Monday, 16 January 2017

Soldering on

I don't know about you, but every new technique I try brings with it all sorts of hurdles. I mentioned in my last post that I needed to make a jig, which sounds far more technical than it actually is. Because the 'L' shaped brackets on the hairpin legs are so teeny and because I need to make each leg identical so that a table/bench is level when the legs are fixed into place, I had to find a way to hold the brackets while I soldered them. My solution is a very rudimentary clamp made of aluminium. The basic idea is a metal base, a metal backstop that doesn't move and a piece that can slide into place to clamp the 'L' bracket upright. The blade on my table saw lifts up and down so it's easy to cut two parallel slots in some aluminium sheet. (the aluminium is a finger plate off a door which cost under a pound at a DIY shop) 


The backstop, to the left in the picture above, is screwed down and doesn't move. The two slotted bolts on the right can be loosened so that the clampy bit can shimy up and down.


This is probably a better view of it. When I tighten the slotted bolts, the 'L' bracket is held fast and doesn't move when I'm soldering. Yay! It's basic but it works 😀


This is a first try leg. I think it would make sense to add some measurment lines to the table so that I can adjust the length of the brass rod without having to take it to bits to use a rule. The second part of this project, apart from spray paint on the legs is a table or bench top. I spent an age finding a reputable company that sells ethically sourced hardwood. Even if my furniture is tiny, I don't want to be responsinle for deforestation in any country. I sourced some stunningly beautiful Rosewood, Kingswood and Cocobolo razor scales. (It's probably a good tip to mention here and especially for anyone looking for exotic timber in the UK, razor scale or knife scales are small pieces of wood used to make knife/dagger handles. They come in pairs and are infinitely cheaper than buying sheet or planks. The only downside is that it tends to be rough cut and will need a lot of work with a planer/thicknesser and sandpaper.


This is my hardwood after a morning of work. The wood on the left is English Yew that I cut with some fantastic instructions from Linda Master (who is an extraordinarily talented and generous Lady)

Apart from this and during my ten day wood search I did a bit of experimenting with the laser cutter. By moving the laser lens further away from the laser bed, I found you can get a softer 'V' cut which I thought worked quite well with my mini extraction fans and fire alarm.



..and used the left over acrylic to make more electricals



I actually feel like I've achieved something 😊

Have a lovely week wherever you are

Pepper


Moderated to answer Marions question
I probably didn't explain this very well but to get a consistent angle, I clamp the 'L' bracket on its point. If you look at the picture below, the first hole is 3mm from the edge. So if you put a rod (leg) in the hole and let it lay it down on the flat suface of the clamp, the rod (leg) will be angled away from the bracket by 3mm.



This picture above shows the angle better. The rod (leg) angle is defined by how far the hole which it sits in is away from the flat surface of the jig. If you wanted the legs to 'kick' out more, you could lift the 'L' bracket higher before soldering. Hope this explains better Marion x

49 comments:

  1. The hardwoods are gorgeous, but I'm squealing with delight at your tiny smoke detector.

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  2. Okay I'm in love with your surge protector/power strip. So adorably tiny but it looks functional. And the smoke detector is awesome!

    The grains and colors of the wood you found are just gorgeous. Can't wait to see what you do with them.

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    1. Oh wouldn't that be cool. Actual working electrical plugs/sockets etc? :0D

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  3. ¡Impresionante y además muy ingenioso!

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    1. Gracias Isabel. Me alegro de que te guste :0)

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  4. Carol, but how do you get the angle right if the one laying at the bottom is 45°?

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    1. Hi Marion, I hope I explained it a bit better in the add on :0)

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    2. thanks carol. this makes sense and I now see how you tackled this. great thinking!

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  5. OOOOh, Wow!!! The tiny smoke detector and the power strip are awesome!!! Not to mention the whole process of designing and making your jig!!! I am in Awe! I don't have any power tools for minis yet.... but someday I hope I will have figured out how to run wonderful precise tools like laser cutters....!!! :/ (We'll see!) Meanwhile I will ogle your fantastic creations and Dream.... :)

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    1. Aw thank you Betsy. You really need to get some power tools to play with :0D

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  6. oh my your jig is wonderful, I love jigs and this one is brilliant! Your wood is beautiful and I'm very happy to have helped. And how fun your power strip, smoke detector are :)

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    1. Thank you Linda. I'm really glad there are experienced people like you around the bloggersphere :0)

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  7. Whoa, so much goodness here. First, I am pleasantly bewildered and in awe of your table saw technique, and I almost catch the sense of it. And then your caring enough to source sustainable hardwood emboldens me to make sure I do the same. Thank you! But how you get from the mini extraction fans and fire alarm with leftover acrylic to ”more electricals“ feels like you’ve left more than a little out of detailing your process. Achieve something indeed! Your explorations and work remain inspirational.

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    1. Thanks Nancy. The electrical stuff is just laser cut projects that I design every so often. I would post a step-by-step if anyone was interested but I don't know how many people would? :0)

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  8. Nice jig. Scribing a line into the table top then darkening that line will give you a good reference for centering you table leg as a visual check to ensure it is at a right angle to the bracket. You could even drill a small hole with a removable pin at the desired distance at the end of the scribed line. The removable pin can act as a stop for the length of the leg(s). That way you will always be consistent in the length for all of the legs. By making the stop removable if you later on want to make longer or shorter legs you can drill another hole at the right distance for other versions and quickly switch the jig settings.

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    1. That, Karin, is a bloody brilliant idea! A pin, yes, that would totally work! Thank you so much :0)

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    2. You are welcome. My background as an aircraft fabrication mechanic at Boeing had me using vast amounts of jigs and fixtures during the years I worked there. Lots of removable pins for stops were in them. I have an idea for an adjustable height support for the triangle. If you wish we can talk about that in email. karincorbin at gmail

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  9. Love all the little electricals.

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  10. Hi Carol! You are soooo clever in finding solutions for problems in work processes, the jig is such great find! Thanks for sharing this clever idea. Love the wood you've found, it has a wonderful color and wood grain.
    The smoke detector and the power strip are just perfect.
    Your explorations and miniature work remain inspirational for us all.
    Ilona

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    1. Clever or stubborn? ha. I get there eventually IIona. Thank you so much for your lovely comment :0)

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  11. Fantásticos sus trabajos con láser y las maderas espectaculares. El invento para soldar en ángulo fantástico:-)

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    1. Muchas gracias Rosa, que es muy amable de su parte :0)

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  12. I love your jig for soldering. The new additions to the jig that were suggested will make it even easier to use.
    I LOVE the acrylic pieces. So realistic and wonderful!!! Your imagination and ingenuity never fail to impress me.

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    1. Thank you catherine, that is very kind :0)

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  13. All your minis are so great...love those hardwoods. You are a true engineer as well. :]

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  14. Nice work on the jig Pepper. It makes life so much easier when you are soldering something and you don't have to try and hold it still. I applaud your efforts to find ethically sourced hardwood! And even though you still have to do some work to the wood, it will be worth your effort as it is so beautiful. I love the things you have made with the laser.

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    1. Thanks Josje. I normally use a soldering station with articulated arms but the brackets were so fiddly that I had to try something else :0)

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  15. Are all of these wonderful things going into something just as wonderful? Come on! Show us the goods! :O)

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    1. Muhaha, you're crediting me with far more vision than is actually true. I just amble along, making things that I like with no real purpose or intention for a scene. Maybe I should think of somewhere to put things before I make them :0D

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    2. Someday it will all come together to form a perfectly wonderful scene - like you planned it that way! Until then, keep having fun! Joy begets joy!!!

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  16. What a timely post! I had been chewing over how to do this kind of leg. Of course, I am still collecting the tools and haven't braved soldering yet. My mini house has been under construction for over a year, due to limited time, and will probably go at least another year. I definitely aspire to the incredible quality of work you do, but this IS my first dollhouse, so that is expecting too much just yet. But I'm working on it! Some of my furnishings are purchased items and some I am making myself. Your website, 1inchminisbykris and alice's miniatures on Facebook are super, super helpful. All the internet information on miniatures has really minimized my mistakes, although there are still plenty. Aside from being informative, you are an excellent writer, and as an avid reader, this is another quality I very much appreciate.

    If you'd like to see my mini house, you can view it at minisunderconstruction.com. I don't have comments enabled because of the spam problem. I have a Wordpress site and there's supposed to be an add on for that, but haven't got to it yet.

    Oh and for a giggle - much of my Xmas haul this year was tools, LOL! Including some miniature clamps for use in my kitchen cabinet-making.

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    1. Hi Franny, thank you for your lovely comment. I've had a wander over to your blog and I think you should be proud of your achievments. Not many first time dollhouse-ers would atempt to build one from scratch. I'm secretly thrilled that you are another modern fan...there aren't many of us. Good luck with your build and I'm here anytime you need a chat :0)

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  17. You are my Queen of Tools for sure... ;O) You came along with a great solution and I am in awe with your impressive plastic pieces like the fire detector. It's this kind of details that make a scene outstanding. And thanks for the tip with the wood intended for knives, fantastic find.

    Hugs
    Birgit

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    1. Haha, do I get a crown as Queen? :0P
      Thank you Birgit, that's very kind of you :0)

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  18. Hi Pepper!
    I am always AMAZED by the Quality of the work you do and your precision in executing it. I have no skills when it comes to mechanical things and so I can only sit back and watch as you figure out the necessary technical requirements which go towards making the caliber of minis you produce. Being capable of figuring out angles for the brackets for the table legs is a Feat in and of itself- Bravo!
    Also have to comment on the Delightful Details of the laser cut electrics because once again you have nailed the details and made them Spot On!
    More "BRAVOs" coming atcha, Pepper! :D

    elizabeth

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth, you're very sweet. I'm not sure that I agree you have no skills with mechanical things. You're certainly a problem solver and that, in essence, is exactly what I do. Sending bravos right back atcha sweets :0)

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  19. Your jigs always look so professional. Where do you find space to store all them? :) You're going to have a mini factory set up. And the laser cut accessories turned out great! You got so much detail! No burn marks either? Do you sand them off? Magic Pepper Magic. :)

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    1. Hey Kristine, I have mini tools stuffed everywhere. I seriously need to upsize the house or downsize the tool collection ;0P I don't get burn marks on acrylic 'cos the power settings are kept as low as possible. When etching, you can get a layer of acrylic dust but that's easy remedied with masking paper on the plastic before you start. :0)

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