My wife, Angela, studied music for the first couple of years at college. She plays the flute and still performs a few times a year (mostly at our church). However, in all the years we’ve been together, we’ve never actually played any music together. In fact, we haven’t really created many projects together (aside from two kids and numerous DIY house projects, of course).
Well, a couple of weeks ago Angela was asked to play a short piece of her choosing at a Wednesday night church event. She decided it would be fun to have out daughter and another young person from church, both of whom also play flute, to play a woodwind trio. Angela picked one of her favorite hymns and asked me to transcribe it using MuseScore. Other than helping the kids search that site for some piano sheet music, I didn’t have much experience with it or the desktop application.
After a few minutes, I had the piano treble clef transcribed in a file. I duplicate that part into two copies. Then came the fun part. Using the arrow keys to start re-arranging the piece. When I told it what instrument would be used for each part (in this case, a flute trio), it handily would color code notes that were getting outside the range of that instrument. Now, I don’t actually play the flute and aside from that note range and the knowledge that a flute can’t really play one than more note at a time, I considered this a first pass. Angela then went through the piece and indicated what notes need adjusting (a lot of them). She also borrowed from the bass clef and added in some flourishes of her own liking. The playback isn’t perfect (you’d never think you were listing to anything other than synthesized instruments) but it’s very helpful in arranging. What’s more, Angela and I got to work on something creative together!
The three of them played the piece last night at the candlelight service. I though it sounded great but as I ended up as the liturgist, I didn’t get to record them performing. But, you can at least see and hear the piece here:
STOP 👏 BREAKING 👏 COPY 👏 & 👏 PASTE 👏 IN 👏 PASSWORD 👏 FIELDS 👏 IT 👏 DOESN’T 👏 IMPROVE 👏 SECURITY 👏 IT 👏 MAKES 👏 US 👏 ALL 👏 LESS 👏 SECURE 👏 BY 👏 DISCOURAGING 👏 PASSWORD 👏 MANAGERS 👏 THEREBY 👏 ENCOURAGING 👏 SIMPLER, 👏 EASIER 👏 TO 👏 BREAK 👏 PASSWORDS 🙃🤬
— Mark Willard (@MarkWillard85) October 18, 2019
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there should always be a line that’s “Black Coffee Only.”
I really make a point to try to learn something new with each maker project I do. Whether it’s a woodworking project, a guitar effect, or some other hobby project, I want to add in at least something new to each one. First, it just keeps things from feeling redundant. But also it helps to expand my skills.
I’ve needed to make a guitar pedal board for a couple of years now. Mostly just to clean up the corner of my office where my amp and effects sit. It’s not like I’m ever going on tour or anything. I figured the metal frame I made in my intro to metalworking class would be fun to use as a basis for a pedal board. Up until now, it’s just been sitting in our garage; leaning against a wall. Of course, the more I started planning, I quickly realized it was really just a decoration around an otherwise wooden stool (albeit a short and slanted stool; that’s really all this is). I had wanted to put a shallow rabbet around the edge of the board so the top of the steel frame would be flush with the wood. I tried using both a router bit and my table saw and both were pretty much complete failures. Oddly enough, the sample board I tried on the router worked fine, but that was with the veneer grain running along the direction of the rabbet. When I tried using parallel grain on the “real” board, it just shredded the veneer. The table saw gave a cleaner cut but was just far less accurate (and wasn’t much cleaner than the router).1
So, I basically just build my pedal board out of 3/4″ plywood to dimensions that I could slide the metal frame over it. The pedals don’t sit entirely flat, but they work fine for my needs still. I still need to get some more Velcro tape to attach them (which would just mainly help allow me to up the power cords underneath). It’s probably a bit too tall to be very practical and I’ll almost certainly replace it at some point. Whether or not I try to include the metal frame is another matter…
- I fully attribute both of these failures to my own inexperience. It doesn’t help that I have some very basic setups and things like featherboards, zero clearance inserts, etc. would also help actually accomplish what I had in mind. [↩]
I almost made through August without posting about a project. Then again, I almost made it throughout August without actually completing a project, as well.
I decided to get around to a project I’d been wanting to do for a few years now: a cart for my drill press. This is part of the bigger project to revamp my garage shop and, eventually, clean up the garage as a whole. I started by tearing our an old workbench and putting my bandsaw and power sander on a cart. That bench was also where my drill press resided since I first got it and it had been moved to my main bench (along with all the other junk in my garage it seems). So the idea would be to make a relatively small cart with some drawers and storage for “drill” related items. I’m pretty pleased with how everything turned out, especially since there were a few new skills on this one.
First, I decided I’d model the project in CAD so I could make sure everything fit. I would be making drawers on slides for the first time, so I figured it was important to get the measurements right. I ended up using SketchUp since they have a free version for makers (that runs on the Mac). It’s a pretty nice program and I figured out to model my project as well as generate a cut sheet.
This morning I got to actually cutting and assembling. The cabinet for the cart isn’t especially large, but almost everything was larger than I could actually cut on my table saw. So I had to break down most of the pieces using my circular saw and my homemade track. It’s a more tedious setup and it has the drawback of not being able to make repeat cuts. I managed to make a passably square cabinet carcass. My assembly jigs came in handy getting the carcass together, too. I used pocket holes and glue.
I also followed April Wilkerson’s advice and glued up a double-thick top (1.5″ total of plywood as the entire cabinet is 3/4″ maple plywood) as the drill press is heavy and will cause long-term sagging if not well supported. I differed from her cart as a intentionally had the sides butt onto the top and bottom such that the pocket hole / glue joint isn’t in direct shear from the load. It exposed the pocket holes in the lower cabinet opening, but no one in the garage is going to complain. This also allowed me to place the castor at the very corners of the bottom shelf without concern of the lag screws splitting the sides.
I had an existing piece of 1/4″ birch plywood that I used for the back panel. Before attaching it, I added in the divider which is hidden by the bottom drawer. This goes to add a bit of stability to the cart and also helped in installed the drawers. I used a trim router bit to clean up the 1/4″ back as it was just slightly wider than my 16″ width. The carcass was just a bit off square, but I was able to nudge it just a bit when screwing on the back such that it trued up. That’s where taking some time with the main butt / pocket hole joints paid off.
While the wipe-on poly was curing on the main cabinet, I got to work on the drawers. I used Brad Rodriguez’ general design for the drawers. Once I broke down the 1/2″ birch plywood into two pieces, I could finally batch out the drawer pieces on the table saw. I set up the fence to rip the false fronts and the moved the fence again to rip the 4″ drawer sides. I made sure to place the drawer slides and sides into the cabinet opening to measure for the width. I could then use my cross-cut sled to get my final pieces. Of course for the 1/4″ plywood drawer bottoms, I still needed to use the circular saw. I assembled the drawers with pocket holes (laid out such that they’ll be hidden once in place. You may notice that I didn’t use drawer pulls but went with just notched handles (again, somewhat inspired by April Wilkerson here along with some of our IKEA drawers). This coincidentally allowed me to easily clamp on the false fronts while getting them attached. I used the band saw to cut out the notches and then the power sander just to clean things up and get right up to my lines (and I should add that having those on a cart is also great!).
Getting the drawer slides installed was pretty straight forward, although I managed to get the spacing off some. Nothing critical, just that the slides are at different depths on the top versus bottom drawer. As of right now, the drawers are only held together with the pocket holes and 5/8″ screws for the bottoms. I did this to “dry fit” them as I wasn’t 100% sure they’d fit in the slides (it’s tight to be for sure). If they don’t bind up as I use them, I’ll probably take them back apart and glue them together. I probably would have done so today, but this “small” project ended up taking me over 8 hours so I just swept up the garage and called it a day. The good news is that I had some additional storage to put things away when cleaning up that I didn’t have this morning!
Here are the Sketchup files for the 3D assembly (shown above) as well as my cut sheets. Bear in mind the cut sheet was done for the specific pieces of plywood I had on hand, and won’t necessarily be the most efficient if you have full sheets (or sheets of any other size).
Lastly, these are the soft-close drawer slides I used (Amazon affiliate link). If you use any different slides, you’ll need to take into account the width of those when cutting the drawer pieces. These are exactly 1/2″ on each side, which makes for easy math. I used 18″ length, which allows me to fully extend the drawers.