My good friend Rob McDonald got a hold of me a few days ago. Apparently the rear door handle broke on his funky Indian Tuk Tuk. A Tuk Tuk is a 3 wheeled sort of motorcycle/car. Used extensively in countries like India, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Rob got the idea to use one to sell wine. Well not just any wine - but St. Mayhem. I guess when you name the wine St. Mayhem, you have to expect things like broken door handles.
Basically the handle was a poorly constructed cast piece that had seen it's days of hard use. It had incorporated a lock mechanism, but that looked like it has been non-functional since the days of British rule. My basic repair concept was to turn the OD of the broken area down, create a sleeve, then glue and pin it together.
When I looked the parts I found this - a drywall screw that was used in a previous repair attempt.
First I found a chunk of stainless steel tubing that had the right OD (0.625"), but needed to be bored out. I decided a wall thickness of around 0.030" would be about right. After that I had to turn the OD of the two halves down to 0.565-ish to fit inside the sleeve. Hanging on to the handle side of things required a bit of creativity to make an aluminum fixture that could be used to clamp on the handle shaft.
After the 3 parts were created, I ran the broken parts through my bead blaster to remove any loose material and create a nice surface for the glue to adhere. I mixed up some JBWeld and epoxied them together.
I didn't take a picture, but after the glue set up, I drilled two cross holes around 0.050" and drove 2 finish nails through to create a couple of pins. Hopefully they'll keep it from separating and twisting. I think the repair looks pretty good. We'll have to see how it holds up to St. Mayhem!
After getting the 4th axis up and functional, I thought I might as well try a project utilizing it. My concept was to create a dining table using the rotary as well as some old barn wood we had left over from building our house. Here's the CAD version of the idea. The original concept had this with two legs. After calculating how much aluminum that would take and how long it would take to machine, I scaled it back to a single leg.
I had wanted to use the rotary as a true 4th axis (simultaneous movement in all axis), but ran into trouble creating the gcode. My skills in NX 7.5 just weren't up to the task. So I back-pedaled and went with more of an indexer mode - basically turn 90 degrees between each operation. Although it's not what I started out wanting - it still allowed me to machine all four sides without removing it from the fixture.
Which brings me to the fixture. I've never really put much time into setups as I usually just want to get the part done. This time, I realized the number of parts I wanted to make plus using the 4th axis required one. I'd also never used dowel pins for location devices, so thought that would be fun too! Although it's a bit cumbersome to mount and dismount the part, it worked as designed. When I originally made the fixture, I was a bit careless about maintaining parallelism between the top and bottom. I realized this at about the 3rd part when I was having trouble with things matching up when the rotary went all the way around. Once I fixed that - it turned out to work very well.
Once I got that sorted, the first operation was to cut a chunk off the raw 5"x2.5" stock.
Next up was to add a set of holes - 3 threaded and 2 reamed (for the dowel pins to locate) on both sides to use for mounting in the fixture.
Then I sawed this at a 30 degree angle to make 2 blanks. Here it is mounted up on the fixture in the rotary about to do the first position.
I had never used dowel pins to align a jig and got to use over/under reamers to make it work. It was actually pretty easy and it really made things very predictable and repeatable.
To complete 1 part took around 55 minutes of machine time. Most of this was trying to get a very fine finish on the contoured areas which took a lot of passes.
I was originally planning to do enough for 2 legs, which would have required 48 sections. At an hour each, that really added up.
Once I had the buttress pieces done, I moved on to the leg. I mounted the lumber in my lathe and turned the ends. What a mess! Turning wood in a metal lathe gets sawdust everywhere!
After turning that down, I slipped on some aluminum collars to each end and put together what I had for a bit of a mockup.
Now that I had the leg mostly there - I started in on the top. I had wanted to make it up out of a bunch of strips and glue/screw them together. I really ran into issues with warped and twisted strips. I ended up wrestling it around to something I considered acceptable, but it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It ended up being 48x36".
One feature I attempted was to use 5 threaded rods to hold the top together. Although I got it done, it was probably the worst part of this whole job. I really underestimated how much trouble it would be to drill straight holes though 3 feet of 3/4" strips of wood of varying species! I thought it would be fun to make a set of custom nuts to hold it together. I wanted to recess them into the side of the top. I based the design off the 12 lobed base.
You may be wondering how I got those nuts tightened up. Well you make a tool of course!
I wanted to have a plate mounted on the underside of the top to use to attach the leg and also to help stabilize the wood. I found a galvanized round cover of sort make out of diamond plate. I was going to expose the diamond plate, but ended up liking the other side more.
Next was the base. I found a 20" diameter metal plate that was apparently used as a pipe cap. It probably weighs about 80 lbs and was a bear getting into the mill by myself! I milled a pocket in the top for the leg and on the underside I added pockets for 6 feet, plus thread milled the outer holes to accept an adapter I needed for the feet.
I realized I needed a way to securely mount the aluminum collar on the ends of the leg so they wouldn't spin. I decided to glue it on, but then added a wedge - just to make sure!
And here's the final result!
Some additional notes:
I think the overall design was OK, but in looking at the finished product I think it didn't come together as well as it could have. Not bad for my first attempt at furniture, but there's room for improvement. My brother pointed out there should be some metal form from the base/leg coming up through the top. I think he's right as that aspect is sort of the point of the whole thing. My wife thinks there are too many materials involved and it doesn't really come together - she's right too. Additionally I think proportions of the top to the base are off, I probably should have gone with a circular top. Although I largely managed to solve it, there is tendency for the top to be able to spin on the base as the compression collars just don't provide enough force to resist that.
My sister-in-law found a rolling pin at a Salvation Army about 30 years ago - spending the outrageous sum of 50 cents on it. It's grown to be a coveted possession and is critically integral to our Thanksgiving Day feast. It's a key tool for the creation of her magic Pecan Pies. This year, right in the middle of major heavy pie madness, the ol' girl gave out. The handle pin broke at the at the roller. We managed to get through the rest of the pie build, but a fix was needed.
This thing was old when Howie found it, so I'm sure it's seen it's share of battle pie. From the looks of the remaining pieces, the pin was actually pressed into the end where there are 4 pieces of wood set like wedges to hold the pin. Although that's what it looked like, I wasn't sure and I was unable to do much with it anyway.
I decided to try to get the broken part out first. It measured about 0.5", so I rigged up a way to hold it on my drill press and went at a bit undersize with a 29/64. Just as I was getting to the final depth, VOILA! the broken piece just came out!
- I tried to get the 4 "wedges" out, but got no where. I could have simply made a new wooden pin, but I knew I couldn't match the end of thing. So I decided to create a hidden fix that would be strong enough to stand up to another 30 years of pie making.
I decided to use a couple of pieces of stainless, one - a shaft to go in the end of the rolling pin and stick out. Then another, thin walled sleeve piece to slip over that and provide the a place to insert the end cap.
I ordered a couple of bits of 304 Stainless from McMaster-Carr that was close to the sizes I needed. I had to turn a bit off the OD of the sleeve and bore it to 0.510. After a bit of finishing and cutting to size, I had the pieces.
I decided to simply glue the thing together. I used some JB Weld to join the sleeve to the shaft. I then used some epoxy to glue the shaft into the rolling pin.
Once the glue had set up I cut the wooden end cap down to about an 1" and then pressed it into the end.
Looks to me like it's ready for battle!