Well if not my bidding, at least it can do my whittlin' for me. A little while ago I picked up a Craftsman Carvewright, a computer-controlled carving machine that can carve patterns into wood, foam, and a variety of plastics:
After reading and re-reading the owner's manual, I finally went ahead and built a test project. I grabbed a small scrap of mahogany and set up the machine to carve a handful of pictures and some text onto it. Here I am looking happy about it:
I made it a point to include as many small details as I could. It managed to cut them all, but since the ball-nosed carving bit had a 1/16" tip, I was making it work a lot harder than it was designed to. While there were some problems with some of the smaller details on some of the pictures, the text came out great:
Having found the limitations of the device, I started making pieces and parts. Here's a rough draft of the replacement insignia I'm making for my father's RatRod built from an International Pickup truck:
For those of you who don't know, "Cornbinder" used to be a somewhat common nickname for International trucks. I didn't know either.
I'm also using it to make a few parts for the HALO project. Here's the prototype for the inner thigh part:
Now I'll be painting this piece and making a silicon mold to pull copies in urethane foam rubber. Painted black, they'll look like so:
There's also a function that lets me import 3d models, slice them into pieces that can be carved from flat stock, and make parts that can be stacked and glued together to make a 3d object. I'm building up to be able to make one of these:
Done right, this thing will be about six feet long. Fun!
In the meantime, I'm still trying to think up a name for my new robot shop assistant.