Today I 3D scanned a stone aged axe my Grandad found many years ago in England. I have always loved the shape and form of the tool and how it fits perfectly into the hand.
I wanted to use this form to create tools to make forms for pieces for the house.
I scanned the axe at the university and then used the files to create both silversmithing stakes and hammers.
For the stakes I kept the original size of the axe and added a section that would allow it to be gripped in a vice. For the hammers I scaled down the model to 85mm and cut out a hole for the handle.
I am planning on 3D printing the models and casting them possibly in bronze.
Last week my handle for the raising hammer I made in Hungary was CNC milled in birch wood. It had taken quite a lot of time because previously it had been milled in oak. When I spoke to the wood technician he said that the grain of the wood was at an angle and that this would split when used. It brought up a very interesting conversation about the need for craftsmen and traditional crafts skills in the field of modern technologies. Not all items made using modern technologies will work or be better than something handcrafted but that it is the knowledge of both that are needed to apply ideas.
I glued the handle together in the workshop with wood glue and clamped together for around an hour.
When the handle was taken off the milling machine it had supports on the sides, I cut these off with a saw. I then filed and sanded the handle and fixed the hammer head in using epoxy resin.
I am now using Danish oil on the handle every day for the next week. I still have to drill a hole through both the handle and the head to fix a rod through.
I put together the raising hammer mold in exactly the same way as the sea horse mold.I found that at the casting stage of this I had problems.
I think I had placed the hammer too far down and as it was a little larger than the previous hammer, I needed an air hole in there.
I rebuilt the mold in the afternoon, placing the hammer closer to the top of the mold and with two air holes in to draw out the metal.
Later in the evening we went for a second pour.
This time the piece worked really well an I was ready to clean up both my claw hammer and raising hammer.
So right now I am in Mátranovák, Hungary. I have spent the last few days sand casting hammers in brass. The first one I tried was the seahorse claw hammer.
I made the sand casting mold in the usual way. First I compacted the sand into the bottom part of the mold. After scraping the sand flat I roughly carved out a space for the 3D printed hammer.
I compacted the sand flat around the centre line of the print and then coated in talc.
I added the top part of the mold and compacted the sand with a mallet. After reaching over the top line I scraped back the top so it was flat.
I then opened the mold and took out the 3D printed plastic hammer and the tube I used for the pour hole.
I placed the mold back together and clamped the edges.
I then took the mold to the local blacksmith Laci bácsi, who helped me cast the piece in Brass.
He first smashed up lots of pieces of coal into small pieces for the furnace.
He then lit the furnace with some small pieces of wood and then added the coal.
The mold was left close to the furnace to heat a little and was turned after ten minutes to heat the other side.
The metal was left to heat for around 20 minutes before it was liquid enough to pour.
After around five minutes after the pour the metal was solid enough to open the mold.
Laci bácsi and myself were both very happy with the result.
The hammer was quenched in water and I am now left with the task of finishing off the piece.
Today I ran a test print of my claw hammer I designed over the last few days on the UP printer. I wanted to check for size and scale and I may also take a cast from this into bronze. I am very happy with the feel, form and size. I am also going to 3D print one in hardened resin to test it’s durability. I haven’t quite decided on how I will produce the handle yet. I will be having a think about this over the next few weeks.
For the last day or two I have been designing a claw hammer for larger scale use such as building my house. I went through a few designs and decided I would make use of the CAD and design the hammer so that I wouldn’t have to wedge the handle at the top in a traditional way. I designed the handle and the hammer head so that they join in the handle shaft.
I got a little carried away with the handle when the hammer head started to look a little like a seahorse. I’m not sure if I will keep the base section exactly like this or if I will simplify it a little before production and comfort. I am hoping to cast the top section in bronze and get the handle either milled in wood or 3D printed in hard clear resin.
For the last few days I have been working on finishing my hammer. Initially I made a handle from an unknown wood I found in the park. After Finishing the wood beautifully to a high polish I went to wedge the hammer head into the top and the wood split.
I then started again using a piece of oak. I initially used my 3D printed chisel to carve the plank. Although this was still cutting really well, I had to sharpen it regularly to keep a good cutting edge.
After 3 hours of solid carving I hadn’t made that much of a dint in the wood. I went over to the wood workshop to see if I could use the lathe on it. Malcom the technician offered an even better solution. He showed me how to use a spindle shaver. This is a tool I had never heard of before. It is similar to a plane however you hold it with two hands and it has a handle on each side.With in about an hour I had carved a nice dainty shaped handle that was better proportioned to the hammer head.
I used my 3D printed chisel again to clean and scrape the wood before I sanded it.Finally I cut a wedge of walnut wood and a wedge out of the top of the handle. I then added a little artificial chemical bonding (wood glue) and wedged the hammer head onto the handle. I plan to polish the handle with Danish oil every day for a week or two.
I am very please with the result. I plan to tweak it a little over the next week, however I can wait to start using it to see how it holds up.
A few weeks ago I sent away a CAD model of a jewellers hammer head to Shapeways. I got the model in the post on on Tuesday of this week. The hammer head cost just over £24 to print. I was able to design it the way I wanted it to look and personalised it with my hallmark.
I was very happy with the finished result of the print. Each of the faces of the hammer show the layers of the build and require to be sanded and polished. I have started to sand the flat side if the head which has been quite easy, although takes much longer than other metals. I am yet to start cleaning up the domed side. I feel this might be a little more tricky to get perfect.
After getting very excited about my hammer arriving and picking it up from the local shop I went straight to the park to find a suitable handle. I picked up a few sticks off the ground that looked roughly the right size and took them back to my flat. One of the sticks was very weak and snapped. The other I tested for strength before starting to work with the wood.
I used my 3D printed chizel to strip and carve the stick. This is the first time that I have really got to test my chizel. It worked really well. It both striped the bark with ease and carved really smooth and accurately.
At the end of the handle I marked with a pen where the wood needed to be removed to fit the head. I carved and then filed the oval to size.
I have spend about a day working on the handle so far. I have been sanding the wood to try and achieve a high polish.
I still have a little more work to do to get the hammer perfect. I need to make the connection at the top fit better and carve down the top of the shank a little to make it look more like it flows into the head. I am going to finish the handle by polishing it with Danish oil every day for the next week. Once I have done this I will attach to head permanently.
Over the last few months I have been thinking a lot about the tools that I need and the ways in which I can innovatively use the 3D printing process whilst not spending more money than I would to just buy a tool. I have gone through quite a few different ideas and developed my tooling to where I feel happy to now start testing prototypes.
The mallet handle progressed from just directly 3D printing a mallet to breaking it down and looking at each part. The first idea, was to CNC mill a multifunctional handle which could be used by screwing on and off mallet heads which could be printed or milled from different materials such as wood or hard resin.
I designed a handle which had a nice form and would have looked great in wood. Before the chance came to mill this I had developed the idea further, which I was glad for. I decided that I could go even further with the design of the tool and develop it specifically for my own use. I took clay imprints of my handprints as I would be holding certain tools. I then 3D scanned these to develop into handles for my tools.
I have also been developing various hammers in CAD and testing the cost of them to 3D print against the cost to buy from reputable jewellery suppliers. The average cost of a jewellers hammer is around £15-£30 depending on the use. There are some more expensive hammers around £60-£80 with changeable heads.
I kept developing and changing my hammer to make it affordable to print. I managed to get the cost down to £24.02 to be printed in steel. One advantage to 3D printing this was that I was able to customise the hammer head with my hallmark. I will make a separate handle for this hammer to the mallet as it is much smaller. I may either carve one in wood using my 3D printed chisel or CNC mill another handle with my handprint engrained.