Robot's Return

There are always going to be projects I can't show on my blog, some things are best left secrets until you need to find them and I honestly thought this was going to be one of them. At the start of the year I got involved making another escape room but this time for One Way Out Escape in Oakham. You'll see the plot if you watch the trailer, but this cute little robot is central to the story and is filled with laser cut parts and other interesting goodies. The suitcase too is also full of laser cut parts and even some more manual parts (I did metalworking), over the course of several months we refined the puzzles and tweaked bits until the whole thing worked properly and then the country went into lockdown. Now as we're coming out the other side the game is actually available to play and some of you will get to see what I've actually been working on.

You may recognise the suitcase itself from the previous blog post about engraving on the side of it but Tess has done a gr…

Knife Box updates

Duncan asked for a respin on the knife boxes with some slightly different dimensions more suited to his knives, at the same time he wanted to try a sliding lid. This design uses 1.5mm birch to form rails down along the top which is much more reliable than engraving slots. Because the rail is only on two sides it can be made with just the tiniest slither of 1.5mm, which is twice as expensive as the 3mm. It also only adds a small amount to the overall height so it's a nice compromise.

I laser cut some cardboard inserts to go into the boxes to hold the knives in place. Duncan sent me the handle shape so I'm not sure how he worked it out but it's easy to see why a laser would be good at consistently cutting a curve like that.

I also revamped the originally flappy lid design with the new dimensions, it's a slightly better design for this purpose so this is still the one we're going with.

Painted Iron Man

I took some time out from my day to day to actually paint one of the 3D models I printed. I wanted this Iron Man to be super smooth so I sanded it and filled it and sanded it again. It's genuinely quite a lot of work to make it perfectly smooth. I didn't use an air brush so there were 3-4 layers on the gold parts and 2-3 on the red ones, the whole thing was finished in spray laquer to make it shiny. You can still see some of the print lines through the paint job so I think I'd end up using more filler and even more sanding for a serious job but this came out pretty well. The eyes were filled with a metallic blue, in case you're wondering.

Everyday I'm Shuffling

With my new vacuum former gap I decided it was a good time to shuffle things around in the garage. My main laser cutter has occupied a space right in the middle of my garage for years now, my second laser cutter got put in the doorway with all the best intentions. The trouble is that the main machine has kind of blocked access to it meaning I rarely squeeze past it to use the small machine. This shuffle simply switched them over but already it feels like there is more space to work in and hopefully I'll start to work on some of the projects I intended to build on with this smaller laser.

Z Height Drop

The G Weike machines we imported from China were always quite big, they didn't split in the middle and they wouldn't fit through a single doorway, this was because the Z axis drops all the way down to the floor allowing you to engrave the surface of deep boxes. In reality this is something nobody ever does and fitting machines through doorways is far more common but just this once I actually used the maximum capacity of the machine. With the Z axis all the way down to the floor and the nozzle extension tube shortened I was just about able to fit this travellers chest into my machine. I had to pad the bottom side of the chest to keep it flat and level.

If you're interested in discovering more about this box and the contents then you can check it out at One Way Out Escape Rooms, it's central to their new game 'Robots Return'. They're cautiously opening again on the 4th of July to single households and I can vouch that their games are great to play, I'm obv…

Ear Savers in the Wild

I made sheetfuls of ear savers for Leicester hospitals as part of a larger project, 2000 were made in total. My wife has been working in Kettering hospital and she saw this trayful over their this evening. It's nice to know that they're circulating around and still being useful.

Former Vacuum

I haven't been using the vacuum former very much and when I do use it it's been largely for cake based projects. When I mentioned I was dropping custom work (and therefore cake based work), I was asked if I was interested in selling the vacuum former. As it went for the price I paid for it and I know where it has gone too it seemed to be a pretty good deal to me. Then of course lock down happened and things all became much more difficult so now finally, with the easing of restrictions, they were able to come and collect it. This leaves a sizeable space in the garage for moving things around.
Since the schools closed I have spent a large amount of my time homeschooling. My orders haven't slowed and in some cases they've definitely increased (who knew that the US running out of jigsaw puzzles would lead to an increase in sales of fractal puzzles). All of this means less time for projects and less enthusiasm for blogging, it's hard to pick up pace again but hopefully I…