Don’t Blink

Growing up, my parents didn’t miss my sports, they didn’t miss a summer without camping, and they made sure we knew we were their priority.  My In-laws did the same for my wife in a big way.  From Baseball games to Lacrosse matches, both pairs of parents made it a priority.  With that in mind, my summer goals were simple, make memories with my family on the field and in our home.

Mid-way through the summer, I am proud to say we have crushed a lot of house projects, watched the kids play baseball, softball, soccer and the oldest start his first real job.  Many times work, builds, and bills can be on our mind.  I am the first to admit these things far too often burden my plate.   As I draw up some new plans for the second half of the summer, they will continue to be kid centered and family approved.

Don’t blink, don’t sleep on the memories to be made.  Be in the moment, watch your kids sports, clear your mind.  Go for ice cream, plan a camping trip, un-plug.  Next month, we head off to our annual family camping trip and I can’t wait.  5 days, limited cell service, and lots of dirt!

As for projects, the first half of the summer saw my kids get some sweet trampoline stairs, our Kayaks get a new home, a landing spot for our shoes, and our cooler get some wheels.  The next half of the summer looks like some new back yard games, maybe some bedroom furniture, and who knows.  One thing I do know, is my kids and wife will be driving the ideas.

 

Stay Safe as always, and build from the heart.

Cooler Cart and Icing Life’s Rough Spots

About a month ago I received a package from Icon Coolers with a 50 gallon cooler and some sweet swag!  What I knew was that this was going to be the center piece of many parties, camping trips and outdoor adventures.  What I didn’t know was that I would dream up a plan for a mobile party cart that would take back yard parties to the next level.  As a maker, I’m pretty sure most things I see these days I want to build or build something to make it nicer.

The other thing I didn’t know is that after 2 months of testing, my mom would be told there was a 95% chance she had stage 3 lung cancer, and would need prompt surgery to remove it.  The night I got that call, I had just bought the lumber for this cooler cart.  Life can often toss sour grapes at us at any time, and having positive and productive outlets for stress is imperative to your own well being.   For me, my faith, family, woodworking and softball with my friends keeps me grounded.

That night, I did what many of us do, I got my kids in bed and jumped into the shop for some creative stress relief.  I had already spent some time sketching out (terribly at best) a design with function and style in mind.  So I went to work building a custom cooler cart, and maintaining my sanity after the recent developments.  That night I spent about 4 hours in the shop, working past midnight, sweating in the 80 degree heat, accomplishing these goals.

At the end of the night, the frame of the cooler cart was complete and I had spent some time taking a break from reality.  When I woke up the next morning, hoping yesterdays news was just a bad dream, realizing it wasn’t I had something in the shop to remind me that things would get better.  I knew it could be a long road for my mom, my dad, and my entire family, but we all needed to stay positive.

A couple weeks have passed, the cooler cart is already a hit at my house. Its function bringing joy, knowing its full of possibilities and leading to many a memory.  More importantly, on Friday, despite a 95% chance she was facing stage 3 lung cancer, the surgeon removed what was a terribly calcified infection.  As I watched my dad inform my mom post-op that she didn’t have cancer, a moment I will never forget, I was reminded that life is short.  Fill your coolers with drinks, your hearts with joy, and celebrate each other.

 

Here are some links to the pictures of my cooler cart.

Process pics

Magnetic Bottle Opener Catch

Finished Shots

 

 

 

 

 

Atlas46 Gear

Raise your hand if you have used a tool belt and spent the rest of the night wondering why your hips and back are killing you in spots you didn’t know existed.   How about spending countless hours looking for your tools that you “just had in your hand” and now they have mysteriously disappeared into that same world your socks must go to the second they enter the laundry bin.    Between sore hips and missing tools I had enough!

The first thing I needed to do was check out the Atlas 46 feed and decide which gear would suit my style and my projects.  I quickly fell in love with the Aims Saratoga NSN Kit.   This kit came with all the basics to get started, the drill holster, a magnetic patch, a fastener pouch, and a multi-purpose pouch.   I added an Atlas 46 flag patch because I liked the look, a pencil pouch, and the magnetic drill bit patch.

Upon getting my Saratoga Vest It took me a few days of working in the shop to get my AIMS attachments in places that seemed functional to me and didn’t leave me stabbed by a pencil when I leaned over.  I was able to quickly adjust the side straps so the vest fit nicely over a sweatshirt or a t-shirt.  I recommend wearing a Sweatshirt when adjusting the straps to give yourself a little room.  Side note, once your wearing a t-shirt and have just had a decent sized lunch, your vest will still fit nicely.

Whether I am working in the shop or out of the shop, having all of my essential tools on my person has been a real time saver.  I’ve lost less tape measures, pencils and drill bits.   My overall work flow is substantially better, not having to spend time searching for lost tools or heading back to the shop for more tools as I can fill my vest at the start of the project with whatever I need.

One night a couple weeks back I decided to do a little experiment and not wear my vest.  I simply left it hanging 10 feet away.  After about 30 minutes of wasting time walking back and forth to my vest for everything from my pencil to my Kershaw Knife I keep on there I had to put my vest on or risk going crazy.

Atlas 46 has been one of my favorite brands to partner with since day one for many reasons, but the real hook that sunk its teeth into my heart strings was when my Saratoga Tool Roll showed up in the Declaration of Independence box that Atlas uses.   In my shop, I try to make an effort to support as many small businesses, American Made and community minded companies as I can.

Here are a few links to my Affiliate page and my Instagram Account to check out my gear…. As always have a wonderful week!

Atlas 46 gear Affiliate Account

Action Shot of Saratoga Vest

Building a Table Top

Trampoline Assembly with Saratoga Tool Roll

Ginger Challenge 2018 Project Video

 

 

 

Kayak Storage Build with Bora Tools

Last fall, I was faced with a huge problem, three problems to be exact. We had 3 kayaks in the garage/shop and once the snow started flying I needed all the space I could get in the garage to work. For the winter, I was able to store the kayaks in our shed with all our other bikes and outdoor gear, but that wasn’t suitable come spring. Many of us are working around bikes, toys and watercrafts, so needed a solution that was fitting for 4 seasons.

Come spring I started measuring and sketching out some plans in my Log and Jotters. By May, Bora Tools jumped on board with me to make this project a reality, and Spax Screws sent some screws out to be part this party!  So, armed with my Centipede supports, WTX edge Cut guide and 50 inch clamps it was go time!

First I created a work space top for my Centipede Support using some 1/2 inch plywood.  I ripped that down using the WTX Cut Guide right at the job site.   Once my work space was set up, I was on to the project.

Building behind my shed had some limitations as my neighbors fence line is fairly close, leaving little room to work with.  That being said, I decided to build face frames for each end of the Kayak rack.  This allowed me to place each face frame at either side of the shed, and then assemble my Kayak rack in its permanent location.

Once the Face frames where complete I was able to run the 117 inch 2 by 4’s from one face frame to another.   I used 4 runners on the top and the bottom and 3 in the two middle sections.

Here are a few links to my Instagram feed depicting this process.

Centipede Support work space

Face Frame Build with Bora 50 inch Clamps

Kayak Storage Pictures

Kayak Storage Usage

 

Materials List:

19- 2x4x10 Treated lumber

6- 10 foot deck boards- treated

2lbs of Spax 3 1/2 inch exterior screws

50 pack of Blue Kote Kreg Screws

 

Cut List:

Cut the 2×4’s as follows

8 – 32 inches (horizontal beams for face frames)

4 – 80 inches ( vertical beams for face frames)

3 –  34 inches ( joist support for roof)

14 – 117 inches ( runners between face frames for frame/kayak support)

 

Deck Boards- leave at 10 feet

 

 

 

 

Any questions message me here or at Gingerwoodworks@gmail.com

 

 

 

Carbide Create Software

Once you assemble your CNC the next step is learning the software.  After about 3 weeks, I can say that learning the software and how to convert files to SVG has had its difficulties but for someone who isn’t currently using these programs for my employment its fairly straight forward.  First off, SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics and for most of us our picture files show up as JPEG.  SVG files are 2-dimension files which allow for carving and cutting.  Like many of you who are currently considering buying a CNC machine the learning curve on the software weighed heavily on my mind.

My approach from the beginning of this journey with my CNC has been simple, learn it in stages, get better each day.  I of course got giddy when I realized I could carve my own logo, which I happened to already have the SVG file for.  So, the first thing I did out of the box was launch Carbide Create, input my logo, set the tool path and feel like a complete failure when nothing looked remotely like the Ginger Wood Works logo we all know and most of us love.

At this point I stepped back, reevaluated my skill set, and reminded myself of my plan to learn on each project.  I took a look at the sign that was mangled and realized it was way to small, and my bit was too large.  More on Bits in a future blog.  Next I decided that I was going to design some local themed signs that maybe my friends and family would be interested in supporting this new hobby.   I found a Buffalo silhouette and went to town creating some unique Buffalo NY designs.

My theory was correct, make some local signs, offer them up to friends and family and test the market.  I did this while learning how to design, upload, convert and carve each of these different designs.  Here I was learning the software, while showing myself that there is surely a large market just with your aunts, uncles and High School friends.

Stay tuned, because in the next couple blogs I’m going to speak to carving bits, new ideas I have coming, and how I am going about making this machine pay for itself, a topic I know many of you out there want to hear about!

 

 

 

 

Shapeoko Assembly

When my Shapeoko XXL arrived on my doorstep I was both excited and anxious. Now that it had arrived it was time to assemble it. The first thing you notice when you begin opening the large box your machine is in is that its filled with smaller boxes which are clearly labeled. There is no confusion as to what is in each box.  Here is a link to my Instagram showing the boxes lined up.    Once the boxes were laid out, I went to work assembling the base and each axis.  The instructions provided by Carbide 3d are impeccable.  Each Step has detailed instructions, Pro Tips, and things to be cautious about.  You can take a look at the instructions here.

Assembly for me took around 4 hours total, which was mainly because I was taking my time, learning the machine, the parts, really diving into the directions so I knew what I was working with.  This came in handy in the next phase of assembly.  I will refer to this as the period of time where I was able to test out the Carbide Support teams ability to help me troubleshoot some electrical problems the machine was having.  Out of the box, it was determined that I received a bad power supply, which Carbide is aware of and is quickly working to rectify a bad shipment of power supply’s they received from a vendor.  In my case, it ended up damaging the control board which the Carbide Support team of Meg and Will were able to identify simply from my videos and pictures of my machine.

Once the power supply and controller where replaced the machine struggled to find home.  For those not familiar with this process, consider the Claw machine at your local Game Room, each time you have finished trying to grab the prize, it returns to the starting location.  The culprit was simple, the X and Z axis motors had been accidently packaged wrong.  Jorge at Support quickly identified the symptoms and gave me an easy fix to this, swapping the X and Z wires in the controller.

Its always been my opinion that in every product there will be things to work through.   Although eager to get cutting and some frustrations grew as I worked through the trouble shooting, I was impressed by the Carbide Support teams ability to diagnose and fix my assembly problems.   I should note that each time Carbide3d identified a faulty part they overnighted me the parts to rectify my concern.

In closing, the assembly process is pretty fool proof.  Carbide3d pre-assembles the motors, has the wiring harnesses ready click into place, and as stated everything is labeled clearly.  Having watched others struggle with CNC machines built by other companies I can say that I did not feel I needed an engineering degree to get my cutter up and moving.   I must note that this machine was sent out to me by Carbide3d with the opportunity to review and use this machine.

 

Here is a link directly to the Shapeoko XXL for your to check out the machine I have.