Recently returned from Google I/O - having witnessed the onslaught of technical innovations was glad to have also found something simple that I could show some of my wood working buddies.
Starting from Autodraw this is a walkthrough of some all-manual prototypes. Hopefully in the next week or so we'll get another instructable done with the laser cutter.
Autodraw.com is about as simple and intuitive as it gets. You squiggle a few lines on the screen and it tries to guess what you're talking about.
While at Google Rowan Merewood started me out with a super simple example - a circlish thing with squigglies beneath is quickly recognized as an octopus. Wunderbar. Modified the size a bit, downloaded and printed it up. and made a cool little mirror
Step 1: Starting at the Beginning
So about three years ago my buddies and I went out to a farm managed by a gentleman named Franklin who helped us load some recently fallen trees on to Peter Farrel's new Wood Mizer LT40 - a gorgeous machine that made ripping boards a joy. Pictured above is the black oak getting sawed. Had to wait a couple years to enjoy this work, but now I get to make a bunch of fun stuff for a fraction of the cost we'd have paid at the lumber mill.
Step 2: Autodrawing
Fast forward three years and I just got back from Google I/O and wanted to send my thanks to several folks who made that adventure memorable.
So the first thing to do was come up with a design. I had seen Rowan do an octopus doodle on autodraw.com and figured that made reasonable sense. starting with the blob with three small blobs autodraw quickly realized I meant octopus. or tooth. actually there were about 50 options, but the octopus was in the top ten :)
Step 3: Print It Up, Glue It Down
using some spray on glue i stuck the printed page on the wood. I gave it maybe five minutes to dry, and then drilled a pilot hole in the octopus.
Step 4: Jigsawing and Routing
because i'm an idiot i did the jigsawing first and the routing along the back second. This was stupid for several reason - 1) this is black oak, and that stuff is brutal on blades anyhow - so if I had routed out the back first that would have been less material to hack thru. 2) while routing out the back I knocked off part of the tentacle because the wood was thin there. If I had routed out the back first it's unlikely that the jigsaw would have knocked it off...
anyhow - I used a 1/2" straight bit on my router, set the thickness to the piece of mirror that I had lying around and routed out a pocket on the back, and then went back with a round over and made the octopus look a little cleaner by rounding the edges out... this took about 30 seconds and was well worth the effort
Step 5: Sanding and Finishing
once all that was done I hit it with a belt sander - 80 grit to knock the paper off, and then 120 grit, 240 grit and lastly 320 grit for a nice smooth finish. I thru some boiled linseed oil on there and voila - it's a mirror!
Step 6: Lastly Thru a Back on There
to hold the mirror in place I used some fabric samples and veneers scraps I had lying around - on some mirrors that was all I did, on others I added a couple screws to hang things from. All told most of these mirrors take about an hour to make, and that's perfect for mailing around the country :)