Turning My First Castings

I turned some of my first resin castings into pens that turned out when I didn’t think they were able to be turned.  The resin didn’t fill the tube in molds, so the tubes were exposed.  I did some research and found a shorter blank/body Wall Street II kit, so I took the blanks to the disc sander and sanded them down to the appropriate blank length.  I used the tube from the kit as a reference to get the cast blank the right size.

After getting the blanks to the correct size, I went ahead and mounted them to the mandrel on the lathe.  At this point I was able to turn both blanks.  I knew these blanks had some issues on the surface, so I frequently stopped to check my progress and make sure everything was still workable.

Turning Alumilite resin is a treat because I love how smoothly it comes off the blanks.  Additionally, I purchased an extra set of Wall Street II bushings, which allowed me to turn two blanks at once, so I was able to assemble two pens at the end instead of just one.

Once I turned the blanks down to the diameter if the bushings, I started to sand the blanks.  I dry sand with 220 grit, 400 grit, 1,000 grit, and 2,000 grit.  Normally after I dry sand I start wet sanding with Micro Mesh, but one of the blanks had a small void in it, so I filled the void with CA glue, and dry sanded that blank one more time to make sure the CA was flush with the blank.  It was after I dry sanded the blank with the void for the second time that i went ahead and wet sanded from 1,500 grit, up to 12,000 grit.  This gave the blanks a really nice shine.

I finished the banks after wet sanding with a coat of paste wax and HUT Ultra Gloss Polish.  I used two applications of polish and this really made the blanks look great!

Assembly of the pens went together just like any other Wall Street II kit.  I started by pressing the cap into the body of each pen.  When placing the cap, I made sure that the clip covered the defect on the blank that I mentioned earlier.  No one will see the defect, and it turned out to be a gorgeous pen.  I put the spring on the ink refill, put the refill into the nib of the pen, then threaded the transmission of each pen.  Once I threaded the transmission, I tested said transmission and had an awesome fit and action.  Finally. I pressed the body of each pen onto the nibs, and I had two completed Wall Street II grip pens!

This was an excellent way to use seemingly useless castings and turn them into something special.

Thanks for checking out and reading this article.  if you feel like my content is worthy, you can support me on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/crosscutcreations), or make a one time donation through PayPal.  If you have any questions, or comments, feel free to reach out to me!

-Robert

Shop Update 4.26.18

I released a short shop update on my YouTube channel today and it included current projects, craft show experiences, next week’s video, stickers, and shout out!

Current Projects: I’m currently working on some frames for a drama club production, some props for a festival later this year, and other typical things like pens and such in the shop.

This past weekend I went to a craft show at a high school and sold nothing.  This is my second show in a row where I’ve sold nothing.  I’m heavily considering not doing any more shows, or being super selective about what shows I do go to because I haven’t had a real successful show yet.

Next week’s video will be a turning video.  I will turn a couple pens and put them on a semi-new-to-me kit.  These blanks are also special because these will be blanks I turn from my first batch of casting with alumalite!

Shop Stickers: Waylight Creations, Mike Atkinson, Donny Carter, Opa’s Workshop

Shout Out: Modern Maker Podcast – One sheet of plywood challenge!  Check out the video for more details!

-Robert

My First Resin Casting Experience

Yesterday I posted a video documenting my first resin casting experience.  This was a new skill I wanted to learn and I have a plethora of resources.  As I went through my first cast, I realized this is something I really enjoy.  For my first cast, I used Alumalite clear.  This resin is a two part resin – Part A (resin) and Part B (hardener).  The ratio is 1:1 (A:B).  This makes it easy to remember and it’s also nice that it’s easy to turn.

I started by laying out my cups and marked them A or B depending on which part I was pouring.  I did a three color pour, which included Phoenix Orange, Midnight Purple, and Teal at the suggestion of Greg Bonier.  (Thanks, Greg!)  I was prepared to pour resin into a four blank mold with each cavity being 7/8″x7/8″x5.25″ blanks.  I also got a tube-in mold for Sierra type pens.  When I finished pouring the resin for the four blank mold, I had enough resin to pour into the tube-in molds.  Because I wasn’t prepared to use the tube-in molds, the extra resin started to set up and the cast wasn’t really pretty.  This turned out okay though, because the “ugly” portion turned off nicely and left an awesome finished blank.

After pouring the resin into the molds, I put the molds in the pressure pot for two hours at 50 psi.  I took the blanks out after two hours and realized I forgot the mold release, but this wasn’t the end of the world as the blanks popped out of the molds relatively easily.  I did have some additional issues with the tube-in castings, but I will detail that at another time.

I plan on doing another casting video at some point where I’ll detail the process I use in a future video in more detail.  I absolutely love casting, and now I need more resin.  Tim to go sell a few pens to be able to afford more resin!

If you have any questions, comments, or anything else, feel free to contact me!

-Robert

What did I do with my scraps?

The video I released today was very elementary, but it served two important purposes.

1. I was able to repurpose some scrap material.

2. I made room in my shop for other things and now have pen blanks ready to go.

I used two cuts to achieve this.  I used a rip cut and a cross cut.  I ripped my rough scraps down to 3/4″, then I cross cut each of those pieces into 6″ strips.  Doing this allowed me to have a wider variety of pen blanks on hand, as well as this allowed me to store those scraps, now pen blanks with my other turning blanks instead of around the shop.

There isn’t a whole lot to this week’s video as there isn’t much to it, but it was an important and necessary project for the functionality of my shop.  While I understand that not everyone is a pen turner, or turner at all, scraps can be used for a wide variety of projects, you just have to figure out what works for you.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, and/or suggestions.

-Robert

The Llama Lounge – A CNC Sign

Today I released my first sign video.  I used my Next Wave Automation PiranhaXL CNC.  The sign was made of curly maple and finished with polycrilic.

I took my piece of wood and dimensioned it to 6″x24″, then carved the sign with a 60 degree V bit.  The font was Old English.  After programming the CNC, carving the sign, and rounding over the edges on the router table, I finished the sign with a water-based polycrilic by Minwax.  I used the wipe on version and sanded with 400 grit sandpaper in between coats.  There were a total of three finishing coats applied.

What you didn’t see:

I started this project on the wrong foot.  I had the fine people at Woodcraft cut the board I got roughly in half.  That’s not a problem.  I got the board home and went to trim and square up each edge of the board before cutting it to final length.  I was previously working on some legs for a corn hole game and forgot that I had my miter saw at another angle that wasn’t zero degrees.  This started the project off in a not-so-great fashion, but I was able to overcome that small issue by cutting each side square over on the cross cut sled.  What really got me was that I messed up the clamping process pretty good.  See, I unnecessarily had my work piece on a makeshift (not proper) spoil board and with the settings that I had, when the carving started, the work piece shifted, which meant my sign was out of alignment and ruined.  The next piece I used, everything was going great and the carve got all the way to the very last letter of the sign and guess what!  Yep, the bottom of the gantry found one of my one billion Harbor Freight tape measures that I can never find, which means the gantry jammed and it threw off the placement of the last letter.  I got a THIRD piece and was able to fix all mistakes made in the first two attempts to finally get a successful carve.

This project was a learning experience as this was my first sign of any size.  My CNC is rated for 12″ wide bny 24″ deep.  I learned that when they say 12″x24″, that’s exactly what they mean and you can’t squeeze any more out of it.  That meant that I had to be extremely preceise, especially when setting my zero points, but more specifically, the y-axis.  Even though I had to be precise, That allowed the machine to do its job, and it handled it like a champ.  Now if we could just get the operator to get it in gear…

-Robert

Shop Update 3.29.18 | Makers Rock 2018 Giveaway Winner

Today I released a shop update video that covered a number of topics!

I talked about my current projects being corn hole boards, pens, and a few other things, but I also highlighted stickers, as well as gave away my Makers Rock album artwork.

I received a number of stickers through a meet up I went to in Cleveland, but also got a good amount of stickers through the mail in a sticker swap.  These swaps are a ton of fun and if you’re interested in trading stickers, feel free to contact me.

The mail call I did involved my journey into casting resin blanks.  I received an order from Fred & Tina Wissen at PTownSubbie (ptownsubbie.com).  Go check out their stuff as they are excellent people to work with and know a lot about the casting process.  They are super willing to help you out and get you headed in the right direction.

I also gave away my Makers Rock album artwork.  I used a random comment generator and Ryan from Waylight Creations won my album artwork, “Brigade” by Heart.  Congrats, Ryan!

Shoutout: PTownSubbie

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me as always.

-Robert

Makers Rock 2018: “Brigade” by Heart | Giveaway

Today I released my Makers Rock video along with more than 30 other makers!  This year’s theme was 90s albums, so I decided to recreate the album “Brigade” by Heart.

This album was a lot of fun to recreate and was a step outside of my comfort zone, which allowed me to learn some new skills.  I want to take a second to thank Mark Lindsay for helping me with the .tap file to create this project.  he helped me out and taught me how to manually trace vectors and clean up unnecessary lines.  Without Mark, this project would have been nearly impossible.  Thanks, Mark!

After designing the file in Vetric Desktop, I took the painted piece to the CNC and let the PiranhaXL do its thing.  During the very last cut of the entire project, I realized that I misplaced a clamp, so the bit hit the clamp and broke.  Even though that was the case, the project cut perfectly other than that and I was able to more on.

I sanded the rough spots of the carved out piece, then started to paint the piece.  I used craft paints to make the album look like the original.  This was also somewhat new to me as I don’t consider myself a painter or even artist, at least when if comes to mediums such as paint.

Finally, after I got the paint on the piece, I used a coat of polycrilic clear coat just to give the piece some protection.

If you want a chance to win the album artwork, head over to my YouTube channel and do two things:

1. Subscribe to my channel.

2. Leave a comment on the build video.

THAT’S IT!  I will pick a winner by using a random comment generator and will announce the winner during my Shop Update, next Thursday, March 29th!

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crosscutcreations

-Robert

Makers Rock Promo Video!

This Tuesday, 35 makers will release videos on recreations on 90s albums!  I am one of the makers that is creating an album.  I will be recreating the album, “Brigade” by Heart.

The best part about this collaboration between these awesome makers is that YOU could win OUR artwork!  Each maker will be doing their own giveaway and you’ll have a chance to win some awesome work!  For my giveaway, I will be selecting a comment from the build video.  That person (as long as he/she is subscribed to my YouTube channel) will win the album artwork!  So here’s the quick and easy version of how to enter to win my album artwork:

1. SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.

2. Leave a comment on the build video that will be released this coming Tuesday!

THAT’S IT!  That’s all you have to do to enter the giveaway!  It’s that easy!  In good time (within a month of me releasing the build video), I will announce a winner and get the album art shipped to him/her!

Subscribe to my channel and we’ll see you soon!

-Robert

Cross Cut Creations Logo Label Cast Pen (Cast by John Pierce)

In the video I released yesterday, I made a Wall Street II pen.  Before you say, “He’s already made one of those, I don’t want to watch this.”, hear me out.  This pen blank I turned was specially cast by John Pierce.  The label had my Cross Cut Creations logo on it and it was cast in alumalite with a tube-in mold from Fred Wissen over at PTownSubbie.  Alumalite turns amazingly and I love to turn the material.

I barrel trimmed the ends of the blank slightly to get the blank flush so the bushings would seat correctly and I got to turning.  I took my time on this blank and spent a lot of time turning because I took light passes.  The last thing I wanted to do was chip out or blow the blank apart.  After I turned the blank down to the bushings, or close to the bushings, I sanded quite a bit with 220 grit dry sand paper to get the blank to the final diameter, then moved to 400 grit, 1,000, then 2,000 grit paper to smooth it out.

After I dry sanded, I moved to wet sanding with Micro Mesh, again going through the grits, 1,500-12,000 grit.  The blank looked good once I was done dry sanding, but after I spent some time with the Micro Mesh, this was the process that made the blank look GREAT!  It shined up the blank nicely and I was super pleased with the result.

Finally, I used HUT Ultra-gloss polish and applied that twice, buffing out the polish after each application.  This was the last step on the lathe.

Once I polished the blank and got it looking all shiny and amazing, I took the blank off the lathe and assembled the pen.  Assembling a Wall Street II pen is extremely simple!  That’s part of the reason I love these pens.  All you need to do is the following:

1. Line up the cap and clip where you want the clip to be on the blank.  When assembling a pen with a label-cast blank, typically the clip goes where the seam of the label is so the seam gets covered and the graphic can be prominently displayed.

2. Push the cap into the blank once lined up.

3. Put the spring onto the ink refill and put that ink cartridge into the nib of the pen.

4. Put the transmission of the pen over the ink and thread said transmission onto the nib.  At this point I twist the transmission to make sure everything is working as it should be.

5. Push the blank and nib together and you have a completed pen!

This pen was a super fun turn and a very special, personal blank.  I love how this pen turned out and I can’t thank John Pierce enough for the amazing blanks he sent me.  If you need something cast, I would definitely send John a message because he does a lot of amazing stuff!  Be sure to send John a DM on Instagram and let him know he does some amazing things and let him know what you need cast!

John Pierce on Instagram: jbob1178

Thanks for reading, and as always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me!

-Robert

Cross Cut Sled – Earning My Channel Name

This week I uploaded a video about how to make a cross cut sled.  I wanted to do this for a couple reasons.

1. I wanted to at least earn my Cross Cut Creations name.

2. (More importantly) I wanted to be able to safely make cross cuts on my table saw for when I’m cutting pieces to their final lengths.

3. I want to start segmenting pen blanks to make new and unique pens.

These three main reasons were my motivation behind making this cross cut sled.  I channeled my inner reclaimed audio podcast listening-ness and used left over plywood and 2x material from another project to make this sled.  As I said in the video, the sled is huge and if I were to do it again, I would make the sled smaller and overall, less beefy.  I like the way it came out, but now I need to figure out where to store the sled when it isn’t in use.

I started this build by cutting the rounded edges off the boards that would make up the front and back fences.  After that, i milled up some hardwood runners that were about 3/4″ wide that the sled would sit upon.  In order to line up the runners and table of the sled, I put stacks of pennies into the runners so the runners could be tested and attached to the table portion of the sled.  Throughout this build, I used two different kinds of glue to assemble the different parts of the sled.  I used Titebond II for a long lasting bond, but I also used some Stick Fast medium CA glue with activator for instant adhesion.  This seemed to work really well for me.

Once I put glue on the runners, I lined up the plywood with the fence of my table saw and put it on the runners as square as I could and then cleaned up and flushed up any protruding runner material.  Then, I made the first cut (Chris Cute!) into the sled to establish the kerf of the blade.  At this point, I backed the sled off the blade and attached the back fence to the plywood.  I also attached the fences with screws after predrilling the holes.  Getting this fence square to the blade isn’t super critical as I will not be referencing my materials against this fence.  The fence that was important to square up is the front fence and you can do that using the 5 cut method.  If you aren’t sure what the five cut method is, search on YouTube for “5 cut method” and a lot of incredibly talented people can explain it better than I can.  Essentially, it is a way to make sure your reference fence is as square as possible to the blade.  When making the front fence, I cut down the height of the fence so I could attach stop blocks and things like that if I needed to make repeatable cuts.  This will help immensely with efficiency in the shop.

To finish off this build, I added a scrap 2×4 to the front of the sled where the blade would be in theory, so I can keep my hands safe and away from the blade at all times.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to contact me!

-Robert