Art Prize 2011 #3: Getting there

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Blog entry by tyskkvinna posted 07-31-2011 07:53 PM 1386 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Design Progress Part 3 of Art Prize 2011 series Part 4: Ready to Cut »

I’ve been very busy on my project, but most of the work for the past couple of weeks has been extremely technical.

I had to split my map into levels- you’ll see why in a few minutes. It was… tricky.

You can kind of see what I am doing.

All that work and I ended up with something that looked like this.

The black parts are the actual levels and the grey parts are the buffers.

Separated out it looks more like this.

Now, what I determined from all of this crazy-cryptic fussing is that this piece will require four layers of plywood. Two need to be full-size and the other two layers won’t take a full sheet. Between the top two layers, they take less than one full sheet.

And so I cut it. I nested the parts so that I could cut it all on one sheet and leave the most amount of useful wood afterwards.

And I forgot to take a picture of it, but the step in-between was to take the double-sheet of plywood that I had previously glued up and I just did a light (0.01” deep) carving of the edges of the pieces that I cut out, where they should land on the sheet. So then it was just a matter of putting puzzle pieces together.

If you look closely, you can see that I have labelled them- both in a numbering scheme and I named the geographic locations if they were specific so that between the two it should be relatively easy to assemble it again.

So many islands! Who knew? I mean, we know that there’s a bunch of islands around but they are generally not big enough to really notice when looking at a map.

So that left me with a task I was dreading. I had to re-make the double plywood because, uh, somebody accidentally tinkered with my old one and pried them apart. Ooops.

Since I felt like I could do better than I did previously, this time around I took both sheets and lightly roughed them up with a belt sander to knock off the varnish that was covering it. I then hosed it off with air and vacuumed up the whole lot. I then had a buddy help me out and we covered it in glue.

I then had that buddy and another buddy help me place the second sheet on top and then weight it down. Boy, was it floaty! I used a lot more glue than I did before. (So, in theory, somebody shouldn’t be able to just pry them apart huh?) We then used some serious weights. The first time I clamped it and put some weights on it. This time we put, uh, some real weight on it. Each of those “boxes” weighs roughly 400 pounds.

(They’re Aerovox capacitors from the Nova Laser in case you wanted to know.)

For good measure we added some extra weights. The gym weights are all 50-pounders, the buckets are over 100-pounds per (filled with lead and tiles) and that vice is pretty surly.

You can see we got quite a bit of seepage of the glue. Excellent! I did this yesterday. I’m letting it stay put today. Tomorrow I’ll take it off and see what happens.

With any luck tomorrow I’ll be able to etch the surface with lines and then glue the next level on!

So in case you were wondering—this is going to be the full size test piece. I’m using some of that subfloor plywood I asked about in the forums recently. Worry not. I went over the entire lot with a metal detector before doing anything. :)

If the carving looks good when I’m done I’ll cut it out of “good plywood”. OTOH if I think this looks awesome I’ll do it again with this stuff. ha. We’ll see. But I thought I’d test it out on free wood before dropping a few hundred bucks on nice wood.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

8 comments so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3141 days

#1 posted 07-31-2011 08:03 PM

Oops moments are what helpers are for… to blame them on! Even if you work alone.

This blog should be testament to the actual work involved in a CNC carving, next time I hear “all you did was push a few buttons”, they should be directed right here. Hope everything comes out great, Lis.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3593 days

#2 posted 08-01-2011 12:10 AM

getting there Moose

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View EMVarona's profile


437 posts in 2833 days

#3 posted 08-01-2011 01:22 AM

Very technical indeed but very interesting. Map making is one of my interests. The making of relief maps is most fascinating. Very nice.

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2549 days

#4 posted 08-01-2011 03:06 AM

Intriguing. I’ve been very curious as to your methodology throughout this process, and it’s rewarding seeing you walk through it.

Question though about the knots: How do you end up detailing the mountain tops with the knots in the center of some of those ranges? Are they to be covered up with higher layers, or is it not a concern?

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2983 days

#5 posted 08-01-2011 03:16 AM

The knots don’t matter in the slightest. The CNC sheet router cuts through knots just as cleanly as it does the rest of the wood (in fact better- it likes the hardest surface possible, wood is kind of a pain). On the final product it will just be a matter of aesthetics, but I’m not expecting the cabinet-grade plywood I will be getting to have any particular knots.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3710 days

#6 posted 08-01-2011 04:25 AM

A very interesting project; are you using the Shuttle Tomography stuff? I bet it will be a ‘relief’ when you are done!...okay the pun sounded funny in my head before I typed it…

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2983 days

#7 posted 08-01-2011 02:26 PM

Mark- yes, I am using the topography info released from NASA to do this. It wasn’t easy, but they at least gave out all the info one could possibly require to make it work.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20482 posts in 3103 days

#8 posted 08-03-2011 07:16 PM

I’ll come down to see it for sure!!!!!!!!...............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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