel. I cut a groove on it’s edge on the bandsaw in order for the cock to have something to grab onto. I then sharpened the tip of the arrow on the disc sander.

My mini toy crossbow is now ready. Although I did not make it really powerful, it still needs to be treated carefully. If you decide to make one, do not use it against live targets. A piece of cardboard or styrofoam are perfect targets for playing and enjoying the toy with safety.

I hope you liked it!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How to make a DIY wood turning side scraper

This kind of tools are really expensive. So making them is often a good solution. 

I make these tools from old files. Files are made of really hard, tool steel. This makes them ideal for making tools, knifes etc.

The handle of my side scraper is made of a piece of maple.

I made this tool for smoothing the inner sides of wooden bowls.

First of all I used a chalk to design the basic shape of my tool. 

I then used the angle grinder to cut the shape out.

To clean the teeth of the file I used the front side of the angle grinder’s disc. I then added a sanding disc to smooth the tool even more.

I made the handle out of piece of maple. In greek it is called “κελεμπέκι” (kelebeki). It definitely is a kind of maple but I am not sure if it is exactly the same tree you find in other parts of the world.

To smooth the board flat, I marked the surface with a chalk and used the plane perpendicular to the grain to remove fast a lot of material. The chalk helps me see which spots the plane didn’t cut.

I used the sole of the plane to check the board for flatness. Then I planed the board with the grain to smooth it out.

I then used the bandsaw, to cut the wood in two pieces.

I used the steel blade as a guide to mark the area of the handle. I used the router with a straight bit to open up the grooves. I then finished the grooves with a chisel.

I glued and clamped the two pieces of the handle. I did that with the steel inside the handle. After everything was secure I removed the steel part of the tool.

While the glue dried out, I heated the blade in my homemade propane torch mini forge. After heating it to red hot I dipped the steel in oil. I then heat treated the steel in my oven at 180 degrees celsius for 2 hours. I cleaned the black patina with the angle grinder and a sanding disc.

I cleaned the edge on the grinder while dipping the metal in water to prevent it from burning. 

I then mounted the handle on the lathe between centers. To make that easier, I temporarily glued a piece of wood in the open side of the handle.

Using a scraper and a bowl gouge I turned the handle true. 

I then used the angle grinder, to cut a piece of metal tube for the front end of the handle. Using a caliper and a flat chisel I created the tenon that wood receive the metal tube.

I then used a bowl gouge to shape the outer curves. I used a spindle gouge for the inner curves. I shaped the back of the tool with a skew chisel and smoothed everything out with a round scraper.

I sanded the handle from 100 to 320 grit sandpaper. I finished it with a paper towel and Yorkshire grit. This is a woodturning abrasive paste. It contains, oils, beeswax and tiny stone fragments.

I then added the metal tube in place and sanded it flush on the disc sander.

I glued the blade of the tool in place with two part epoxy.

I then set up the angle on my grinder’s base to match the angle of my round scraper.

I then grinded the bevel of the tool. During this procedure, I often dipped the blade in water to prevent it from over heating. When I created a wire edge on the tip I removed it, on an oil sharpening stone.

My tool was now ready, I tested it on a scrap bowl I had and worked really nicely in smoothing the inner sides!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How to make a kalimba using the lathe

I made this kalimba (aka thumb piano) using a few scrap pine wood pieces I had in my workshop.

I begun by drawing a circle with my compass on a piece of pine and cutting it out on the bandsaw. 

I then mounted the wooden circle on a face plate and turned it true on the lathe. I used mostly the bowl gouge for this job.

I then used a skew chisel and a spindle gouge, to create a mortise at the bottom of my piece. This way I can mount the piece on my chuck. 

The body of my kalimba is actually a mini wooden bowl.

I used wood filler to fill any imperfections on the wood and then sanded it.

I reversed the piece on my chuck and used the bowl gouge and a spindle gouge to hollow my bowl.

To make the top of my kalimba, I split a piece of pine on the bandsaw. I then mounted my hand plane upside down on my vise and used it as a jointer to joint the two book matched pieces of my top. I then glued the two pieces together. 

I used the bowl as guide to mark the circle I needed and cut it out on the bandsaw. I also used my disc sander to sand both edges of my top smooth.

I opened up the sound hole of the top, using a hole saw on my drill press.

I glued the top on my bowl. After the glue dried, I remounted the kalimba on the lathe and turned the top flush with the body, using a spindle gouge and sandpaper.

To make the kalimba’s metal keys I needed a springy steel material. I used an old hacksaw blade for this job. I cut it to size with my angle grinder.

To create a finger rest on my keys, I heated the metal to red hot with my blow torch and then using a hammer and my vise’s anvil I forged the edge to expand the shape of the steel. I then shaped all the keys to my likeness on my grinding wheel.

I used the angle grinder again to cut a metal rod to size.

I used a file to flatten one edge of the rod. On my drill press I drilled two holes, while using oil to prevent my drill bit from overheating.

I then shaped a scrap piece of niangon wood on my disc sander to make my kalimba’s bridge. I also cut two big nails to size using my angle grinder. I glued them in place with two part epoxy glue. Before that I used a V chisel to open two V grooves. This way the nails would sit in place while the epoxy dried.

I then predrilled, screwed and glued the bridge in place. 

I applied 8 coats of clear, glossy varnish from a spray can. I sanded between coats with 300 grit to achieve a better finish.

My kalimba has 5 keys. This way I can tune it to a pentatonic scale. I used a guitar tuner to tune it. When you increase the length of the key you get a lower note. Decrease it and you get higher pitch.

My kalimba was now ready, I hope you liked it!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to make a wooden toy mouse, on the lathe

I made this little toy, out of a scrap pine piece I had.

First of all I used a hand saw to cut the piece to  size.

I then marked the centers on the front and back and mounted the piece on the lathe between centers.

I then used a round scraper to turn the piece round. I also used a straight chisel to create a tenon on one end, in order for the piece to fit my chuck’s jaws.

I mounted the piece on my chuck and used a bowl gouge and a spindle gouge to shape my mouse’s body.

To remove as much material as I could, before parting the piece I used my skew chisel.

I then sanded the piece from 100 to 300 grit. I finished the surface with yorkshire grit while reducing my lathe’s speed at 500rpm.

I then used my flush trim saw to part the piece of the lathe. I use that kind of saw for this job, because it’s thin and as a result it removes less material. It’s also leaves a much smoother surface.

I then moved on my disc sander and sanded the back. I also sanded one area of the piece flat. This way my little mouse can sit nicely on a flat surface.

I then used the skew chisel and a spindle gouge to turn the ears of my mouse.

To mimic the roundness of my mouse’s body. I removed as much material as I could with my rotary tool and then used the mouse itself as a sanding block. This way I created an inner curve on each ear which matched the outer curve of my mouse’s body.

I then cut a couple of small nails to size, I drilled a few pilot hole and glued the nails in place with super glue. I then glued the ears in place. The nails add a little extra support to the ears.

I then drilled the hole on the back for the tail. I mixed some five minute epoxy and glued the tail in place. The tail is just a piece of cylindrical rubber I’ve had from an old piece of clothing.

After a bit more sanding my little mouse was now ready!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How to make a rubber band powered formula car toy

I made this piece out of scrap pieces of wood, I had laying around in my shop.

The car takes energy from a rubber band mechanism in order to move. 

The main body of the car is made of a scrap pine piece. I cut it to size with a handsaw. 

I trimmed it’s edges on the bandsaw and used my disc sander to remove the previous finish.

All the parts of the car are symmetrical. I designed my half templates out of a piece of cardboard. I used a sharp exacto knife to cut the templates out.

I then traced around the template, flipped it over a traced it’s mirror image.

I cut all the pieces out on the bandsaw. 

I made the front wing of my formula out of an MDF piece. I traced it on the body in order to create a notch. I cut the notch using the bandsaw and a hand saw.

The holders of the back wind are identical. So I rough cut them on the bandsaw and glued them together with carpet tape. I then sanded them flush on the disc sander. I sanded the inner curve with my rotary tool.

I then sanded everything with my disc sander, rasps and sandpaper. 

I marked the positions of the wheel holes and used a drill to open them.

I wanted to create a chamfer on the top of car’s body. I could do this round over with my router, but to make it more DIY I used my cylindrical No2 rasp. I traced the the thickness of my chamfer with a pencil and then finished the job with a rasp and sandpaper. 

I glued and screwed the front wing in place. Before adding the screw I predrilled a pilot hole and counter sinked it. MDF can split really easily so the pilot holes are necessary in most cases. 

I mounted the driver on the car using glue and a dowel. I used a dowel position marker to mark the hole before drilling.

To reinforce the back wing holders I inserted two small nails before glueing. 

I then glued the back wing in place.

I used a hole saw to cut the wheels of the car and the flanges for the wheels.

To sand the wheels, I attached them on a threaded rod with two nuts on the top and two on the bottom. I then mounted them on the drill press and using it as a lathe I sanded them. 

I used a similar technique to turn the rubber band wheel. Only this time I used my rasp to shape it.

To reinforce the back wing. I glued in place bamboo sticks which acted as mini dowels.

I then added the first coat of spray paint to everything. I applied two coats with light sanding between coats. To create a double color effect, I masked the areas with blue tape and sprayed the rest with a contrasting color.

I finished everything with a couple of coats of glossy clear varnish.

I glued the wheels and the flanges in pace and used a flush trim saw to cut the dowel flush with the wheels. I used a scrap card board piece as a mask to paint the exposed edges of the dowels.

The rubber band is mounted on metal ring which is screwed in place. The other edge of the rubber band goes to the pin on the back wheel. When you turn the back wheels backwards the rubber band gets wrapped around the back wheel holding energy. When you release the wheels convert the energy of the rubber band to a rotating motion.

To increase the car’s traction, I cut a few pieces of rubber from a bicycle tire and wrapped them around the wheels. 

My little toy was now ready to roll!

You can download a free template of my car here (if the link expires, ask me to send you the template via a Facebook message):

Thursday, March 16, 2017

How to make a floor standing DIY video light with LED strips

I made this floor standing light using mostly MDF, pallet wood and led strips. It's light is kind of neutral cold. You can choose the LEDs you want in order for the light to have the color that suits your needs. It is also dimmable, which means you can adjust the brightness of the light.

I begun by cutting a few pieces of 10mm MDF to size on my table saw. For the cross cuts, I used my cross cut sled.

I then glued the sides of my frame using wood glue. I used corner clamps to keep things in place,  predrilled holes and added two screws in every corner of the frame.

I used the bandsaw to cut four wood pieces which I glued in the corners of my frame.

I then cut the backside of my light to size on the table  saw. Because the acrylic front was more sensitive I cut it on my bandsaw. My bandsaw has a finer tooth blade and cut the milky acrylic pretty nicely.

The acrylic front and the MDF back are screwed in place. The screws go into these small wood corners blocks I cut earlier. Ofcourse I predrilled before adding the screws to avoid wood splitting. 

The acrylic sheet in the front helps diffuse the light creating better outcome in the image of the video.

I then used the thickest plywood I had to create two pieces that would be screwed on the frame. I taped them together, sanded them flush on the disc sander and drilled a hole through them in the drill press. I then glued and screwed them in place. To keep them aligned I passed through both of them a metal screw.

I then added a cleat on the back of my frame. This acts as a reinforcement to the structure but it also provides a place for to mount the electric parts of the light.

I then made the post of the light. I shaped it on the disc sander.

The post slides in a pocket which I made out of 12mm plywood. I glued and nailed it together.

I then made four identical legs out of scrap pallet wood. I Cut them on the bandsaw and shaped them on the disc sander. I then predrilled and screwed them in place.

I cut a small metal piece to size, using my angle grinder. I drilled a few holes on the drill press. I used a tap to create threads in the middle hole. This way 6mm threaded rod can tight the post of the light in place.

I then designed a knob on a scrap plywood piece and cut it out on the bandsaw. I used my rotary tool to sand it’s curves.

I then flattened one edge of 6mm threaded rod with my angle grinder. I drilled a hole on the knob. I mixed some two part 5 minute epoxy glue and hammered and glued the rod inside the knob.

Video and photography gear is usually black because you don’t want it’s reflections in your video shots. So I painted all the parts of my light with black matte spray paint.

Now it was time to connect the electrics. I layed out the LED strips on my panel. You must cut them in the places where there is a scissors symbol. I then soldered the positive poles with each other and then the negatives with each other. I then connected the power source to the dimmer and then the dimmer to the LEDS. I made a test and everything worked out OK. 

I then added some hot glue to secure the strips better in place. Their adhesive does not always hold well. 

I mounted the power source and the dimmer on the back of my light. At this point I had to disconnect the LEDs. So I passed the cable inside the light through a hole and reconnected everything. I used electrical tape to make sure the soldered parts don’t touch and I also added some hot glue to make sure the cables were nice and secure. 

My video light was now ready and it works really well. Perhaps in future I will add more LEDS to make it brighter. I can also make a couple of other panels with different colors on the lights in order to achieve different color balances in my videos!