Posted on August 17, 2021

Considering getting a CNC machine to carve wood for projects. This could be a really nice thing for my work. I am am a little excited about it. Not quite excited by the price … but that is fine. Need to clean up my garage so that I can set one up. Then buy a bit of wood to put it through its paces. Hoping to create frames and other work related to retablos. Oh, I hope I can get it done!

Shapeoko 4 XL
Cutting Area: 33″ x 17.5″

Probably going to go with the Fox Alien machine. It just seems to have the right price point for getting started. Yes, the motor is not that strong. Yes, it isn’t as robust as the other options. Hopefully the software I use can make the things I want to happen work. On one level I want it to be able to carve out relief characters and designs for retablos. Sometimes these panels have carved elements along the top or framing the work. Other the times, the figures themselves are carved out to enhance the entire piece. It seems that the basic software that comes with these machines is usually only capable of creating outlines. While the hardware is capable of more, things are simplified for users. Apparently using this sort of equipment is quite a technical hurdle for most people.

The Fox Alien machine has about 2″ of depth available to the router. That seems just fine for the products I have in mind.

Fox Alien
An example of a carved retablo.

3D Printing

Posted on August 17, 2021

Lately I have been doing a bit of 3D printing. In the past, it has been about just getting prints to stick to the plate, or wrestling with printer filament. Theses days I am actually modeling things. Well, I have always modeled things, but now the original creation bit is beginning to take over. That is pretty exciting … and boring. Printing this way takes a long time. If you want to print big, it takes even longer.

Eye model for Sarah Stolar’s disco ball animatronics project.

For now I am focusing on figures, but hope to expand to framing devices and wood carving. CNC Routers work in a similar way. They cut out material instead of extruding out a ribbon of plastic. With a CNC system, I can carve wood, which may be a more desirable material. Plastic is light and can be detailed, but it doesn’t have history.

Figures printed for a project where they will be packed with simple electronics.

Starting over

Posted on August 16, 2021

Looks like I am starting my website over again. Throwing out the old and starting fresh. Let’s see if I can produce something worth holding onto.

My painting studio.

I converted my studio to a bedroom while my brother and his girlfriend were visiting last week. It was great to see them. I am fortunate enough to have the space to host them for a few days. Now, I need to move on and get started with my painting again.