Hidden Bend Retreat, Romney West Virginia

Romney, WV

Thursday, February 13, 2014


We've had well over 15" of snow here today and it's still coming down
slowly. Won't be cooking in the pizza oven tonight. The deer have been
on the patio and I don't think many of the new plants are going to
survive as we've had snow on the ground here for the last 3 weeks and
 between the deer and the rabbits, not a lot left. Oh well, it does look nice.

Shark CNC Machine Cool Cube

I've been spending some time in the workshop with the new computer
controlled router. Here are some pictures of a test project I downloaded
from the makers of the software used to create designs. It's a small,
4"x4"x4" wood cube with a design on all sides along with the top. I used
a piece of scrap wood that wasn't perfectly flat or of even thickness
but wanted to see how the process would work. It's just held together
with a rubber band clamp to give you an idea what the finished piece
might look like.

This was the first 2 sided carving that I've done. You first cut a set
of dados on the back side of the wood on what will become the inside of
the box. A dowel hole is drilled through each end of the material. When
the carving is completed, the board is turned over and dowel pins are
put through the material in to the base board so that the board is back
on the table ready to cut the other side in exactly the right position
for the outside to be carved.

Once the pieces are carved, they go together very well. The top can
either be press fit or hinged. I probably won't finish this box but was
a good learning experience. No problems with the machine, the only
issues were mistakes I made in set up or from the inconsistent material
in the board. There is a way to compensate your carving for varying
widths on your material but I didn't use that approach- might try it
next time.

Enjoy looking.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Shark Projects

Worked with the Shark CNC machine today putting together a couple of
signs and cutting them out to take a first look on some pine we had left
over from siding the guest cabin. First pictures was made using an
imported line drawing of an alpaca to the CarvePro software, then adding
text and distributing it along an arc to make the curved lines of text.
Not bad for a first try- can see there will be some real time needed
with software. Once the design is completed in the CarvePro software,
the file is saved to a format that can be read in by the Shark CNC
controller, all controlled by a laptop computer connected with a USB
cable. The software for the controller is produced by NextWave
Automation, the actual makes of the Shark. I covered the board with
self adhesive shelf paper before I did the cutting, then painted over it with
black spray paint. This left only the carved areas with the black paint to
increase the contrast- I liked it.

Spray painted carving

Good news is that there are a lot of video tutorials online from
Vectric, the company that makes the software. At least 15 hours worth from the first look and there are a couple of online forums as well that support the software. I've found quite a few free online projects as
well that should be fun.

The remaining pictures show a sign I made from a photo that I imported
to the software from a flag that celebrated the 250th anniversary for
the town of Romney. From the bitmap of the picture, the software
produces line vectors that are then used to carve the image. Only took
about 15 minutes to get it ready to run and would have been about 5 if
I'd known what I was doing. I had watched a tutorial on importing an
image and it really helped. The pictures show the sign as it was being
carved- it took about 5 minutes for the router to produce the text above
and below the emblem, then about 30 minutes to carve the actual emblem.
It was really useful to do this on a scrap of wood as I'll now be able
to make some changes to improve the look- I don't like the foreground of
the emblem which was supposed to have had some detailed but ended up
Text completed, carving started on emblem
being carved out completely. Since I only have one bit that I know how
to use on the router, this limited my work as well- I have two more bits
on order that will arrive next week.
Emblem almost done

After I get the emblem design completed, I plan to paint
the board a green color to match the original flag, then use the shelf paper before carving so I can paint the cutouts white.

Hope you enjoy the work, will keep posting as I learn more. I'm hoping
Completed sign
to be able to make some small boxes when I get the new bits- all the
parts are formed completely on the CNC router and then glued together.
The first ones I plan to do are a free download from the maker of the
software, Vectric.

CNC Router

I have a new toy for the workshop, a computer controlled router that
can be used to make signs, plaques, boxes, and all kinds of other
projects. There will be quite a learning curve but should be fun.

This a CNC Shark Black Diamond system made by NextWave Automations. Here
are some pictures as I was getting it set up and a couple more as I cut the first sign to try it out. Will post more as I figure it all out, enjoy. Once the computer design was completed, it took about 3 minutes for the router to cut the "Hidden Bend Retreat" sign out of a piece of oak (flooring left over from the guest cabin build).