Date   

Re: Natural wood finishes

 

Hi Federico...
Good question.

Here is a cut and paste from a 3 November 2019 post of mine:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Good evening...
When I started this thread about "painting or not" one of the things that I was looking for were comments about how to finish wood without painting it.
In the most recent Automata Magazine (Nov-Dec 2019) there is an outstanding article about Probost's Mechanical Christmas Crib.  The article starts on page five.  On page seven in the More Information and Videos section is a link to a 20 minute video that shows this automata, including it's restoration.  An excellent video I might add.  Anyone who builds or enjoys automata should view it.
And to get to the point...in the restoration section of the video it describes how they disassembled and cleaned all the of components, and then how they refinished them.  What I derived is:
  1. After cleaning, color was applied to the wood.  It looks like some sort of stain to me.
  2. Then the piece is sealed with shellac. 
  3. And then a final coat is applied: beeswax with some carnauba wax added.  It looks like this is applied warm...brushed on.

These were professional restorers working (wouldn't that be a wonderful job?!). 
And one more thing that I would like to point out is that they used beef tallow to lubricate all of the moving wood components.

I highly recommend that all of you watch the video...you will marvel at this automata. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So, in summary, shellac and then a mixture of carnauba wax and beeswax is used.  And again I would say that the video mentioned above is very revealing in many dimensions.  worth watching. 

And then further comment:
At this time when I finish wood without coloring it, I prefer to use Minwax Wipe On Poly.  Sometimes I'll use one with a stain in it (Walnut or Oak).  And many times I will then apply a coat (or two or three) of paste wax.  I think important to the finishing process are the sanding steps.  I step through the grits from 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, and finally 220.  I don't always need to use all the steps.  Many times the lower grits (80, 100, 120) can be skipped.
Cheers
-Jim Coffee-

On Fri, 4 Sep 2020 at 11:25, federico <ffederico@...> wrote:
I was just reading Cecilia Schiller's article on the making of "Il Mago" in the last issue (Sept-Oct 2020), which is awesome,  and she mentions using
Williamsburg Wax for finishing wooden mechanical parts. This made me wonder what other non-paint finishes that show the wood do you all use 
or recommend? Specially those that don’t interfere too much with the movement. Beeswax, oils, urethanes?

Something unusual I've used for wooden handles in particular is cyanoacrylate glue (aka superglue) as a finish, a trick I learned from wood turners, 
if you apply a hand rubbed (while wearing gloves) thin coat it can leave a nice, shiny, durable finish. 

I'd love to know what's your favorite wood finish and how do you apply it. :)


Natural wood finishes

federico
 

I was just reading Cecilia Schiller's article on the making of "Il Mago" in the last issue (Sept-Oct 2020), which is awesome,  and she mentions using
Williamsburg Wax for finishing wooden mechanical parts. This made me wonder what other non-paint finishes that show the wood do you all use 
or recommend? Specially those that don’t interfere too much with the movement. Beeswax, oils, urethanes?

Something unusual I've used for wooden handles in particular is cyanoacrylate glue (aka superglue) as a finish, a trick I learned from wood turners, 
if you apply a hand rubbed (while wearing gloves) thin coat it can leave a nice, shiny, durable finish. 

I'd love to know what's your favorite wood finish and how do you apply it. :)


What's on my Bench: Wet Paint

 

Greetings from San Diego...
I've created my stair-stepping bottle spinner.  At this stage of the process it has been tested and it works  It's hour meter reports approximately 15 hours of run time so far.  So I've now disassembled it and am in the process of painting all the different components.
Generally speaking:
  • I sand carefully.  Usually 120 then 150 then 180 grit.
  • I spray grey primer on most everything. 
  • I sand 220, sometimes spraying an additional coat of primer.
  • Then spray paint the larger items.  Being careful.  Masking carefully.  Perhaps 2 or 3 coats, sanding 220 between.
  • And hand paint the smaller components.  Acrylic, sometimes slightly watered down.  Many times 2 coats.
  • You also see in the image some vertical wood strips...these are finished with a wipe-on Poly.
  • Then 3 or 4 or 5 days to dry.  Drying time can never be too long.  I find drying time to be frustrating.
  • Then hand-applied paste wax and a buff with a horsehair shoe brush. Then re-assembly, with fingers crossed.  This re-assembly process is done carefully...double-checking everything.  Applying blue Loctite where appropriate.
IMG_20200903_180635-1000.jpg\
That's what is on my bench.  What's on yours?
Cheers
-Jim Coffee-


What's on my bench: First Light!

 

If I was building a telescope it would be "First Light" the first time light was allowed all the way through the telescope to the eyepiece or the sensor, or whatever.
I'm not building a telescope so my use of the term first light is not correct...but that's how I felt this afternoon when I finally turned Stair Stepping product spinner #1 on.  With a display of a 1.25 liter bottle of Crystal Geyer water, the little biped made it rotate.  Perfectly I might add.  I am pleased.
Here are a couple of images that show some of the detail:
This image shows the overall automata.  I know...it's hard to tell what's going on.  More details and a video later, perhaps.
IMG_20200826_182734-1000.jpg
The display platter rests on and is driven by an o-ring mounted on a hub (a tire).  By moving this hub to the right and the left I have a degree of control over the speed of rotation.  The mechanism is pleasantly quiet.  Many ball bearing assemblies are used.
IMG_20200826_181221-1000.jpg
So far this automata has been running in its "being created" state 14.5 hours.  I'll probably run it another 14 hours before I say 'done'.
IMG_20200826_184146-1000.jpg
Here is a bit of the 'stair stepper' detail.  The feet press down on the 'stairs', which pull the chains, which engage the ratchets, which pull the belt, which turns the staff, which turns the tire, which drives the display platform.
IMG_20200824_165112-1000.jpg
One of the challenges when creating automata is building in such a manner that servicing is possible.  This particular automata wanted to have its biped holding tightly to the 'handlebar', and yet needed to be able to be released from this position.  I chose to use magnets for this solution.  These particular magnets are neodymium, 3/16" diameter, 1/4" long.  They are extremely strong.  The little dowel pin is there to help with the rotation motion that allows me to cause the magnets to release.  Neodymium magnets are considered to be relatively permanent.  That said, if any of my automata reach 100 years old, perhaps these magnets will need to be drilled out and replaced.  I'll never know :-).  Pictured is the right shoulder joint.
IMG_20200824_163845-1000.jpg
So, that's what is on my bench at the moment.  Still more to do...like adding a head!  This is all done one step at a time, with (in my case) many of the steps being done twice (or more).

What is on your workbench?

Cheers
-Jim Coffee-
creating automata near San Diego, California

ps: If you are interested in telescopes read "First Light", the story of the creation of the Palomar telescope.  A very interesting book!


What's on my workbench: Stair Stepping Bottle Spinner

 

Greetings...
This automata is the third in my "product spinner" series.  This is the smallest one...with a turntable that is small...for use with a can or bottle.
This first image shows the biped that has been carved to the basic shape.  The blue/red things are ratchets that convert linear motion to rotary.  The long sticks are the basis for the 'stairs' that the biped will be stepping on.  And the base is what everything is sitting on top of.
IMG_20200809_091109-1000.jpg
This image shows how things are modular.  You may notice that I've re-created the base.  The first one (above) was a bit too small.  The drive module (center-rear) contains the motor, cams, and above, the stair-stepping mechanism, and the biped.  To the left of the image sits the electrics module.  The hour meter is yet to be installed.
IMG_20200815_184618-1000.jpg
This is the face of the electrics module.  It is self-contained...with only a connector lead heading off to the motor.
IMG_20200818_072415-1000.jpg
And this last image shows the functioning assembly.  I'm in the process now of adding the biped and then the product turntable.  The leather straps that you see are the mechanism that rewinds the ratchets back to 'home' position.  Just as a point of interest...the wood sticks that are the base of the stair-stepping mechanism are pistachio wood.
IMG_20200818_181233-1000.jpg

I would enjoy seeing what is on your workbench.
Cheers
-Jim, in San Diego-


Re: WIP "The Politician"

 

Hi Gus...
Sorry that you are having trouble with your motor.
I use 6-watt motors in my automata, and am considering moving to 14-
watt.  The automata I build are much smaller than your Politician.  My bipeds stand 11" tall. I hope that the 16.3-watt motor will work for you (I've no reason to suspect that it won't).  The reason that I'm considering moving to 14 watts is for longevity.  The 14 watt motors are not that much larger, nor that much more expensive.  I figure that they'll simply be working less hard thus will last longer.
I've attached an image of the power panel on my under-construction automata.  You will note that it's got a power switch, an hour meter, a circuit breaker, and a power cord.  It's all one unit...it can be removed from the automata as it's own module. I've been on eBay recently exploring power cords.  There are some wonderful cloth covered cords for old antique things.  I'll probably purchase some of those.  I think that their designs will enhance my automata.  I install either hour meters or counters on all of my automata.  Having an hour meter reading available in 10 years will give me a better understanding of how my build quality is.  
Let us know how many watts are ultimately needed.  This is an example of the value of this forum...we can go back and forth and help and learn from each other.
Stay healthy...
-Jim Coffee-
creating automata in San Diego.
IMG_20200818_072415-1000.jpg

On Mon, 17 Aug 2020 at 15:08, Gus <klekner@...> wrote:
Hi Jim,
Thanks very much for your comments.
The motor seen in the photo is proving to be a bit underpowered. I mark and cut two cams at a time, either side of the centre support, reinstall, and run the shaft. As a pair is added, the load on the motor is increased, naturally. So far six cams are cut, and the motor sounds like it has reached its torque limit, judging by its sound, slowing considerably.  It is 3.8 W, brushless, its max  
torque is 12 kg.cm. No load sound is whiny, something I addressed by building a solid timber housing, to a lesser result than wanted. I am considering  replacing it with a 16.3 W, 75 kg.cm torque motor, also brushless. This is in line with my usual working mode, which is that if something doesn't do what it needs to,  go back to the beginning with that aspect and modify until it performs. Entirely new to motorising, zero electrical knowledge, makes this aspect very experimental, and engaging.

How is your work going ?

Cheers,
Gus

Keep safe !


What's NOT on my workbench: The Electric Chair

 

I'll start by mentioning that I just ordered a Prusa Mini 3D printer.  I've done a lot of research and believe that it will do what I need to do.  That said...it's back-ordered 7 weeks.  I'll receive it early in October.  Can't wait!  The Prusa Mini is not on my workbench.

Electric Chair #1 is not on my bench anymore.  I've dismantled it and reclaimed some of the reusable parts.  The world is too negative right now.  I simply did not want to continue with the build.  It was a negative theme that I lost my enthusiasm for.  That said...I'm glad that I started the Electric Chair.  Every time I create an automata my skill becomes slightly better.  And by trying this and that a person learns which this and that works, and which ones don't.  Rather than leave it on the shelf taking up space and pretending that I would get back to it one day...I disassembled it.  It's off my radar.
Here are a couple of images that show the disassembly.  It took just a couple of hours.

Tomorrow I'll post what is ON my bench at the moment.

Cheers
-Jim Coffee-
one of the Automata Group Moderators
I create automata near San Diego, California


IMG_20200805_115855-1000.jpg
IMG_20200805_134222-1000.jpg
IMG_20200805_162002-1000.jpg
IMG_20200806_081100-1000.jpg



Re: WIP "The Politician"

Gus
 

Hi Jim,
Thanks very much for your comments.
The motor seen in the photo is proving to be a bit underpowered. I mark and cut two cams at a time, either side of the centre support, reinstall, and run the shaft. As a pair is added, the load on the motor is increased, naturally. So far six cams are cut, and the motor sounds like it has reached its torque limit, judging by its sound, slowing considerably.  It is 3.8 W, brushless, its max  
torque is 12 kg.cm. No load sound is whiny, something I addressed by building a solid timber housing, to a lesser result than wanted. I am considering  replacing it with a 16.3 W, 75 kg.cm torque motor, also brushless. This is in line with my usual working mode, which is that if something doesn't do what it needs to,  go back to the beginning with that aspect and modify until it performs. Entirely new to motorising, zero electrical knowledge, makes this aspect very experimental, and engaging.

How is your work going ?

Cheers,
Gus

Keep safe !


Re: WIP "The Politician"

 

Hi Gus...
I am really enjoying seeing these updates and how you work.
Your work is very neat and proper and orderly.  You are an inspiration.
It is also apparent that you are thinking things through before you build.  Nice that your followers are all individually removable.
Would love to know a bit more about the motor:  Is it brushed or brushless?  Is it noisy?  How many watts?
I love that way that you are finishing all of your parts.  Your automata is going to be very handsome indeed!
Thanks for sharing.
Cheers
-Jim Coffee-
one of the Automata Group Moderators
I create automata near San Diego, California



On Sat, 15 Aug 2020 at 23:50, Gus <klekner@...> wrote:
The crankshaft is completed with blanks cams, which are  80mm 6mm ply, attached to the shaft by a brass boss,  secured by grub screws. A 12 V DC motor is coupled to the shaft. The motor drives a worm gear , which reduces its 38 rpm to 68 seconds for a complete turn. This assembly is  fixed to the base of the "engine room" by a single screw, allowing for R & R as often as needed, which of course is many many times ! 


Since then, I have changed the camshaft to 7/16 dia, because the original at 6mm didn't handle the torsion  well, resulting in a jam when a steep curve is reached on a single cam. The supports at either end and the centre are bearing loaded.




The cam followers are seen here with the cable connections, and the motor housing.  They are adjustable to allow for fine tuning of the movements. The cam followers can be lifted free of their anchor points, making their R & R simple. Cam marking and cutting has begun also, the WIP will continue when that is complete.
The marking of the cams is made so much easier, and far less revisions required because the motor, not one's hand turns the crankshaft whilst the marking attachment scribes the blank. It does this, with the  constant speed of the motor. Initially I thought I need a hand crank to scribe. 

Thanks for viewing,

Regards,

Gus 

Keep Safe !


WIP "The Politician"

Gus
 

The crankshaft is completed with blanks cams, which are  80mm 6mm ply, attached to the shaft by a brass boss,  secured by grub screws. A 12 V DC motor is coupled to the shaft. The motor drives a worm gear , which reduces its 38 rpm to 68 seconds for a complete turn. This assembly is  fixed to the base of the "engine room" by a single screw, allowing for R & R as often as needed, which of course is many many times ! 


Since then, I have changed the camshaft to 7/16 dia, because the original at 6mm didn't handle the torsion  well, resulting in a jam when a steep curve is reached on a single cam. The supports at either end and the centre are bearing loaded.




The cam followers are seen here with the cable connections, and the motor housing.  They are adjustable to allow for fine tuning of the movements. The cam followers can be lifted free of their anchor points, making their R & R simple. Cam marking and cutting has begun also, the WIP will continue when that is complete.
The marking of the cams is made so much easier, and far less revisions required because the motor, not one's hand turns the crankshaft whilst the marking attachment scribes the blank. It does this, with the  constant speed of the motor. Initially I thought I need a hand crank to scribe. 

Thanks for viewing,

Regards,

Gus 

Keep Safe !


Re: Check In

 

Hi Ron...
Thanks for checking in.
I'll offer a more verbose response later this weekend.

Cheers
-Jim Coffee-
one of the Automata Group Moderators
I create automata near San Diego, California



On Fri, 14 Aug 2020 at 16:21, Ron K via groups.io <peter.pilot=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Sudden stoppage of posts. Everyone OK?

Ron


Check In

Ron K
 

Sudden stoppage of posts. Everyone OK?

Ron


Re: What's On My Bench: Heads

 

Hi Rebecca...
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  I agree with you on all points.  And getting a softer material and just playing around is a good suggestion.  I'll do it.  The Udemy link looks like a valuable resource.  I'll explore there and try to learn some more.  Your comment that 'the flesh on the cheeks flows off the nose' is valuable to me...thank you.
Just a little side note...I've been struggling with my bipeds...each one getting a bit better than the last.  And now I have a new challenge...I need to create a monkey.  More to learn :-).
I appreciate you coming out of lurking mode for the moment.
Have a good weekend.
-Jim-

On Fri, 24 Jul 2020 at 09:51, <rebreuter@...> wrote:
Hi Jim,

I'm just a lurker here, but always enjoy and learn from and am inspired by your projects! I think your heads are great, and one day you'll look at them and see how much fun they are, rather than just what didn't come out the way you had imagined. I do have sculpting experience, so can give you a couple of tips on that. The head is largest from the front of the nose to the back of the skull. Head shapes are wonderfully varied, some much flatter at the back and some much rounder, but this still holds. So when you start your armature, do so with the corners facing front and back, rather than square to you. This gives you the depth in better proportion and reminds you of where the mass needs to be. Happy faces: yes, they're so wonderfully complex, but the basic changes to a "flat" expression would be: raising the cheeks and the eyebrows a little and giving a little squint to the eyes from the bottom by adding/pushing up the bottom lids. This is a natural result of the mouth drawing upwards - the cheeks are lifted, thus pushing up and fattening the bottom lids. The flesh of the cheeks really flow right off the nose, rather than being just built up on the cheekbones. I suggest that you get some softer clay to play with, something you can use more freely (i.e. in larger quantity) to practice with. It's fun to make a straight face and then literally just push the features around. That's really sort of how our faces work. I just looked at Udemy's online courses (https://www.udemy.com/) and see a decent video course I used once. It's called, not surprisingly, "Sculpture: How to Sculpt a Human Head." I think I got it for $10 and it's more like $35 now, but there are probably coupons out there, or if you  sign up for their email list they'll probably send you something. Anyway, you're doing great stuff! Have fun!  ~Rebecca


Re: What's On My Bench: Heads

rebreuter@...
 

Hi Jim,

I'm just a lurker here, but always enjoy and learn from and am inspired by your projects! I think your heads are great, and one day you'll look at them and see how much fun they are, rather than just what didn't come out the way you had imagined. I do have sculpting experience, so can give you a couple of tips on that. The head is largest from the front of the nose to the back of the skull. Head shapes are wonderfully varied, some much flatter at the back and some much rounder, but this still holds. So when you start your armature, do so with the corners facing front and back, rather than square to you. This gives you the depth in better proportion and reminds you of where the mass needs to be. Happy faces: yes, they're so wonderfully complex, but the basic changes to a "flat" expression would be: raising the cheeks and the eyebrows a little and giving a little squint to the eyes from the bottom by adding/pushing up the bottom lids. This is a natural result of the mouth drawing upwards - the cheeks are lifted, thus pushing up and fattening the bottom lids. The flesh of the cheeks really flow right off the nose, rather than being just built up on the cheekbones. I suggest that you get some softer clay to play with, something you can use more freely (i.e. in larger quantity) to practice with. It's fun to make a straight face and then literally just push the features around. That's really sort of how our faces work. I just looked at Udemy's online courses (https://www.udemy.com/) and see a decent video course I used once. It's called, not surprisingly, "Sculpture: How to Sculpt a Human Head." I think I got it for $10 and it's more like $35 now, but there are probably coupons out there, or if you  sign up for their email list they'll probably send you something. Anyway, you're doing great stuff! Have fun!  ~Rebecca


Re: What's On My Bench: Heads

 

Good morning Gus...
Just to be clear...none of the faces in the image had been carved.  They were all sculpted.
And yes, the more that I carve the more control I'll have over the knife and the wood and I'll be able to carve smaller and smaller details.  Unfortunately, I'm just not there yet...but I am on the road.
It's very interesting to me...all of the skills that are needed to create automata.
Thanks for your comment.
Have a good weekend.
Cheers
-Jim-

On Thu, 23 Jul 2020 at 16:27, Gus <klekner@...> wrote:
Hi JIm,
Don't see that much wrong with your carving. The carved face is more in keeping with caricature, is that what you are after ? The difference between caricature and realistic is the proportions of the face, eg, the eyes are in the middle of the head height, the mouth is usually the length of the space between the eyes, the top of the ear is in line with the brow and so on. You can verify this with gazing at your wife's face, and yours too, in the mirror. I study faces of people in everyday situations to learn details, being careful not to stare too long ! You should continue with wood carving, the basics are there already.
Cheers,
Gus

Keep Safe


Re: What's On My Bench: Heads

Gus
 

Hi JIm,
Don't see that much wrong with your carving. The carved face is more in keeping with caricature, is that what you are after ? The difference between caricature and realistic is the proportions of the face, eg, the eyes are in the middle of the head height, the mouth is usually the length of the space between the eyes, the top of the ear is in line with the brow and so on. You can verify this with gazing at your wife's face, and yours too, in the mirror. I study faces of people in everyday situations to learn details, being careful not to stare too long ! You should continue with wood carving, the basics are there already.
Cheers,
Gus

Keep Safe


What's On My Bench: Heads

 

Greetings...
This past week I've been working on heads.  Heads have been a problem for me  I've tried carving them, I've tried buying them, I've tried Apoxy, and I presently am settled on Sculpey.
The first image shows how I start working on the body of a biped.  The wood is Basswood, 2" square, 10" long.  I've already done some of the cutting out on the bandsaw.  And I've already drilled the holds that mark the hinge points of the joints.  In the foreground of that image, you see the carving knife that I made out of a Gerber 4" hunting knife that I had laying around.  I took time to grind the blade into the shape that I wanted...and then months of stropping...and then more stropping.  The blade on that knife is finally extremely sharp and a pleasure to use.
In the bottom image you see:
  1. Basswood, the beginning of the armature.  I've marked the proportions on it.  The neck is long so that I can hold it more easily without disturbing the sculpting media that I will apply.  2" long X 1" X 1".
  2. This is a Basswood armature into which I have carved the proportions and the relief.  I will apply Sculpey onto this armature.
  3. The two heads to the right are Sculpey coated armatures that I've baked (15 minutes at 275 degrees).  I am enjoying working with Sculpey.  It works (handles) well.  Holds excellent detail.  Is a good color to paint onto.  I use acrylic paints.  I've also used Apoxy in the past but am favoring Sculpey.  Apoxy is a two-part sculpting medium.  There is between 2-4 hours of working time after you mix it before it becomes too hard to work.  Sculpey and Apoxy handle roughly the same way.  Sculpey can be baked whenever you want...no need to wait for hardening.  And Apoxy (at least the one that I've been using) is grey and does not take the acrylic paint as easily as Sculpey.  Sculpey can be modified/added to and rebaked.
  4. The painted head is an Apoxy head.  This particular head had its eyes painted on, and then a dollop of epoxy was dropped onto the eyeballs, which has added depth and a nice shine.
None of these heads is pretty.   And none of these heads is what I started to create.  They've ended up being what they are.  My goal is to gain enough proficiency with the Basswood and the Sculpey that I'll be able to create my visions.  I find the whole process difficult.  For example, how do you make a "happy" head?  It's complicated.  There are lots of little details that go into making a happy head.  And ears!  Ears are hard!  I cannot count the times that I studied my wife's ears this week.  She is a patient woman (with really nice ears).

So anyway...that's what is on my bench at the moment.  I really appreciate it when others share their work.  There is so much to learn.
I look forward to seeing what's on your bench.
-Jim Coffee-
creating automata in San Diego, CA.
IMG_20200721_164327-1000.jpg
IMG_20200721_152238-1000.jpg


Re: WIP "The Politician" Body Frame

autopilotjim
 

Beautiful 


Re: What's on my bench: Peddler #1, just needs some paint now

autopilotjim
 

Impressive! I am always amazed at the ability to create mechanical movement AND make it beautiful. Well done. Looking forward to video


Re: What's on my bench: Peddler #1, just needs some paint now

 

Hi Gus...
Actually, I'm a non-drinker.  The wine is my wife's.  
When I was drinking my preferred was beer...the thickest and the darkest.
Cheers
-Jim-

On Mon, 13 Jul 2020 at 15:12, Gus <klekner@...> wrote:
Hi Jim,
I see you like the white wines.......

Cheers,

Gus


Keep Safe

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