Let’s Get Caught Up

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m always up to something. I’m hopelessly obsessed with learning, especially learning to make things. That’s one of the main purposes of this blog, to document my those adventures. And while I’ve been constantly making since the inception of this blog, I’ve done a poor job of documenting the things I’ve been working on. That’s about to change

I want to bring this blog current with an overview of the things I’ve been working on the last few years. So here’s a quick rundown of the things I’ve been doing.

The “s2duino” I developed. A single sided easy to make Arduino clone.

Electronics: A few years ago I caught the electronics bug, specifically, the microcontroller bug. But playing with and programming an Arduino wasn’t enough. I wanted to see how hard it would be to actually design and etch my very own Arduino clone. It turned out so well, I sent the design off to be professionally printed. The projects can be found here.

3D Printing: Then I discovered 3D printing after receiving a 3D printer from why wife for Christmas 2015. Wow! 3D printing has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. That was three years ago, about the same time I started this particular blog. I’ve done a ton of 3D printing since then but sadly haven’t documented it much. Oh well, there is no time like the present. There are multiple things I’ve been working on that will show up here in the future.

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A ring made from a 1oz copper round. A round is a piece of made to look like a coin.

Lapidary, Jewelry, Engraving: Sometimes in 2016 I became interested in jewelry making including lapidary (a fancy word for shiny rocks), other forms of jewelry making and engraving. Truth be told, this is a rabbit hole I haven’t thoroughly investigated. I’ll most likely revisit it sometime.

Coin Rings: Later on in 2016 I decided that I wanted to learn to turn coins into Jewelry. Why? Well, blame it on Kickstarter. Back in February of 2014, I backed a campaign to produce coin rings for $20 each. It funded, but the guy never came through with his promise. Fast forward 3 years and I still wanted a ring made out of a coin. So what did I do? I learned to make them myself. That project cost me way more than $20, but now I can make all the coin rings I want, anytime I want. I even sell them on Etsy. I have some ideas coming up that revisit coin rings, so watch for that.

Abby: Abby came into our life in February of 2017. Keeping up with a dog that always wants to be moving isn’t always easy, but she’s a doll and we love her.

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James Jr. playing with Abby…
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Bee Keeping: Then in the spring of 2017 I was stung by beekeeping (in a good way). I started with two hives. Last year I expanded to three. Then at the end of last year, one unexpectedly died. Currently I’m back to two hives, but will probably be able to split one this spring and will most likely be back at three for the 2019 season. Beekeeping is a fun and fascinating hobby. And the rewards are often sweet.

I Ching: Last year I also discovered I Ching (often called Yijing) which is an ancient Chinese book of wisdom and divination technique. I Ching means Book of Changes. I was first made aware of it from watching the Amazon mini series, Man in the High Castle. As I looked into it, I found a very fascinating and historically rich book that imparts great wisdom to those that seek it. I’ve created some 3D printed implements to help in the use of it. One is on Etsy, and the other will be soon.

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Candy: At the end of last year I started watching a lot of YouTube videos about candy making, specifically ribbon candy. In December my daughter and I tried our hand at making some. What a fun experience! More of that is certainly on the horizon for us.

CNC Carving: I bought an X-Carve last year. X-Carve is a CNC router. What is a CNC router? Think of it as the opposite of a 3D printer. A 3D print adds material. A CNC router subtracts material. It has been a goal of mine to have a CNC for a long time and now I finally do. The assembly was not a fun experience. I found the assembly instructions left something to be desired. On the other hand, customer support is top notch and very responsive. The CNC will become a central figure in my maker studio.

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Wood Turning: My father-in-law, who passed away at the end of 2017 was a talented wood turner. I regret not having the opportunity to learn wood turning from him while he was alive. On the plus side though, I inherited his lathe. And so my goal for 2019 is to really put it to use and learn to turn. January was a very productive month for learning.

Wood Stabilizing, Resin Casting: Once I go down a rabbit hole, I usually don’t go half way. I explore every twist and turn. So naturally once I started to turn, I found that not only did I want to turn crazy looking acrylic, I wanted to learn to make make my own acrylic and acrylic/wood hybrid blanks.

Well, that brings me to the present. I’ve skipped over a few other projects I’ve worked on. If they become relevant, I’ll add a post at a later date.

Change What You Wear. Change That You Wear!

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Who doesn’t like cool jewelry? For nearly as long as homo sapiens have walked the earth, we have sought to adorn ourselves with nice looking things. Coins, on the other hand, are a relatively new invention. The oldest on record are about 2700 years old. Now both are brought together into a sort of “you got your chocolate into my peanut butter” moment…two great inventions that look great together.

I’ve been hard at work teaching myself the art of making coins into rings. I find the process and outcome very satisfying. As a result, I’ve opened an Etsy store to sell them. Follow the link on the left side of the page or click here. As of this writing I only have one style up on the store, but that will soon be remedied. I have numerous styles in the pipeline.

jp10Yen2_logoThe rings featured above and to the right are made from a Japanese 10 Yen Coin. These coins are 95% copper with the remainder being made up of zinc and tin. The 10 yen coin makes a novel and beautiful ring. The obverse side (as shown above) has the characters 日本国 (Nipponkoku) which mean the country of Japan or simply Japan. The other two characters on the obverse side are 十円 (Jū-en) which means ten yen.

When the coin is folded with the reverse side out (as pictured in the inline photo above) bay laurel leaves surround the ring, making a unique pattern. My ring forging process maintains much of the original detail inside and out. Additionally, I apply an antique patina to each ring to help highlight the detail. I then coat each ring with 2 layers of a durable protective sealant that not only helps to maintain the patina but also prevents the ring from discoloring fingers.

Stay tuned…more rings are on the way!