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I wood if I could.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I few weeks ago I was asked if I'd make some sort of center pieces for the dining tables at Lakeland Woodworking club's annual banquet. I accepted. It took me a week or so to decide what I wanted to make. I wanted something different. I found a cool pattern in a book by Bob Gilsdorf and proceeded to order a couple hundred 3/4" hardwood balls. They finally came in on the 1st of this month, leaving me a week to get them done. I got done at 5AM the morning they were needed (Sat the 9th).

There were 9 dining tables. I made 16 of these things and they were a huge hit. You guys might find charm in them as well. I don't have time right now to post all about them so I'll have to start now and continue tomorrow.

Here's the way I began; by dodging knots in pine and laying out the drill then cut the first of MANY joints.

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Here's the appendage portions. But they are far from done at this point.

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As you'll soon see, I'm building ball joint robots. In order to drill the holes for the fingers at the right angle (and to prevent excessive tear-out) I made a simple drilling jig.

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I drilled the jig at the desired angles.

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Then I cut out the inside to fit the largest hand blank I'd cut. All others are held into the jig by wedging with a tapered skewer then clamping the whole assembly into a vise.

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I wood if I could.
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3,976 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The drilling jig worked as planned. Here's what the drilled blanks looked like.

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After a little shaping on my shop-built vertical belt sander they reached this stage, ready to be outfitted with dowels.

Here's the first 6 pairs of shaped hands.

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Then with the fingers. I chamfered the fingertips for a more pleasing appearance, but I don't think you can really tell from the photo.

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Here's the joints for all of the hands. I drilled all of the balls myself.

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Let's give the boys a hand.

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I wood if I could.
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3,976 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's a lot of holes. Laughing!!!!
This is interesting but why only 4 fingers per hand? Are these aliens. Lol
They're the genetically mutated offspring of a nearly extinct race of tree gnomes who had an unfavorable run-in with the Loc-Nar.
 

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I wood if I could.
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3,976 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's tomorrow we are waiting lol
Yeah I hear ya'! :thumbsup:
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I meant to also show the finger hole sides of the shaped hands:

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Agony of de'-feet:

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Here's a few more joints to keep this party 'hopping'.

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Each of the appendage parts (single and double joint) consists of two pieces of wood, which will be screwed together to capture the joint balls and to allow for tuning of each assembled joint. Each is cut/drilled from a 1/4" thick "half" and a 3/4" thick "half". Here I have some of the single socket pieces ready to sand. But at this stage I'm only sanding the two faces of the 1/4 thick part. That will then be screwed in place - affixed to the thicker half - and the entire piece smoothed and shaped on the belt sander (except for the already-sanded face with the screw heads). After that, each joint must be fine tuned upon assembly to make the connector tight enough but not too tight. It's quite the assembly line project.

It's critical to keep each accompanying "halfs" of the appendage sections together, for they are drilled to match. Accidentally spilling the batch would lead to extreme frustration and tedium in matching the parts to their counterparts... and a few words of unsavory diction.

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Meet: the soon-to-be "en-membered" bodies. They're head and shoulders above the rest. Notice that most heads are glued on with a slight sideways turn. I figured I shouldn't have them all just facing straight ahead. Need to break up the straight line of the belly and back.

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I wood if I could.
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3,976 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here's all of the double socket joints, still in rough-out.

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In making all of these parts I ended up with a nice pile of the square rings that I hope I can find a use for some day. Anyway, these are not part of the project; they are cutoff scraps. But I can't bring myself to throw them away.

On a second - equally irrelevant - note, these cutoffs reinforce my idea for what I was going to do for last years' 2x4 contest with my woodcarving club. I ended up making a chair instead (out of a single 8' 2x4). I'll be implementing my plan for sure this year (in a couple of months from now). I can't tell you guys my plan yet (I'd hate to have to kill you). But I promise it will be a woodworking project likely to be unlike any ever posted on this forum. Maybe any forum. And I will post it here when it takes place.

So, uhm, yeah...

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Not handicapped: handiCAPABLE! Dur.

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Here sit the single socket pieces, awaiting final sanding/shaping on the vertical green abrasion conveyor.

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1/2 of them have undergone the above-mentioned operation and have their ball joint installed.

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I wood if I could.
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
They've been officially endowed with biceps and thighs.

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Here where I was at 1:30 AM the morning I needed to have them done. All of the double joints on the cart at the right still had to be taken through the process of sanding both faces of the 1/4" "half", screwing them to the other half, sanding/shaping, unscrewing, fine-tuning, installing, admiring, sleeping.

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It's a 5 AM rave at Steve's! Party over here!

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My and my dominion the next morning. Tired, worn out. Happy to have met my challenge of making so many of these in such a limited amount of time. Tired.

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I wood if I could.
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3,976 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Can for scale. These measure 17" tall to the tops of their heads.

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Hey, I don't know nuttin'

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Right this way, folks!

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I swear, they're were only THIS tall!

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Wickie, wickie, WORD.

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I wood if I could.
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3,976 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I let the club raffle off three of these at the banquet on Sat. One now resides in my shop, sitting on a shelf, watching me work. And one will be given to my wife and one to our son for Valentine's day tomorrow. I know my son wants one BADLY. He keeps trying to get (read: begging) me to sell him one :laughing:

The rest of the gang is up for sale.

now that is purty dang cool bud!! Are you going to finish them with anything?
Thank you. Yeah, practically everyone who's seen these in person has falling in love with their cuteness and 'cool factor'. Including myself.

No, they are being left unfinished.

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All in all, the construction of these 16 robots took a whopping 880 separate wooden parts. If you count the screws, the whole collection is comprised of 1,072 parts!

I want to post some more close-ups of some of them in cool poses. But I'll wait until there are 20 posts first (almost there) so the thread will roll over to another page. I don't want to make you guys' laptops and phones have to bog down too much more to view the pages.
 
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