Monday, March 27, 2017

Slide of the Month March 2017 - Mercury capsule

March 2017

Time to design: 2 hours
Time to print: 2 hours (your times may vary Finishing: 1 hour
Original design: NASA
Original designer: Michael Carbajal. NASA Headquarters
Try it yourself: Mercury capsule slide

Greetings, and welcome to the new Slide of the Month from Channeling Whittlin Jim. This month is for a new generation of neckerchief slides designers, those who want to design and print them on a 3D printer.

Being a kid during the space race, I always dreamed of being an Astronaut and one of my hero's was John Glenn. This slide is a design of Freedom 7 I found on NASA's 3D model resource page. The file was a 3ds file and what I needed was an stl file so I converted it using a free program called Spin 3D Mesh Converter. Next I loaded the converted file into Tinker Cad, a great free design program from Autodesk, and came up with the following model.

Now I could add the neckerchief ring to the model. Once I created the ring, it was a simple process to join the ring to the model

I then use the group function to make sure both parts became one model. Next I downloaded a stl file to import into another free program called Cura  which is what is used by the 3d printer I use called Ultimaker 2.

Once loaded into Cura the model can be converted into gcode that the printer can print from. In my case this file was copied to a SD card so I could bring it to the printer location. I also added supports to help stabilize the model while printing. One the printing was done the model looked like this and the supports were easily removed.

I  sanded where the supports connected to the model (around the heat shield and loop) and decided I liked the somewhat grayish look of the heat shield. Next was to paint the ring at the top and retro rockets silver with some model paint. I also painted the window to give it a operation glow with some paint pens. I also used a red model paint marker to paint the red ring between the heat shield and capsule. The final step was the marking on the capsule. For this I used white decal or water slide paper from and Microsoft paint to create a set of decals on my inkjet printer.

Once the decals had been treated with an acrylic clear spray paint, I could cut them out and water slide them on to the capsule to finish the slide.

A quick disclaimer here, I do not own a 3D printer (though any company who wants to give me one will be gladly accepted) but what I do have is a great local public library. The Berkshire Athenaeum
has 3D printers and classes to teach patrons how to use the printers. My thanks to Andrea Puglisi and everyone in the reference department for the patience and knowledge in helping me take a random thought and turn it into reality. Perhaps there is a local public library near you with the same kind or resources. For those who want to printing this design it is available on Tinkercad if you do a search of Mercury capsule slide

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bones and Horns (Horn - something special)

March 3/26/2017

Time to make: 2 hours
Finishing: .5 hour

...and now the final slide in this long journey.

When thinking about the last slide, I thought this would be a good time to both finish the Whittlin Jim slides and transition into other Slide of the Month projects along with my own versions.

This slide features a ram's horn I got from Petco that just fascinated me in the beauty of the contours of shape and color. I have also recently been experimenting with some decal paper so I thought of the idea of combining them both. I cut the horn to shape, using a bandsaw, being very careful not to cut all the way through on the sides. The shape of the horn lends itself as a natural neckerchief loop. I then sanded a smooth spot in the center for the decal and sanded the edges. I have my Troop's logo and printed it to some white Blinggasm decal paper using my inkjet printer. I then covered the decal with three coats of clear acrylic spray paint. A hint here, the paper is about a dollar a sheet so plan ahead and print several decals at once or cut the page into photo sized pieces (if your printer will take it) to minimize waste. After the coating dried overnight, I cut out the decal and placed into water into for a couple of seconds until the plastic decal loosened from the paper backer. I slid the decal onto the horn and made sure there were no air bubbles under the decal. A sweet slide if I do say so myself!

One addition note, when working with bones or horns, try to do it outside as cutting or sanding these items stinks to high heaven.

Bones and Horns (Bone Eight)

March 2017

Time to carve: 1.5 hours
Finishing: .5 hour

Another piece of bone given by a friend which the bone was quite thick and this is a one piece slide. I sketched out the 8 on the bone similar to the 7 Ben used, rough cut it on the band saw, and drilled the holes for the 8. I then used the dremel tool to cut, using a diamond bit, and sand the slide. Some wax polish for a finish.

Bones and Horns (Bone Arrowhead)

March 2017

Time to make: 1 hours
Finishing: 1 hour

So a good friend gave me some bones one day all cut up in neckerchief sized pieces and this is a slide made from one of the bones. I really have to ask him what animal it came from but I think it may have been a beef cow. I used a band saw to get the basic shape and then sanded it with a dremel tool to refine the arrowhead. A bit of wax to shine it up and its ready for wearing

Bones and horns (Bones Chris cross)

March 2017

Time to carve: .5 hours
Finishing: hour

Through out this odyssey one page of slides always eluded me, the June 1950 issue of Boy's Life was missing for years on both the wayback machine and on Goggle books. But as I was finishing the blogging last week, I decided to give it one more search and lo and behold there was the missing page. So I present to you the last Whittlin Jim slides.

While not technically a Whittlin Jim "Slide of the Month" the Bone and Horn was published in "Hobby Corner" by Ben Hunt.  So earlier I blogged about the Imbedded Arrowhead being made from a spiral cut ham bone. Well I still had a part of the bone left that still showed the cut marks of the spiral cut blade so I carved additional lines in the opposite directions. The coloring, and shine, comes from some show polish.

Monday, March 20, 2017


February  2017

Time to make: 3.5 hours
Finishing: 2 hour

One of the hardest slides to make because the Eastern Snow Armadillo is one of the hardest creatures to find as they only come out in the winter hibernating the rest of the year. Like their southern cousins, they also hate automobiles but unlike the Southern Armadillos they don't become speed bumps. Instead they are known for creating pot holes in the northeast but are gone by the first of April.

Cow Horn Indian Chief

January 2017

Time to carve: 3.5 hours
Finishing: 2 hour

A very tough slide to make as carving cow horn is very hard. First step was to cut the bonnet and expand the horn. The original article called for the horn to be boiled until the it was pliable. I found it really didn't work well and then found a different method. I soaked the cow horn in ammonia for a week. After shaping the horn it was on to the carving with a linoleum blade. Then I rubbed black shoe polish into the crevices then finished it off with a polishing rag.