Wednesday 30 March 2016

Latest things from FabLab

I've mentioned before how much I love Cockermouth FabLab, where we can play with laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC routers and other lovely things. I'm still getting to grips with the software that makes these machines do their magic, but it's gradually making sense and I'm starting to design things from scratch, rather than just drill holes for basket making.

I am so full of ideas! Just watch what I come up with, as I get better at the software!

This, now. This is one of my first things - a laser cut money box. (The red squirrel on the front is to remind us that we should try squirrelling away some of our small change.) It's a perfect fit for an Illy coffee tin, but would be find without the tin lining too.  I've been dropping all my loose coppers into this box since I made it, and there must be a couple of pounds in there already.

We're going to be offering these as kits that you can put together yourself, and finish in any way you want. (The one in the photo has had no surface treatment yet.) A few coats of varnish would be nice, but you could paint the squirrel in a fetching shade of orange if you wanted, before applying the varnish. Artists' coloured acrylic inks are good for this sort of thing. The colour won't run once it's dry so you can varnish over it.

We'll have other animals besides squirrels. Probably other local, Cumbrian animals - Herdwick sheep, ospreys ... things like that.


Here's another box I made. This one was made as a birthday present for Annie, but I can easily make them with any name of your choice on top.

Once again I'll be selling them as kits. I lined this one with decorative paper, but I'm not sure how secure the glue will be, and I suspect it might be better to paint the inside, and varnish the outside. But it's up to you!

We are still developing a range of these things so no prices yet, but please enquire if you're interested in buying one, or if you'd like to suggest improvements.

She looks as though she likes it. Success!

Our customers' work (4)

Ann W. recently bought a stool frame and some black polycord from us, and did an absolutely superb job of putting it together and weaving the chequerboard pattern.

The underside, which is often the part people don't bother much about, is really neat. She experimented with methods of joining in new strands of polycord, and discovered that simply using a cigarette lighter to melt the ends together works very well. If you look carefully at the photo below you can see where she had to do a repair when one of the joins came loose (from overuse by children!) but the others seem to be holding up very well. I am most impressed.

She says:  
"Recently I discovered that underneath the stool a couple of the knots that I had melted together had come unstuck so I had to do a bit of repair work with the lighter. They're a bit more blobby than I would have liked, but they are underneath so no one sees! 

The stool has been in increased demand as kids sit around the coffee table playing games, so I've decided I'll do another one." 

Polycord is an ideal material for seats that will be used by children. It's very strong, and comes in nice bright colours (red, green, blue and yellow) as well as more subtle ones like this black (also straw, white and dark brown). But the best thing is, you can wipe it clean when the kids spill food or juice on it.