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Forum topic by daviddoria posted 04-25-2014 12:49 PM 1361 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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daviddoria

66 posts in 1404 days


04-25-2014 12:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: burning letters

I am making some alphabet blocks. I am going to put the letters on the blocks with a wood burning tool (http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2001813/2546/Tool-Kit-10-In-1.aspx) with letter stamps (http://www.amazon.com/Walnut-Hollow-Hotstamps-Alphabet-Branding/dp/B0019N4VSO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398429945&sr=8-1&keywords=wood+burning+letters).

I was hoping to somehow center the letters on the blocks automatically, instead of having to eyeball and freehand each one. Has anyone ever seen/built a jig to do something like this? I was thinking of somehow attaching the burning tool to something like a drill press and then putting a couple of stop blocks on the table so that I can press the alphabet block against the stop blocks, pull down the spindle, and voila! a centered/straight letter.

Any suggestions/tips?

Thanks!

David


8 replies so far

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hairy

2384 posts in 2997 days


#1 posted 04-25-2014 01:38 PM

I use my lathe to brand when I can, a drill press will also work.

I have done it freehand. I designate where the brand will be placed, put blue painters tape around it, use a pencil to put crosshairs on the tape to mark the center.

The jig you have in mind should work very well.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

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daviddoria

66 posts in 1404 days


#2 posted 04-25-2014 01:46 PM

@hairy – I was trying to avoid doing things like taping the blocks and marking the centers because they are just extremely time consuming, as I need to do 156 of these (26 blocks * 6 sides per block)! Ah, I see that you have a nice rod coming off from your letter block – that certainly makes things easy! The trick with my setup is that I have an electric iron, so I wasn’t sure how to mount the iron in the chuck (as there is a cord coming out the back of it, it is plastic, etc.).

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daviddoria

66 posts in 1404 days


#3 posted 05-02-2014 06:12 PM

I asked Walnut Hollow if I could heat them with a torch and they said they didn’t know and if I did it would be at my own risk. Does anyone know what these letters are made out out?

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JAAune

1644 posts in 1782 days


#4 posted 05-03-2014 12:39 AM

For that sort of work I’d recommend a drill press setup similar to what you mentioned. The trick is getting the iron centered. Luckily a simple trick does it.

With the iron off and still cool, make your setup and mark the letters into a sample block using carbon paper. Measure how far off center the iron is and make necessary adjustments. Once everything is lined up you’re good to go.

You’ll also want to keep the spindle from rotating. I use duct tape and make several wraps around the chuck and quill. That eliminates almost all the movement.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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daviddoria

66 posts in 1404 days


#5 posted 05-03-2014 12:43 AM

JAAune – How do you mount the iron in the drill press? Where does the cord go? That’s a good idea with the duct tape!

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JAAune

1644 posts in 1782 days


#6 posted 05-03-2014 12:52 AM

Hmm. Good question. I see you have a handheld burner and I’ve been using drill press fixtures.

If you’re ambitious, you can modify yours into a drill press fixture. It’s not hard but it also depends upon how capable you are of dealing with minor metal work.

This is what the fixtures I use look like. They’re a bit pricey but as you can see, they really aren’t complicated. You’d have to take the handle off your iron and attach it to a metal plate. That gets attached to a second plate using four bolts and four springs. The second plate has a rod for chucking into the drill press.

Those plates are just heat shields. They protect your drill press from absorbing too much heat.

One other detail is that you’ll either need to thread the lower plate for the bolts or use two nuts at the bottom. You have to tighten them together so the bolts don’t come loose.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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daviddoria

66 posts in 1404 days


#7 posted 05-09-2014 01:24 AM

I thought I’d just follow up to show any future readers what I ended up doing. I went a little more low tech:

I removed the chuck from a drill guide (http://www.homedepot.com/p/General-Tools-Drill-Guide-and-Chuck-36-37/100349264). Then I made a piece that slides on the two posts and had a 3/4” hole for the iron, and slit in the back of the hole for the cord. However, since the iron is tapered, only one “rim” of the cylinder that is the hole contacted the iron, so it was able to rock pretty significantly. My solution was to make a second cross piece, this time with a smaller hole (5/8”) that would stop further up on the iron. With these two pieces forced parallel by their relationship with the rods, the iron is fully constrained. I then just made a simple little stop for my alphabet blocks to position them consistently, and I can stamp away!

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JAAune

1644 posts in 1782 days


#8 posted 05-09-2014 03:22 AM

Glad to see you got it figured out and didn’t have to break the bank.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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