Random Projects: A Heuristic approach

(tldr: this thread is an account of my random projects, updates, posts along the way. Feel free to skip the paragraphs and get the pictures that will definitely, certainly, probably be interesting…maybe )

Here’s the deal, I’ve got a lot of unfinished in-progress projects. I often don’t know how to accomplish what I’ve set out to do before I set out to do it.
I like to think a lot of those projects are making slow and steady progress. I also like to think I’ll resurrect the numerous half documented threads about them which I’ve scattered across this beatiful forum.

This thread is not that resurrection of those posts. This is not an attempt at putting together a cohesive thought or laying out a useful record of events for others and my future self. Nope, if I take a heuristic approach to my previous posting then I have to admit it’s not been all that useful to myself or others.

So in the spirit of my namesake, let’s learn from previous experience and change things up a bit :slight_smile:

Some of the best threads on this forum are just ongoing accounts of what people are up to. They’re random pictures and comments of projects. The kind of things that folks do between other larger endeveours. These are the threads that excite people, the threads that are referenced many years after the final post (or are ongoing still!)

I hope you enjoy my attempt at capturing that lightning in my very own little bottle. If you’re in the mood for somewhat random little “in-between” projects, the kind of projects that serve as stepping stones to the real goal, you’re in for a treat(probably…hopefully…eh, maybe :person_shrugging:)

Ok, enough with the wordsmithing, time to get out there and make something.


Let’s start with a small project on the todo that’s been languishing for far too long.

I need to make a loose leaf paper holder for A6 size paper.
Basically a fancy one of these but for fancy loose leaf paper:

Why? What does it matter why, that’s not the point :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I need it to be pretty, have a stiff metal backing, and be ~easy to use.

So let’s start with some brass sheet stock since that’s what I’ve got on hand.
I’ll probably fixture it with some wax and cut it out with no tabs, erring on the side of cutting too shallow and sneaking up on a full depth.
I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Note to self: clean up after yourself, dummy.

(Nothing about this is “best practice” but it works for me. I cut up a neoprene deskmat to use as the covers and removed the case because it’s a hell of a lot quieter to my sensitive ears… also a hell of a lot harder to clean up. Worth it? Not sure yet)

I buckled and decided to use some cheaper material/scrap to make sure the size feels right.

Bonus: i learned that the aluminum clad board that comes on the nomad is decently easy to rough cut. Score it with a utility knife and it breaks pretty reliably along that score.

That clad got me thinking… You know what’s thin, stiff as hell, super cheap, has lots of color options, and can get ridiculously fine detail with the style of line art i want to do :thinking:

PCBs that’s what… sometimes the lesson is that a cnc is not the best tool for the job :melting_face: (Though don’t tell C3D i said that :wink:)

Oh well, on to the next project then… titanium or cast iron… decisions, decisions.


I don’t mean to spam, I didn’t think I’d have another idea lined up so soon.

So I accidentally addressed a package to my mother-in-laws address and she’s holding it captive until I send her “something cool that you’re always making” … (sigh she’s got all the power in this negotiation, it’s a charger for a piece of inventory management tech that is hard to come by.)

I knew I wanted to do cast iron and the big barn himself did a video on cast iron pans last year, so I’ve got a starting point. A nice little customized piece of cast iron cookware is exactly the right answer for this midwest woman. Time to get some lodge pans on order :slightly_smiling_face:

As an aside, a lot of folks either can’t use cast iron (strength/dexterity issues) or just don’t want to deal with the “maintenance” that it comes with.
I think a good number of these folks would be super happy with just a little cast iron burger press! Small, cheap, easy to hold, and really levels up an apartment stovetop burger (open your windows!) it might be a decent little item for an underserved market :person_shrugging:

And the full size grill pans with ridges on one side and flat on the other, well that’s a giant canvas for only $30 in material…maybe get a few ready to take advantage of the good weather :wink:

Enough shilling, time to get back out in the garage to take some test cuts on my little 6" cast iron egg pan.

I need someone to pickup behind me as well as someone to kick my fanny when I fudge up. Want the job?

Thanks for the insight

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You couldn’t pay me enough to pick up after myself or kick my own fanny, let alone someone else’s :rofl:

If i ever learn how to keep things in check, I’ll share the secret :wink:

My wife got me a consultation with a “professional organizer” for our anniversary. They’re going to come into my workshop(two car garage) and figure out where everything should go and what additional organization i should get my hands on.

Should be a neat experience, I’ll share any interesting insight they’ve got as well… Pretty sure they’re going to recommend a bigger vacuum :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Your wife is paying the bill. They will probably suggest that you pack away all your most frequently used tools in hard to reach places.

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Friend of mine asked for a little plaque. Something small to go on a cork board.

Started with a bit of brass shim stock, i think .032" thick. Cut it to rough size with a jig saw.
Work holding was the tried and true blue tape/superglue

Pro tip: in a pinch, a guitar pick is a great way to pry under the blue tape without marring anything.

Not quite the right finish

Let’s hit with some fine grit sandpaper and brush it with a steel bristle brush:

Much better (a bit of polish paper and one of those magic eraser foam sponges even things out just a tiny bit)

Now to one of my favorite toys in the shop, the fiber laser:

And lastly, the big reveal:

Yeah… that’s a lesson learned. I just got this laser so I’m still figuring out the nuance… But that’s why i finished both sides of the brass :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Time for some tweaking and another go… wish me luck.


Good enough!

Now time to get this shipped out and move on to the next project.
A load cell holder for a custom baking scale… The wife likes to bake, a lot.


Last post today:
Vacuum sealer
great for sous vide, meal prep, cooking perfect chicken breast AND flat packing for shipments :sunglasses:


What make/model fiber laser do you have?

It’s a 60Watt Mopa Fiber.
I sent you a direct message with the details if you want to follow up with more questions :slightly_smiling_face:
Happy to share, I’ve just seen lots of topics run off the rails when getting into the knitty gritty and lasers :sweat_smile:

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Thanks again! I’ll have a look the Mopa.

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Tonight we are going to look at embedding a magnet in a load cell.
Should be fun trying to fixture the load cell without destroying the strain gauge…luckily this does not need to be a precision part, so we can take some liberties in how we hold the bar (spoiler, probably just going to clamp it in a vise and make sure it’s mostly parallel to the table)

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