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Mathias Wandel's Projects

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Woodworking Techniques. Moisture meter. I bought one of those cheap wood moisture meters on sale for $25 at Princess Auto some time ago.

Moisture meter

I never actually tried it out until I cut up some fresh lumber on my bandsaw and wanted to get some measure of how fast it dried. Unfortunately, the moisture meter didn't last very long. Knowing that probe penetration into the wood makes a big difference in terms of how well they make contact, I kept tapping the meter in with my wrist.

It took some very firm taps to get even minimal penetration into the hardwood, but after just a few readings, it stopped working. When I popped it open, I saw that the probe points were soldered directly into the circuit boards. With such flimsy construction, there wasn't much sense trying to repair the damage. Making cast iron slippery. There is much written about wax formulations to apply to your table saw and other cast iron surfaces to protect them and keep them slippery.

Making cast iron slippery

I always thought that was a little complicated, and other than the occasional squirt of WD40 on the surface, I never did anything to the cast iron on my table saw. That is, until I accidentally spilled a little bit of water based floor varnish on my new table saw. Not wanting the table saw to get rusty from the water based varnish, I grabbed some wood shavings, and rubbed it off. It all came off cleanly, with no rust and no visible remainders. But I noticed afterwards, that the cast iron felt smoother and more slippery where I had spilled and wiped off the varnish. So I decided a little bit of water based varnish on the table saw didn't do any damage, and actually enhanced the surface. Some shop solutions by Ron Walters.

Inserting threaded inserts into wood Turns out I had been using them backwards!

Some shop solutions by Ron Walters

Disc Sander - Circle Sanding Jig A very handy jig for sanding accurate circles or radiuses on the disc sander. Also used to sand gears and Clock Wheels to final diameter. Portable Planer Thin Stock Adapter. The marble adding machine. This is based on an article I wrote for Make magazine at their request in early 2008.

The marble adding machine

An article based on this content was published in Make Magazine issue 20 in late 2009 - more than a year and a half after I submitted it to them. How I came up with the idea. Marble toy blocks part 2: Marble lifter. I wanted a mechanical marble elevating device to go with the marble toy ramps.

Marble toy blocks part 2: Marble lifter

So I came up with another sort of marble pump. At the left of the photo is the marble pump from my modular marble machine. Marble machine 2 plans for sale. Modular marble machine plans. Binary marble adding machine. Way back when I built my Marble Machine one , I incorporated a few logic-like elements in it, including several divide by two mechanisms, as well as a complicated and slightly unreliable divide by 6 mechanism.

Binary marble adding machine

It had occurred to me that perhaps with an insane amount of perseverance, it might be possible to build a whole computer that runs on marbles. But my second marble machine was much less based on logic - it was more about just making lots of cool noises. But then I had an idea as to how the divide by two mechanisms from my first marble machine could be cascaded together to function as a sort of adder register or counter. Once I had that idea, I knew I had to try it. A few months later, I spent a couple of days in my workshop and built this binary marble adding machine. The core of the invention is a modification of the divide by two flipflop to retain the marble that falls off the right side and keep it until the flipflop is flipped to the left by the next marble.

Plans for the marble adding machine. These are plans for a revised version of the marble adding machine, which I built several of for sale.

Plans for the marble adding machine

As such, the dimensions on these plans differ from the dimensions of the original machine. This machine primarily differs in that it is slightly more compact - about as compact as the size of marble would allow. Overall plan Click image to enlarge If you print this image to be 339 mm across and 441 millimeters high, you will have an exact 1:1 plan.

Plan for printing on regular sheet printer To print the plan on a regular printer, print each of these quadrant images and paste them together.Click on each quadrant to enlarge the image. The dashed of the lines for the quadrants need to be right on top of each other. Template for the toggles Print this image to be exactly 20 cm wide, and glue onto a piece of 18 mm thick wood, then cut the parts out with a bandsaw The sliders Dimensions for the sliders and horizontal strips with holes in them. More about Building this machine. Tracks built with the marble run building blocks. After building all the ramps, marble pump and other pieces, I figured it was time to play around with the blocks some more.

Tracks built with the marble run building blocks

Part of the motivation was to figure out how many of what types of block would make a reasonable set for the toy company. I made more than enough of each type, and after building each track, I tallied up how many of each type of block I had actually used. This track was an experiment in using the "ski jump" element and shooting the marbles up another ski jump element to catch them. I couldn't get that to work reliably - about one in four marbles would ricochet out in random directions.

Tracks built with the marble run building blocks. Making wooden gears out of plywood. Traducido al español por Sergio Here's some pictures of making wooden gears out of plywood using paper template from my Gear Template Generator.

Making wooden gears out of plywood

I made two gears, both with a tooth size of 250, and tooth angle of 25 degrees. The smaller one with 7 teeth, the larger one with 11. With that tooth size, 11 teeth was as large as I could go before I would have had to paste multiple pieces of paper together. Normally, one doesn't make involute spur gears with less than about 14 teeth. Gear template generator. This free online gear template generator is designed for making scale accurate paper gear templates which you can glue onto wood and then cut out with a bandsaw.

Gear template generator

I recommend printing the gears with an ink jet printer. Even cheap ink jet printers print very scale accurate but Not all laser printers are accurate. This is the new version (as of September 2015). You can still access the old Flash based version Getting the printout to scale correctly Different browsers print at different scales depending on browser type and printer configuration. Woodworking for engineers. The Fantabulous Contraptions of Matthias Wandel. Creator Spotlight: Matthias Wandel, Prolific Woodworking Machinist « Furniture & Woodworking. You've seen his explanation of a combination lock's inner workings. You'll never lose another game of Jenga, thanks to his winning wooden pistol. And nearly 4 million YouTube users have marveled at his wooden marble machine sculpture. He's Matthias Wandel, and he's accomplished what most only dream of—turning a hobby into a career. Matthias has been tinkering in woodworking since he was a child, with unrestricted access to his father's workshop, permitted to use power tools unsupervised from a young age (which would make most parents cringe these days).

During his engineering work at Canadian-based Research in Motion, he continued building wooden contraptions as a hobby, eventually adding a woodworking component to his personal website. All of Matthias' creations arise from his home workshop, and when it comes to birthing ideas, not everything is instantly conceptualized. "Usually, it's scratching an itch. If he's trying out a new concept, he starts with wood. Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. Q. Pantorouter. Multi slot mortising machine. Screw advance box joint jig. See also: Version 2 of this jig I built my new screw advance box joint jig to allow very precise cutting of box joints in a whole stack of work pieces at once. Rather than the traditional method of doing box joints, which involves indexing each finger off of the previous finger, this jig uses a screw to give absolute position to each finger in the joint. Tilting router lift. This is my tilting router lift. Being able to tilt a router lift really extends the possibilities for creating interesting molding even when using basic and inexpensive sets of router bits.

I'm not the first to come up with a tilting router lift, there are even some patents for some designs (fortunately, the patented designs aren't very good, so no risk of infringing). The closest thing on the market that I know of is the Woodhaven 1470 Angle-ease. However, looking at the pictures of that one, it has very limited space where the bit goes, and doesn't allow the motor to come up very high (necessary for some cuts), so it's probably less versatile than this one.

There is also the "PR005 Tilt Base" for Bosch Colt palm routers, available from various vendors, including Amazon, but that one also has similar limitations. Need to Duplicate a Part in Wood? Check Out Matthias Wandel's DIY Router Copy Carver. It's been a while since we looked in on woodworker/inventor Matthias Wandel, and the man has not been idle.

One of his recent contraptions that caught our eye is his Router Copy Carver, an ingenious sliding mount that you can use with a palm router to trace 3D objects; it's essentially a pantograph with a Bosch Colt as the copying head. The best part is that Wandel shows you how he built the thing, step by step, and you're bound to be impressed by some of his solutions, like a trio of rollerblade bearings arranged in a triangle to hold the crossbar in position while allowing smooth travel. He's even designed a box to hold counterweights opposite the router to prevent fatigue during extended use. Here's Part 1, where he builds the router-holding carriage that will handle the X- and Z-axes: In Part 2 he completes the frame, which takes care of the Y-axis, then tests it out by tracing a crescent wrench: Pretty freaking amazing. Wandel's selling the plans for a scandalously low $14.

Small dust collector. Warren Brownell's Gilliom / woodgears bandsaw. Warren Brownell writes: Hi Matthias, Air engine plans for sale.