We had about 20 MakerBarn members volunteer their time and effort to take simple 2×4’s and make them useful pieces of furniture for the Conroe House of Prayer, a church for the homeless. It was a fun and productive morning!
Woodworking has always been a big part of the work going on at The MakerBarn, but now we are seeing more metal projects being built. With the completion of the machine shop, addition of powder coating, and the near completion of the welding shop, expect to see even more heavy iron at The MakerBarn in the near future. Jody Cochran is powder coating a small weldment used on the new miter saw table being built by Kyle Fraczek. It’s just a large washer with a 1/2″ nut welded in, but you could never find one at the hardware store. It’s used for mounting the feet on the large cabinet. Rob Nixon made this super dial indicator holder for the lathe. Made from 6061 aluminum, brass, and steel, it should last a lifetime. This is a special quick-clamp designed for the new welding table. It is a good example of offset … Read More
The welding and fabrication area is almost ready. The area is located in the South-East corner of the barn. It is about 14×20 feet, not real big, but should do well for our purposes. We covered the outside walls with steel panels, which assures there is no exposed wood in the shop. A six-foot high fence with a gate was built to control access to the area. An exhaust fan will be installed on the far wall to provide good air exchange. The area has it’s own electrical sub-panel, so installing power for welding machines should be easy. A bit more relocating the material on the west wall, and we should be able to start setting up equipment. We a very nice oxy-acetylene rig and also some equipment that members are willing to loan to get us going.
With the completion of the downdraft table/powder coating booth, and the acquisition of a new oven, we now have the facility to do powder coating. Powder coating is a process where a dry powder-like paint is applied to a metal piece using electrostatic attraction. The piece is then baked in an oven, causing the powder to melt then polymerize into a very durable coating. Here’s an example. This is a butterfly cut from a piece of 1/4″ steel using a plasma cutter. The butterfly was cleaned and then blasted in the abrasive blaster to remove the mill scale and give a nice even surface for the power coating to adhere to. After this point in the process you should use gloves to protect the clean object from oils on your skin. Oils on the surface of the part are not good for the powder coating. The powder is then … Read More
Overhead projectors are not used in schools anymore. So you can usually get them for just a few bucks at the online school auctions. If the projector works, it can be a good way to enlarge objects and trace them on pieces of plywood. But they’re even more fun to disassemble and scavenge parts for future projects. My grandson and I took two projectors apart this afternoon (we have more). One of the best finds is the fresnel lens located just below the glass platen. These lenses are about 12″ square and have a focal length of just a few inches. Just what you need for solar energy projects. Be careful, it’s easy to start fires with these. Other parts such as power cords, power switches, limit switches, super bright lamp holders, fans, metal pieces, and optics can be found. The projection head almost always contains a high quality first-surface mirror. … Read More
It’s been busy lately. John Buckley and I built a high-tech router table. The machine uses a 3HP water cooled router spindle and an Arduino controlled router lift. The computerized lift makes making precision cuts easy. We are also in the process of rebuilding a Powermatic 66 table saw. This a heavy-duty industrial saw that will be configured for making dado (wide slot cuts) cuts and box joints. This means we can make dado cuts without having to re-configure a saw. A wonderful time saver. Lastly, the RoboChop has arrived! The RoboDhop is a 27×48″ High Precision CNC router. It has a 3HP water cooled spindle and high precision ball screws for positioning. It is on-loan as a way to see if we would like to purchase our own CNC Router. Shortly I’ll announce classes to teach Vectric V-Carve software and how to use the machine.
My wife and I love making many things, but I especially like to make things that serve a real purpose and I can’t think of anything more worthy than helping our church to grow and serve others. For many years our Woodlands United Methodist church has had a “Craft Circle” group of ladies who make craft items for two big annual Fall sales; one called “Gala” and the other “Boutique”. The items include handmade quilts, glassware and various decorated items. While the craft ladies are very good at decoration they often ask us to help supply the raw materials that go into a finished craft. A good example are the beautiful wooden crosses that Craft Circle decorates every year. They come in two sizes; 15″ x 12″ and 20″ x 12″. The small one is made from 2×3 lumber and the large one is made from 4×4 lumber. … Read More
The Hegner Scroll Saw We’ve been watching school and government auctions for items to equip The MakerBarn. We have gotten some great deals on high quality tables, cabinets, and chairs. On one of the auctions sites, I noticed a school district down near Victoria was auctioning a Multimax scroll saw and a Delta bandsaw. Both looked fairly rough, but I placed some bids just to see how it went. Victoria is a long drive so I hoped by bids would be fruitful. I won both auctions. This meant driving 300 miles, but with luck, it would be well worth it. The Delta bandsaw was fairly recent vintage. It had been the victim of a student brawl and had been knocked over. But the upper and lower trunions were broken, but everything else survived. A few used parts off eBay and some new tires, and the bandsaw tuned up beautifully. The … Read More