Sunday, December 6, 2015

How to Make an Acrylic LED Sign

I made a remote-controlled Acrylic LED Sign for my neighbor down the street.  He's the owner of  "Rob's Wood Shop - Daycare for Adults".  Check it out!


I opened Rob's logo in InkScape and used the Trace Bitmap option to convert it to vector art, then deleted the raster copy and saved it as an SVG file.  I imported the SVG file into the Inventables EASEL application and flipped it horizontally so it would be reversed, because all of the LED signs I've seen have the logo carved into the back of the sign.


Rob provided the acrylic sheet that was leftover from another project.  I used the ShapeOko2 to carve the logo about .01" deep into the acrylic.  It worked great and required very little clean up.  When working with acrylic, you must be very careful not to scratch it, because every little scratch will show up when the sign is lit.


I ordered this LED Light Kit and I waited to receive it before building the base, since part of the base design required me to measure the light strip width and thickness.


Here are the basic steps for making the base.  You may need to adjust the measurements depending on the size of your sign and the LED light strip.
  1. I cut two 3/4" strips of 1/2" walnut that were the same length as the sign.  
  2. I cut one 3" strip of 1/2" maple that was about 3" longer than the sign.  
  3. I used the Inventables X-Carve to route an 1/8" deep groove in the center of the board to receive the LED light strip.  The groove is about 1/2" shorter than the sign so that the corners of the sign will rest on the surface of the maple with the LEDs recessed under it in the middle.  A 7/16" hole was drilled partially through the board on one end of the groove for the wiring.  (You could do the same thing with a router and a drill press.)
  4. I drilled a 7/16" hole from the rear of the base into the previous hole for the electrical wire to pass through.
  5. I cut two small end pieces of walnut and glued all of the pieces together, making sure the sign will fit snugly in the middle above the recessed LEDs.
  6. I sprayed the base with Watco Clear Gloss Spray Lacquer.  Once the finish dried, I peeled the backing off the LED strip and stuck it down into the recess so it was centered.


I inserted the sign, plugged in the electronics, and used the remote control to test it out.  It's so cool!  I like being able to turn it on/off and control the colors with the remote.  I think my neighbor will love it.  Now I want to make one for myself!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sidebar Conversation - 40k Subscribers, Drumhead Frame, Cornhole Boards, Fan Repair, Video Woodworkers Booth

I haven't done a Sidebar Conversation in over 2 months, so here's a quick shop update about something awesome that just happened, plus I follow up on my most recent projects.


This week my YouTube channel surpassed 40,000 subscribers!  Thank you all for subscribing to my channel and watching my videos.  I really appreciate it.  I look at the number of subscribers as a reflection of the content I produce, so it's a neat feeling to know that so many people appreciate what I do.  We could fill up the UConn stadium and have a party!


I was hanging out with Nick Ferry a few nights ago and he mentioned we were going to reach this big round 40k number on the same day, so congratulations to Nick as well for this accomplishment.  Check out Nick's woodworking channel and subscribe.  We both started with zero subscribers years ago and somehow ended up here.  Below is one of my favorite project videos from Nick.  His Table Saw Sled design is full of awesome ideas and he has a complete tutorial with plans available at NickFerry.com.  I got to meet Nick in person at WIA 2015 and he's a fun guy to be around.  His passion for providing great content is inspiring.


Drumhead Frame - In my last video, I framed a drumhead that my son kept from his big day marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade last year.  I posted a picture of us holding it on Instagram with a GSU hashtag and it ended up on the jumbotron at the recent Georgia State football game.  Too funny!  (Now I know what hashtags can be used for.)


Cornhole Game Boards - The cornhole boards I made for my niece's wedding were a big hit.  All of the guests signed them.  Now I need to test some different clear coat products to see which one will protect the Sharpie ink without making it run.  I will be making a video of this test, so watch for that coming soon.


Fan Repair videos - Did you see all of the fan repair videos?  Matthias Wandel and John Heisz showed me how to fix my fan that was stuck.  After fixing it with 3-in-1 oil, it worked for a few days then got stuck again.  I took it apart and cleaned it up, and sprayed it with Blaster Silicone Lube and it is still spinning great.  I recommend that stuff.


Video Woodworkers Booth - The next booth will be in my hometown of Atlanta on April 1-3 at The Woodworking Show.  I would love to meet you in person if you can attend this show.  Visit VideoWoodworkers.com for updates and information on who will be there!  I'm looking forward to hanging out with Nick again at this event...I think he's going to visit my shop too!


If you are new to my channel and stumbled upon this Sidebar Conversion, please check out some of my other videos and subscribe!  I usually make fun woodworking projects on my wife's side of the garage.  Here's a picture of me with my buddy Nick, photobombed by Chop with Chris!  LOL




Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Framing a Drumhead from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

My son Matthew marched in the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Georgia State Marching Band and he was given the Macy's logo drumhead he played as a souvenir.  Watch me make a shadow box picture frame for the drumhead and see his reaction!


I never noticed before that all of the marching band drummers in the parade use drumheads with the Macy's logo on them.  That's pretty cool!  I'm so proud of my son and the GSU marching band for all of the hard work and effort that went into being a part of this legendary parade.

GSU Marching Band in New York City

The drumhead is 14" in diameter and about 3/4" thick.  I made the frame pieces out of a standard pine 2x6, and they ended up being 1" wide x 1.5" thick.  This allowed just enough room for an 1/8" groove to hold the front plexiglass, and a 1/4" rabbet on the back to hold a backer board, with about 1" of space in the middle for the drumhead.

Cutting Frames on a Table Saw

I used hot melt glue to stick the metal rim of the drumhead to the backer board.  This worked great and I think it looks nice with no visible fasteners.  Also, this method did not damage the drumhead in anyway and it can be easily removed later if needed.

Attaching a Drumhead with Hot Glue

I printed some 4x6 pictures from the parade and attached them with spray adhesive.  I also made a plaque on my Inventables X-Carve and attached it with hot melt glue.  I wanted the letters in the plaque to be black, so I sprayed it with black paint then removed the paint from the surface.  This method worked great.

Framed Pictures and Plaque

In this video, my son shows up at the 1:50 mark.  He is the snare drummer with the beard standing right in front of the camera.  (That's him closest to the camera in the thumbnail.)


This video shows Georgia State's televised performance.  It's unbelievable how much practice, hard work, and organization goes into preparing for just a 2 minute performance.  The band practiced several months leading up to the parade.  Just the logistics of getting the whole band and all of their instruments to New York City seems daunting to me.  Thanks to COOP3R DRUMM3R for posting this video on his YouTube channel.


Congratulations to my son and the Georgia State Marching Band for a job well done.  You made us proud!  Go Panthers!

Framed Macy's Parade Drumhead

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Make a Set of Cornhole Game Boards

I was recently asked to make a set of Cornhole Game Boards for an upcoming wedding. They would be used for the wedding guests to sign, sort of like a guestbook. Watch my video to see how they turned out!


If you are not familiar with the Cornhole Game, you can find out more about it HERE. That website does a great job at explaining how the game is played. The game reminds me a lot of when I played horseshoes as a kid, except instead of trying to wrap a horseshoe around a post, you are trying to toss a bag into a hole. The game gets its name from the bags being filled with corn kernels, however they are sometimes filled with other materials too. These Cornhole Game Boards are easy to make on a weekend with limited tools. Below is a shopping list of the supplies you will need.
  • 10-foot 2x4s (3)
  • 1/2" thick plywood panels, 2 feet x 4 feet (2)
  • 3/8" carriage bolts that are 4" long (4)
  • 3/8" fender washers (8)
  • 3/8" wing nuts (4)
  • Nails or Screws 
  • Paint or other finish.  
Below are some simple instructions for building a set of two boards.
  1. Cut four 2x4 pieces that are 48" long. 
  2. Cut four 2x4 pieces that are 21" long. 
  3. Set the leftover 2x4 cutoff pieces aside for the legs.
  4. Assemble the two frames that are 2' x 4' keeping them square and flat.  I used my Kreg K4 Pocket Hole Jig and Pocket Hole Screws, but you could just nail/screw them together from the sides.
  5. Attach the plywood to the top while lining up the edges.  I used glue and a brad nailer, but you can use regular nails or screws.
  6. Measure 9" down from the top and 12" across to mark the center of the holes. 
  7. Draw and cut the 6" holes. 
  8. Cut a semi-circle on the top of each leg and drill a 3/8" hole in the center. 
  9. Attach a leg to one of the boards and extend it over the side of your worktable. Raise the board so the top peak is 12" above the surface. Mark where to cut the leg. 
  10. Cut the leg and use it as a template to cut the other legs. 
  11. Paint or apply your finish of choice and assemble the boards.  I used Minwax Early American Stain and Minwax Clear Gloss Polyurethane. 
  12. Buy some cornhole bags like these on Amazon.  
If you would like to add stickers to your boards, one of my viewers recommended ordering them from A Better Sign.  While I have not ordered from them before, their website looks really easy to use to design your own stickers.  Ballpark pricing is $104 for two 2'x4' stickers with clear protective overlay to cover the entire boards. Smaller 12"x18" stickers run about $36 with the clear protective overlay.

I was able to finish these boards about 10 days before the wedding.  The bride has already put some Georgia Bulldog stickers on them.  After the wedding guests sign the boards with a black Sharpie, we will be applying a clear topcoat to seal in the stickers and signatures.  I will be testing different products to find a good clear coat that will not ruin the stickers or signatures.  That sounds like another good video topic so watch for that!

Cornhole Game Boards with Georgia Bulldogs Logo

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Make a Hanging Camera Mount to Capture Paranormal Activity!

I hope there is lots of activity going on in your shop this weekend.  Strange things have been happening in my shop, so I made two of these Hanging Camera Mounts to see what I could capture on video.  You won't believe what happened!


This was a really easy project and you probably already have the wood and hardware you need to make it.  Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Repair a Stuck Fan!

A couple of days ago, my Lasko Cyclone Fan stopped working.  When I turned it on, it would make a humming noise but it would spin very slowly or not at all.  I was about to buy a new one when I saw Matthias Wandel's video showing how to fix this exact problem.  If your fan is stuck, watch these videos to see how to fix it.


Watch Matthias Wandel fix his siezed up fan:


John Heisz also had the same problem:


Before you throw away something, open it up to see if you can fix it.  What have you got to lose?  Just make sure you unplug it first!


Thanks to Matthias and John for showing me how to fix my fan!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Make an Airplane Hand Plane for Makers Care!

I made an Airplane Hand Plane for the MakersCare.org fundraising effort that Steve Ramsey of Woodworking for Mere Mortals has founded.  Watch my video of this project, then visit MakersCare.org to see how you can help make a difference in a child's life too!


This Airplane Hand Plane is made from mahogany and curly maple.  It actually makes shavings!


I borrowed the blade from an old cheap hand plane.  It would probably work better with a nicer blade.  I also made a fake wooden blade for display purposes, so that kids of all ages can safely check it out.


If you would like to make an Airplane Hand Plane too, Click Here to Download My Template and follow the instructions in the video.  It's pretty simple...just cut out all of the pieces, sand them, then glue it together.  Just wing it!



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cool Stuff at Maker Faire Atlanta 2015!

Rainy weather wasn't enough to stop me and my daughter from checking out Maker Faire Atlanta this year!  This was our first time attending a Maker Faire and we weren't sure what to expect.  It was lots of fun and we got to play with some cool stuff.  We were greeted by this huge inflatable MAKE: robot.



There was a small parking lot full of crazy bicycles.  This couch-cycle looked much more comfortable than the bicycle seats I remember having on my bikes.


This marble run was made from cardboard tubing.  This looks like a great use for all of those paper towel and toilet paper cores that you're not sure what to do with but yell through them.


The Google booth was showing off their Google Cardboard Virtual Reality goggle thingies.  We checked out a Jurassic Park style one with dinosaurs and an Amusement Park one with roller coasters.  Basically, you can pan around a virtual 360 world and look around.  Pretty cool stuff.


Georgia Tech students were showing off their Solar Powered Racer.  They said this one maxes out at 55 mph, but the best cruising speed is about 25-35 mph.


I finally got to meet the Geekspace Gwinnett folks at their booth.  They meet regularly within a few miles of my house, so I'm going to have to go check out their maker space.  I understand that their X-Carve CNC Machine is larger than the 1000mm version that I have.  Wow!  Evelyn enjoyed shooting their adjustable catapults that help kids learn about physics.


Carmichaels are suckers for musical instruments.  We had to have a turn at the thumb drums in the Geekspace Gwinnett booth.  They were very cool and sounded great.  I've added this to my project To Do list.


This giant robot was on display at the Geekspace Gwinnett booth as well.  I wonder what goes into making a big robot like this.  It looks really cool and heavy, but I see shoes there, so you must be able to wear it.  Rad!


It was good to see some woodworking going on.  Rockler had a nice booth with live woodturning.  Check out the smile on that kid's face.  Love it!


There was a giant Wolf puppet in one booth.  This is just the head.  It's legs were next to it.  Pretty cool and creepy at the same time.  I didn't catch what the booth was though.


For the second weekend in a row, I got to chat with Bob Clagett of I Like to Make Stuff at his booth.  It was cool to see some of the projects that he made in his videos, plus I got to meet his wife Ginny.  They are really nice folks from just a few hours down the road in Savannah.


We ended up bringing home some Google safety goggles and pencils, plus I got some ILTMS gear.  Thanks for the ILTMS Pencils and X-Carve Knob Bob!

Monday, October 5, 2015

My Top 10 Woodworking In America 2015 Moments!

I had a great time at Woodworking In America this year!  Watch this video to find out what my "Top 10 WIA 2015 Moments" were.  I've always wanted to throw Top 10 cards like David Letterman with the sound of windows smashing, so this was the perfect chance.


The Video Woodworkers booth was a big hit!  It was really busy with people crowding into the aisle for the whole show.  Both days were incredible.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by.  I enjoyed meeting y'all and I'm looking forward to the next Video Woodworkers booth event.  The booth could show up at next year's Woodworking In America and also other woodworking events, so visit VideoWoodworkers.com to subscribe for email notifications and updates.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sidebar - Stickers, Projects, Shop Visitors, Woodworking In America 2015

Here is a quick update about what's going on in The Carmichael Workshop.  I haven't had much shop time lately, so I thought I would catch up on stickers I've received, my recent projects, some visitors to my shop, and the upcoming Woodworking In America event!


If you would like to swap stickers, please email me at thecarmichaelworkshop@gmail.com.  I also have stickers for sale at my Etsy Store, and don't forget that I have T-Shirts, Mugs and other products for sale at my Spreadshirt Store!

Thanks for watching and thank you for your support!  Have an awesome day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Flower Press Collaboration and Visitors to the Workshop!

I recently had some visitors in my shop to collaborate on a Flower Press project.  Cy from Cy's Corner traveled from Louisiana.  Sarah and Charley from Slowvannah Farms traveled from Savannah, GA.  And Tim Munsey of Tim's Woodworking paid me a virtual visit from California!  Watch all four parts of our Flower Press collaboration below.


Part 1 - Tim Munsey builds an awesome Flower Press.  I've never seen a flower press before.  It's a pretty cool contraption.  Tim shipped it to Cy when he was done.


Part 2 - After receiving the flower press from Tim, Cy added some beautiful floral intarsia on the top.  I love watching Cy do intarsia.  She is so good at it.  Cy brought the flower press over to my shop and it was just beautiful!


Part 3 - With the flower press complete, the next step was to prepare some frames for the pressed flowers that Sarah was going to make.  We made frames that would stand on a table top.  They had a walnut base with pecan sides and two panes of glass.  Sarah and Charley took the frames and flower press home to finish the project.


Part 4 - Back at Slowvannah Farms, Sarah squished some flowers with the flower press to get them ready to frame between the glass panes.  Watch as Sarah and Charley overcome a couple of challenges to complete the awesome framed pressed flowers.


Extras - As you can see by watching these extra clips, we had a great time visiting with each other.  This collaboration was a lot of fun and I hope to hang out with Cy, Sarah, Charley, and Tim again sometime!  



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Make a Rad 2x4 Skateboard!

I made a Skateboard out of a standard 8-foot 2x4 for the Gwinnett Woodworkers Association 2x4 contest.  Even the wheels are made from the 2x4!  Watch my video to see how I did it!


The 2x4 Contest Rules stated that we were allowed to use only an 8-foot 2x4 and fasteners.  I ended up using most of the 2x4, two 1/2" bolts 8" long, four washers, and two nylon lock nuts.


I used wooden spacers between the wheels and cut the bolts so that only a small portion of the threads extended past the wheel for the lock nut to fit.  This allows the wheels to spin on the smooth part of the bolt which is lubricated with paste wax.


Download my Skateboard Template if you would like to make one of these yourself, although I highly recommend using real skateboard trucks and wheels if you are not restricted by any contest rules.  The wooden wheels work ok on a smooth surface, but there is no steering and they probably would not last very long.  Use at your own risk!


My Skateboard ended up receiving the Most Functional Award and won me a gift card to Peachtree Woodworking Supply!  Awesome!  Even though the skateboard is functional, I plan to keep it in my shop for display only.  I don't need any broken bones!



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Electric Guitar Follow Up

This is a follow up to my Electric Guitar build video where I answer lots of questions and play some guitar riffs for you.  See if you can recognize the riffs!


Take a look at my Electric Guitar Project on the Inventables site for some basic instructions and links to copy my Easel jobs.  Also, check out the X-Carve CNC Machine while you are there.  Below are links to some great resources that I found very helpful:
David Picciuto of the Drunken Woodworker/Make Something channel also made an electric guitar with the X-Carve.  Watch his video below to see how he did it!


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Making an Electric Guitar with the Inventables X-Carve

When Inventables sent me an X-Carve 3D Carving Machine, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it...make an Electric Guitar!  Making an electric guitar has been on my project list for a long time and I finally did it.  Watch this video to see the process and how the guitar turned out!

I have posted step-by-step instructions for this project on my Inventables Project Page.  If you have an X-Carve, then maybe you would like to try tackling this project.  One thing I learned while making this guitar is that double-checking your measurements and settings, as well as making test cuts, is key to a successful outcome.  I tested the guitar body, neck, and fret board measurements by cutting a single pass on scrap wood before carving any of my good wood.


Below is a list of the guitar parts that I purchased to complete this project.  These are a mix of items from the C.B. Gitty and Stewart-MacDonald websites.  I highly recommend purchasing all parts prior to carving the guitar, because the parts you use will dictate some of the guitar dimensions.

  • 2pc. White Plastic 6-String Guitar Nuts (CBGitty.com Part 31-074-01)
  • Chrome Adjustable Bridge for Electric Guitar (CBGitty.com Part 31-065-01)
  • Chrome Sealed-Gear Tuners - 6pc. Inline Right-aligned (CBGitty.com Part 31-006-02)
  • Pre-Wired 6-String Single Coil Pickup Harness - Black (CBGitty.com Part 54-006-01)
  • U-channel Truss Rod, Electric (StewMac.com Item # 1177-E)
  • StewMac Medium Fretwire, Medium/medium, 2 ft x 3 Qty  (StewMac.com Item # 0148)
  • Neck Mounting Plate, Chrome, with screws (StewMac.com Item # 0131)
  • Strap Buttons - Set of 2, Chrome, set of 2 (StewMac.com Item # 0170)
  • Electric Guitar Strings (Light 009 Gauge Recommended)
  • Control cavity cover made from wood or plastic


Below is a list of the tools I used to build the guitar.  If you do not have an X-Carve, you could use a bandsaw, router, and fretsaw to make a guitar, along with the help of some homemade templates and jigs; however, your cuts may not be as accurate.

  • X-Carve Machine, Computer, Easel Software
  • .25" 2-flute upcut spiral bit for the body and neck
  • .125 and .024 spiral bits for the fretboard
  • Rasp and Files
  • Phillips Screwdriver Small
  • Drill/Driver and drill bits
  • Adjustable Wrench Small
  • 5 Minute 2-Part Epoxy
  • Wood Glue
  • CA Glue
  • Sandpaper and Finishing Materials

Overall, I'm very pleased with how my first electric guitar turned out.  It's not a Fender or a Gibson, it's just a "Carmichael".  There are a few things I would like to do differently on my second guitar, such as learn how to use the X-Carve to carve the profile on the back of the neck.  Keep an eye out for my Electric Guitar Follow Up video where I discuss all of the details regarding what I will do differently next time.


Thank you to Inventables for sponsoring this project and providing the X-Carve, milling bits, Easel software, and inspiration that I needed to scratch this project off my bucket list.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sidebar Convo - Contests, TV Console, Electric Guitar, WIA 2015, Stickers and More!

Here is a quick shop update with a look at what's been going on in my shop.  Get caught up on the latest contests, see the finished TV Console project, and take a peek at the Electric Guitar I'm building with the X-Carve CNC Machine!


For more info on anything I talked about in this video, visit the links and channels below:
Watch Parts 1 and 2 of my Gwinnett Woodworkers presentation on My CNC Adventure:



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Make a Space-Saving TV Console Stand!

One of the greatest benefits of being a woodworker is the ability to create custom-size furniture to fit your needs.  My friend needed a compact TV Console to fit in a small space in his condo, so watch my video to see how this custom project turned out.


He provided a well-done measured drawing to help me get started.  It contained the overall dimensions of the unit, plus the dimensions of the openings to house his electronic components.  Using his drawing, I created this TV Console Plan and Cut List taking into account the thickness of the 3/4" lumber.  This entire project was built using three 8-foot 1"x12" boards and one 2'x4' piece of Luan plywood from the home center.


The boards for the main unit were ripped down to 10" wide, while the top needed to be 12" wide to overhang the power outlet on the wall.  Since a 1"x12" board is actually 11-1/4" wide, I attached an additional 3/4" strip to make it 12".


I could have used pocket screws to join the unit together, but I thought the holes would be too visible.  So, I used my old standby of screws with dowel screw head covers.  This makes for a strong joint, plus I like the look of the dowel plugs.  I think the key to making this look nice is lining up the screws with equal spacing between them.


The shelves in the bottom of the unit are adjustable.  I made a shelf pin drilling jig to help quickly drill holes for the 3/16" shelf pins.  This will allow for some flexibility when housing the electronic components.


The doors are basically mitered picture frames with splines in the corners to add strength.  My friend plans to insert frosted glass panels into the recessed rabbets on the inside.  He also plans to put glass shelves one each side with lights which will look really cool.  I made some handles for the doors, hung them on the console with hinges, and added a magnetic door catch.


Now that the woodworking part is done, I have handed the project over to my friend to apply his choice of finish, as well as glass door panels and shelves.  I promise to write an update on this project which he finishes his assigned homework.  Thanks to my friend for requesting this fun project and having confidence in my woodworking skills!


Update!  Here is a picture of the finished project.  My friend did an awesome job finishing it.  Looks great!

carmichael workshop tv console


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Make a Groovy Rotating Sticker Display!

My woodworker sticker collection has been growing like a weed, so I made a Rotating Sticker Display for them using a disco mirror ball motor.  Watch my video to see how groovy it is!

This is a pretty simple project.  I cut four panels from 1/4" plywood that are about 5.75"x36".  I used the lightest plywood I could find.  I rounded over the sharp corners using a washer to draw the curve.


I made three blocks with grooves on all four sides and used these to glue together the plywood panels into a column.  I used hot glue since it dries quickly and is strong enough for this application.  I was careful to make sure the ends of the panels were even with each other.


I mounted this 1-RPM Disco Mirror Ball Motor to the bottom of my wire shelving with zip ties.  I drilled two holes in the top of the display and used wire to hang it from the motor.


This project turned out great and is a good addition to my shop.  It's great for displaying all of my stickers in one place, and it does a fine job at promoting my friends' YouTube channels in the background of my videos!  Thanks for checking out this project!