Archive for the 'Kid Stuff' Category

PS:One Longboard

The subject of skateboards came up about 2 weeks ago at meeting of local makers.  One of the PS:One Hackerspace guys confessed he wanted to buy a longboard for getting around town.  Longboards are more about basic transportation and carving smooth turns than doing tricks.  The large size also encourages design and graphical creativity.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get the creative juices flowing.  It was a fun project that cost less than $50 to complete.

Once I get these ideas in my head I am totally obsessed with them.  The only way to clear my brain is to actually build the thing whether I need it or not.  I finally got some time between 2.x Lasers and ORD Bots orders on the CNC router last Sunday night.

Design:

  • 3/4″ baltic birch deck.
  • Logo inlay on top near the front in a contrasting wood type.
  • The inly would be 1/4″ thick so minor dings and chips would not wreck the inlay.
  • Pockets cuts on the back to look cool, reduce the weight and give the board a little flex.
  • Miter the edges of the pockets for a cool look, make it more comfortable to carry and make it less prone to chipping.
  • Round the perimeter edges.
  • I really like the drop style truck mounting, but I would stick with a conventional bottom mount to start with.

Drop through mounting – Image from Moose

I found a whole bunch of longboard PDF templates here at Silverfish Longboarding.  I started with the ST11 version.  I felt the exposed wheels would allow more wheel, truck and mounting options without the wheels “biting” the board.  The outline had a few sharp corners that I smoothed out.  I didn’t want the line that is produced when you round the edge with the sharp corner.  I imported an SVG of the snowflake logo from the PS:One wiki and sketched in some pockets on the back that looked cool, but still preserved the strength off the board with hope for a little flex.
I bought a truck and wheel kit off eBay for about $35 (free shipping). I only did basic research into what made a good choice.  I just bought something that fit the basic requirements and looked cool (wide, reverse kingpost, big red wheels).
The basic deck is 3/4″ thick Baltic birch plywood..  The local high end lumber yard, Owl Hardwood, had some really nice 13 ply material.  The top side is perfect.  The back side is really good with only a few small blemishes and all the inner layers are high quality with no voids.  Most plywood has knots and voids on the inner layers.  The exposed edge and the pockets would show the inner layers so I wanted them to look good.

Fabrication Process.

  • Cut the inlay piece out of  1/4″ thick oak.
  • Mount the Baltic birch on the router and check for Z flatness in the inlay area.  I mounted it on a sacrificial particle board.  This board was clamped by itself, so unclamping the plywood would not affect the position of the sacrificial board.
  • Cut the pocket for the inlay slightly under sized.  I then continued to profile the edges larger until it fit tightly.
  • Glued the inlay in place.
  • Cut the bolt holes for the trucks.
  • Cut the deck outline.  I purposely cut extra deep into my sacrificial base so that I would have a clear outline of the board.  This would allow me to flip it squarely to do the back side.
  • Cut the back pockets 1/4″ deep.
  • At the last minute I decided to add the the PS:One logo to the back as a 1/8″ deep pocket.  It turned out to be my favorite detail.
  • Used a 1/2″ 90 Deg V bit to miter the edges of the pockets.  I did a profile pass on the pocket lines set inside the line 0.02″ to make sure the tip was always inside the edge for a clean cut.  The depth was set to leave 1/16″ of the original pocket wall.
  • Unclamp the deck.
  • I used a 3/8″ 1/4 round bit with guide bearing on the router table to round the edges.
  • Sanded.
  • Stained using Minwax Golden Oak stain.  It is a light colored stain that varies quite a bit with the wood type.
  • Sealed.  Minwax Satin Poly Urethane.

Time:

  • Design, research, ordering parts…about 1 hour.
  • Total time on the router…about 1 hour.
  • Sanding and Finishing…about 1.5 hours.

Cost:

  • $10 worth of baltic birch
  • $5 1/4″ x 8″ oak for inlay
  • $35 trucks and wheels.
  • Already had all bits, stain and varnish

TO DO:

  • I want to laser cut a bunch of little PS:One snowflakes out of grip tape and sprinkle them on the deck.
Hind Sight:
  • I am not super happy with the way the baltic birch stained.  Woods like that can look blotchy due to varying wood density.  I might have done better pre treating with a wood conditioner the birch or going without stain.


Flat-pack Inspired Playhouse & More

Flatpack Playgoda

I saw this flat-pack inspired inspired playhouse over at inhabitots.   Flat-pack is a form of a Ready-To-Assemble (RTA) product that ships in a flat state.  The latest flat-pack craze is to see how efficiently you can pack the pieces into the raw sheet.  The parts usually can be assembled without fasteners.

Gregg Flieshman has taken the look and assembly features to the extreme and produced some amazing designs. I was originally lured in by the playhouses, but some of his furniture is even more fantastic.  The concept is perfectly suited to home router and laser folks because everything is done in the flat and there are no need to expensive, hard to get fasteners.

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Invention Merit Badge

Invention Merit Badge

My son is a Boy Scout.  My neighbor and friend is one of the Scoutmasters.  He stopped by this week with a flyer for a brand new merit badge on inventing.  He thought I might get a little excited about.  He was right.

I work as a Mechanical Engineer, but when kids ask me what I do, just for fun, I often say that I am an Inventor.   Their reaction is a mix of amazement, curiosity and skepticism.  You don’t hear people refer to themselves as Inventors.  Is this an archaic term? Is this something bestowed posthumously?  I think I will try it on adults for a while to see their reaction.

The requirements for the badge are pretty ambitious.  Here is the short version of what you need to do.

  • Interview or research someone who has invented something.
  • Learn about Intellectual Property and Patents.
  • Find scout related inventions.
  • Learn about patent infringement.
  • Suggests improvements to scouting equipment.
  • Come up with your own invention, build a model and working prototype of it.

The only major beef I have with the merit badge is that is does not make any reference to open source work or alternative licensing options.

I am sure he will get started on it as soon as he returns from summer camp.