While milling a jig for another project I got an idea. I wanted to see if I could mill a perfect (within tolerance) 1″ cube.
So heres how I did it:
Start with some aluminum stock bigger than your desired dimensions. I had to cut some stock down to get a good chunk to work with.
Cutting with a horizontal bandsaw leaves a rough edge so i took this over to the Bridgeport and faced off the bandsaw marks with a fly cutter.
I flipped the piece so the newly faced side is face down and replaced the fly cutter with a 1/2″ end mill.
I eyeballed the mill with the stock to zero it in the X and Y directions.
Now for the cuts. Naturally you need to make long straight cuts at a larger width than your desired dimension. Since I want a 1″ x 1″ x 1″ cube I jogged the mill to 1-1/8″ + 1/2″ (end mill diameter) and made several passes down to 1-3/8″ in the Z axis.
Do the same on the Y axis.
Now rotate the piece 90 degrees and cut the Z. Same sort of procedure to cut the Z face.
One warning. To cut deep you need to stick your mill pretty far out of the chuck. This leave it suceptible to breaking…. Which I definetly did.
A way around this (which I had to employ) is to cut most of the groove with the end mill and take it out of the clamp and finish the cut with a hacksaw.
Now to finish the faces of the cubes. Clamp your two flattest sides in the vise and put your fly cutter back on.
Face the side facing up flat and flip the cube. Face the opposite side until your calipers read your dimension. Walk up on the dimension as slowly as you can. You can always remove more material but you can’t add it back.
When you get to your dimension zero your Z axis for future use. Now use these two flat and paralell sides to clamp and face off the top side. Then flip and fly cut to 0 on your DRO.
Sorry I don’t have any photos of that process….
Do the third side and you’re done!
I couldn’t leave it there.
I wanted a pedestal that held the cube on a corner.
I want a round pedestal so I cut a cube to 4″ square on a bandsaw. Draw lines to connect the corners to find the center. Measure 2″ from the center along each diagonal to make a octagon.
Do the same on the octagon to cut the shallower corners off to round it more. I wasn’t going for perfection, in fact I wanted it to be contrast to the perfect cube I milled, so I didn’t care that it came out sort of janky.
If you really want perfection you can make a jig for a bandsaw to spin a piece of wood with a screw through the middle. The screw distance to the bandsaw is the radius of the circle.
There are still some corners on my piece so I took it over to the belt sander and rounded it.
To start chiseling I marked out a triangle. I then drilled a hole through the center. To clear the triangle area I started chiseling. You don’t need a mallet you can just push the chisel through. Check frequently with your cube to walk up on the fit.
When I was done chiseling I put a bolt through the center and chucked the bolt in a drill and spun it along the bandsaw to chamfer the corners. This again ended up super janky because my hole wasn’t exactly centered. If you use the jig for the circle this should work better than mine.
Now on to hand sanding and finishing. Sanding the pocket was made easier with a sanding stick.
Once you are done use a rag to applly your desired finish to your piece. I used mineral oil.