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Found 21 results

  1. From the album: Steve Krumanaker

    A small maple vessel with an open basket weave pattern I call wopen. About 1/8" thick,
  2. Last Wednesday in September! Where did the month go?!?!? Our Patriot Turners- @forty_caliber Started turning a bowl from a piece of wood we don't often get to see- He tells us about the wood and his plan for drying, in his post- Forty also had a bit of a problem with a tenon on a bowl blank. He explained what he did to remedy the situation- @Ron Altier continues to experiment with new ways to embellish his Christmas ornaments- Ron tells us what he used and where to purchase it, in this post- @HandyDan continues his tradition of making sure new babies have at least on gift. Dan makes some really nice rattles that surely will please any new parent and baby alike- Check out Dan's post for more information- What’s Coming Up- Click on images for links to more information and registration- For The Newbies- Last week we posted a video from Mike Peace on using a tenon for bowl turning. This video, from Mike, explores using the mortice to accomplish the same thing. Expand Your Horizons- Turning a pen is a quick and easy way to make nice gift. If you do craft shows, maybe pens can expand your inventory. A video from the AAW- Alan Stratton added another video on turning a scoop. This one demonstrates an easier method than the others we have posted- Richard Raffan turns a natural, bark rimmed bowl- New Turning Items- I didn't see anything new here but Woodturners Wonders is offering site wide free shipping this week https://woodturnerswonders.com/ Everything Else- It's always a treat to see what Tim Yoder comes up with next. This one is out of this world- Safe turning
  3. Can you believe it, school is starting this week!!! I don't think I'll miss substituting. Our Patriot Turners- Our sponsors Laguna and Easy Wood Tools are awesome. Both sponsors are doing their part to help our veterans by supporting the "Vets Turn" program. This video, from Laguna Tools, gives us an idea just how much the Vets Turn program means to those participating. You may remember @PostalTom started a chess set for his grandson. Well he has finished all the chess pieces and they look marvelous! Tom tells us about this part of his adventure and what comes next- @RustyFN finished up the lidded box he made for his Mrs. and it is awesome! We showed the "before" picture of the Milliput bands and now we get to see the how it turned out- Lots of great comments from our turners- Rusty is this week's winner for the most turning related posts. He was lucky enough to score these turning accessories, and more, from his local Woodcraft store- Check out the complete list- What’s Coming Up- SWAT is happening this coming weekend. Several turners will be doing live remotes. I received this email from Lyle Jamieson explaining how to see the streaming videos from Cindy Drozda and Todd Raines For Tod's, use this link- https://www.youtube.com/c/WoodturningToolStore For Cindy's, use this link- https://www.youtube.com/user/cindydrozda/featured The Mid-Atlantic Woodturning Symposium has posted their list of demonstrators- The link for registration- http://www.mawts.com/registration/ For The Newbies- Looking for inspirations for creating new turnings? Mike Peace's video has some ideas Episode #6 from Cindy Drozda's bottle stopper series- Expand Your Horizons- From the AAW- Looking for something different to embellish your turnings? Maybe Carol Hall has something you'll find attractive- Alan Stratton makes an unusual jewelry tray for a wedding present. Check out the shop made jaws for his scroll chuck- More and more prominent turners are turning (no pun intended) to multiple social media platforms to share their knowledge. No longer is YouTube the only source of information for the isolated turner. Although platforms like Facebook and Instagram are the bane of most of us over the age of 50 (far over, for me), I am finding more and more information available from folks like Cindy Drozda, Lyle Jamieson, Jim Echter etc. If you have a Facebook account, maybe checkout some of your favorite turners. As an example- https://www.facebook.com/732440147/videos/799343681075338 New Turning Items- Maybe something new will show up at SWAT. Everything Else- Rick Turns list of YouTube woodturning videos from last week- Safe turning
  4. Steve Krumanaker

    18.JPG

    From the album: Steve Krumanaker

    A small maple bowl with the zentangle patterns, w-2 or huggins, and flower vine
  5. OK, we are getting close to the end of our summer fund raiser and we are seriously short of our goal. If you haven't donated, please consider helping our site stay alive. Our very generous sponsors have donated some awesome items as prizes. Please head on over to this post and donate. Every little bit helps! Our Patriot Turners- @Gerald started catching up on some older projects and in the process did some cleaning- Part of Gerald's post was a challenge to our members to show us some of the unfinished projects we are procrastinating about completing! One of Gerald's projects to be finished up was a turned vase that cracked. Instead of the burn pit, Gerald used this as a chance to turn it into spectacular embellishments. In his post, he shows us his process- @RustyFN Finished up a gorgeous lidded box. Perfect glue-up and centered on the lathe. Made from two of my favorite woods. In his post, Rusty explains a little on how he mounted it on the lathe. What’s Coming Up- Click on the images for links to more information- For The Newbies- Another informative video in the series from Mike Peace- From the AAW, a video demonstrating a beautiful turning from shop scraps- Alan Stratton posted a video turning a bowl from start to finish. A couple of things of interest are his reason for not band sawing the blank round at the beginning and his thoughts on drying. Check out his faceplate jig for uneven surfaces! Expand Your Horizons- Watch Mike Waldt turn a beautiful, shallow mahogany bowl! Off-center and eccentric turning are similar but different. In this video, Carl Jacobson turns an eccentric goblet. Notice he does this without the aid of jigs. Cindy Drozda posted a short video demonstrating sphere turning- New Turning Items- From Craft Supplies USA, their new turning smocks- Everything Else- Rick Turns list of YouTube woodturning videos from last week- Safe turning
  6. Beautiful day today, 67° and sunny. Tomorrow, winter weather advisory. Ahh, spring time in PA. Our Patriot Turners- @BillyJack asked our members for input on some turning tools. Several gave their recommendations on what he might consider. I hope he posts the tools he gets so we can all drool over his choices! @Gerald gave us a look at some of the turnings that were done at the last club meeting. Gerald posted several more images of turnings that were done during the demonstration. Gerald said their guest demonstrator was Matt Monaco. If you do Instagram, here's a link to Mr. Monaco's page- https://www.instagram.com/monaco_bowls/. Gerald also posted some images, in response to some thoughts from last week's "Wednesday's...", showing some of the embellishments he has done using various tools. See this post for more pictures- I appreciate Gerald's willingness to share his knowledge with all of our turners. What’s Coming Up- Click on the images for links and more information. From the AAW- From Lyle Jamieson From Cindy Drozda- Not sure if you need a Facebook account to view this presentation- For The Newbies- From the AAW, a short video on sharpening- Mike Peace continues his series on lathe drilling. This video discusses drill bit selection- Expand Your Horizons- Cindy Drozda is asking for input on IRD content. She has developed an anonymous online questionnaire. Maybe you could help her by responding. Here's the link- https://us18.list-manage.com/survey?u=4fd7472bedaf1b07e398a732a&id=73c2cb5054&attribution=false Cindy also uploaded a video of the equipment she uses to do her IRD's and training videos. If you have thought about getting into this area, maybe her experiences might be helpful- Alan Stratton finishes up his series on the eccentric chuck and turnings with a video on making his chuck. Carl Jacobson turns a vase with an off-centered lid- New Turning Items- From Ruth Niles' latest newsletter- Click on the image for ordering. From the folks at Woodturners Wonders- FREE Shipping! https://woodturnerswonders.com/collections/new-products/products/powermatic-3520c-lathe-100th-anniversary-edition Everything Else- Rick Turns list of YouTube woodturning videos from last week- No turning for me this week. As the old saying goes- "No good deed goes unpunished". One of those-"if we supply the lumber will you donate your time". A little Free Library for the local state park- Just getting to the roof when the spring pin, in the table saw trunnion worm gear, decided to fall out. Of course everything had to fall down into the dust collector hose. It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood... Safe turning
  7. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning. Not sure if that's good or bad news. Seems like winter has been wasted around here. When it's cold there's no precipitation. It warms up and then we get rain. Our Patriot Turners- Our resident ornament master is at it again. @Ron Altier posted some things he created from just scrap pieces. Ron sure has an eye for design- Check out his post for additional details and some of the comments left by our members- @Steve Krumanaker picked up some elm from his son. Steve turned some lovely bowls. As always, he adds his personal touch to the bottoms- Steve showed us more images in his post- Steve also found a way to keep busy when it was too cold to work outside In his post, Steve explains how he attaches the removable roof @Bundoman Has been teaching his daughter about turning. Looks she is a natural and has created several imaginative pieces- Head on over to this post to see what he and his daughter have made- @Gerald decided to try his had at making a scoop shown in a video from last week's post- You can check out what he said here- What’s Coming Up- Click on the image for the link to more information- For The Newbies- A couple of turning safety videos from Mike Peace- I recently saw another turner use this method of reverse chucking a roughed out bowl to finish turning. Here's Richard Raffan showing us who it's done- Wondering how to dry that wet wood turning? Tim Yoder tries a different way. Check out Tim's use of those Easy Wood Tools! ( @Jim from Easy Wood Tools ) Expand Your Horizons- The Woodturners Worldwide Online Symposium offered many interesting presentations. This one from Cindy Drozda on turning a sphere- Mike Peace has a 2 part video on embellishment and embellishing tools. These were made available through the AAW. Richard Raffan turns a beautiful wide rim dish- Alan Stratton continues his series on offset turning. The beginning of this video describes the modifications he made to his original shop made jig- New Turning Items- From Turners Warehouse for the pen turner (click on the image for the link)- Package deal for bowl turners from Woodturners Wonders (click on the image)- Craft Supplies USA has some new kitchenware items (click the image) Ruth Nile has Penn State Pizza Cutters back in stock! Check Ruth's site- https://nilesbottlestoppers.com/product/pizza-cutter-2/ This past weekend was the on-line symposium from Woodturners Worldwide. Cindy Drozda did an informative presentation on live tail stock centers. Although these are not new, it should provide guidance for those in the market for one- Everything Else- From the AAW, a tribute to Stephen Hogbin- Rick Turns list of YouTube woodturning videos from last week- Safe turning and stay well
  8. Happy Thanksgiving! Here's hoping this year has been kind to everyone and that you are trying to get back to "normal". Well gang, we are about 1/3 the way to our goal! Don't wait until the last minute to get in on the fun! Our Patriot Turners- With the holiday season upon us, the main theme this week seems to be Christmas ornaments. @Steve Krumanaker posted a little birdhouse ornament and asked the group their opinions on the design. Steve received lots of positive comments and suggestions- @Ron Altier is always ahead of the game when it comes to ornaments. This one has a beautiful combination of species/colors. Ron tells us about why he turned this one- @Gerald started a post asking what we were making for Christmas gifts this year. Gerald has turned a colorful bell ornament- And @HandyDan posted one of his gnome ornaments- See what our members had to say about these and add pictures f what you are making! @Gerald also gave us a more detailed look at his new kiln. He posted several images of the working parts and answered questions- I want to thank @FlGatorwood for giving me a heads up this turning video from Mike Peace. Really show the processes for turning a pepper grinder from a pre-drilled blank. Thanks, Steve! What’s Coming Up- Join Cindy Drozda, Lyle Jamieson, Steve Worcester, Joe Fleming, John Jordan, and Tod Raines for 3 evenings of fun to kick off the holiday season. There will be six mini demonstrations, questions & answers, tool showcase, vendor specials, raffle prizes, and fun and popcorn as we hangout together. This is a FREE Zoom meeting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday- November 26-28. Sign up here- https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvduuurTgoHtH9C61nkAf2dy14df57RmrB 6 Turners LIVE Holiday Special! IT’S THE 12 TURNINGS OF CHRISTMAS! Registration- https://woodturnersretreat.com/ For The Newbies- Looking for a simple Christmas and would like to try bowl turning? Kent from "Turn A Wood Bowl" shows us how to get two for one! Scott Hampton's presentation on sharpening from World Wide Woodturners- @Gerald's little Christmas ornament really stands out with his choice of using color as an embellishment. The New Jersey Woodturners recently hosted an IRD with Michael Kehs demonstrating embellishing techniques on a turning. Expand Your Horizons- A couple shop made lathe hacks from Fine Woodworking- A disk sander- https://www.finewoodworking.com/2011/07/19/turn-your-lathe-into-a-disk-sander Using a router at the lathe- https://www.finewoodworking.com/2020/02/21/using-a-router-at-the-lathe Another awesome multi-axis Christmas ornament from Alan Stratton- Jim Rodgers turns a sweet little one piece scoop, on the lathe, using a custom made chuck- New Turning Items- Tim Yoder turns a huge chunk of olive wood into a utensil holder. He does the hollowing using his new Eblo 2 hollowing rig. Tim provides some great tips on using the hollowing system. Everything Else- Rick Turns list of YouTube woodturning videos from last week- Safe turning and stay well
  9. Some here may remember that a couple years ago I made 28 offering plates of which 16 were acceptable size and the rest were gifted. Well I had some blanks that did not make the cut unless it was urgent. This is the best of those as I finally got back onto turning them.
  10. OK gang, we are getting down to the wire and we still have $505 dollars to go. Don't wait until the final day. DONATE NOW!!! Our Patriot Turners- This week has seen a lot of activity by our turners. Some ornaments were the order of the day. @Ron Altier posted two of his creations, one of wood and the other of acrylic. First up is his wooden creation. Ron gives us an explanation of how he put it together- Ron's second post is about his acrylic ornament. The blank, originally destined to be something other than an ornament, Ron created this fantastic piece- Check out Ron's post on this beauty- Just for fun, Ron shared a video of turning colored pencils. Our members shared their thoughts- @HandyDan always comes up with some awesome original designs. This week he made some "kitchen aids"- As always, Dan provides detailed information on how he makes his projects. @Gerald pointed out that bowl turning/embellishing should also include the bottom of the bowl. Gerald posted several examples of what he does and challenged us to do the same. This is an example of what Gerald does- He received lots of comments and a few examples of the work of others- @Larry Buskirk asked our members for information on a Delta chuck manufactured by Nova, he had seen on Ebay. Several did research and provided input to Larry's question. Larry was able to steal purchase the chuck and posted pictures later in his post. @AndrewB has his new lathe bench finalized. He was putting the finishing touches on it last week, Andrew posted this update- Andrew had concerns about what seemed to be a small twist in the ways of his lathe. Our members provide input for what might have been the cause and possible remedies. Back in August we had a discussion on casting acrylic resins and pressure pots. Andrew bit the bullet and got himself a really nice pot from California Air. Looking forward to seeing his castings! @Masonsailor asked our members for some ideas on making fluted turnings. Checkout some of the ideas and suggestions from our members. Although Paul posted this in the equipment review forum, we thought it would be helpful for our turners to see it here. Paul, you lucky dog , got a new lathe! I just hope it doesn't rust from all of the drool! What’s Coming Up- Click on the above image for the link to Cindy's site and registration. For The Newbies- Well, Paul got a new lathe. But what made him decide on this particular model? Here is a video with some things to think about when considering a lathe purchase. So you'd like to turn a bowl but you don't have a chuck. No problem- Mike Peace put together a nice little video that talks about wood turning consumables. We all know about sandpaper but there are other consumables that can be really useful in the shop. Expand Your Horizons- Alright, I'll admit this is a stretch even for me. The latest Tim Yoder video turning a coconut into a mood light. Please watch at least through the 7 minute mark... New Turning Items- Larry got a new chuck from a seller on eBay. Here's your chance to win that new Nova Pro-Tek chuck. Everything Else- Last week's YouTube woodturning videos from Rick Turns I don't have much experience turning cherry and it shows. It doesn't like to be turned extremely thin. Sap lines are very weak and have a tendency to crack along them. Whoops!!! Getting a little too thin! I was afraid that cole jaws would crack the bowl, even worse than already happened, so to finish the bottom I used a jam chuck. The hole in the middle is to permit the use of compressed air to pop the turning free. Embellished bottom with special message to recipient Finally Safe turning and stay well
  11. One of these days, I'm gonna surprise you all and actually do some turning. But in the meantime let's not forget our pledge to make our "adopted" family's Christmas the best ever- Our Patriot Turners- @Steve Krumanaker added more birdhouse ornaments to the bunch he already completed. I think he must be staying up nights! Steve shows us some of the fantastic details on these, in his post- @HandyDan cranked out a slew of awesome looking Awls. As always, Dan provides detailed descriptions of his process. He also gives us a look at one of the "New Turning Items" we mentioned sometime back. @kmealy was inspired to turn some Christmas trees after seeing what the asking price was at a Craft store. Judging from what he saw, there's money to be made with lathe turnings! Check out Keith's post! @RustyFN is having fun turning lidded vessels. These can be turned from just about any wood- even glued up scraps- Please see his post and read all of the nice comments from our turners. Sometime back, we were discussing casting acrylic blanks. The conversation included inquiries about pressure pots. Rusty was kind enough to share his pressure pot build information along with some pictures. Head on over to his post and see what he used and how he made the conversion. What’s Coming Up- Here's something to look forward to! Click on the above image for the link to more information. If you don't want to wait that long, this might be something to keep your spirits up- This is a live YouTube event. Click on the above image for a link to the presenters. Each person does a live demo on their own YouTube channel. For The Newbies- A nice video on turning a natural edge bowl. This bowl is turned from some American Chestnut. Not much of that left any more. Nice way to preserve a once very common species. Expand Your Horizons- This is a very interesting way to embellish a turning- the art of Shou Sugi Ban. Although the process is typically used on cedar, the author of this video uses a pine blank- To learn more about this process use this link- https://shousugiban.com/ New Turning Items- To make up for those weeks I couldn't find anything on which to spend your money, open up your wallets! Thinking about getting a vacuum chuck? Here's a site that may have exactly what you need! Here is the link to their site- https://www.frugalvacuumchuck.com/home.html Our friends from Woodturners Wonders have a new CBN wheel for your Tormek sharpening station. You can check it out here- https://woodturnerswonders.com/collections/new-products/products/tornado-waterless-10-cbn-wheel-tormek-style-with-radius-edge-12mm-arbor They also have a pretty substantial savings on their complete lathe track system- The pieces are also available individually. Here's the link- https://woodturnerswonders.com/collections/lathe-track/products/full-lathe-track-system Everything Else- Last week's list of YouTube videos from Rick Turns- Safe turning and stay well
  12. I know you probably don't want to hear this, but Christmas is only 2 months away. Lockdowns and job layoffs are really affecting everyone. Again, this year, we will have the opportunity to make one family's Christmas not so bleak. Please check out this information on our annual Adopt-a-Family project- Also, reminding our turners to please add tags to their posts. Those tags help us all when searching for specific information. Our Patriot Turners- Today, @Gerald added an extremely informative blog on drying turned wood. I had asked Gerald what his techniques were and he offered to put together the information. Please check out what he has done. Lots of great information! @Ron Altier showed us a couple of his recent projects. First up is one of his beautiful ornaments. Ron generally creates his own blanks but with this one he tried something different- Ron tells us about this one in his post- He also made some turnings from an aromatic wood- Lots of comments about uses for it- @Masonsailor put the finishing touches on the fireplace utensils stand. It sure is a thing of beauty- Paul shows us the final steps- @PostalTom gave us an update on his lathe. Tom and Gerald had been working together to solve a problem. With Gerald's help and a Jet technician, he is back up and running! It's wonderful how our turners can "turn" to each other for help and advice! @AndrewB cranked out a couple of pine bowls from a Home Depot board He showed us some of the progress pictures in his post Andrew also refined his lathe bench after removing the standard Harbor Freight metal stand- What’s Coming Up- Cindy Drozda has another online demonstration coming up. This one is her signature finial box- Click on the above image for the link to Cindy's site and registration information. For The Newbies- The skew chisel, what can I say?! An often ignored tool but in the hands of a master it is a wonder to behold- A nice project that can have you practicing learned skills and maybe developing some new ones- Expand Your Horizons- This is quite a lengthy video from Sam Angelo on embellishing turnings. Sam demonstrates various tools and techniques. When I first saw the picture, I thought- "only Tim Yoder would attempt this on the lathe"! It's a pretty neat project. When I was subbing at school some of the kids were doing this with 3-D printers- New Turning Items- The folks at Woodturners Wonders have a Pro Sanding kit put together. If you are thinking about upping your sanding game, this might be for you- Here's the link- https://woodturnerswonders.com/collections/random-orbital-sanders/products/pros-pro-pack Everything Else- Last week's YouTube videos from Rick Turns- Last week I posted a couple of closeup pix of repaired knots in the cherry bowl I was finishing. This is the bowl as it came out of the bag of shavings- Turned, sanded and mineral oil finish- @Gerald's blog on drying originated from a question I had about drying green wood- specifically for this project. This large bowl dried without cracks but I needed two smaller bowls as well. Last week I mentioned that I found Rick Morris (Rick Turns) had a couple of videos on a simple dryer that could speed up the process. It was a simple build, everything needed was in my spare parts stache. A quick Sketchup drawing to get the idea- Then the build- ...and the results are in... Not exactly what I had hoped for. What went wrong??? First, I think I had a too high wattage bulb. I grabbed a 60 watt bulb which I think generated too much heat in the box. Second, the little bowls were about 5.5" in diameter and about 2.5" deep. I left the wall thickness at about 1/2" which is around 1/10 the diameter (see Geralds blog). This is typical for the bag/shaving process but I think it was too thick for this application. I'm on the second attempt, now. I reduced the bulb wattage to 40 watts and turned the bowls to a wall thickness of about 3/8". After 24 hours in the dryer, no cracks have appeared. Fingers crossed!! If you are interested in Rick's process, Safe turning and stay well
  13. Well, relatives left today. No shop time for the past week between subbing and family obligations. Our Patriot Turners- @Ron Altier asked our members for clarification on what are the different measurements when reading the lathe specification. He received some great input. If this has ever caused you to scratch your head, check out his post- @Gerald offered some great information he picked up from a guest speaker at their turning club meeting. Mark Sillay was their guest and provided insight into several areas of turning. Check out Gerald's post and pick up some really great tips- @HandyDan continues to turn out his custom bullet pens. He recently perfected his copper plating process and now has three different pens colors. Dan explains more in his post. @HandyDan also gave us a heads up on some stolen woodturning tools. Please read his post and keep an eye out for anything suspicious- What’s Coming Up- Click on the above image for the link to more information and registration. For The Newbies- If you are considering trying to turn a bowl but don't have a chuck, yet, don't despair. Mike Peace demonstrates how you can do this Expand Your Horizons- M. Saban-Smith posted a video on using a scorching process along with other embellishments to create a gorgeous ash vase. With the ash borer around, it isn't too hard to find ash to turn. New Turning Items- Craft Supplies USA has new ring materials available. Click on the above image for the link to these new products. Everything Else- Carl Jacobson has a pretty cool bowling theme going. Safe turning
  14. This may not seem like it's turning related but it is. I want to learn a little about chip carving for embellishing. I have some boxes turned and ready but thought it might be better to practice on some flat pieces first. Glad I did, it's harder than I thought it might be. I am finding it's a lot like turning in that it's all about technique. This is the most basic cut and probably the most often used in chip carving, the triangle. Going to take a lot of practice I think. I can see some progress from top to bottom but have a long way to go. Steve
  15. Last one of these for a while, or maybe not. They're fun to do. Maple with ash end caps. Five letter code. The pattern on the border rings was drawn in Delta Cad and Inkscape, I call it "star chain". The pointer is a generic Celtic pattern I cabbaged off the web. It's crazy how some projects get almost addictive. I have other things I need to be doing but these are just so much fun! Steve
  16. This is supposed to look like a rock wall or rocks in a bed of mortar. My wife says she likes it but doesn't think of rocks when she sees it. What do you see? what can I do to make it look more like a rock wall? Appreciate any and all thoughts, comments, or ideas. Oh yea, it's a work in progress. Actually, a try piece before I do this on a larger form. Honest opinions please. Steve
  17. We had our monthly meeting today. Dick Gerard did attend and he did a short demo. He is really into turning and embellishing spheres, from golf ball size to nearly 20" diameter. He demonstrated a few different jigs and techniques as well a few different methods of embellishing them. It was interesting and our meeting was very well attended. Steve
  18. Thought hard about this segment and came up with all sorts of reasons and justifications for even wanting a laser engraver. The honest truth is, I've just always liked gadgets. Never mind I intend to use it for embellishing some of my turnings if and when I figure out how to use it. There are some youtube videos with turners using small machines to make “signature disks” they let into the bottoms of their bowls or vessels. The machines cost about $90.00 and do a surprisingly good job. The down side is they will only do an area about 3” square and are limited in height. I thought if I ever got one I would like more capacity and flexibility so I spent a little more and bought a machine that will etch an area about 11”X14” There are several vendors that sell these machines, banggood.com, gearbest.com, aliexpress.com, to name a few. I suspect they are all made in the same factory. At any rate I bought this machine from banggood.com. One thing I will say, if, and when a person may decide to purchase one of these, be patient and watch for price fluctuations. The price will change almost daily and move as much as a hundred dollars one way or the other. So, what do you get for, in my case, about $200.00? Basically, a box of parts. I have to to admit, the parts were packaged very nicely. Everything was organized and easy to get to. All of the necessary hardware and tool are included in a little plastic compartmentalized plastic case. One thing to note about these kits, they don't come with printed instructions. I imagine that's to save expense as they are shipped all over the world. There is a video of a machine being assembled on the banggood website and there are "assembly" pictures as well. When you get right down to it, there really isn't a lot to one of these machines. The little box at the top right contains the power supply and the laser. Next to it is a pile of plexiglass parts that are machined to hold the motors and for the aluminum extrusions to fasten to. Four corner brackets to assemble the frame, a "gift" pack of small wood test pieces. 5 pieces of aluminum extrusion and the controller board next to that. And, of course, the little box of hardware and tools. The three stepper motors and various cables are not in this picture. That's about it. So, I watched the video several times and looked at the assembly illustrations. For some reason Banggood.com has made the video and pictures so a person can't save them to a computer. Seems crazy to me, but whatever. My shop is about 90 feet from our house and surprisingly, I can access our home network in the shop, if, and only if, my computer is next to the wall closest to the house. My workbench is near the opposite end of the shop and trust me, it's no small feat to change that. So, I would go to one end of my shop, watch a little of the video and run back to my bench to assemble the part I could remember. Being in my 60's that wasn't a lot. Back and forth and back and forth. The assembly starts with putting together the frame which is aluminum channel fastened together with corner brackets. I did that on my router table surface so everything would be nice and flat. The extrusions that make up the frame are two 1" X 1" and two 1" X 2" channels. I don't know if they are real 8020 or a knockoff but those aluminum channels have changed how we do so many things. The next step is to assemble the motors and bearings to the machined plexiglass components. Fortunately, this is all pretty straightforward stuff as the online "instructions", if they can be called that are not the best. I knew that before hand though so I can't complain. The bearings ride in the groove in the aluminum channel and it's actually quite smooth. I should probably note that this is not meant to be a "how-to" as far assembly goes. There are a few third party videos on youtube which are better than a series of pictures showing how it all goes together. Once a person gets into the project a little it all starts to make sense. After the motors and the bearings are attached the gantry supports are put on the channel and the feet are attached. I would guess by this point I'm about two or three hours into it. A good part of that time is watching video to make sure it's put together correctly. As wood workers, we joke about our toys when we get a new tool for the shop. Most of us know that these "toys" can hurt a person. Something like this may seem a little less risky. The opposite is true. A person doesn't even have to be near one of these to suffer eye damage as just the reflected light from one of them can be harmful. The most important safety rule with one of these is; "Don't look into the laser with your remaining eye." After the feet are attached the laser is installed and the gantry assembly is mounted. After that, the wiring begins and its all plug in connectors so that's not a big deal. After several hours of studying video, restudying video, hard work, and paying close attention to detail I'm done except for putting on some wire wraps to tidy everything up. Once I get the software loaded I'll be ready to do some laser engraving........... on the ceiling, doh, mounted the laser upside down. Thankfully it's a simple of flipping the gantry channel over as it will mount either way. Now, on to loading the software and doing some world class etching!
  19. After assembling the machine it's time to install the software. I have to say before I get into that, assembling the machine is well within the scope of most any wood workers ability. It's kind of like Lincoln logs. If a person takes it in small steps and doesn't look at the overall picture, it's not too daunting. Like my brother's wife always says, "it's hard by the yard, but it's a cinch by the inch" she is right. Now, what can I say about the software? A lot, and not much. It's important to keep in mind, for myself, as much as anyone. This is a bare bones, entry level, hobby machine. It will engrave an area approximately 11" X 14" and will cost 2-300 dollars depending on the time of day, literally. Any of the name brand machines, like Epilog, will cost a few thousand for their entry level machine. I'm not comparing my machine to those at all, they are more refined, more powerful, more capable, etc. etc. Like the instructions, the software must be downloaded from the banggood website. Its kind of confusing just what to do once it's downloaded and there is zero technical support. Once again, I knew that going in. And like before, I spent several hours googling, researching, watching video, reading instructables and struggling to install the software and get it working. One big problem is that most virus software doesn't like it, so it won't allow the package to install. A person basically has to disable virus protection during the install process, something I didn't care to do. After the software is installed, the computer must be configured to communicate with the laser, guess what? Back to youtube, google, instructables, etc. etc. to find out how to do that. Again, hours were spent figuring it out. In fact, I never did get that first software package to work but downloaded a different package from gearbest.com and finally I could communicate with my machine. The engraving program included with the software is called "benbox". It is a very, very basic setup. To give an idea how basic, it always loads in Chinese, so every time a person starts the program they must choose a different language, unless of course, they speak Chinese. Basic settings must be restored every time the program is started, such as laser speed, power, etc. etc. You can't save a profile, like if you find settings that work well with maple, they must be written in a notebook and re-entered each time a person would burn maple. A person must also go through the steps to connect with the machine every time it starts. None of this is a big deal but it's not what most of us are used to with a program. Even so, eventually I was ready to try to engrave something. The first several times I tried, mostly what I made was a black hole in whatever I was using, It seemed no matter what, that was the result. At the risk of repeating myself, once more, google, youtube, etc. etc. etc. After much research, tweaking, setting up and testing I got to where I could get the black hole to move slightly and make little square boxes that kind of resembled charcoal, frustration was beginning to set in and I began to wonder if I'd wasted both time and money. Back to the web, finally I thought, maybe there was a benbox forum? Guess what, there is. benboxlaser forum All I can say is, forums are a gift, in only an hour or so I had learned enough on the benbox forum I was able to engrave a simple gif of a horse. Not the most impressive bit of laser engraving but hey, it was a start. The next few days I spent a lot of time on that forum. I have to say it again, a good forum, like this one, and from my limited experience, the benbox forum is one of the best things about the net. In just a short time, I learned much about the capabilities of the software and the machine. I also saw, there are people who own this machine doing some very nice work with it. I also learned the machine is capable of much but is limited severely by the included software. For instance, with benbox, the laser itself only knows on or off, there are no degrees of power. In a nutshell, what that means a person can etch dark or not at all. There is no gray scale. That's kind of a big deal. For outlines, silhouettes, or something like a Celtic knot, black or white is just fine. For a picture of any kind, gray scale is a must. As I was browsing the forum one thing I noticed was many of the members weren't using the benbox program but instead a program called "t2laser". As I started reading more I discovered one of members had gotten frustrated with benbox and was smart enough to develop t2laser, which according to many who post there is a much better option. It didn't take much to convince to download a trial version and after a few tests, buy and install the registered version which he sells for $39.00. At this point I have about $250.00 in this venture. Well, after using the new software I am seriously impressed with it. Very user friendly, easy to configure and the gentleman responds to questions in a few minutes most of the time. I am still very early in the learning curve with this machine and this software but also very encouraged with recent results. One of the items I make quite a few of, are decorative lids for mason jars, and/or honey dippers for mason jars. One of the main things I wanted to do with this machine was to embellish the lids to increase the value of them. I did a couple test lids today using the t2laser software and I'm really pretty happy with the results. One of these is maple and the other is walnut, same settings on both. The nice thing is, once the setup is made, the little laser can work on it's own while I'm doing something else. So, that's where I am at this point, still lots to learn but that's part of the fun isn't it? If someone were to ask me if the machine is worth the cost, I would say it is to me without doubt, just for the learning experience, the rest is all gravy.
  20. Steve Krumanaker

    22.JPG

    From the album: Steve Krumanaker

    The bottom with "phicops in a circle" and stippling for shadow
  21. Steve Krumanaker

    21.JPG

    From the album: Steve Krumanaker

    Maple vessel with the zentangle pattern "cubine". turned, hollowed to about 1/8" and wood burned.
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