Introduction: Coaster

About: I love making stuff, I love Instructables, I love tools, I love machines, and I love materials. But most of all I love Arnie.

This was an enterprise project to raise funds for a project my students wanted to make.

Learning Objective
By making an engine turned coaster KS4 GCSE students will learn and apply knowledge in a practical situation. This knowledge covers use of an engine turning tool and CAD / CAM. This project was used as part of a enterprise activity where students made various products. By using this project in their enterprise activity students gain entrepreneurial skills and begin to see the link between time to make / materials cost Vs sale price.

Step 1: Engine Turning Tool

  • These can be bought but my students make their own
  • Put the tool into drill chuck

Step 2: Prepare the Guide

  • Create a guide that has lines spaced at 20mm apart, arranged in the pattern shown
  • Draw the lines of a flat piece of wood
  • Clamp to drill plate

Step 3: Engine Turning

  • Align the aluminium so the turning tool is in the top left corner
  • Move the aluminium as per the photos

Step 4: Vinyl

  • You have a few options here......depending on what equipment you have access to.
  • I cover the whole surface with the vinyl.......laser cut it.......peel off unwanted sections (best bit :)
  • Or use a plotter, then stick on your design
  • Or cut out with scissors or knife then stick on
  • Or buy some adhesive shapes, letters, or whatever and stick em on

Step 5: Varnish

  • Use Polyurethane must be a water based varnish or the vinyl will peel
  • Put an even and very thin layer of varnish only takes 10-20 mins to dry
  • Repeat until you have four coats
  • The varnish protects the aluminium from scratches and stops the vinyl from peeling off

Step 6: Enjoy :)

  • You can get vinyl in a massive range of colours including carbon fibre! Ebay is a good place to get supplies from
  • Now go and make awesome coaster / name plates
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    Question 4 years ago on Step 4

    What type of vinyl can u buy for the Laser to cut?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Pardon my ignorance but what exactly is an "Engine Turning Tool"?

    In Step #1, the tool looks like it has a layer of a different material connected to an aluminium body for making the 'swirl' marks. What do your students use to make that layer on their's and how is it connected to the tool body? I've seen similar but much smaller effects done by chucking a pencil and using the eraser to 'rub' the metal which leaves a consistent pattern and a smooth surface but the photos of the plates make it look like the swirls vary slightly from one location to the next and could be a couple thousandths deep. Is this an illusion or does the plate surface actually have a texture? Do the students use any type of abrasive or polishing compound to get this effect?

    Also, how thick of aluminium sheet are you using?

    This is a very cool project that provides some great learning opportunities. Thanks for sharing it!!!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Where did you get the aluminum plates?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    We have plenty of it in school, but most DIY warehouses will sell it