Monday, October 16, 2017

The Tin Man Project Is Completed!

I am happy to report that I have finished the Tin Man project in the workshop this afternoon. It has not been a terribly difficult project to design or build which is always good and the end result was worth the effort.  So let me show you how it all turned out. 

As you can see the Tin Man has a great big grin on his face to match the one that is on my face now that the project has been completed.  He stands 30" tall and has over 200 parts.  The body was made out of fiberglass, the arms and legs are PVC pipe, and everything else was 3D printed except for nuts, bolts and a little wood for the axe handle.  In his right hand he is holding his trusty oil can and of course he had to have an axe that is sitting next to him.  

Here all off the parts laid about before I started the final assembly of the Tin Man which took around 2 hours to complete.  The axe is around 12" inches long with a real wooden handle and the head of the axe being 3D printed in ABS plastic.  I am very happy how this turned out.  

Here's a closer look at the axe along with the little oil can for the Tin Man.  I was lucky enough to track down actual photos of the oil can so I could model it in Fusion 360 CAD software and then 3D print it in parts.  I then sanded everything smooth and glued it together and painted it silver. 

The only parts that are glued in place on the Tin man is his big toothy smile and his big red heart.  Lots of planning went into this project so I am happy once again that my efforts worked out the way they did.  This will be a great lawn ornament and I suspect he will look even better once he has been out in the weather for a few months.  It will make him look a lot older but if he every gets to be to worn looking it is an easy matter of taking him apart and repainting him if need be. 

I was happy that I was able to take the photos that you see here in the workshop today.  I was not sure he could stand up on his own. But for use in a yard I have a wooden dowel that would be pounded into the ground to support him by using a receiving tube that runs up the inside of his back that the dowel would slide into.  This will keep him standing even in a very strong wind.  I suspect though that even if the Tin Man fell over in a lawn the worst that would happen is that he might get dirty.  A very sturdy fellow to say the least.  Another project that I can cross off the list of ideas that keep coming up in my head.  Enjoy the photos and have a good day in your shop as well. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How To Get Free CAD Software From Autodesk!

Next week I will start teaching a class on how to use Fusion 360 CAD software at the Key City Creative Center in Dubuque, Iowa.  With this being said I have been getting my new students ready for the class by first helping them get Fusion 360 software set up on their laptops for free.  I have been using this software for three years now and I am more than happy with it's capabilities, regular updates, and of course the fact that anyone can get a copy for free.  So after having sent out to my students the procedure to do just that I thought it would be a good idea to spread the word to everyone else that reads my blog as well.  So here are the steps you will need to take to get this great CAD software for your next project. 

Fusion 360 Setup

Go online and enter

When page loads up select "Download Free Trial"

Enter Your email address and select "Download Free Trial" again.

Fusion 360 will auto-launch once setup is complete.
A window will come up asking you "Do you want to run this file?"
Select "Run"

Setup will begin..... this will take a while to complete.

Another window will open up to sign in.
Select "Create Account"

Fill in information
Select "I agree to terms"
Select "Create account"

Select "Done" in account created window

Fusion will finish setting up

Press "Continue" on this screen

Fusion 360 will start showing "Welcome to Fusion 360" pop up window
Select "Next"

The data panel window will open
Select "Done"

Getting started window will open
Select "Close"

Select blue button "Term ends in 30 days" on top of screen
A new window will open
Select "Sign up as a Start-up or Enthusiast (Free)

Select "Accept Terms"
Select "Submit"

Select "Close" to end sign up screen

Fusion 360 is now ready to use.

That's all there is to it.  Follow the steps one by one and in a very
short time you will have access to this amazing free software.  I use
it always to design and build the projects that you can find here on
my blog.  It's a great tool and there are lots of training videos online
to help get you started.  Tech support from Autodesk with the
software also is excellent so it's a no brainer to get started designing
you next great project.  Happy creating!

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Tin Man Project Part 3

The Tin Man project is progressing nicely with primer and paint being applied to the parts this week.  Hopefully I will have the project completed by the end of the week.  Here are some images of where the project progressed over the past week or so and stands as of this morning.

This is the start of the construction of the body for the Tin Man.  I stacked up four layers of Styrofoam and glued them together to make a nine inch tall cylinder.  After sanding one edge of the cylinder I fiberglassed it completely except one end and let it cure over night.  Next I marked and cut what will be the lower edge of the fiberglass body to get a nice straight edge using my bandsaw.  

Here you can see the Styrofoam sticking out of the body before I started to remove all of it,  This way I could have the cavity I need to mount the arms, legs, and head.

This strange looking device is what is called a hotwire.  It is the tool that I used to remove the Styrofoam from the body of the Tin Man.  Electrical current is fed into the device which heats up the wire to melt the Styrofoam.  A great tool that I have used for years and is well worth the money.

Here I started taking out pieces of the Styrofoam with the hotwire. The tool made it as easy as scooping ice cream out of a bucket.  I wrapped the Styrofoam in plastic sheeting before I started fiberglassing.  This made it simpler to remove the Styrofoam as the fiberglass did not stick to the plastic sheeting.  This left me with a lot less clean up inside the Tin Man body and a nice smooth surface as well.

 Here the body has been completely cleaned out.  If I had not wrapped the foam first in plastic sheeting I would have had a lot more clean-up to do on the inside of the body.  It saved me a lot of work to be sure. 

Here is a look at the 3D printed mounting plate for the hip and legs that is now installed into the body along with a mounting tube to receive the rod that will be pounded into the ground to help support the Tin Man when he is standing on display.  The rod slides into the tube and will hold the Tin Man up even in a stiff wind. 

I next started putting the arms together for the project.  On the left you can see the first set of bolts and nuts that I used to put the assembly together.  I was not happy with the look so I swapped everything out and used threaded rod and acorn nuts on most of the assembly.  This took me a bit longer to make and assemble but the look is much cleaner.  

Finally on to the priming and painting of the parts for the Tin Man.  Here is a shot of most of the parts on the work table.  The joints for the legs in the project needed very little prep work so I was able to go ahead and prime and paint these parts first. 

Lots and lots of parts had to be 3D printed to make the joints for the arms and legs. 

Then you have lots and lots of nuts, bolts, and threaded rods to hold everything together. In total there are 206 parts in the entire project. 

The Tin Man's face is coming right along with the first couple of coats of primer.  I still have a little wet sanding to do yet on this part but it should not take me very long to get it dialed in.  The head of course will be painted silver like the rest of the figure.

The body of the Tin Man still will need a bit of work yet before I am happy with the outer surface so that I can spray on the paint that it needs. I'll get there but it will take a little more time. 

Here the arms, legs, and hands along with the head of the axe for the Tin Man are painted and left to dry. This was the easiest part of the project as these parts needed little if any prep work to get them ready for paint. 

Lastly what self respecting Tin Man would be without his trusty oil can.  This turned out very well and took a bit of thinking to get it printed correctly but will be a nice accessory for the project.  I still have to do some sanding on the individual parts of the oil can and then glue them together and paint it.  I was lucky enough to find an image of the actual oil can used in The Wizard of OZ so I am happy to include this with the Tin Man when he is on display. 

Part four of the project should wrap things up with this project so check back to the site soon to see how it all turned out.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New Dubuque Iowa Makerspace Plans Open House Soon!

Having recently been accepted as a member to the Board of Directors this last week I am proud to announce that the Key City Creative Center (KCCC) in Dubuque Iowa will be having an open house in the coming weeks.  The new makerspace is shaping up nicely with 28 members already and equipment to be able to make anything from  projects made of wood to 3D printed parts or laser engraved plaques.  Along with the new facility are spaces for crafts, automotive repair and fabrication, computer classes, and welding just to name a few of the amenities that are already in place for use. 

Here is the news release that I received  a couple of days ago.  It will tell you all about the coming event in more detail.  If you are anywhere near the Tri-state area (Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois) on October 14th I personally invite you to come to the free open house as we will have a lot to share and I am sure it will be a lot of fun too.  Hope to see you there!

KCCC Full Logo - CMYK.jpg


Hiztler | Key City Creative Center Founder |m:563-599-2915

New Makerspace in Dubuque to Host Public Open House Saturday October 14

DUBUQUE, Iowa, September 25, 2017-- Opening its doors to the general public for the first time, Key City Creative Center (KCCC) -- Dubuque’s new Makerspace -- will host an open house on Saturday, October 14th, from 11 am - 3 pm at their brand new workshop space located at 1781 White Street, in downtown Dubuque. Longtime Dubuque residents may recognize the location as one of the former Rafoth Sheet Metal buildings.

The open house will include Makerspace tours, membership information & sign-up, live equipment demonstrations, and hand-crafted art for sale made onsite by current members. Local non-profits that already partner with the Makerspace will also have informational booths and door prizes for visitors.

Tim Hitzler, a local social studies teacher, woodworker, and KCCC Founder, began considering the idea of opening a Makerspace back in 2015, after seeing a need in the community for functional workspace and tools. “I visited other Makerspaces and saw the power of collaboration among people of different backgrounds and skills. Some people don’t have the means or space at home to own their own machinery, so this offers people an opportunity to share tools and talents,” Hitzler said.

The Makerspace is designed to be a resource for everyone in the community, not just experienced craftspeople. Artists creatives, or just curious individuals who want to learn new skills are encouraged to check it out. Sister Margaret Mear, BVM, of Mt. Carmel in Dubuque is a current member of the Makerspace. “I joined KCCC because they could give me a place to weld and do large sculpture. It will also be a good place to connect with other artists and to learn from each other,” Mear said.

Current KCCC Board President Lyndal Anthony is excited for the public to see what the Makerspace has to offer. “I was initially recruited to set up equipment and develop a safety training program, but I saw the value of having a space and quality equipment for people to build and/or repair projects,” said Anthony. “I think this space is going to be key
in cultivating communication, education and cooperation for everyone in Dubuque.”

With an increased focus on STEM education in schools, and a growing need for more people working in the skilled trades, Makerspaces are popping up around the country as vital spaces where individuals can experiment creatively in a safe environment.

Key City Creative Center is a collaborative workspace where members can complete DIY projects, learn technical trade skills, and be part of a community that values hands-on education and craftsmanship. The $50 monthly membership fee includes 24/7 key-card access to a variety of tools and equipment, with secure private studio space available at an additional cost.

More information available at
and on the Facebook event page at

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Tin Man Project Part 2

It's been kind of a hectic week with all that has been going on here at the workshop and also at a new makerspace I have gotten involved in.  More about the makerspace in another post soon.  But for right now I want to show you the progress that I have made today on my Tin Man project. 

Here once again is how this project should look once I have it completed.  Also the image above is a good way to show you what parts of the Tin Man go where when I show them in various stages of construction.

Here are all of the 3D printed parts that I've put together for this project so far.  70 hours of 3D printing make a lot of parts as you can tell.  From left to right in the back of this image is the hips assembly, PVC tubing for the arms, the head with hat already attached, and more PVC for the legs.  Again starting on the left and moving right are the feet with the ankles attached, joints for the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, teeth for the face of the Tin Man, and knew joints for the legs.  Lastly also starting on the left is the head mounting plate, the hands (without fingers), the hip mounting plate, and the leg and arm PVC drill guides and supports.  Lots to figure out on this project.

To start the assembly I put together the hips first pictured above.  This consists of a blue mounting plate that was 3D printed.  Inserted into this plate are two 1 1/2" long PVC 1 3/4" outside diameter tubes that are press fit into the plate.  Then inserted and bolted into these tubes are two 3D printed joints for the hips along with the mounting hardware to hold everything in place. 

Next another mounting plate for the body of the Tin Man is bolted to the blue mounting plate using 1/4-20 bolts, nuts, and washers. This white plate was also 3D printed and is 1/4" thick and 5.75" in diameter.  The PVC mounting tubes for the hip joints slide easily into the holes designed for them.

The next step in this portion of the assembly was to cut the PVC piping to the required lengths for the arms and legs as well as drill all of the mounting holes for the project. I cut all of the tubing using my miter saw and it turned out to be a quick and easy task.  To ensure that the joints for the legs and arms would go together smoothly into the PVC tubing I 3D printed a drill guide for both sizes of tubing that are used for the arms and legs.  I then could slide the tubing into the guide (shown on the right) and also have a matching tube support (shown upper left) to hold the tubing correctly while I drilled the 1/4" holes using my drill press.

Here is the setup on my drill press ready to drill the first hole.  The piece of wood underneath the drill guide helped me hold everything easily in place while I drilled straight through the center of the tubing and also mark a spot on the wood at the same time. 

With the wood marked I drilled an additional hole completely through the plywood support so that I could slide a bolt down through the first hole that I drilled into the tube.  This kept the tube from spinning as I wanted both holes to be in the center of the tubing as well as be aligned with one another in the final assembly of the legs and arms.

I was very pleased to be able to put the leg assembly together first time out.  The drill guides really worked out perfectly.  The assembly of the legs that you see pictured above was very quick and easy

With the joints all mounted correctly I can even pose the Tin Man if I like once it is complete.  But he would be limited in his movement so to have him stand up is the plan of action at this point.  To make him more posable would take a bit more design work to have the joints have more movement.  But for now this will do nicely.

The arms also went together smoothly as shown above.  I have all of the components for his hands but when this photo was taken I did not have enough bolts and nuts to put the fingers on the hands yet.  I will have to make another trip to the hardware store to get this covered. 

The next step in the assembly will be the fiber glassing of the body for the Tin Man.  This will be a simple task but not a fast one.  I have the Styrofoam already set up to use as a plug for the fiberglass work so hopefully I can get at this in the next day or so.  Once this main part is completed it will just be a matter of drilling some holes to mount the hip plate to the base of the body and drill holes for the head mount and shoulder joints.  So I've still  got a lot of work to get at yet before I can move on to disassembly of the figure and paint all of the parts  and then put them all back together again.  

I also still have to 3D print his heart and work on his axe.  Lastly I plan on making a old style oil can that he can hold on to when he is displayed. It will be another nice touch for the finished figure.  I'll keep you posted when I get further along.  Have a productive day in your workshop.  Today has been a good one for me.