Voronoi shoe rack

“this whole thing is a shoe rack…but not a real shoe rack, more like a freaky shoe rack”

We had a pile of shoes that needed sorting out.

So I made a shoe rack. I wanted some kind of lattice cut-outs in the shelves and back for easy airflow around wet and muddy shoes, but Fusion 360 isn’t the best for making such patterns. As I can’t draw for crap, I wanted a space-filling algorithm to draw a pattern for me. So, yeah, Voronoi. I know it’s a computational cliche and over-used, but wtf, it’s easy and there’s a plug-in for Fusion 360.

The material was going to be okume ply, but I ended up with okume skins on poplar ply. This has very lightly coloured edges which really showed any burning from an overheated tool. The solution was a single flute compression bit which stayed much cooler than a two flute. Top is two flute, bottom is single.

The joints are all slightly hidden tenons into dogbone mortises. The intention was to make this self-jigging. It was close, but I put the tenons in the middle of pieces, so the corners needed some clamping to get them to behave. Lesson learnt – tenons at ends as well as centres of joints.

Danish oil and rubbing with non-steel steel wool pads to finish and shoes are now organised.

Enclosure for a Vertigotech M2 CNC router – attempt 2

Made from the shipping crate and bits I had lying around, the first enclosure for the router did a good job of keeping down the noise and dust from the router. It was, however, too small and didn’t allow the router to use the full range of movement possible before the router started banging against the inside of the cabinet.

The second attempt works much better – 18 mm white melamine from Cut to Size in Lyall Bay joined with aluminium L section from Ullrich in Petone. Size internally is 1564 wide, 864 deep, and 582 high.

Shared Fusion 360 design, if you need: http://a360.co/2ldtj2Q


 

 

Cutting the window rebates was fun. The panel wouldn’t fit into the router, of course, so each end of the rebate on each side had to be cut with the panel sticking off the bed of the router. Four cuts, four setups, all to be lined up, and then the cut ends were joined by some careful work with a circular saw.

Turned out ok though, I just hope the glue I used to hold in the acrylic windows holds in the acrylic windows.

 

New workshop addition – CNC router

I bought a CNC router, a Vertigo Tech M2 from down in Westport. Lead screws, 1200×600 bed, and a frame of pretty chunky aluminium extrusion. I thought about building one, but I’d rather buy it, plug it in, have it work, and put my time into building things with it.

Design shared from Fusion 360: Router Test Box 2

What I’ve learnt so far:

  • Plywood rules the world.
  • Up-cut bits give a really fluffy top edge. Straight bits are better, but compression bits ordered. Getting perfect edges on cuts isn’t easy.
  • Making it quieter is needed if I’m going to run this at night in the suburbs, so cabinet being designed.
  • Dust and chips go everywhere, so dust shoe on its way to me and the cabinet will help.
  • Fusion 360’s integrated design (CAD) and manufacturing (CAM) is just plain awesome. Being able to draw something up, have it work out toolpaths, and then simulate the cutting used to be $100k-worth of software. Now it’s free.
  • CAM is at least as hard as CAD, if you want to do it right.
  • Cutting to just above the base board (onion skins) results in lots of time breaking out the uncut material and cleaning edges. A proper spoil board is needed so I can cut all the way through the ply to avoid this.
  • Fusion 360 is great for generic CAD/CAM, but isn’t the best for a router. Nesting and layout you have to do manually and it barely does tabs for part holding (only for 2D contour toolpaths). It’s not VCarve Pro, but it’s also not NZ$1000.
  • The machine will cut big chips with lots of noise or fine shavings with lots of dust. Finding a happy medium is going to take a bit of tweaking.
  • If you cut interlocking ply parts 0.2 mm undersize, then all the pieces will slide together and hold without glue. If you cut at 0.1 mm oversize, you have to hammer the parts together. If you cut at 0.3 mm undersize, it all wobbles.
  • There’s a heap of fancy joints you could do, but finger tenons are simple, easy to draw, easy to cut, self-aligning, can be hidden, and are strong enough with glue.
  • T-track bolts need to be just the right size or they twist and stick.
  • If you are drawing finger tenons, then you need to relieve the sharp internal corners. Casey Crogers’ dogbone plugin draws these automatically and makes this much faster.
  • And if you want to do Voronoi patterns, coz you have a cnc router and you can, then Hans Kellner’s Voronoi sketch generator does the job.

Please ignore the plunge marks:

Tweaking feeds and speeds and checking accuracy like an old-school metal machinist:

New workbench

From wood left over from the house build, bolted to wall and floor, and flat and level.

Possibly making the top from three layers of 18 mm ply is overkill. Possibly not.