Monday, March 28, 2011

Baby's Cradle: Update #2

I find it interesting when I make something the second time. The learning that occurred the first time significantly decreases the amount of time that it takes to make the thing the second time. This is true of the second side of the baby cradle. I spent more time thinking about how I was going to make the first side then I actually did making it. No, that is not exactly true. The cutting and drilling and assembly did not take a long time. The sanding of the stiles that were on size for the holes seemed to take forever.

After completing the first side of the cradle I thought about how I could expedite the sanding process. My Manufacturing Engineering mentality kicked in. Sanding by hand is not efficient. I needed something that would speed up the turning of the spindle without causing me to suffer carpal tunnel pain! I thought of using my electric drill. This would be an improvement because it would spin the spindles much fast than I could by hand and I could simply hold the sand paper. The problem would be holding the drill . I would have to create a jig to hold it while I sanded each end. That seemed to be more trouble than it was worth.

I discussed the issue with my wife. She suggested that instead of using the drill, I could use my drill press. Brilliant idea! It goes to show that when someone looks at a problem with a fresh set of eyes and an unbiased point of view they can come up with a new and novel solution that was not obvious to me before because I constrained by the idea of a drill press as being something that just drill holes.

I tried out the drill press by marking the distance that goes into the hole,5/8 of and inch and inserted that length in the drill chuck and tightened it. When I took the spindle out of the chuck the marks that were left would be hidden inside the hole. I reinserted the spindle inside the chuck. When the spindle was held firmly inside the chuck I turned the machine on and held the 60 grit sandpaper against the marked out end of the spindle. I counted out 30 seconds and stopped. When I tried to put the spindle into the hole it slid down to the bottom of the hole with gentle pressure.

It was a good fit. It took me about two minutes to sand each spindle so that it would fit into the hole. That is less than half and hour for all twelve spindles. It took over half and hour to sand each spindle by hand, six hours in all to sand twelve spindles. That is over 90 percent improvement in efficiency!

With both sides done, it should be a relatively easy task to complete this project.

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