Friday, March 29, 2019

Spring has sprung...summer is on the way...

The only constant in the woodshop is that people will hit me up for some of the most unique requests, from repurposing old furniture into something new, to working on their kid's school projects. I've been getting a few calls about Pinewood Derby cars - something I worked on a few years ago.

I still have mixed feelings about working on some kid's pinewood derby car, 

but as the comment at the bottom states - at least that mother was taking an active part in her child's life. If she couldn't build the car, at least she could find someone who could.

 So lately - I've been getting a ton of calls to work on student's school projects. A recent one involved the state of Nevada, and making a puzzle with all of the counties cut out. It was relatively easy to find the clip art on Google images. 

And of course - having a Glowforge laser makes easy work of cutting everything. 

The "trace" function allows me to scan the image, and click on the parts I want to cut out. 

Seriously, it couldn't be more simple. 

After adding a solid sheet behind this cut-out piece, it's easy to create a puzzle.

It's so easy, I made two... one for the student, and one for me!

The more I play with this, the more I learn what it can do... it's a totally awesome machine!  I'm working on a few corporate gifts using the Glowforge, I'll try to post some pictures of upcoming projects, but honestly - these products fly out of my shop as soon as I make them!

On a totally unrelated note, an aunt of mine passed away this week. Two things stand out in my mind about her - she was the very first person I ever knew who had air conditioning, so visiting her house was aways a cool treat.  

Even better - she took me to my very first concert - guess who we saw? 

RIP Aunt Jean - thanks for the concert!

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Skysurfing? Ummm.... no thank you

We've all done some things in our lives that we would take back, right? 

 In my last year of college, I went skydiving with a group of co-workers. We spent a day in classes, learning how to do it properly, and how to deal with problems, should they arise. My buddies didn't look too thrilled about it, but I seemed happy at the time. 

As the day ended, the sky clouded over, and we had to abandon the idea of jumping that day. The next morning, we went back for our first jump.

I've run through this scenario in my head so many times, I can still recall the details - my chute malfunctioned and I'm lucky to be alive. Here I am, a speck in the sky, after I got the chute straightened out. 

That training the day before saved my life. I landed near a corn field about a mile from where I should have landed, 

took my chute off, and decided it wasn't for me.  

It was life changing - I lost all desire for thrill seeking - no more roller coasters, no bungee jumping, no zip lining, no scuba diving, no para gliding, no wind surfing, no rock climbing... I don't even like ferris wheels. Or elevators with glass sides.

A customer recently stopped by my shop, and explained that he was a sky surfer. 

I'd never heard of it, but he was trying to make a surfboard, and brought in a piece of aircraft plywood...

 I didn't even know there was such a thing, and apparently the sport has mostly died out. Sky boards are mostly unavailable, and it's hard to even find a used one to copy.  I pictured a bunch of guys in their garages, making boards from low quality plywood from the big box stores... a recipe for disaster! I could picture the wood delaminating at high speed, or worse....

He and I have been working on some prototypes of boards, with the hope of producing some safe, aerodynamic samples with which he can experiment. This was our first version, 

but the second and third have better bindings and a different footprint.

 If I'm lucky, I'll get a photo of these boards in use.... but I won't be taking the pictures, trust me.  

Want to read more?

Click here: Skysurfing