Introduction: 9 Sets of Extraterrestrial Coasters
So this Instructables is a bit different, I think my every project is a bit different than the previous one. So I never mass-produced anything, but after long thinking, I gave this project a try and it's a learning experience for me and I want to share my experience throughout this journey and hopefully you guys don't make that mistake which I did. This project is all about coasters and I love them and I think everyone does. It's a good thing to gift someone but I tried something different I made gaming coasters and tried to give them more of a futuristic look and tried to match them with the pc components. I took inspiration from so many things like CPU cabinet, motherboard, ram, and alien ship. What I tried to do in this project is to fuse all of those things to make something new to which could not replicate easily and impresses greatly. there are few areas which I did wrong because I don't really know the right way to execute the things but in this instructable, I would share my experience and tells you the things which you can avoid and be able to produce much better coasters. These costers are made with African winge wood and the CNC carved logo and design are filled with glow in dark pigment powder. If you have some suggestions to do the mass-producing then definitely leave your feedback in the comment section down below I am happy to follow your tips.
Tools and Material used.
Tools are the most valuable things used in any project and having the right tool for the right job is extremely necessary for anyone. If you didn't have the right tools then it might be difficult for you to mass-produced things like these. I am the one who didn't have those right tools. There is definitely an alternative to every problem but I think sometimes you need the right tools for a perticular work to execute it perfectly. So I am telling here those tools which I used during this work.
1. Trim router or a router table.
3. Scroll saw or bandsaw.
4. Sandpaper of various grit sizes from 60- 320 grit.
5. CNC router
6. Hot air gun
8. Chop Saw
1. African wenge wood
2. Two-part epoxy resin
3. Glow in dark pigment powder
5. Masking tape or painters tape
6. Linseed oil
7. Tissue paper or rag to wipe down the surface
8. Mineral spirit for cleaning purpose
9. Blocks to rise the coaster for the resin pouring process.
10. The level surface so that resin will flow evenly.
11. Wood Glue
Step 1: Designing the Coasters
To design these 9 coasters I took four days and it's definitely a lot more thinking involved in making just the initial design. I don't wany my coasters to look ordinary shape which you will able to find on the internet. Instead of that I saw some CGI alien ship, a little bit from Tron movie, some from pc components and merged them. For the shapes, I wanted to go with more futuristic shapes. So onto the drawing, I made some designs and then start playing with the lines. And I go with more of an angled look rather than straight sides. I took the logo and started tracing them and by keeping them in the center and keeping in mind, what kind of things these companies make I started the designing work. With all that work I finally able to finalize few shapes and I have to say that during the finalize of the design I just love these coasters shape and fusion shows me how these pieces actually going to be looked like. There are still so many ways you can modify the shapes or merge them into one another to create a new design that is completely up to your imagination and you can find those files down here.
Step 2: Making the Templates
So the first step I did in this build is to create some wooden templates so that I am able to proceed my work faster because my CNC router wasn't powerful enough to take deep cuts, so instead of spending time onto CNC I put myself onto the working line and finish it faster. But even including me it took me two days to make these blanks. So the templates are going to made with 1⁄2" ply and its and ordinary ply just have a good quality because they have to be used many times repeatedly. I use a screw to hold down the workpiece to the bed and start the contouring tool pass with .5 mm doc with 4mm end mill. The work area of my CNC wasn't large enough so that's why I have to do this in multiple parts. Once the machining part has been finished there are tabs left behind which I need to be cleaned up. For that, I uses my trusty scrolls and remove the templates out of the workpiece. To remove tabs I use my trim router with the flush trim router bit to do the cleaning work. With all of these processes, the templates are ready to be used.
Step 3: Cutting Down the Blanks
So they are definitely many ways to cut down the blanks the first one is with the CNC but as I told earlier the CNC I have was not powerful enough to do this work faster. Also the second reason is that these wood planks are connected with the help of band saw so there are bands or marks and also the wood is not even throughout so I don't want to take any risk to break my bit and choose manual way to do the job. The first thing I I did is laid down the wooden peace and over that I place my templates and then draw the outlines on to the wooden plank. Being an expensive wood I I tried my best to avoid wastage. So once the layout has been done I divide the wooden plank in multiple sizes so that it would be easy for me to work on and also to rotate the job on to the scrolls are because the reach of the scroll saw wasn't much enough.
After reducing the size of the planks I start to remove out the blanks. For the tight corners I prefer the the scroll and for the straight cuts I go with jigsaw and for me this approach works way better and faster. During the cutting process I also take care of one more thing is that the cuts I am going to make is going to be kept much closer to the final line so that during the router trimming process there will be e less chipping happened. By following these steps i am able to get blanks for all my coasters.
Step 4: Cleanup of the Blanks.
Once the blanks have been cut out for all the coasters I start the next stage work which is to finalize the blanks to the final shape. To do this work I use the templates which I made in the first step and then glued it's with the blanks with the help of glue gun and then start the final shaping work. Now there are few things you need to take care of to avoid accidents and also to avoid chipping of wood. Wenge is an extremely dense and hardwood and along with that it's also a porous wood and because of these two reasons when you are working fast against the grain then the chipping is much more drastic than any other wood.
So the key to getting a beautiful and clean material removal is by having a sharp trimming bit and by moving slow. One more suggestion is that tried to use a trim router and the reason is that it have low power than the bigger plunge router. So every kind of accident either to wood or the person can be reduced to a much higher extent. If you have a router table then it would be great. Your movement also played an important role in getting a good result with the router using a flush-trim bit.
1. The first point is that go little by little which means like what the adaptive cleaning process works in the CNC router in removing the material rather than taking a deep cut and make your move. By taking a deep cut when you reached the end then there is a high possibility of material chipping and I mean big chunk.
2. Second thing is that you need to make the cut against the cutting edge. If you move along with the cutting edge then the job jump from your hand and might damage the job.
3. The main care you should be taking at the corners. My advice to you is to flush down the corners first by taking a light cut and the middle area can be removed by slightly deeper cut. Now because your edges have been already finalized, when you reached at the ends it's not going to harms anymore.
So by taking care of these things you are easily able to trim down the blanks to the final finished shaped.
Step 5: Surfacing the Face
Now once the blanks have been finished to the final dimensions, I started the facing work. Now if you are already using a finished piece of wood then you don't need to follow this step but I think not everyone has those heavy-duty tools. So that's why I made some hold down jigs so that I am able to hold the blanks to its place during the facing operation. Now you can do this in the bunch but then there is a multiple works holding setup that need to be made. now to do this work in an efficient manner is that you need to make that jig pretty tightly so that during the machining process it will not rattle and did not come out from the jig and damage your tool. To tighten the job I decided to use wedges onto some points so that I can make it more secure. If your surface is plane then I would recommend you to use painter's tape and super glue to hold down your workpiece to its place. In my case, I didn't machine from both sides because the second side I am going to be machine onto the jig to the final thickness so that all the coaster come up to the same thickness. But even by doing that the overall thickness of the coaster slightly varies.
Step 6: Coaster Holding Jig
Once one side of all the coaster has been machine completely I made a jig in which I am going to place these coasters and then perform the rest of the machining. Now there are two ways you can do this process one is quite effective to get an even thickness is by using an individual Jig to hold down your job. I mean to say that you need to make the coaster holding jig for individual designs. Now that will surely be going to increase the cost and also you need very free size placement of the jig every time so that's why discarded that method and instead of that I made a 1 jug in which I include all the nine different designs and then perform the machining task. the good thing about this process is that I didn't need to remove my Jig because I can able to use work holding for all designs. Now one thing you need to taking care of during making this Jig is that for the corners you need to leave some area so that it would be easy for the corners of the coaster to be placed easily because usually if you do the inside machining it will leave a fillet behind and if you want to place a sharp corner item there then it would be difficult to place. So consider this thing in mind while designing the hold down jig for the coasters. To keep the workpiece ( which I am using to make the coaster holder) to its place I use tape and super glue techniques and it's absolutely the best method to make hold down onto the work table during machining. Along with that, I am also using two pins that are going to kept the jig aligned and also prevent any lateral movement during the machining. The machining method I am using here is the adaptive cleaning method with a 4 mm doc. Also, one thing you need to take care of is that kept you jig tiny bit lose so that it would be much easier for you to remove or install the coasters into the jig.
Step 7: Installing the Coaster and Roughing
After the jig has been completely installed I start inserting the coasters into my holding jig. To kept the coasters at its place during the machining process and avoid the lateral movement or any kind of vibrations generating from the tools I decided to use the tape holding method. I apply the tape on to both the coaster and the jig and then before placing the coasters into the jig I apply few drops of super glue and then lock down the coaster to its place. With the help of a 12 mm mill, I start the second and final facing operation of the coasters. At this time one thing you need to be aware of is that make sure you also consider the thickness of the tape because if you didn't take care of that the end dimension will be slightly less. In my case, I kept thickness around 10 millimetres and along with that I also consider .5 millimetre extra in which .3 millimetre is the thickness of the tape and remaining is the sending which I am going to do later on. At this place, I suggest you get the thickness of the coaster tiny bit higher because during the resin pouring process when the resin cures a try to shrink and that will lead to warpage in the coasters. Generally, this bending occurs when you for a thick layer of the resin over the surface.
Step 8: V Carving, 3d Roughing and Contouring
so once the coaster is achieved to the final dimension I start the v carving process and for that, I first use 3.175-millimetre engraving bit and use this to carved out the fine text written onto the coasters. Because all the fine tape this will going to take longer than a normal we wait but that time is really worth it. A few areas the letters are so tiny that with the regular v bit it is almost impossible to maintain the fine details. Another hardwood you might be able
to get the details with bigger v-bit but I am not recommending you to do the same with African wenge wood. The logo and the other bigger areas are carved out with 6 mm v bit. Now after doing the v carving this is the area where I made a mistake. The problem with doing 3D roughing and contour pass is completely a waste of time and the reason is that when you are going to put the resin over the surface than that resin is going to deposit into those boundary machined areas and from thereafter you again need to perform these two tasks to remove them. If you are happy with the resin you pour over the putter boundaries then it wouldn't be a problem for you but I want double transition and wanted to highlight those tapered sides that's why I am saying that. But in my case, I thought that the resin going to drip down and will not deposit in so much thickness but it was completely opposite so I need to perform these two operations again after the resin pouring layer. but I didn't do that so fast I perform the contour machining in which I machine around the perimeter at a depth of 6 mm and then with 3d roughing path tapered down those areas. Now at a few places, I am easily able to use a 90° v bit to provide the chamfer but I am afraid of chipping because of the type of wood I am using. So that's the reason why I am using this 3d roughing and parallel tool path to do that beveled profiles.
Step 9: Cleanup and Sanding
Before starting the rise in the pouring process I decided to do the sanding and finishing work onto the coaster. inside the v-carving, there are few places where the material still being stuck to the surface so with the help of a chisel I scrape that material and clear the entire surface. later on with the help of 150 grit sandpaper stick to the granite so that I am able to keep the surface of my costers is completely flat I sanded down the coasters so that all the loose particles are completely removed from the surface and kept the resin completely clean.
Step 10: Glow in Dark Resin Pouring
For the resin pouring process I first made a batch and then mix it thoroughly until the resin became completely clear like water. From thereafter I divided the resin into two equal portions according to the colour I am going to use to fill out those v carved sections. Then I make the pigment powder in each container and allow it to set until the resin gains some viscosity. The reason what doing this is that some of the glow in dark pigment particle size is slightly heavy so when I am going to go the resin when it's not started to set all the pigment is going to be settled down. And that thing also happened in a few areas. So this thing you need to be kept in mind before mixing the glow in dark pigment into the resin. Not all pigment behaves like same but most of them show this kind of settling behaviour. To pour the resin into those carving I use a syringe so that I am able to target a particular area. The one problem here is that due to the porosity of the wood the resin starts to soak up by the wood and the level kept on decreasing after a while. Once the resin cures there is a huge pile of resin deposit onto the surface which now I have to remove.
For the extremely fine areas what I did is that I fill that area with only powder and then uses
super glue to Harden it and then repeat this in 2-3 layers.
Step 11: Cleanup the Mess.
Resin work is a very messy work for me and I always screwed up in this process. So now to remove the resin from the surface of the coasters I again placed them onto the jig and uses the previous surface roughing tool path to remove the excess material. I didn't remove it completely and left a tiny bit of material so that I am able to remove it by normal hand sanding. Once the machining work has been finished I sanded down the coasters with 220 and 320 grit and for that, I uses sandpaper and stick them to the surface of the granite and start the hand sanding. Now, this process is a lot much easier if you have a drum sander but I didn't have that so hand sanding is the only option left for me.
Now here is the second problematic part comes. As I told earlier the wood is quite porous and because of the porosity, it soaked the resin in few areas and that is easily noticeable. And I want them to look even so that's the reason why I decided to pour the resin layer over the top.
Step 12: Clear Resin Layer
So what's the sending of the design has been completed I start the preparation for pouring a clear coat over the entire coaster. To get the coaster slightly higher I use some angle pieces which I kept for some other work and these are actually some L brackets use for my CNC. I make sure that the surface is completely leveled and I did this just by eyeballing. Before that, I also leveled the bottom table so that the resin will not flow too much over one side. Then I mixed the resin and start the pouring process. Now you didn't need to fine sand the coaster surface because if there is any scratch on the design then it will be easily get removed by the resin layer. I pour the resin little by little so that it will not get wasted. With the help of paintbrush, I spread the resin evenly over the entire surface and if there is an area left slightly lower then I will pour a few drops over it. Now here if there are bubbles appearing onto the surface then you can use a heat gun to pop them. My resin didn't create bubbles at all so I didn't use that gun.
Once the resin has been completely cured I again put them over my CNC and start the resin removal process from the sides so that I am able to expose those edges over which I spent so much time. During this stage, I didn't use a roughing pass. The parallel 3d path and the contour path makes the job done. The second reason is that I change the router with Makita trim router and now able to take much deeper and vigorous cuts.
Step 13: Coaster Holders
once the coaster has been completed I start the work on to the holders into which I am going to place these coasters. For the design, I use the same design which I used for the coaster but I slightly increase the overall dimension up to 1 millimetre so that it will make an easy to remove and place the coasters back in the holder. For the sides of the holder, I decided to cover only two opposite sides in most of the designs.
Now here is some calculation work required. I need to make some angled cut for the walls so that I am able to make a clean joint. In the fusion, I find out the angle and then cut them with my trusty mitre saw. Even by taking so much care, there are areas where chipping held and I can not able to avoid that. Even stabilize them with superglue didn't show any improvement to I wend slow and steady and cut out all the pieces for the holder wall.
Step 14: Sanding and Gluing to Make Holder
once the pieces have been cut down to the final dimension I start the work on to the cleaning. I use 80 grit sandpaper to do the cleaning work in the hope that all the scratches might be going away but that didn't happen. After the sanding, I start the gluing process and I use fast dry glue and super glue. I layed the glue over both sides and leave the small areas in the middle and when I went to glue the pieces together I use few drops of super glue to hold down the sides to its place. At few areas, I also use tape so that the angled pieces are able to hold there shape for quite a while until glue cures. Once the glue dried I need to sharpen my chisel so that I am able to clean the dried glue and it definitely works but took a lot more time to do the cleaning. I also use a wood chisel to remove the material from larger areas.
Step 15: Final Sanding.
Once the entire work has been finished there are areas where I need to scrape off the resin to expose the wood. Along with that I also sanded down the surface up to 320 grit to make it completely smooth. For some of the holders, I need to chamfer them with block plane because the wood is way to sharp over those areas.
Step 16: Applying the Final Finish.
Wenge is completely black when you pour oil over it and that is what I did here. I first clean all the coasters with mineral spirit and from thereafter dunk them into linseed oil and placed them in a container. I repeat this process with all the coasters and the holders. Luckily the container is big enough to hold all of them at once and then I vacuumed them up to 10 hr and this process really worked like a charm. There is a nice even finish onto the coaster and the finish wasn't even tacky at all. Then I clean up the excess with tissue paper and they are ready for the final shootout.
Step 17: Final Look
I himself quite happy with the final outcomes. There are definitely few areas where I think improvement require is to judge the material before starting the work. If you are using wenge then I would say that its good to stabilize the wood first. Its extremely dense wood but those porosity needed to be removed. I hope you enjoy this build and please If you have any tip definitely leave them in the comment section down below.
Participated in the