Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rocket Ship: Summer's Woodworking 2x4 Contest 2014

A retro style rocket ship made from approximately half a 2x4. Two pieces cut and glued then turned on the lathe make the rocket body. The nose cone comes off to reveal a space inside. The fins were cut to shape then resawn to thickness on the bandsaw.

The fins were colored with dye made from padauk and lacquer thinner. Then I routed shallow grooves on the rocket body for the fins to set into.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Shopping Video Editing Software [reviews]

Been dabbling in video editing as you can tell from my posts. I am one to research a decision like a software purchase as if my life depended on it so I decided to share my thoughts and if you have experiences with any of these programs feel free to leave a comment.

Premiere 2.0: good but outdated, no HD video, new version is too expensive
VideoPad trial ($40 to buy): I liked it but feel it’s expensive for what it is. There is a free version that perhaps has a few more features than MSMM.
MSMM Microsoft Movie Maker ($free): Simple to use, intuitive, not compatible with 3gp files (my phone). Basically this works if all you want to do is string video clips or photos together with no audio or visual tweaks.
Corel Video Studio Pro X7 ($65): Beautiful modern interface, very intuitive, loads of extras (transitions, effects, etc). Auto correct settings for light levels, colors, etc.; the default settings aren't always ideal but it is easier to get them close with auto correct and tweak them than start from scratch each time like Sony. For whatever reason, Corel defaults to not asking if you want to match the project settings to the source and this initially caused some audio editing issues but after turning the setting to on the problems went away. [edit: the following bug is fixed in an update] One aggravating issue is that Corel will crash when importing certain file types like MP4 and 3GP unless you rename them with a MOV extension. It's a really stupid issue that someone in QC should have caught. 3GP I can understand as it's less common but MP4? That's just inexcusable. Both file types import fine once you rename them. There is an Ultimate version which is only a few extra bucks and has a few more effects. [edit: I bought the Ultimate version for the same price as Pro. Keep an eye on Amazon as the price of Ultimate can fluctuate by up to $30 daily]
Sony Movie Studio 13 ($30): Interface is bland and Win98-ish, bare bones editing software. A very minor step up from MSMM. Might was well use the free version of VideoPad.
Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum ($80): Same as above but with a few more features and extras. Compared to Corel the interface is slightly clumsy but easy enough to use. Lacks auto correct functions for audio and visuals which can be tedious. Fewer extras than Corel, which may not seem like a big deal until you spend an hour making a frame, intro, etc. Buttons are childishly large even in the advanced setting and color scheme choices are white (terrible) and a medium grey. Blandness McBlandybland. However it is rock stable. Sony's best feature is that you can edit on the fly without stopping the video and there is no lag between pressing play and the video starting.
Cyberlink Power Director 12 ($62): Kind of a middle ground, good interface, powerful, very resource hungry. Uses 2X the memory of Sony MS even with no project open and uses 30% of CPU most of the time. Only one of the bunch that slows my computer. The interface is like a slightly improved version of Sony MSP. Unfortunately it was very crash prone. I would like to have tested this more but it's resource requirements and instability make it very frustrating.
Pinnacle Studio 17 ($83): Decided not to install it. Recent reviews talk of a lengthy and very difficult installation process that takes hours; and reviews of the newer versions were not very favorable.

Jahshaka (open source), Blender (open source); both way above my paygrade.

Making a maple microphone stand

A bent clothes hanger had been serving as a microphone stand for too long so I tossed it and turned a new one from silver maple. This is part of the maple tree that fell in our yard over a year ago. The black plastic holder came from a clamp-on microphone stand I had no use for. See the videos for details on how it was made.

The wood for the base was spalted (dark bands of color cause by a fungus) and bug eaten. I filled the bug holes with a padauk dust and super glue mixture (red) and gasket sealer (black). Dyed epoxy was the plan but it had disappeared so I used what was on hand.  The gasket sealer worked okay but I didn't get it deep enough into some of the holes.

Yes, that is a halo sticker on my file cabinet and yes that is a Guitar Hero microphone, I am a gamer. The mic is actually a decent USB microphone so I kept it when we sold Rock Band and Guitar Hero. 


Part 2

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Swinging Articulated Lamp

A local thrift store had a box of desk and wall lamps for $1 each. This one had a round base, hung on the wall and pivoted up and down. Useful, but too short for task lighting. So I trashed the base and built an arm that would reach my grinder on one side and band saw on the other. The individual arm segments are 1/2" thick and 1-1/4" wide.


Two shots of the hub, turned from scrap pine. The tenons on each end are slightly smaller than 1". At first the bracket was all one piece but got in the way and stopped the arm from swinging all the way left. So I cut the bracket in half and reversed each piece as you see below. 

I started with a 200W incandescent bulb that made a very bright task light but melted the plastic! So I switched to a 13W compact fluorescent (equivalent to a 60W incandescent). Next trip to the store I'll pick up a brighter one.

See the silver clamp light over my lathe, another $1 special.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Articulated camera arm

An articulated arm for holding my cell phone when shooting video or taking photos. Why use an arm instead of just a tripod? The arm allows me to position the tripod out of the way and yet have the camera close for filming. I can also move the arm over a machine or task and point the camera straight down for an overhead view.

I began by ripping three 3-3/4" wide strips from 3/4" birch plywood. Each strip was cut to length then ripped again into three 1-1/8" wide strips.

A 1/4" hole was drilled approximately 1" from each end and centered.

The ends were rounded on the disc sander.

Two bases were made, one for the phone and the other for attaching to the tripod. I cut a 1-1/8" wide dado across each base and drilled two holes.

From the extra 1-1/8" wide strip I cut four pieces around 2" long, drilled and rounded one end, then glued them into the dado. A screw through the bottom helps hold them in place.

The tripod attachment base got four 5/16" holes. I probably won't ever use the extra holes but they are there if I should want them.

The walnut tripod has a 5/16" threaded rod sticking out the top, the base slides over this and is temporarily secured with a wing nut.

The arm joints are linked with 4-1/2", 1/4x20 carriage bolts.

I made a phone mock up from MDF for testing the mount. A rubber band secures it in place.

The walnut tripod has adjustments for height and angle.

Jan 2017 Update: I still use this arm but have since mounted it to the wall to save floor space. Dimensions are between pivot holes.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Viking Chest: Part 4, Viking chest in pine -- finished

Pine version is done, finished with amber shellac with a light coat of wax. Next up is a version in oak with angled sides.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Viking Chest: Part 3, worst carving ever and jigs are good

Things I learned in this phase of the prototype:
  • I need way more carving practice
  • A box joint jig would be super helpful for making wood hinges
  • A hinge router jig is definitely worth making 
My prototype wood hinge turned out great, the actual hinges not so great. So I reused some cheap metal hinges that I salvaged from some long forgotten box. I scribed around the metal with a layout knife then cut the mortise with a chisel. This worked fine for the most part but that white pine is really soft and one of my mortises came out too deep. A few pieces of heavy paper shimmed it nicely and don't show. The lid still sits a tiny bit askew. I might gumption up and remove the hinges for more tweaking.

Before making more wood hinges I'd like to build a box joint jig. I just need to decide whether it will be Matthias Wandel's, John Heisz', or Stumpy Nubs' new Incra style jig; all have benefits. I'm partial to Stumpy's jig but am hoping to see a few others build it and give some feedback.

The elephant in the room (or blog) is my horrible carving job. The plan was to outline it with a marking knife then chip carve it but the wood was breaking out. So I remove most of the waste with a 1/4" chisel then cleaned out the bottoms with a Dremel router attachment. It was a good plan that I executed terribly. In my defense, the white pine is so soft and brittle that it just wanted to rip, tear, and fly apart. And the lines between the lines were too thin. A better approach would have been a relief carving but I gain some experience. I filled it in with black paint which despite what your eyes tell you, actually made it look better.

Sanding is done, edges are eased, and the first coat of amber shellac has been applied. More about that in the next entry.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Russian children's video on how to build a lathe

From what I gather the plan comes from a Russian magazine, pictured below. The video is based on the magazine and features a young boy, maybe ten years old, building a lathe from wood and bicycle parts. At the end he turns a chess rook. The lathe pictured below is a little different than the one in the video. You won’t need to understand the words to follow the build. The design is solid, with a little more care you could build a decent lathe this way.

From their website (translated via Google):
Yunost.RU – children TV channel that is broadcasting short films, which are a good tool for a better understanding of some school subjects. They are taught to carry out personal leisure and fun with good, believe in themselves, learn how to do something yourself.
(editor's note: sounds good to me!)

Back in 2007, Don Weber wrote an article for Popular Woodworking on building a more sophisticated treadle lathe from wood and bicycle parts.