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.
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.
This week I printed off six file handles for my 3D printed tool box. I had previously been using corks from old wine bottles. I drilled holes into the prints and chemically bonded the file into the handles.
I was fairly happy with the look of the final pieces however white is not the most practical colour for the workshop! I drilled through the side of one of them an realised I should have printed them with the holes in.
The biggest disappointment came when I tested the half round file and realised that the handles need to work both ways up. I am there for going to go back to the drawing board and make a newer and more comfortable version.
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.
Yesterday I sand cast my third kitchen cupboard handle. The strange part about sand casting is the pour. I find that quite often when I think pouring the metal has worked, it hasn’t and vice-versa. This time I thought it hadn’t worked, but when I took the mold apart I found that a small bit of sand had fallen from the sides into the bottom of the mold. This resulted in the handle having a large dint of missing metal in the back. Although this wouldn’t be seen I have decided to recast this to make one more perfect. I will be melting the metal to reuse for the next one.
Yesterday I cast another cupboard door handle. I have six to cast in total. They are all similar to each other however some are twisted more than others. When I poured the cast I thought it hadn’t worked properly. It wasn’t until I opened up the mold that I was happily surprised. I spent the afternoon cleaning up the piece with my files. I have four more to cast and then I will solder on threads to the back of then so as they can be used for the cupboard doors.