Acrylic Snowman

While the MDF snowman worked out nicely, and it looked ok painted up, I wanted to get back to trying my hand at making some models from acrylic.

Given that Christmas is rapidly approaching, I thought I’d tackle the snowman again, and see just how well the CNC, along with a new set of router bits specifically for plastic from toolstoday.com would work out.

Just an aside for a second.  I have just gotten an iPad Pro, and while writing the article, have used one of the pro’s features of being able to run a second program simultaneously, and on screen at the same time.  Awesome feature! 

  
I also found a better supplier of plastic sheet goods, so that will be great (and dangerous to the wallet).  They also sell acrylic ‘glue’, and it is a vast improvement over using Superglue.

I still have some processes to work out to make things run smoother on the CNC process of working with acrylic, but for the most part it went very well.  Acrylic is pretty flexible when it gets thin, even worse than MDF it seems, if that is even possible.  So I found myself supervising the whole job while it was machining.  I was using an upcut bit, and perhaps that also has a lot to do with it.  While chip clearance is important (especially with a material that can melt), lifting the piece is not the best way of ensuring it is stable.  I still don’t have revolution speed control, so am still running the bits slower than I would like, and again that is probably a real factor.

Still, the result is a great snowman. Looks awesome (especially with Kara Rasmanis wielding her camera)  

 Next one to tackle – an acrylic AT-AT (Imperial Walker) in greys and black plastics. And there will be video, just once I have a better idea of just how to manage this material!

An unusual motion

Driving down the road recently, and the steering wheel was really acting a bit strangely, and I was feeling a slight bit of a vibration that was out of the norm.  Checking the wheel, and although it looked fine from the outside, the inside edge revealed a different problem, with the steel radial portion of the tyre making its presence known on the outside, rather than the inside of the tyre.  That is an interesting fail.

So when I was in the shed this afternoon, sanding away, I was equally surprised to discover that vibration had followed me into the shed.  And it got worse, real quick.

Turns out the sanding pad on my Festool ETS150/5 had also experienced a catastrophic failure, and it was in the process of tearing itself to shreads.  About time I replaced it anyway- at some point I managed to overheat the pad, and the velcro was damaged so it did not hang onto sandpaper at all well.

Picked up a new one, so will fit that next time I’m in the shed.  There are three main grades that I could see (looking quickly).  The one I got was the middle for stiffness.  The softer one (grey) looks to be the one that comes with the ETS150/3, and there was one even harder, that means it will sand things flatter, rather than following any natural contours.  It depends on your intended application.  Worth knowing though, in particular situations, you may want to use one over another.  I also have a supplementary pad that is very soft, that fits between the base and the sandpaper, so that gives me a lot of flexibility (pun intended) where it comes to how I use the particular sander.

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