Sunday, July 3, 2011

CNC Machine update

I have the electronics up and running and just about finished with the actual "machine." Will post pics and more information later.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I haven't had the time to post recently. I have been writing for other sites and busy in the shop. I have several projects I am working on and trying to finish. The corvette is coming along. Waiting on some jute underlayment to come in. Hopefully, it will be here by Friday. Also, have all the electronics up and running on the CNC router machine. Have all the pieces cut out and have started assembly. Will have pictures of the process when finished. Also, waiting on skate bearing to come in from California.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How to Build a String Instrument Truss Rod

The truss rod of a guitar is inserted into a channel of the neck under the fretboard. Its purpose is to counteract the stress of the strings and is adjusted to prevent the neck from either bowing or dipping. Bowing causes the strings to be too close to fretboard in the middle of the neck, resulting in string buzz. Dipping lifts the strings too far from the fretboard, making it difficult to play, especially higher up the neck. One of the more common truss rods is the Martin-style, which features a rod inside of an aluminum u-channel and an adjusting nut on the top end.
Step 1
Determine the length of the truss rod for your particular instrument. For most electric guitars, it needs to be around 18" when finished. If the finished truss rod length is 18", cut the aluminum u-channel to 16", and cut the cold roll steel rod to 17 3/4" with the hacksaw. Measure 1/2" from each end of the aluminum u-channel and make a cut 1/8" deep in the open end of the u-channel.
Step 2
Using the motorized grinder, chamfer each end of the steel rod. With the 1/4"-20 die and thread-cutting oil, thread the rod about 2 inches on one end and about 3/4 inch on the other. Back the die off frequently to clear metal shavings. Spin the 1/4"-20 nut onto the short-threaded end of the steel rod until the face of the nut is flush with the end of the steel rod. Using the drill press and the 3/32 inch bit, drill a hole through the nut and rod. Tap the roll pin into the hole.
Step 3
Spin the 1/4"-20 coupler on the long-threaded end of the steel rod. Place the steel rod inside the aluminum u-channel. Bend the 1/2" tabs made on the end of the u-channel over the steel rod with the vise grip pliers. Thread the Allen Head cap bolt into the other end of the coupler.
Step 4
Using the motorized grinding wheel, grind the nut even with the u-channel and grind the coupler nut round and even with the Allen Head cap bolt. Using the straightedge and scratch awl, scribe a mark along the u-channel legs even with the bent-over tabs. Grind the legs almost even with the top of the steel rod. Place masking tape along the open side of the u-channel to prevent epoxy from getting onto the rod. The truss rod is now ready to install into the instrument channel.
·         Moderately Challenging
Things You'll Need
·         1/4" Cold Roll Steel Rod about 2 feet long
·         3/8" x 3/8" Aluminum U- Channel about 2 feet long
·         1/4" - 20 Coupler Nut
·         1/4" - 20 Nut
·         1/4" - 20 3/8" long Allen Head Cap Bolt
·         1/4" - 20 Die with Die Holder
·         Thread Cutting Oil
·         Hacksaw
·         Vise Grip Pliers
·         3/32" x 3/4" roll pin
·         3/32" Drill Bit
·         Drill Press
·         Motorized Grinding Wheel
·         Straightedge
·         Scratch Awl
·         Masking Tape
·         Safety Glasses
·         Gloves
·         Always wear safety glasses and gloves when working with and grinding metal.
·         Guitar
·         Truss Rod
·         Homemade
·         "Make Your Own Electric Guitar"; Melvyn Hiscock and Brian May; 2003
·         Stewart MacDonald Guitar Making Parts and Supplies []
·         Musical Instrument Makers Forum []

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cheap Hanging Hooks

When doing projects, particularly painting project, one always needs hooks to hang items on to paint. It always seems you can never have enough of these hooks and they need to be strong to hold sometimes heavy items for painting or drying after cleaning. I have found that I can have an almost endless supply of hooks that can be custom made to hold almost any item. I use insulation supports, sometimes called "catspaws." They are available from most building supply stores in 16" and 24" OC varieties and run between $12-15. There are 100 pieces in the box and they are made from 14 gauge steel wire that is strong. I generally bend them with a squared-off hook on one end and a straight hook on the other. The squared-off hook works well on my hanging stand I use to paint and powder-coat. The stand is made from 1" square tube steel,

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to Repair Wood Toes on Clawed Feet Furniture

This is a little project I did last week.There are a few pictures I will add later, but here is the process to repair the toes or scroll work on antique furniture. The piece of furniture is a 1820's New York, Cornucopia Sofa with Acanthus Leaf carvings. It has 4-toed paw or claw feet and the wood is mahogany. Several of the claw nails have been knocked off and one whole toe has been knocked off and lost. The glue joint in another complete toe has failed. Fortunately, this is the same image and orientation for the toe that I need to duplicate. The tools and supplies that you will need are:
Tools that are a must have:
Dremel and or flex shaft grinder with a 1/16" and 1/8" ball bit and a 1/8 and 1/4 Cylinder bits
1 or 2 clamps
1/4" and 3/8" Very Sharp Chisels.
Tin snipes
Plastic putty spreaders
Vacuum cleaner.
Other tools that I used:
12 ton press
Press Blocks
Norlock Surelok II metal cincher.

Supplies that are needed:
Modelling Clay
Fiberglass resin with clear hardener
Minwax high performance 2 part wood filler
2 Part 20 minute epoxy
Titebond II wood glue
Mixing Bowl and popsicile sticks
Scrap 20 gauge aluminum about 1" wide and 20"+ long
Quick dry Spray Lacquer
Disposable Horsehair Acid Brushes
Sand paper - 80 grit, 120 grit and 220 grit

Foot 1 - Beginning
Here is a picture of the whole toe that is missing after prep. Using 80 grit sand paper and your chisels remove any irregularities and scuff the surface where the glue can bite.


The left toe is the one that fell off. This toe was used to create a mold and the right toe is the resulting fiberglass replacement toe. To make the mold take the scrap aluminum metal and cut it to a strip thickness that to whole toe will fit in complete. For mine this was 1". Make a circle out of the aluminum band and  fasten together. I cinched it with the Surelock, but a rivet or screw would work. Now the toe should fit into the circle with none of the toe above the aluminum. Set the aluminum ring on another piece of aluminum. Pack the ring with the modelling clay. With the acid brush coat the finished surface of the toe with Vaseline. Place the toe into the modelling clay. I put the aluminum sheet between two pressing block and used the 12 ton press to slowly press the toe into the clay until it was completely inside the ring and  the excess clay oozed out between the seams in the aluminum ring and press blocks. Carefully remove the toe from the modelling clay without deforming the mold or detail. Check the mold that all the details are the same as the toe removed. Spray the inside of the mold with Spray Lacquer. While the lacquer is drying  mix up the fiberglass resin with hardener. For this toe it was about 2 ounces with 30 drops of liquid hardener. Stir completely and pour into the mold. Make sure the mold is level. and overfill slightly. Let resin cure for a couple of hours and de-mold the fiberglass toe. It should look like the original toe like the picture does above.


Lay a piece of 80 grit sand paper and sand the mounting surface of the fiberglass toe until flat. Use either sandpaper or the Dremel and remove the flash at the edges. Mix thoroughly the 2 part epoxy on a spreader and apply to fiberglass toe and the foot. Put the pieces together, align and clamp. I try to make the  toe align exactly with the in-between the toes and the bottom of the whole foot. Originally, each one of these toes were carved individually and glued together and the carving tweaked to make it look right. Each toe and foot are unique and a perfect match is impossible. The mismatch will be corrected in the next step. Let the epoxy dry for a couple of hours.


Look carefully at the picture above and you will also note some cracking across the foot.
Use the Dremel or flex tool with a 1/16" bit to v-cut the cracks and with the cylinder bit grid down the edges of the fiberglass toe to blend in with the wood.
Vacuum off shavings and debris. Mix the Minwax putty and fill all the v-cuts and form the toe to blend in the fiberglass. Allow to cure 20-30 minutes. With 80 grit sandpaper and the Dremel Tool level and form the wood filler It will take several additions of wood filler and sanding/carving to blend the repairs together.

In the process of carving and sanding
Foot with all the rough carving and sanding completed.

After all the carving and sanding to form the foot and remove all the irregularities, the foot should have a smooth blended repair. Sand the rough finish with 120 and then 220 grit sandpaper to get s silky, smooth finish.
Apply mahogany stain to all the areas of the foot. The picture shows a small amount of stain already applied to the left side of the foot. The wood filler will not stain to the same color as the original wood. The final color match will be done with faux painting and French Polish.

Foot 1

Let the stain dry  about an hour then spray with clear lacquer. Let dry and it is ready for faux painting to finish the color match, finish and French polish.


This technique works well when only the toenail or a small portion need repair or replacement

Foot  3 -beginning

This foot is the other foot where the whole toe had fallen off. To replace the toe, coat both side with Titebond II glue replace and clamp. Clean the squeeze out glue with a damp cloth. Let dry one hour. Remove clamp and sand smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.

The three other broken toenails will be rebuilt with Minwax wood putty. Starting picture. Remove with chisel any loose pieces of wood or splinters.

Mix up the wood putty on a spreader and apply to build up the toes.
Putty has been built up and over-filled

Foot 4 - beggining
Using the Dremel tool and 80 grit sandpaper form the toes to look like the others

Foot 4

After all the carving and rough sanding  had the form and detail of the toes correct, use 120 and 220 grit sandpaper to smooth. Stain and coat with spray lacquer as above. The toes are now ready for Faux painting, finish and French Polish.

Completed Pictures

Foot 2 - Repair Complete

Foot 1 - Repair Complete

Foot 1 - Repair Complete

Foot 3 - Repair Complete
Foot 4 - Repair Complete

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Morning

It is the February 1, 2011. I worked on several items until Midnight last night. Have download two more software piece for the CNC project and actually decided on and ordered the stepper motors, drivers, control board and power supply for the first CNC machine. Will have a new post dealing just with the CNC build a little later. Have to finish to mounting plates for Automated Digital Displays today because I go to install them on Wednesday. Will take pictures and produce a post on how to build these after I get the pictures. Getting the picture together seems to be the limiting factor on getting the write-ups completed. Got to run.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The First One

This is the first blog, and the first pass to get the site templates done. It will be a work in progress. Ideas and suggestions are always welcome.

Currently, I am working on : building this blog site, repairing my car (malfunctioning MAF sensor or idle control valve - more to follow), learning DoubleCADXT Pro ( a CAD design program), using CAD to finish a plan to build a tool slide to turn my Jet wood lathe into a Metal Lathe, designing and getting parts together to build a small CNC (computer numerical control) micro engraver and a CNC router, continued work on the 1986 Corvette Restoration, building aluminum mounting plates for HD video and audio for Automated Digital Display Systems (