Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

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Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

Postby scottp55 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:01 am

Five years ago Dad retired and asked me if I could help him with a project.
Making Children's blocks for Blind,Deaf,Autistic Spectrum,Learning Challenged, and regular children so they could learn Braille,Sign Language, and regular alphabet while young enough to absorb all three. So Dad asked me to learn CNC and make some protos on a Shopbot Desktop he bought. I was so proud of my very first cut of just conventional letters :)
August 2013.jpg

They WERE going to be made by a non-profit for jobs for Learning challenged up in our poorest County on a second Desktop.
GOOD idea, but as Dad traveled New England and beyond for a year consulting various Experts, NONE agreed with the others:(
Eventually it got put on the back burner,to simply start a business in the County and provide a few jobs.
BUT I was left with several protos at the house finished with a non-toxic finish.

JUMP almost 4 years, and I was helping a local Lady I met on this Forum in my shop learn very basic VCarving, and basic CNC safety, as she had bought an Axiom Pro.
She visited/learned twice, and then quit a she was expecting their first child, BUT she must have noticed those first protos of the Blocks :)

In June she asked IF I would make her a set of blocks for her little girl, and use the Earthpaint Linseed Oil/Beeswax finish. 1.75" Hard Maple individual blocks with the child's full name, and full month/date/year on ONE face.

SIMPLE...RIGHT? :lol:
The SAGA begins:)

We at one time had a local hardwood supplier make up 1.8X1.8X24" Sugar Maple blanks with 3/16"Radius..thinking we could jig/cut/and gang saw blocks out easier, and I still had the concept blanks in the shop closet. How hard could it be to do 33 pocket letters on one face in Freestyle Script? :)
Have I mentioned I RAMBLE!!! :P

Measuring and inspecting the forgotten blanks, I realized I needed to dimension them, and sand to finish while it was still just 3 pieces of wood.
6.7.13 DIMENSION 3 AT A TIME.jpg

Then a simple test cut in an untouched blank to make sure a bit I hadn't used in 3 years still left the pocket finish I remembered, as it was actually a 3Flute 60degree countersink bit with About a .028" flat. It cut well, but running the same toolpath twice made a MUCH smoother pocket finish. Also VCarving the .05"deep pocket on the face grain left a result I thought would make it hard for a 9 month old to get a chunk loose(I had taken it out and beaten the end on a concrete garage floor/hit with a wooden mallet/ and dropped it 30 times from 5').
6.7.13 TEST CUT LEFT IS CUT TWICE.jpg


THEN I decided that rather than a simple mantle ornament or play blocks, AT LEAST I could do a regular alphabet on the reverse side(and numerals 0-9 that were not on the front side).
I used Franklin Gothic Demi on that side, and for the first time used the double sided VCP feature. Realized I wanted the blocks to be rotated to read the other side rather than flipped, so examining both sides made me realize second side needed to be inverted(DUH!).
Arrayed the blocks on the blank to be cut with my best Finish Cuttoff blade kerf, PLUS .01" (should have made it .02" for 400G Belt sanding of end grain), and then CNC'd them.
6.9.18 TEAGENS BLOCKS SIDE 1.jpg

6.9.18 TEAGENS BLOCKS SIDE 2.jpg


Now all I had to do was set the Unisaw dead nut, cut smooth,radius 66 end grain pieces with my PC Lam trimmer and do mild touch ups...Right?
Stay Tuned to this non-rocket science EASY project :lol:
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Re: Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

Postby scottp55 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:26 am

Sooo..There I was cutting them as carefully as I could, and the first two blanks cut beautifully.
Getting ready to cut the third blank when my Mother pulled up to the garage door for the VERY first time on her brand new knee.
I made a "Wait a minute" sign, slammed the last 12 block blank in WITHOUT inspecting my Unifence spacer block for sawdust!!!
FIRST cut was off an unnoticed .125" SHORT because I was RUSHING as my mom was standing there, and then I got back in the groove of blowing sawdust from every cut.
Didn't notice till she left that ALL 12 blocks were now cut off center :cry:
I radiused those 12 first, and on 6 blocks, the guide bearing fell into the pocket and ruined them:(
Jigged and cut the individual replacement blocks the next day after sanding them to same dimensions.
BLOCK CLAMPING.jpg

Then had to sand the 66 end grain faces up to 400G as Oils accentuate Every little sawmark.

You never really think how many faces/Radius edges/corners there are on 33 cubes until you hand sand them to 400G by hand till you can't tell the difference between any face/edge with your eyes closed.
7.30.18 FIRST BATCH READY 400G.jpg


THEN decided to use the best finish I had discovered while making buttons that could be washed 3 times in a machine with Woolite on delicate cycle.
It involves melting in a SLOW 150F double boiler an 80/20 Earthpaint Linseed Oil(polymerized with NO dryers)/Beeswax from a local organic supplier, and letting them heat soak for 20 minutes, and then turning heat off, leave 24 hours, then reheat and let stand until fully heat soaked again before removing and wiping excess off.
NICE feature is that heat soaked wood absorbs virtually all excess as it cools:)
BUT 1.75" cubes are NOT buttons, and my normal Mason jars way too small, and even the largest dill pickle glass jar only allowed 4 blocks at a time.
Time for my smallest Crock Pot:)
(only 8 blocks at a time, but added 6 fully sanded blocks for screw ups.
Maple floats, so had to weigh them down with a coffee carafe.
Did you know that Sugar Maple blocks will BUBBLE for 20-30 minutes as the oil/wax displaces the air:)
Later cutting showed .375" end grain penetration.
8.3.18 TEAGENS DEEP FRYED BLOCKS.jpg

4days in a heat wave, and kitchen floor is VERY shiny :)

BUT looking at the blocks, I noticed on the face grain the air/water had no place to go...except to expand! Resand to 600G :oops:
While doing that...I thought "These are great, BUT she'll outgrow them by first grade :( ....WHAT IF I put words on the end grain sides that start with the alphabet side letter?"
Like those kitchen magnets with words so kids(and adults) can make short sentences.
Tossed the idea at Jaimie and asked for 54 SHORT words from her and husband, BEFORE considering the cutting:)
John called it a "Snowball" project :D

I made a copy of the 24 block sides at a time in No Man's Land. And then using Text in a Box in Franklin Gothic Demi added their words in the spaces, and then block by block selected the letter,shift selected the actual cutting block,toolpathed it,previewed, saved, CUT TWICE. (I used Drillman1's .125" 45degree 2F engraving bit with the .0125" flat..DESCRIBED as a VBit.)
Then moved the word just carved above the blocks out of the way to keep track, selected the next word,centered in the block, toolpathed, previewed,saved, flipped block........................................................................................................................................................................
SINGLE WORD SAMPLE.jpg

8.17.18 Teagen's first words 2.jpg

Getting close to the end folks:)
Time to make some more Java:)
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Re: Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

Postby scottp55 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:13 am

Then made a "Signature" block for dedication/wood and finish/a Lion 3D as a daytime Guardian, and an Owl for night time.
Then 3 cold coats of the Linseed/beeswax "Butter".
And then did the last of the Oldtimer's rules for an oil hand rubbed finish.

"Sand till smooth...keep sanding"
Oil till it won't take any more...keep oiling
Wipe off all excess...keep wiping
Rub till your hand is so hot you can't stand it...keep rubbing
Rub once a day for a week
Rub once a week for a Month
Rub once a Month for a year
rub once a year forever.

I did the rub "once a day" for the final total of 36 blocks carved 4 sides(we added extra words for sentences) for ten days.
They picked up blocks Sunday, and we even carved words on the "Reject" blocks so Jaimie could get machine/VCP time.
One NEAT thing was Teagen took her VERY FIRST STEPS to grab a block from her mother's hand!! :D
(They TRIED to make her take steps again...but she ALREADY had the block in her hand and she wouldn't do it:)
Her first Birthday was Tuesday...GLAD I made it in time:)

I'm pretty sure they're drool proof...NOT so sure about spaghetti and chocolate ice cream:)

Soo the "Quick and Easy" project took 3 months on and off :oops:
BUT they loved them!
Because all the "improvements" were mine...I told them to take the blocks home for a few days, and then send me a check for what the thought they were worth.
As they were leaving Jaimie gave me a check as she "KNEW" how much work I put into them...
I "Peeked"... about 5 times what I'd expected!!! :D
A VERY nice day indeed!

THERE...Now I won't have ramble again for a year :)
Attachments
10.14.18 BLOCK PICK UP 11.jpg
10.14.18 BLOCK PICK UP 10.jpg
10.14.18 BLOCK PICK UP 2.jpg
10.14.18 BLOCK PICK UP 3.jpg
10.14.18 BLOCK PICK UP 4.jpg
10.14.18  TEMPTING  2 STEPS TEAGEN .jpg
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Re: Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

Postby jerry carney » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:53 pm

Scott great work (happy child) You have a lot of patience :P :P
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Re: Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

Postby highpockets » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:22 pm

Scott, I'm with Jerry on this one. You have way more patience then I do. :lol: :lol: :lol: But I've seen your finish work first hand and it's beautiful!!!

Will give young one something to teeth on :lol: :lol: :lol:

Thanks for sharing....
John
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Re: Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

Postby LittleGreyMan » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:57 pm

scottp55 wrote:You never really think how many faces/Radius edges/corners there are on 33 cubes until you hand sand them to 400G by hand till you can't tell the difference between any face/edge with your eyes closed.


If my calculation is right: too many!

Nice story and beautiful job Scott.
Best regards

Didier

W7 - Aspire 8.517
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Re: Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

Postby laflippin » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:27 pm

What a wonderful story, and the eventual outcome is truly heartwarming, Scott! Those are some priceless legacy blocks...
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Re: Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

Postby Tailmaker » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:50 pm

Yes, epic story indeed!
Are you going to do another set ;-)
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Re: Five Years Later...Made first set Children's Blocks:)

Postby scottp55 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:51 am

Thanks for the Wonderful comments guys :D
Stained part of house exterior(my BIGGEST non CNC project) for 5 hours yesterday,and read comments..BUT only had energy to e-mail the thread link to Jaimie before crashing:)
GLAD I did, as I got an update on the blocks from her :D

"A little update on the blocks: they’re drool proof, dog proof and throwing proof"

" She likes to carry them around the house and chew on them then throw them against the tile floor because they make a loud noise."

" No teeth marks either!"

Gave her some of the Lin/Wax Butter for any accidents that might hit bare wood, but VERY glad they got the 24 hour Molten treatment(actual molten time was only about 6 hours, but mix stayed warm a long time on the cool down/warm up).

LGM....Sure you know a number, but the scientific term is " a whole S**TLOAD" :D

G.
"Everyone that has seen them say the same thing “he should make that a business, those are beautiful “

I told Jaimie to LIE for me, and quote a price DOUBLE her very generous payment!!
THEN I MAY accept payment in advance, tell them to get in their space jalopy...Accel at 1G to .99C..and the blocks will be available from one of my families descendants when they return :D :D
I'll leave it to you and LGM to do the Math!! :)

Almost didn't post, as CNC was actually the shortest part, Vectric VCP came next, and hand work was the biggest part.
GLAD to get back to One Ofs...where that proportion is Reversed!!
Just be glad I left out all the cussing...ESPECIALLY when on the VERY LAST 145'th face....my machine had a Static Burp and drove an Onsrud .25" 30 Engraving bit with .005" flat to CHINA!! :cry:
9.6.18 LAST BLOCK LAST FACE DANG.jpg

Copper wire inside hose loose connection at the blast gate has been FIXED!
ONLY mistake in 144 faces(unbelievable to scatterbrain me:)

Thanks again all!!
scott

OH;

"Teagen hasn’t walked again, apparently it’s only for you:-)"

I put that down to my Frank LLoyd Wright "Usonian Red" ( still sold by Sonosheen ) hydronically heated concrete floor...which made it easier to slide her feet:)
(great for standing up to wheelchair abuse also:)
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