New Technical Stuff

New Technical Stuff
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For those few of you that are interested in the technical process of making shuttles, here's a few of the new, improved, or at least different things I've been doing lately. Sorry, no pictures yet. Oh, you need to take "new" with a grain of salt.


Shuttle Outlines. I've redone my shuttle outlines that I use to cut out the assembled shuttles. I had been using one pattern for all three styles, but I've now made separate outlines for each style. These are done with a simple CAD program. While I was at it I added fillets between the shell and spike to make a more gradual transition. By including the hook in a drawing I can dependably cut them out to be smaller.

Post holes: I just got a very small "zero flute" 60 degree countersink to clean up the edge of the hole in the post.

Glue Squeeze Out. Glue squeeze out has been a hard problem to lick completely. I had been using a Foredom Flexible Shaft Grinder with a ruby bit, but I've found a piece of sandpaper wrapped around some flexible plastic card worked better. Then when I tried a different way to put glue on the posts for the 2 inch shuttle posts (which are pretty small compared to my fingers, not to mention the glue bottle) I found it really reduced glue squeeze out in the first place, because I didn't need to put on as much glue to insure complete coverage. I mounted a thin flexible piece of plastic (used X-ray film) in a handle. I dip the plastic into a glue jar, and spread it out in a thin coat. Sort of like a plastic paint brush.

Post Thickness: I've made a taper gauge to determine the stock thickness that's needed for a particular set of shells. I printed it out from a CAD drawing, pasted it to some wood.

Post chamfer: It was one of those "duh" moments. After years of using sandpaper wrapped around a dowel to smooth the chamfer, it dawned on me to try a round bastard (really, that's what it's called) file. Now I just need to get a bigger one for the 3-3/8 inch shuttles. A later note. I got some bigger files, and then later still some finer ones. The more aggressive files are named (I swear I'm not making this up) Bastard files. Then there are Second Cut and Smooth Cut. Second Cut is plenty smooth enough for wood.

Logo, personalization: I've been putting the year and my "logo" on the inside of shuttles with either pencil or rollerball. Neither of which always show up well. I got a turbo-carver, sort of like an inline dental drill (alas, it also sounds like one) that spins a bur at 400,000 rpm. Maybe once I practice more I might do initials on the outside...

Brian, a fellow shuttle maker and turner from Australia, had mentioned that he thought from my work that I was more or less a compulsive perfectionist. Here's a picture of my work bench that I used to disabuse him of this notion.

February 16, 1999: My fingers are happy today. I figured out that if I use a small "ear" made of masking tape to hold on to the small 2 inch shells when sanding the inside, I won't be as likely to sand off my finger tips. A couple of weeks ago I modified my glue spreading tool. I took out the X-ray film and used a piece of plastic milk jug. It's a little stiffer, but the glue pops off when dry easier.

March 17, 1999. I finished setting up the latest product of my toy fund, a One-Way 1018 lathe. I couple of weeks ago I started using a thinner bur for personalizing tatting shuttles. I've also found that using masking tape on the bottom of the shuttle when cutting to shape on the scroll saw seems to prevent chipping on the bottom shell. Avoiding sanding through to the laminated brass continues to elude me intermittently. I had hoped that sawing out the brass rather than using tin snips would help. It does, but not enough on really thin veneer like rosewood.