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.
I had a very exciting few days in the workshop testing my hammer. One thing that I didn’t realised was that the handle was too big to grip properly. So I went to the wood workshop and got it sanded down on the belt sander.
Sandra Wilson then gave me a quick afternoon master class in Dutch Raising. Dutch raising differs from the more well known technique of angle raising in that you hammer from the inside of your piece out. This creates a wave in the metal as you push the metal round. After each round you calque the edges and the re-anneal.
The second day I continued the piece and go to the planishing stage. I used my 3D printed steel planishing hammer. I also used the wrong steak at one point which put dints into the bottom of the bowl. I actually quite liked this so I ran with it.
I wanted to finish the bowl well and in an interesting way. I had some copper foil which I wanted to use for the inside of the bowl. I tried a sample of copper on copper kuem-boo but this didn’t work because copper doesn’t fuse. the samples just flaked off and they also changed to a more pastel colour.
I decided then to leaf the inside using adhesive. The outside of the bowl I finished with platinol and I burnished the top edge to a shine.
After going through many CAD model designs for the stool. I decided to have a go at constructing a stool thought 3D printing plastic joins that would hold the structure in place whilst welding. I ran into a few problems very quickly in the construction of the base. After welding most of the base together I realised that the steel had warped. this could have been due to heat expansion.
There were also parts of the design that were too close together and difficult to impossible to weld.
After spending a few weeks on this I decided to go back to the drawing board and simplify the design. I drew many other models that gradually became more simple. I still wasn’t entirely happy with the construction and felt what I was trying to achieve was far too complex and may not end up with a good result.
After discussion with Jon Christie about furniture he suggested that a simple three lagged stool is the most stable stool you can have. As the stool is for my workshop I felt it was an important design idea. I then spent a few more CAD models perfecting just one element that would be 3D printed to hold together my stool.
The piece can be screwed into the seat from the middle and the three legs can be slotted in. I am now in the process of 3D printing a prototype to test the element.
One of the main tools I need in my kitchen would be knives. This is the second knife I worked on. For this I designed the knife in CAD and 3D printed the blade in steel. The cost of a solid knife was far too expensive to justify 3D printing, so I decided to cut out most of the weight from the middle of the knife.
I then used algorithms in grasshopper to put back in place a structure to give more strength to the piece. Using grasshopper allowed me to play with the structure until I found an arrangement I was happy with. This was great in this particular case as if I had drawn this in rhino alone I would have only had the option I had drawn and it would have been far more difficult to change.
The knife cost £34.15 to print from Shapeways.
The first job I had was to sharpen the blade. I didn’t want to temper the steel so I avoided using a machine to grind the edges. At first I used a file which took off most of the edge. I was then given a sharpening stone from a friend which was far easier for the job and took very little time.
The next job I had was to make the handle. I wanted a contrast in the piece between handmade and CAD build work as I felt this would add part of my soul into the work more with combining the handmade element.
I cut a piece of metal to act as a stopper at the end of the handle. This slipped down to join between the handle and the blade to make the piece look a bit neater. I then made the handle using a piece of exotic hard wood called black plamera. I cut the wood in half and cut out the shape of the handle. In the centre of the piece I placed some dark blue acrylic sandwiched between light gathering plastic so that when you hold it up to the light you can see through the piece.
After gluing the handle together with epoxy resin I glued two brass rods though the handle to secure.
I then filed the handle into shape and sanded down to a high finish. I used Danish oil to finish the wood to a high polish.
Over the last month or so I have been working on design algorithms using Grasshopper in Rhino 3D. I decided to apply this fist to the stool I will need for my jewellery bench in the workshop. The reason I chose to apply this to the stool is that I currently have a Pakistani rushty stool which is the perfect size and shape for my workbench. So I decided to use this as the size and shape that I would use in rhino and then allow the computer algorithms to design the rest of the stool.
It has taken quite a long time and different models perfect the final design. I found that some of the T-splines wouldn’t Boolean union which meant I had to delete some elements. I also had problems with some splines unioning but then the model had no volume. To get around this I had to keep checking the volume and saving regularly to find and delete the bad splines.
I have 3D printed a small model of the stool from my home printer. Because the size of the university computer is about 20cm I have split the stool into eight segments that will all be printed separately.
From the model I printed I realised that the base of the model would be too thick, so to cut down on materials I have cut the larger model down to 5mm thick at the base.
The stool is now getting printed so I will be looking forwards to seeing the result.
Today I went on a wee day trip to St Andrews to see an exhibition and event called ‘The Craftsmen of St Andrews Past and Present’. The event consisted of talks, workshops and an exhibition. The event was held by the university of St Andrews and was a cultural engagement project. The exhibition exhibited original books and text written in the old Scott’s language dating from 1550-1800’s. The transcripts document information on traditional trades of Baxters, Fleshers and Hammermen. I met a Researcher from St Andrews University who has been working on digitising and translating the books and they are now available online. What was great about the event was the juxtaposition of traditional crafts alongside the new. There were photo’s of both contemporary and old trades.
The event was also running workshops for the public involving 3D printing and laser cutting. They used laser cutting on foam and made printing stamps which they then used on fabrics. I thought this was quite a clever and simple idea making tools and then getting the public involved. The workshop area was very busy with both adults and children taking part.
Also, on other news……… Last night I tested my shot glasses with Lisa who I work with. The shot glasses work very well as vessels and the experience was fun. However I am thinking I need to design an actual whisky glass for my whisky as it doesn’t seem right drinking Abelour Abunadh from a shot glass.