It's that spooky time of year....Halloween! It's time to let your instincts kick in and choose fright or fight. You can be frightened and think this project is to big of a beast or you can fight your way through the tasks in making a spooktacular piece of decor that will surely leave chills.
This instructable is meant to document the overall workflow in making a Ouija board set and was completed in coop with Mr. Bill.
Step 1: Specifications, Equipment, Materials, and Software
Specifications (Have a plan!):
I created a set of minimum specifications that helped guide me in choosing my equipment and hardware:
- Made out of wood (durable).
- Design is carved into the wood (Design won't fade over time).
- A max length or width of 19 in. (Max work area for CNC router).
- Glow in the dark design.
The following were chosen based on personal preference and by no means are exclusively needed for this project (i.e. you can use alternatives):
- Palm sander
- CNC router + 1/16" mill bit
- Drill press + 1 1/4" hole saw bit
- PC+SD card
- 10x19x2 (in) lumber (board)
- 6x4x1 (in) lumber (planchette)
- 4" length of 1 1/4" diamter dowel
- 1oz glow powder
- 4oz epoxy resin
- Tempera paint
- 1 1/4" diameter piece of plastic/glass for the "window"
- 24"x24" felt cloth
- Vectors graphic editor (Inkscape)
- CAM software (ESTLcam)
Step 2: Board and Planchette Design and Vectorizing
When choosing a design based off of an image, it's a good idea to use a black and white image which will make vectorizing much simpler.
Open your vector graphics editor (Inkscape) and open the image. A dialogue box will pop up where you would choose options 'Embed', 'From file', and 'Smooth' then click 'OK'.
On the Inkscape toolbar open menu 'Path' then 'Trace Bitmap' within the menu. The 'Trace Bitmap' window will pop up. Here is where the magic happens. Click on your image then go to the trace bitmap window and check 'Live Preview'. You should see a live preview. For this particular image I want to cut out the black part so I will work with 'Edge Detection'. I set the threshold to 0.45 and click 'OK'. Go back to your image and delete the original image. You should be left with an outline as shown in your trace bitmap preview.
Now go 'File', 'Save As' and choose a name but save it as type .dxf. You now saved the outlined image as a vector. Good job.
*Note: You should do both the board and planchette in the same workflow.
Step 3: Creating Toolpaths
I used ESTLCam to create my toolpaths. Toolpaths are basically the route your CNC router will make to cut out the wood. I'm not here to show you how to use the software but they do have some good tutorials.
Open up the application and open the .dxf file you created in Inkscape. The vectors were then resized appropriately which was roughly 4.5"x6". You then select your tool followed by vectors, and utilize the 'Part' and 'Hole' features of ESTLcam to create your toolpaths.
Now go 'File', 'Save CNC Program', and a window will pop up asking for a depth. I set the depth to 2mm.
I saved it to an SD Card that came from my CNC router.
*Note: This particular design has some detail so I went with a 1/16" two flute flat head mill bit.
Step 4: Cutting With the CNC Router
I know not many people have a professional CNC router but you can definitely make your own. I did all thanks to the genius who brought you the "MPCNC"!!! Visit their site for free plans, tutorials, and community.
After you have cut the planchette out give it a good smoothing by using your palm sander to get the extra little wood burrs. Now take the planchette to the drill press and cut out a 1 1/4" hole saw. Then go through the bottom and counter bore with a 1 1/2" hole saw which creates the place to put your lens.
Step 5: Painting
If you like it without paint then good job! You are done! Otherwise, what I used was a Tempera paint. I went with that paint because it kind of stains the wood. I tried several different colors as shown in the images. After painting they look like the purple board but once you sand the paint down a bit you can see all of the grain stained with whatever color you chose.
Step 6: Glow Resin
Place the dowel in the planchette. The dowel will be used so that the glow in the dark resin does not drip out of the recessed areas. Create your glow in the dark mixture with the amount listed in the materials section. You then pour the glow resin into the recessed areas making sure they end up evenly fill to the top. Let Dry as per instructions on label.
Step 7: Finishing
Easier said than done! Apply several coats of Polyeurathane until surface is level. You can now leave it at that and call it finished or you can dress it up.
Step 8: Dressing (optional)
Just an example of how you can dress it up.