Assembling the Frame Part 1

I started assembling the frame yesterday and I’m making progress slowly.  Like I said before, the stuff is hard to work with.  Until the whole thing is together, it really wants to shift and move around a lot.  I don’t want to lock down any of the bolts for the brackets until it’s all the way together and square.  A few times I forgot to put brackets in channels that were going to be blocked by other pieces of frame so I had to remove pieces, add the brackets and reinstall them.  I’m in love with this frame stuff, it’s like a huge erector set.

I hope to get the frame fully assembled this weekend.  I need to stop off after work tomorrow and pick up some cutting oil, I can’t find mine and I need it to drill the holes in and for the v-rails.

The arrival of parts

Finally getting some parts so I can start working on the cutter.  Last week I received the v-bearings and skate bearings.  Today I received all the extruded frame, v-groove rails, toothed pulleys and belt.  I started assembling the frame but the stuff is pretty hard to work with.  The t-nuts want to slide all over the place so it’s like building some strange 3-d puzzle that keeps wanting to shift and get out of square.  I’ll have pictures of the assembly in another post.  For now, here are a few pictures of the parts I have gotten so far.

Oh yeah, and Misumi has a pretty amazing catalog, I highly recommend requesting one.  Free catalog, absolutely huge and chocked full of all kinds of interesting bits and pieces.  Came with a printed catalog and a digital catalog on two CD.


Working on the laser cutter

I finally got the acrylic pieces I want cut laid out to send to Pololu.  Hopefully, everything is right, but this is the first time I have submitted something for laser cutting so I may be sending a second order once I figure it all out.  Here is what I just submitted to them for review.

I used the basic drawings from bdring’s build log, but had to modify some of the pieces to get the proper sizes and holes for laser cutting.  It’s my first time getting this all setup so hopefully it works out well.  Not sure how long Pololu will take to process it and give me a quote but I’ve heard really good things about their speed in processing orders.  My frame extrusion should be here Tuesday and I think my rails will ship out 3/2 or 3/3.  I can’t wait to start putting stuff together.  It should help me visualize what else I need to work on.

Building a laser cutter

I have decided to try building a laser cutter rather than making a huge commitment to purchase one.  I have been following the blog of a gentleman in Chicago recently who is building one from the ground up and his blog is exceptionally detailed.  You can find the blog at  His work on this project is phenomenal and I really hope to emulate and build off his work to build my own.

I just ordered all the frame pieces, brackets and fasteners from Misumi as well as the v-groove rails, wheels and bearings from a few other vendors.  I also worked up some initial sketches in SketchUp to figure out all the lengths and stuff since most of bdring’s work is in inches and Misumi uses metric for all their lengths.

I plan on documenting the full build as well as any issues/customizations I make.  I am really looking forward to working on this, it is something I have wanted to do for some time now.

The thing about gears

It’s a complete bitch to get the arbors straight when you’re assembling gear trains made out of wood.  I think I did pretty well really.  Today I stained all the pieces that will be stained, primarily the gear train, and then assembled most of the gears on their arbors.

woodenclock14 woodenclock15 woodenclock16

Here I have applied a nice dark mahogany stain.  One coat seems to be plenty to get a rich, dark color to the wood.  It should be a really nice contrast to the natural wood frame.


Here is the escapement wheel and great wheel.  You can already see the contrast I was talking about from the arbors and gears.  Looks great!


Here’s the minute wheel with the minute pipe, the escape lever and half of the mid wheel.  Also, a cheap multimeter.  My woodworking bench is also used for electronics work.  Or maybe my electronics bench is used for woodworking, I’m not really sure.


All of the gears with their various arbors and whatnot.  I should be able to start assembling everything onto the great wheel arbor tomorrow.  Look for another post in a day or two.  The weekend at the latest.