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All posts for the month January, 2013

Even though it has been almost two years since the large 6.3 earthquake in February 2011, we still the stray aftershock.  Last week we got a good shake of 4.62 that reminded anyone of the big ones not so long ago.  This gave me an idea for laser etching on shot glasses.  I started with a real seismic wave and added the text “Christchurch Aftershot.”  Good way to calm the nerves after a good shake?

Christchurch Aftershot

Christchurch Aftershot

With everything already setup, I tried testing out a few more designs.  The next test was a kiwi bird over text Christchurch New Zealand.  I think the kiwi bird’s body actually came out quite well.

Christchurch New Zealand

Christchurch New Zealand

Finally, I added a vine pattern that wrapped almost all the way around the glass. This too much more time but I think looks great.

Vines glass

Vines glass

Glass is a unique material with laser engraving.  As the process actually micro fractures the surface to produce a frosted look.  You can feel a very slight texture if you run your fingers over it.  But because the etching is part of the glass surface, it won’t dissolve in liquids like painted glass.

The past week been a busy one. I’ve tried my hand at making hardwood signs and engraving them with some choice quotes. After a good bit of searching, I found some nice Mahogany to test making signs. I started by adding a decorative edge with my router.  A bit of sanding and a nice light stain was then used to bring out the colours and grain in the wood.

Sign edge profile

Sign edge profile

 

Next was to add some varnish for protection and assist with cleanup of the smoke from engraving process. I tested on several different pieces with a range of colours.

 

Beware of dog... and cats

Beware of dog… and cats

The lighter colours seemed to work better.  The smoke would be blown back into the wood grain for a nice contrast on the background. Hard wood also provided a very nice medium for fine detail as seen in the leaves of the trees.

 

Tree engraving detail

Tree engraving detail

While darker wood or more pink tint looked wonderful stained, it didn’t provide enough contrast for to easily read the lettering.

 

Darker wood grains

Darker wood grains

I tried to experiment with white paint filling in lettering the lettering. This proved a bit more difficult to keep out of the surrounding wood grains.

 

Paint filled engraving

Paint filled engraving

Here are a few examples of the prototype signs. Half the fun is finding great quotes or messages for them.

old film roll

It’s no doubt that we live in a digital world.  The old days of buying rolls of film to later chemically developed have been replaced with compact flash storage and online photo galleries. Most of these things have be wonderful achievements for everyone. I still remember the days of being limited to 12-24 pictures per roll of film. The film also had to be the correct ISO for the expected light conditions for best results.

micro-sd-card

micro-sd-card

Today my digital camera can take over 1,600 pictures on a single CF card. I don’t need to worry if I bought the right type of film or wait for it to be developed.  However, if you are anything like me, you have vast collection of pictures taking up space on your hard drive.

But sometimes the digital world has unexpected negative impact on our lives. Because any physical pictures must be printed out, I find that less and less of them actually make it into frames. Ironically, I have thousands and thousands of digital pictures but hardly and physical copies of my work.

wooden-photo-framePhotography has changed over the years, but what about the frames? Improving the picture frame might just be what is needed to take the digital pictures and turn them into tangible goods. By making a unique frame, the pictures can become more than a image on paper. They can blend over and onto the frame making the entire object a unique item.

I have been toying with different ideas for unique frames with different themes. Here are a few examples that I’ve started.

Wet dog frame

Wet dog frame

Welcome baby frame

Welcome baby frame


Picture perfect frame

Picture perfect frame

 

What other ideas would you like to see? Post a comment and let me know.  If you would like of any of these frames personalised for yourself, please visit my shop.

City center map

I’d like to share some images of my Minecraft server that has been running for over a year and half now.  I started this server not long after the February earthquake of 2011 here in Christchurch.  Just as we had to rebuild our city in real life, I constructed this virtual city server block by block.  Many of our city iconic buildings in were destroyed in the earthquake.  The city’s main icon, the cathedral  was destroyed in the quake.  This was one of the first large buildings constructed.  I’ve also added some other buildings that were destroyed to help remember them.

Cathedral

The city itself acts as a the main hub for the server.  It contains portals that take you to other cities, each with their own theme.

Egyptian City

You can read more about the server details on the minecraftforum post.  I’ve met some really good players over the last few years.  Many of us are still just casual players who come to build and share our creations.  The server has slowly grown into what it is today.

Mayan Temple

Collection of shots from around the server.  These are taken with HD texture pack and GLSL shader for added effect.

Who doesn’t like candles?  Their warm light dances on the walls and over all objects in the room.  Okay, so maybe I’m not Shakespeare, but I do think he said it best about candles.  “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”   How fitting for a tiny little tea light candle as well.  Tea lights are a great way to keep the candle wax inside the aluminum cup and your surfaces safe.  However, they are not the best looking on their own.  Time to spruce them up a wee bit.

I started with a basic concept of a small box with legs.  Inside a spacer would keep the candle centered.

tealight design

tealight design

This design gave me the most surface space to engrave the words of wisdom.  I have a bit of affinity toward darker wood.  A few coats of stain and varnish provides a nice contrast to the engraving and colors of the flame.  I then cut each of the parts out and prepared them for assembly.

tealight cutout parts

tealight cutout parts

The bottom part has fingers that lock into the four sides holding everything together.  Keep in mind that these are all rather small.  The center hole for the tea light is 37mm in diameter.  Because the candles are already small, the font size had to be reduced to get the quote to fit on the front.  I’m afraid that the quote font size might a be a bit too small and difficult to read.

tealight front quote

tealight front quote

Regardless of the font size, I believe the box works well for the intended use.  I plan on making a few more of these for around the house.

tealight box finsihed

tealight box finished