I took a two hour course at Techshop that gives members use of some of the metal working equipment; a giant metal cutting band saw, horizontal band saw, drill press, grinders, sanders, cold saw and various other metal working tools. You don't have to be a member to check it out and take a class.
It's great to have access to so much equipment. I have no excuses now, I have the equipment available at Techshop to make just about anything. But do I have the imagination and skills? It's a good problem to have.
We're making a bottle opener here, obviously it's not rocket science, but the purpose of the class is just to teach basic use and safety of the tools so you can then come back and make a rocket, robot, or whatever you are in to.
Step 1: Laying Out the Bottle Opener Pattern on the Metal.
We used machinist's dye to first coat the metal with red or blue dye. I chose red. We then used a scribe and a Plexiglas master pattern to scratch the pattern in the metal so you can see where you need to remove material.
Step 2: Cutting Off the Piece of Metal to About the Right Size.
We used this huge horizontal band saw to cut our pieces of metal down to about the right size. These are great because they have an automatic feed that very slowly lowers the blade into the metal that is held very firmly and safely in a vice. It keeps your hands clear so it's safer. It's also pretty quiet.
Step 3: Cold Saw
This water cooled "cold saw" was used to cut the metal to the exact length I needed.
Step 4: Hole Prep With a Punch
A punch is used to mark where you want to drill out some of the material in the middle. The punch helps the drill from wandering off center.
Step 5: Drill Out Some of the Material.
We're using what's called a subtractive process of machining to get rid of the material we don't want. A drill press was the right tool to remove the part circle in the middle. It was clamped down on both sides when I drilled it out. The instructors at Techshop are VERY safety conscious for good reason.
You can see on the original pattern, we still have some more material to remove.
The vertical band saw can do really large work, or in this case some fine detailed work. It pretty much worked exactly like the wood band saws I already felt comfortable with.
I little grinding and filing and we have a near perfect bottle opener. It was fun. I have to say, as a kid that got C's in Jr High shop classes, I'm enjoying learning and making things a Techshop.
The classes at Techshop are geared to make sure all members know the safe ways to use the equipment. Once you have taken the class on a group of tools and have a current membership, you can make whatever you want as long as you can do it safely.
If you don't have a Techshop in your area, give them an email or call and ask.
Check it out at www.techshop.ws