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April 16th, 2017

11:54 am - new mod or delete?
This community hasn't been active for a while, but I didn't want to just delete it without giving it a chance. Let me know if you're interested in taking over ownership of the comm. If I don't hear anything in a few weeks, I'll delete it.

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April 2nd, 2016

10:59 am
Trying to recreate a medieval silver cup


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August 7th, 2015

09:09 am
Silver gilt medieval crown


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April 26th, 2015

06:22 pm
Gilded silver and many gems circlet


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December 30th, 2014

07:51 pm
Sterling silver and glass doctor who tea light holder


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July 23rd, 2014

03:58 pm
this one replica chalice has been bothersome, still not entirely pleased


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July 17th, 2014

02:51 pm
reconstruction of a find from roman aldbrough, reproduced by permission of owner, private collection


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July 15th, 2014

07:51 pm - How much steel could a wood chuck chuck...

Ok, so I've set up my milling station to hold eccentric workpieces in a turntable (I'm not going to mistake calling it a true "rotary table" since it doesn't have a crank or any kind of indexing functionality), so now I can start reworking my oscillator cam in my sickle pruner described in my previous post. First, the mill:

That's a 4-jaw independent chuck for a Harbor Freight wood lathe. I originally had big plans for making a digital dividing head with it, but that was a bit too ambitious and I needed something to work right away, and don't really need to index anything, just turn around an offset axis. It mounts with a 3/4" 10 thread, so I just drilled a hole into one side of some scrap square tubing and bolted it down with some machine bushings to let it rotate stiffly by hand. Slap it in my 2-axis vise and now I have a crude 4-axis mill. Yes, it's a HF drill press; yes, it's a drill chuck; but I managed to rig a perpendicular draw pin to slide into the 2MT tang removal slot, so it self-tightens and the runout is low enough so that I can use a larger-diameter end mill without problem and get a fairly decent finish. For prototyping purposes, it's accurate enough to get the job done.

And now, the job...

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Current Music: You Spin Me Round - Dead or Alive

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July 6th, 2014

06:54 pm - Metalworking project updates

Ok, so here it is after a bit longer of a delay than I had anticipated, but I have finally made enough progress on my base metalworking project that I can start work, and soliciting feedback, on all the daughter projects. Last fall I built this:

No, not the tractor, the pointy bits attached to the front of it. That, dear readers, is a Concord grape pre-pruner. The business end is a repurposed hay sickle, made to run off a salvaged hydraulic motor with a homemade crankshaft/gearbox to make the blades reciprocate. It's attached to the front frame of my Kubota with a 3-axis (X, Y, Tilt) tool carrier I also built as my first-time welding/fabrication project. I used it this spring to prune 50 acres of Concord grapes on my family farm in a fraction of the time it used to take doing it by hand. There were quite a few bugs I had to deal with along the way, making it slower-going than it would have been error-free, but either way it's a major improvement from the previous prototype:

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Current Music: Dirty White Boy - Foreigner

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March 23rd, 2014

04:11 pm - Do you know what foxxxyben is doing to our soil?

Cross-posted to a fistful of farming, metalworking, and engineering communities, by way of introduction.

Hi! My name is Ben. My family owns a small vineyard in eastern Washington State. I am in charge of several projects, including the daily operation and ongoing upgrades/rehabilitation of a 50-acre Concord grape block that we are in the process of getting organic certification. Three years ago, I was severely burned when I fell into a concealed hazardous waste dump site the previous owners had illegally buried on the property, so I am also interested in developing new waste recycling technologies and projects. I haven't posted regularly to LJ for quite a long time now, and although I've found a few more specialized message boards off-site, my needs and interests now overlap with so many different fields, so I've decided to knock the dust off my account and send out some feelers in all directions.

Last year I came to the conclusion that from here out all of my equipment needs to be custom-made, and my local shops aren't quite up to the task of doing any kind of R&D, so I broke down and bought the Harbor Fright starter kit, and have been rallying hard since last September to churn out my first big project -- a hydraulic sickle mower mounted to a custom 3-axis vertical tool carrier on the front of my Kubota -- to get a leap on pruning earlier this year. I never took shop in high school, and considering my total lack of experience I'd say it was an overall success (I got the entire field pruned nearly 2 1/2 months earlier than previous years of using sucky hedging shears), although there are some considerable alterations I need to make to both the pruner and my workshop.

So, now that I'm not quite so under the gun with that particular project, I figured I'd take the time to join some new communities, introduce myself, and solicit some help finding some good machinist groups that have nothing to do with Christian Bale. I've got several other ongoing builds and field projects I'm going to post some entires on in the next few weeks as I have some downtime when the vines start to bud out. In the meantime, the biggest problem I've had with my pruner is the kludgey reciprocator crankshaft I welded together literally out of scrap gears and bolts -- I desperately need advice on turning and heat hardening, and can't find any active lathe-working communities. My next shop project is to build an Arduino-driven dividing head to turn out a new crank in my drill/mill, but I already let the blue smoke out of my first Uno, so some computer and electrical engineering help would be, well, helpful. Finally, since I'm trying to find a use for all this dead vine material I'm chipping and bagging (another post) and I have both a need for medium-sized metal casting and a growing pile of scrap metal, I think I'd really like to build a wood-gasifier forge slash meat cookerizer so I can throw some of the most metal BBQs in town. Unfortunately, most of the metal casting communities I've found are for jewelry making, so if anyone can point me towards something a little more industrial, that'd be great.

Anyways, I'll be posting more entries later or sooner to introduce some of the individual projects I've got lined up. I'll try my best to keep them organized separately, although they do all converge together on a common larger purpose, which hopefully will make sense as I go along. Thanks for reading!


Current Music: Stuart -- The Dead Milkmen

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