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This is gorgeous
As ssterman says a jig for a hand held router would work pretty well. If I were to do this by hand (also an entirely doable proposition...look at what craftsmen over the centuries have done with nothing more than hand tools and patience!) I would first make a custom punch/chisel of some sort to outline the squares. The same one could be used on the tiles to make the letters. An appropriately sized piece of square steel tubing would work admirably as a starting point.
One way to avoid the the 'one break and it all falls apart' problem would be to knot the twine between each piece, like they do pearls on a strand to prevent the same thing; everything falling apart. The construction method would have to be different, though to allow this, and I'm not entirely sure how to go about it; I'm just spitballing here..
Another thing that would help (and make it more difficult to make!) is to cut a small kerf from the hole to the end of each piece for the exposed twine to set in on the outside edge pieces; that way it will be protected from wear somewhat. This is how leather stitching is done: you make a groove in the leather for the thread to rest in and it isn't worn down by things rubbing against the leather. This would also make the edges a little neater in appearance on the finished project. Now I just have to find some hardwood scraps that seem to proliferate in everyone's shop but mine :-)
This is truly a magnificent display of forgotten science history, and I now have a reason to build that monster Delta printer :-)
I was referring to your comment about adding vermiculite or perlite to the mix; Cheng's book goes into a variety of materials that have been used to lighten concrete for these uses. My copy is at home but I think they talk about adding those specific ingredients.
There's been a lot of work done with various ingredients to make conrete lighter, for use in countertops and the like. A good place to start would be Fu-Teng Cheng's book http://www.concreteexchange.com/how-to-center/concrete-books-by-fu-tung-cheng/concrete-countertops-book/ That whole site is a valuable source of inspiration.
ROFL! Same set I got! :-)
John Heisz has a quick tip for repurposing a carbide-tipped masonry drill for this purpose http://www.ibuildit.ca/Workshop%20Projects/Shop%20Tricks/tricks-56.html I picked up a couple little diamond wheels for my Dremel to try this.
Yes, if all you want is a marking gauge, go buy one. This one is a quality tool that will last decades, offers ample opportunity for customizing to your exact preferences and needs, gives you something useful to do with a bunch of hardwood offcuts and is an excellent skill building exercise at making precise things with your tools that will translate to greater skill at woodworking. AND you end up with a beautiful, bespoke marking gauge at the end!Buying THAT in a store is not possible.
Looks great! Actually I should say "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! It's A Light!!!!!" :-)
The only problem with tripling your tool storage space is that you then quadruple your tools :-)
I'm guessing that all that needs to be done with the Arduino or 555 controller to drive higher-voltage motors is to use the controller circuit to drive some suitable transistors? I have a beefy 90VDC motor from a treadmill I want to repurpose into a lathe drive. Using a PWM controller should let me connect it directly to the shaft since it's max rpm is higher than what I need for the lathe.
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