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 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!

Xmas is here already?!

No idea where that year went.  Good grief.

My wife and daughter have been having a bit of fun painting up the Santa’s Workshop (from MakeCNC)



My first time, I hit a bit of a snag, as I used the 6mm plans by mistake and still cut it from 3mm MDF (which is the model above).

Since then however (and despite the warning to the contrary), I’ve been quite successfully making the workshop from 3mm MDF, using a 1/16″ router bit from

It is a fun kit to assemble (and paint if you have the patience).

As you can also see in the first photo, I gave Frosty a treatment as well, using an airbrush for the most part (he was already fully assembled that made it a bit tricky).  My suggestion for him would be to assemble the hat, then paint it, but then paint the rest of the snowman while still in pieces.

I used acrylic paint for this job, which goes on quite well on MDF, although MDF is like working with rough cardboard.  Doesn’t pay to rush the painting either, but seeing as the year has finished before I realised it had begun, I did anyway just to get the job done.

I am still in two minds about painting the models – they do look good painted, but equally, they offer a different quality in their raw state.  Like looking at a scene and deciding if it is better depicted in a colour photograph, or a black and white one.

Certainly for the Xmas decoration aspect, the painted model wins hands-down.  Next time I’ll have to think about how to run some fibre optic lighting through the place!

I obviously have a young daughter – while painting Frosty, I kept getting an adapted line running through my head from a certain movie

“Do you want to paint a snowman?”


Kitchen Commencement

It has begun!  Unlike projects for myself, I am well-motivated to finish those I am making for others, especially where it comes to Xmas presents!

90×30 Hardwood Timber

This is what I am starting with, and with a few taps with a hammer they come apart easily.  These were assembled well before nail guns were commonplace, so 40mm thin nails were used, and the cross braces are easily encouraged loose.  After running some boards through, they are pretty straight , especially over the lengths I am using.  They are all around 1800 long.

Dressed and sized

After dressing and sizing, the boards come up beautifully.  These have been resawn to 18mm thick.  Then ripped to the width required for the rail & stile joinery.


Another set were resawn to 10mm for the infill panels.  I am making these thin, as I don’t want a heavy look to the raised panels, and to minimise the amount of weight in the final unit.  They are going to be heavy enough as it is.

Frontline Clamp

Once again, the Frontline clamps are proving their weight in gold.  As they clamp up, they squeeze the boards flat, then clamp them together.  I could do with another set for larger glueups!

Clamped up

After all the planing, thicknessing, ripping and crosscutting, the first items have been produced, ready to make their way over to the router table.


There will be a lot more produced before this project is completed!

33 Days to Xmas!


Where did the year go?  I had all sorts of plans for construction, for projects and things I planned to start (and finish)!

So it is time to get a wiggle on.  The main thing I need to get done is to finally make a toy kitchen for my daughter.  A bit overdue, but if I can spend a bit of time on it, I should be able to make up for it in features and quality.

I have a great supply of timber – a whole pile of 90×30 hardwood, that is very straight and clean, and about 40 years old.  So that is awesome.

I also have had the experience of building a few toy kitchens now – this will be #4.  So I will be drawing on previous designs and ideas, as well as incorporating new, additional concepts.  One being incorporating some tambour doors using the Amana Tool set.  Another being using the Jumbo Gifkins dovetail for some decent sized kitchen units.

I just hope there is enough time to get done what I want to have done!

A Christmas Mugging

Here I was, fighting the good fight, getting the job done, walking the walk, and I get blindsided.  By Christmas.

Where did THAT come from??  People wanting suggestions for Christmas lists, having to find presents (almost) last minute (ok, still 2 weeks or so to go, but didn’t I have a whole year??)

So here are some suggestions, in case you are stuck for ideas for the shed dwellers you buy presents for, or to add to Xmas lists of others for yourself!

Metric setup blocks: $96.50 (excluding case) from Professional Woodworkers Supplies

150mm Paolini Rule: $59.50 from Professional Woodworkers Supplies

Handmade Furniture Projects II (book): $29 from Australian Wood Review

Premium Tool Kit (inc mount): $189 from Australian Wood Review

AWR Backissues DVD Vol 1: $29.99 from Australian Wood Review

(Issue 2 also available, or as a double pack for $50)

A Polishers Handbook: $33.55 from Ubeaut Polishes

Rotary Sander: $66.00 from Ubeaut Polishes

Tormek T7: $995 from Carrolls Woodcraft Supplies

Wixey Digital Angle Gauge: $65.50 from Professional Woodworkers Supplies

Flai Mustang Multimaterial Blade: $152.35 from Carrolls Woodcraft Supplies

Vac Clamp: $73.00 from V-Clamp

I could certainly keep going, but at least this could give you some ideas (and these sites do have other things on offer!).

So avoid the Christmas mugging – time to get busy!

Xmas Commissions have Begun

I’m going to be making 3 kitchens (so far) for Xmas for my wife’s Mother’s Group (although one is for our daughter).  Lots of ideas running around my head so far, and it may be quite different from what I came up with 2 years ago (2 years ago already???)

I’m only charging the cost of materials- it isn’t a money-making exercise.  It will probably be mostly MDF, perhaps with pine to create raised panels, with the intention that the whole kitchen will get a painted finish.  I’ve seen plenty of wooden toys at the toy library too, and I still think they make for a much more tactile experience than plastic ever could.

I’m currently looking at some sort of amalgamation of my original sink and stove set

Sink and Stove Set

Sink and Stove Set

and perhaps this one from the Target toy catalog

Target Kitchen

Target Kitchen

If anyone has other kitchen suggestions, I would definitely interested in seeing them, and seeing what to incorporate into the final design.

The Box Progresses

Glueup complete, now just needs to be sanded, have the lid fitted, oiled, waxed, felt applied, and inserts constructed.  Hmm wonder if Xmas will beat me?

Mulga and Cyprus Box

Mulga and Cyprus Box

Still need the large and small trays for the various Pandora paraphernalia.  (Chains and individual charms)

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