Friday, October 30, 2015

How to make a DIY pixel art picture frame

I had a few scrap spruce pieces laying around and I decided to make a picture frame with wooden pixel art inside. I also used a piece of MDF and a piece of plexiglass.

First of all I create one be one strips of spruce with my table saw. Then using a stop block on my cross cut sled I made the little cubes that would be the pixels for my pixel artwork.

I created my artwork on illustrator, based on a canvas I created measuring my wooden cubes. The artwork was based on a classic retro arcade game “space invaders”. I transferred the canvas on the MDF, using my compass and my 90 degree square. On that canvas I glued my “pixels” using my hot glue gun.

Now it was time to make the picture frame. The frame and the plexiglass would sit on two grooves on the frame. I created those grooves on the table saw. I made several passes in order for the plexi and MDF to fit loosely in the grooves.

I cut my plexiglass and MDF to size on the table saw.

I set my table saw blade to 45 degrees and made my miters on my cross cut sled.

I assembled everything and glued the frame together. I clamped it using my picture frame clamp.

I sanded the piece and rounded over the edges with my hand plane.

I made a hole on the back of the frame to hang it on the wall. I made it on the drill press.

My picture frame was now ready!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

DIY creative rolling cabinet

I needed extra storing space for my home and I decided to make a wooden rolling cabinet.

First of all I cut my stock using my table saw and my circular saw. For cross cuts on my table saw I used my cross cut sled and a stop block. I used spruce wood for this project.

I wanted my cabinet to have moving shelfs. In order to make holes for the holders I made a drilling jig from a scrap wood piece. I clamped the jig to make my holes. When the jig was out of holes, repositioned it using dowels  to keep it in place.

I then clamped the carcass of the cabinet with my frame clamp to keep it square. I joined all the carcass pieces with metal right angles. I predrilled the holes and screwed them in place. I often checked that everything was square.

The back of the cabinet is supported with wooden pieces that are screwed in place.

I added casters to be able to move the cabinet easily. I screwed them in place.

The back wooden pieces are a wooden city. I marked them with a pencil. I used a clamped wooden piece as straight edge and used my jigsaw to make the cuts. For the windows of my buildings, I drilled a hole to insert the blade of my jigsaw and cut them out too.

I added the cabinet doors using adjustable European hinges. I marked their positions on the doors and used a 35mm forstner bit to drill the holes for them. I screwed the hinges and the doors in place. Those hinges are adjustable so you can adjust the doors to look straight.

I added the shelfs and the shelf holders.

I sanded everything with 120 grit sand paper at the beginning and then moved on to 240. To remove all the dust I used my vacuum.

My cabinet was now ready!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How to convert your rotary tool into a DIY mini lathe for modelism

I made this mini lathe using my rotary tool and some scrap wood and metal pieces. It is made for manufacturing small items for modelism purposes.

First of all I cut a piece of 2x4 in two pieces. Those will hold the rotary tool. I used a hand saw and a miter box. I measured my tool with my caliper and drew a circle in the point I want my tool to be. I cut the circle with a coping saw. You can use a jigsaw or a bandsaw if you have one.

To clean the hole from the saw marks, I made a custom sanding block. Using a hand plane I rounded the bottom and glued a piece of sandpaper using two sided tape.

To secure the rotary tool I added a strip of leather between the tool and the holder. The whole thing is secured with a clamp on my bench.

The tool holder is secured on a plywood base. I made a mortise using a saw and a chisel and screwed the piece on the base. To add the screws, I first drilled a couple of pilot holes and I counter sinked them.

The tailstock of the lathe will slide on the base with a type of dovetail mechanism.  To make the female dovetail i used my block plane on a small spruce piece. I secured the female dovetails on the base, using screws.

Using my caliper I measured the inner space of the rails and made the male dovetail part using again my hand plane at an angle. I also planed it flush with the female dovetails.

I used the sanding block I made earlier to make the rest of the tailstock. I cut the piece using my jigsaw. I secured the piece with the male dovetail using screws.

I used the rotary tool to mind the exact spot I needed the quill to be. I drilled the rest of the hole with a drill  and hammered a t-nut in. On top of it I added a piece of plywood secured with screws.

To make the quill, I mounted a long threaded rod on my drill and grinded the edge on my grinder.

I made a tool rest using a metal rod and a few scrap wood pieces screwed together.

Back to the quill, I made a handle using a small wood piece. I drilled the the rod and wood on my drill press and added a long nail to secure everything in place. I trimmed the nail flush with a hack saw.

I needed a small chuck to hold the pieces on the lathe and to be able to fit on the chuck of the rotary tool. I used an M6 screw and with my drill and the grinder I trimmed it to fit on the rotary’s tool chuck.  I dipped the piece in water often to avoid metal burning. I cut the bit to size with a hacksaw. For the tip of the bit I grinded on the grinder holding it with a plier. I also used my rotary tool with a grinding disk to grind a V on the edge of the bit. This way I can hammer the wood stock in before the lathe is on.

My lathe was now ready. I assembled it, added an oak dowel on the chuck, secured the quill in place and everything else with clamps. 
I made a test using my skew chisel. It is nice that my rotary tool has variable speed choices. It is very useful on the lathe.

I hope you’ll like my mini lathe project, I think it is ideal for people who practise modelism.


I have made another mini lathe in the past, find it here.

Many people before made similar DIY lathes. Here are a few of them that inspired me:

Friday, October 9, 2015

How to make a raspberry pi retro gaming base

I recently bought a raspberry pi and I decided to dedicate it to old school gaming.

So I wanted to make a base for it because otherwise it looks like a PCB with electronic components on it.

First of all I measured the Pi using my caliper. 

I then designed my invaders character in illustrator and then used easel (the online software that supports my cnc machine ) and cut out my shape on the CNC. I used 18mm birch plywood for that job.

I used a chisel to brake off the tabs that where left overs from the CNC.

Using a scrap wood piece as a sanding block, I sanded my piece.

I applied a coat of wood primer and then sanded it with 240 grit sandpaper. 

The Pi needs to be lifted a bit. So I cut out four small spacers using my saw. I should have done that before applying the primer but I forgot.

I marked the positions of the spacers using the raspberry pi as a guide, and glued them on with hot glue.

Back to painting! I applied several coats of glossy green paint by spaying it on. I used green color, to try to blend with the PCB color.

Using my dremel rotary tool, I made a few pilot holes using a small drill bit and screwed the pi in place.

I plugged on the Pi, the power source, the SD card, the keyboard and an HDMI cable that connected with my projector.

I had preloaded my SD card with the retropie OS that is dedicated for retro gaming and I was ready for old school gaming!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Restoring an old classical guitar

My friend Meckey gave this old classical guitar. It was in pretty bad shape and I decided to restore it.

First of all the neck head was broken, so I removed the keys and glued it back again.

The screw holes were messed up, so I decided to add some dowels to reinforce the wood, and then redrill new holes. I used my flush trim saw to cut the dowels flush.

I removed the frets. I used a chisel and my soldering iron to avoid wood spliting while I gently pulled out the frets.

I drilled some holes to a scrap wooden block in order to add the removed frets. This way I would
remember the position of each fret.

Then I scraped some old paint from the fretboard using a blade from an exact knife as a scraper.

I used a hair dryer to heat the pick guard and remove it easily.

I scraped off the old varnish from the guitar’s top using the same scraping method.

I tried to flatten the neck by clamping it against a straight surface for about a week.

I added back the frets by pressing them with two blocks of wood and a clamp. I also added super glue to their sides.

To level the frets, I made a custom sanding block using a long wooden piece, double sided tape and sandpaper.

I made new neck and bridge bones using my belt sander. For the neck I used a small saw and a file to make the string slots.

I added a drop of super glue to attach the neck hone.

I drew my artwork on the guitar’s top with a pencil and used my pyrographer to wood burn the design.

I finished the top with water based satin clear varnish. I applied 4 coats with sanding between them.

My guitar was now ready to roll. Still not perfect, but I can play it!