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A discussion of building or buying a carver machine to using Bondo as a pattern and other helpful tips.
Latest Activity: Nov 29, 2015
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Tried out the copy carver for the first time. I had scaled it down 25% from
the original plans, but I don't think that had anything to do with the fact
that it couldn't handle the carving of my tupelo cat with the head offset from
the body, where the depth and axis changes as you rotate the model
and the blank through the four 90 degree locking quadrants.
Made a bit of a mess with my test blank..(basswood)..thankfully I had
the presence of mind not to attempt it with expensive imported tupelo
on the first attempt to use it. From what I can tell, it just can't handle
the Z axis very well. I suppose if I was doing fish with an X axis going
straight through from the V in the tail to the tip of the snout..it would be
fine though. Back to carving the cats with my Foredom flexi-shaft rotary
carving motor. Live and learn as they say....sigh!
Still in the fine process of tuning the copy carver. Raised the wooden rails up another
3.5 inches using a 2x4 and a strip to join that 2x4 to the existing 2x4 that has the
hollow pipe attached for the swing box carriage to move on.
Starting on pouring my own stylus (hot lead alloy that melts with a propane torch) to match a tapered Silver Kutzall carving tip. I found that the stylus and burr supplied by Ed (designer of the carving duplicator) much too large to get into small carving details. While it is good for initially removing copious amounts of wood off the basswood block, the large ball nose carving burr just doesn't lend it's self to any detail work. But this is part of the learning curve of making a carving duplicator, much like learning to carve in the round using hand tools.
I'm up in Canada, so I initially used Princess Auto for ordering the v-belt pulleys
and pillow blocks. Got the pulleys, but they were sold out of 5/8 pillow blocks and
I ended up getting some bronze bearings locally and soldered round brackets to
them an using these. Princess Auto also has 1/2" pillow blocks.
I ended up using 1/2 " diameter steel axle shafts on mine as mine is scaled down
about 25% from the original plans.
Can't seem to edit my own posts...
previous post should read
"came up with a round rod that I bent at 90 degrees to act as a index key lock.
This fits into a corresponding hole in the rotating wood base that is attached"
to the carving blank with screws.
I think that the centerline of the router tip and the centerline of the stylus have to
be setup so that they register properly, so when the swing box is moved the
exact point on the blank is machined that the stylus is touching.
The plans didn't go into this detail, and this is the finicky trial and error stuff
that takes time..the setup.
I think I will raise the swing box rails another 4 inches in height and see if
the rest position of the router bit is about midpoint on the carving blank as
I can only do a 90degree cut and then rotate the mount another 90 degrees
to do another cut..until I come up to 360. The carving offset should be interesting
to see how that works out. A fair bit of engineering and ingenuity is required to
make these for carvings that are NOT symmetrical in nature.
I came uo with a round round (bent to 90degrees) DETENT, that fits into the
wooden base at 90 degree offsets, This way I can lock it down at 90degree.
At the "headstock" end, I just have an adjustable pivot point to support the
head to keep it from vibrating as the router bit starts to gind away wood.
Got the mounts finished, (using 3mm aluminum plate,
but some minor problems with registration when rotating
on axis. 90degree rotation stops installed in my mounts.
Two main issues.
1) the carving is not symetrical (cat) and as I rotate it, there is offset.
2) the mount height and the swing box height still needs to be adjusted because
I think that the stylus and router bit should be at rest at the midpoint line
of the carving on the mount.
Here are some pics of what I am talking about.
Yes, thanks Bob. I generally do that..try out an idea out of my head that I get from
somewhere and then modify it to make it work to my satisfaction. I subscribe
to the "mothers of invention"..or in my case "grandfathers of invention?"
I'll give a progress update..starting it this week..because I can't stand looking at
Ok, I'm looking at my machine the other day and it is telling me to finish it.
The mounts for the blank and model are the big holdup now. I was trying
to come up with a neat design, but I see that I will need a well supported
and indexed mount.
That would mean a gimble at both ends and a rod going through the wood
or model to provide the support on longer pieces. I just can't see any
other way of keeping both steady on me.
Yo! Carver dudes/operators. Wuts happening?
I'm still trying to work out an ergonomic design for the mounts. Compared to
the copy carver, it's involving a lot more thinking. Height is one issue.
I think I need to raise the rails a tad. About 2 inches higher as I'm not
doing flat fish like the plan designer was doing..but more of "in the round"
carvings and because the carving dimensions are larger (higher), I have
to raise the stylus and router bit highjer so that I can start off on the
horizontal axis in a horizontal position.
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