Playing with Polygons

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mark james

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Sep 6, 2012
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Unintended consequences: This pen design began as a challenge with shapes, I figured it out in the end, but the final product left me less than impressed. BUT, I found a new click mechanism kit I really like, and a finish that for me that I really needed to get better at. So all-in-all this project was a great success.

OK, so last year I was able to figure out some designs with squares, triangles and diamonds. I really wanted to use them all in the same manner I had been using - in a "sandwich" configuration, sliced up for inlays in a 4-corner block. A quick layout gave me some direction, but a new polygon emerged with compound angles that was needed. I knew where I wanted to end up, just didn't have a map.

So here was the process:
1. Rough pencil draft for basic shapes and dimensions (Picture 1).
2. Transfer to a better diagram (Picture 2).
3. Calculate the polygon dimensions (Pictures 3 and 4).
4. Make the sanding blocks for the needed angles - 45 degrees and 66.5 degrees (Picture 5).
5. Sand a bunch of triangles and compound angle polygons (Pictures 6 and 7).
Note: The triangles used the 66.5 degree block for each side. The compound polygon used both sanding blocks.
6. Tape a grid to a small flat board (small as I needed to hold it up to view it from the side to see if the joints were tight (Picture 8).
7. Attach some tape with the sticky side up, to hold the pieces in alignment (Picture 9).
8. First layer is placed on the tape (Picture 10).
9. Second layer has been glued in. (Picture 11).
10. Checking the joints (Picture 12).
11. Final layers (Pictures 13 and 14).
12. Cut up slices, 1" x 2" and 1/2" x 2" (2) (Pictures 15 and 16).
13. Constructing the 4 corner blank (Pictures 17 and 18).
14. Turning the blank down to fit into a collet chuck to drill the tube hole (Pictures 19 and 20).
15. Adding the veneers and end caps (Picture 21).
16. Turning the final blank (Picture 22).
17. Views of the final pen (Pictures 23 - 27).

My thoughts: The segmented inlays are fine. A bit too thick, but I don't think I can get these any smaller, maybe someone else can. I wish I had used a black veneer to seperate visually the inlays and the four corners. I don't like the maple-maple match between the straight sections (the corners) and the compound polygons; it just doesn't do much for me. I like the end veneers and end caps; my alignment was decent. There are slight tapers in the corner sections, not bad but still bugs me.

Well, that was fun. Started in fall 2018, tinkered in January 2019, life got busy, but finally done. Hopefully the pictures will inspire others to break down these steps into your own projects.
 

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alanemorrison

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Jan 15, 2019
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Mark, thanks for showing the process, it makes sense when you see all the pictures but you must need a degree in mathematics to come up with the plan in the first place. Kudos to you.
I think that the pen is a good looking pen, are you being hard on yourself?
Alan
 

mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
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Location
Medina, Ohio
Mark, thanks for showing the process, it makes sense when you see all the pictures but you must need a degree in mathematics to come up with the plan in the first place. Kudos to you.
I think that the pen is a good looking pen, are you being hard on yourself?
Alan

I was very average in Math in HS, never got beyond Algebra I and Basic Geometry. But, there are so many internet resources available that getting the needed angles is quite manageable. Since turning is just a hobby, I enjoy the process. Don't get me wrong, the pen is fine, just a bit ... funky.
 

robutacion

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Aug 6, 2009
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Australia - SA Adelaide Hills
Hi Mark,

You continue to impress me with your ingenuity and patience, the results are great but the most important fact is that you seem to have a lot of fun challenging yourself with more and more complicated segmentations, I can only congratulate you...!

Cheers
George
 

magpens

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Feb 2, 2011
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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Thanks, Mark ..... a more profound expression of appreciation escapes me at the present time .... impressive undertaking here !!!!

Even the title of your thread .... with its alliterative construct "Playing with Polygons" .... is a real grabber !!

More later .... and thanks again !
 

SteveJ

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Jul 11, 2012
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Grand Junction, Colorado
As always, i like what you do. Make me think about getting a Byrnes sander since what i am using has to much wobble to do that type of sanding. In the mean time I'll keep finding ways to cut those angles on the saw.
 

mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
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Location
Medina, Ohio
As always, i like what you do. Make me think about getting a Byrnes sander since what i am using has to much wobble to do that type of sanding. In the mean time I'll keep finding ways to cut those angles on the saw.

Mutual admiration Steve; your precision I admire.

Keep in mind that for these, I did not use the Byrnes Thickness Sander, I used a very cheap, but monster 12" Harbor Freight Disk Sander. I had a nice Bosch disk sander that needs repair, so on a whim I picked up the Harbor Freight one for $35.00 ?? (or close). It very much has impressed me. I needed to tweak the bed to get it at 90 degrees to the disk, redid the exhaust port for a better air flow for a shop vac attachment, and sanded the bed for smoothness, but I'd buy it again without reservation.

Yes, keep inspiring me for how to do these cuts on the saw.
 

SteveJ

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Jul 11, 2012
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Location
Grand Junction, Colorado
Mutual admiration Steve; your precision I admire.

Keep in mind that for these, I did not use the Byrnes Thickness Sander, I used a very cheap, but monster 12" Harbor Freight Disk Sander. I had a nice Bosch disk sander that needs repair, so on a whim I picked up the Harbor Freight one for $35.00 ?? (or close). It very much has impressed me. I needed to tweak the bed to get it at 90 degrees to the disk, redid the exhaust port for a better air flow for a shop vac attachment, and sanded the bed for smoothness, but I'd buy it again without reservation.

Yes, keep inspiring me for how to do these cuts on the saw.

Interesting, somehow I thought you had a Byrne's disk sander. I sure rather spend $35 to replace mine than the $350 for a Byrne's (although its quality might be with it!)
 

Larryreitz

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Feb 8, 2015
Messages
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Location
Salem, CT USA
I can't add much to what has already been said except that this blows my mind. While I am very unlikely to ever try this type of work it I do enjoy looking and reading about it.
Larry
 
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