EDIT: Putting a photo of the final result up top here, read through the thread to see all of the things I tried before getting it this nice…
Original first post follows:
First project with the Maslow that wasn’t a test pattern or sled…Pokemon themed birthday sign/table topper thingy.
Playing around with different depths on the three pockets, and didn’t quite get the design file right (line in the middle needs to be thicker, and center could be more round), but the machine cut what I told it to…
I used a standard (name brand from Home Depot) two flute up spiral bit with generic makercam.com settings. The Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is probably 100% responsible for the nice finish. People either love or hate MDF, but it does have a few applications where it can be the exact right choice.
-Very consistent, no knots, grain lines, etc.
-Cuts super easily for a nice finish
-Can’t get wet. At ALL! (Bubbles/warps horribly, indoor projects ONLY.)
-Makes actual saw DUST, absolutely requires dust collection, and even then it gets everywhere.
-Heavy, but not as strong as equivalent plywood.
I’m planing on using spray paint for the outside for sure. (Was thinking of doing everything black to get a good finish that seals the wood, and then spraying red/white paint into a small cup and then pouring it into the pockets and swirling it around to try and coat the entire bottom of the pocket. Or perhaps watering down regular paint…We’ll see how that works. If it fails horribly I can experiment with resin. )
Yeah for my project I painted everything neon green first, even if what you were going to see was the outline in the end. It actually helped sealing the wood and to not absorb the poured resin.
Also, since it’s a birthday project a good idea would be to leave them as is and let the kids paint their favorite pokeball or make their own (since there are a ton of types, even those to capture ultra beast). It’ll probably save you a lot of work in the “making” part of the process but will add a possible “mess” element to the birthday. Fun!
Ok, I got so annoyed at the various modeling mistakes I made I decided to re-work my SVG file and re-cut the pokeball before I spent time finishing it. I think the new one (on the right) looks much better.
I can’t really recommend the liquid spraypaint technique for anything other than small pockets. The small pocket turned out ok (but had a few small bubbles), so I moved onto the bigger pocket, where I learned a few things.
The solvent in spraypaint that keeps it liquid will melt the black (dried) spraypaint base, causing them to mix a bit.
1a. The solvent in liquid spraypaint will also eventually eat the bottom out of a plastic solo condiment/mixing cup, but that didn’t negatively affect my project.
For larger areas, the spraypaint dries up too fast, so I had different levels of coverage. (I tried spreading it around with a gloved finger and that just mixed the black in more…) It’s relatively ugly looking now, but I should be able to cover all ills with some resin, so I’ll be making a trip to the hobby store for some casting resin and colored tints tomorrow.
The “resin in pockets” method of coloring is quite nice, although getting the shade of red correct requires trial and error because I was using “cure to white” resin, so the red dye would interact with the whiteness of the resin, but only AFTER it cured. [I couldn’t find white dye, so I had to buy a “cure to white” resin to get the white color…]
For this project I used Alumilite Amazing Casting Resin, which turns white when cured. I bought it at the local Michael’s craft store (normal price $22, but I got it for $11 with a 50% off coupon). You can also order it from Amazon (via my Affiliate link… https://amzn.to/2Kv8awH ) for around $15.
If you are going to buy tints from Smooth-On, I’m sure they have casting resin that is just as good or better than the Alumilite (Smoth-On is one of the big names for casting / molding supplies…), but I was happy with how the Alumilite worked out.
Not sure if you have one nearby, but Hobby Lobby has white dye and if you don’t and can order online, Castin Craft is the brand. There are a ton of options and brands but that’s the one I have experience with and it gets extra points for mixing colors really well.
Thanks, Jay! As we’re getting much closer to putting our machine together, I’m getting very interested in the MakerCAM process, the biggest unknown for me. It was nice to have a straightforward example to look at.
One question: does MakerCAM just follow the order that you define operations or does it try to optimize the order?
I haven’t seen any evidence of optimizing order, but I haven’t done anything complicated enough for it to be an issue yet either. I think the choices you make about depth of pockets, feed rate, safe travel height, etc make the biggest effect on the overall speed / total time of your job. It is definitely a 2.5D software, but that is a good match for the Maslow a lot of the time.
@ summetj when you say ‘generic makercam settings’, could you elaborate a little for a new user? That is incredibly clean, and I’m going to say 99% of my work will be done in MDF. Speed settings, router settings, how many passes, etc would be very helpful if you don’t mind sharing.