My first art show

This is about 1974. This is my first art show. I came across these pictures when I was looking for something else. Feels like 35 years ago. ūüôā

Polishing Plastic

I might get one of these torches. But what kind of torch is it?

Could it be this?

If so, then they have it at Princes Auto for 65 and 50 bucks.

Here’s a great explanation of the torch from my friend Michael:

It’s just a torch head with a mapp cylinder…
The mapp cylinder is about twice the price of propane at $12…

If you get this head for 24.99
Notice its say for use with both mapp and propane….

And this cylinder, yellow is mapp, blue is propane…

It will total $37.. .Really odd the combo is more expensive…

If you search up Canadian tire and/or TSC/RONA/HH/etc, you can probably find it cheaper still, especially the head…

cheaper gas by a dollar:

Supposedly you won’t get the same heat with a propane only head running on MAPP…
Prolly a different air/gas ratio …. YMMV….


Acrylic is flamable?

acrylic flammability warning

I was considering using acrylic to make project boxes to house cnc controllers. This would include power supply, stepper controllers and such.

I can’t think of any reason not to do this except that it’s flammable.

I don’t think there is much heat coming of the supply and controllers. But I’m not sure acrylic is a good choice for this in case there are problems and then there is extra heat.

What do you think? Is there something nice, inexpensive to make electrical project boxes out of?

Atomic Rooster Art Show


Atomic Rooster just changed their art again last Tuesday.

They had an artist that was cooking up a painting (the one in the front).

She said she would donate whatever money she gets for to Red Cross for Japan relief.

They had a DJ and an open guitar mic.

Sound levels were much too high. As soon as the loud sound started 4 tables of people left abruptly. I’d have left to except I was awaiting a meeting and I couldn’t move it till they arrived. Noise levels that are too high to have a conversation and hurt your ears is pretty tiring.

They often have the levels set right but occasionally it’s a problem.

CNC vacuum foot


Okay so I went to do my first job with my new CNC vacuum system. I discovered that I made the vacuum foot too deep. It sort of competes for space with the workpiece hold down clamps.

So I made another. It just took a few minutes to modify the design to make the foot shorter and thinner. I also made the floor counter sunk into the bottom. This is something I really like about computer aided design and manufacturing. You can repeat things with less effort.

It cut out in about 20m at 6600 rpm at 90ipm with an 1/8 inch 2-flute endmill. It took about 5m to cut off flash and another 10m or so to clamp the pieces and throw some Methylene Chloride at it to “weld” it.

The new vacuum head is much smaller. It’s so cute!


With the foot higher relative to the endmill, I’ll need a longer skirt to help prevent material from flying out and to accelerate the vacuum.

So I made this insert which would help to mount the rubber skirt underneath the foot. When I cut the insert out, I used the vacuum shoe even though it still lacked the rubber brush/skirt. As you can see in the video, the pieces fly away with too high a velocity for the vacuum to grab them.

It was a little tricky to mount the rubber skirt onto the shoe. I eventually wrapped the skirt around the insert, wet the outer surface of the rubber then stuffed it into the shoe. I used a small screwdriver to get it to fit. After it sat for a while it seemed a pretty good friction fit.


It worked out well.

I then split the rubber skirt with a pair of scissors.

I think it’s a bit long. It dips below the end mill when it contacts the work piece.

In retrospect, it should probably not contact the workpiece till the endmill is plunged into the workpiece.

Once I had it mounted, I decided to give it a try. I used it to cut out a bracket to hold the other end of the vacuum hose to the table top.

I added that to the video as well so you can see the effect of the vacuum. I had the vacuum off and on.

It works really well, I’m really happy with the outcome.

One small issue is that the skirt is a bit long and touches the endmill sometimes. I think I will shorten it till it doesn’t do that.

I think if it got caught in the endmill it would make a big mess of everything.

it works

If the skirt misbehaves after that I’ll make another shoe that is wider so it can be further from the endmill.

Sounds like a lot of work but making another iteration takes very little time.

I guess I’ll share the CAD and g-code files if anybody is interested.

Obviously it will work for anybody that has a spindle based on one of those servo motors like I have.

Aside from the skirt brushing the endmill a bit, it’s working perfectly.

Next I will mount run an exhaust hose from the vacuum to the window so that the dust and chemicals that get sucked up are vented outside.

table clamp

I guess I need to get a shop vac with a proper exhaust hose.

The one I have just vents into the room. Not so great if you’re picking up dust because some will always go straight through.

One thing I really like about using the rubber skirt is that there is really good visibility of the cutting and the workpiece.

I think it’s fairly important because you can spot problems before they happen sometimes.

One thing I’m not happy with is that my shop vac is really noisy. It’s about twice as much noise as the mill itself.

It’s going to take some work to solve that problem. Perhaps a quieter vacuum. Perhaps a workbench with a vacuum enclosure. Perhaps I can put the vacuum in a different room.

CO2 Laser Mounting Brackets


I learned more about the operation of Sketchup and Phlatboyz plugin. I was able to design and cut out the second laser mounting bracket in one sitting.

I ran the first parts on a faster speed to see if cutting would be quieter. I also changed the multipass depth to .05″ from .10″. ¬†I noticed it was just as loud, maybe worse at the faster feed rate despite the smaller depth.

I noticed that on one pass when it was taking less than .05″ it was quite quiet. Perhaps next time I cut cast acrylic I will try .03″ per pass. It might take longer but it will be easier on the ears.

I did have an incident where one of the parts came unclamped. It took me a moment to figure out I had to go for the emergency stop button. No damage done to the machine or the work piece. It’s amazing the punishment a carbide endmill can take.


So I now have two mounts. One that is adjustable and one that isn’t. The non-adjustable mount has three little tabs that will contact the laser tube. The adjustable one will be drilled and threaded to 1/4-20 so that three nylon bolts will contact the laser. This will provide a fine adjustment of the direction of the laser.

I have it on video when the work came unbolted but I didn’t show it in my video below since I’m to¬†embarrassed¬†to show what a¬†klutz¬†looks like in real time. I guess if somebody asks I’ll put it up.

I think I’ll be making a lot of parts in the next while. I won’t post stuff except when I make new discoveries.

“Make your CNC” book basec CNC

I’m just in from my friend Benoit who made a CNC router. Benoit, Guy and I met up to have a Google Sketchup lab. Benoit gave is a brief¬†walk-through¬†on how to use Sketchup. He also showed us how to use the Phlatboyz Sketchup plugin to generate g-code from a Sketchup file.

I’m pretty excited as it looks very promising for 2d work!

We had a chance to run his router a bit and jog the motors around.

Turns out Benoit is into painting! Here’s a quick video of jogging his cnc router and some pictures.