First prototype in hand

So I got some time to play in the shop this weekend. Once I adjusted g-code generation to just pencil line the profile of the blades I got the cut time for both blades down to 17 minutes. That was going super slow at 5IPM, since I did not want to drive Z faster and the g-code generator was not playing nice if I tried to have the axis at different top speeds.

For this first blade I worked off the loveless 9 point hunter. I really liked the lines on the keen-edge knives pattern for the loveless. In the end it seems a little small in my hand. Maybe I got the pattern wrong but the finger guard presses into my hand.

I did both the handle wrap and the over wrap with 3mm para cord – so the handle also feels a bit thick to me. Interestingly that bulk made it seem handle heavy to me, but as soon as I placed the knife in a friends hand who is a knife fighter her immediate comment was that it was blade heavy. Adding a false blade profile should help – but this drove home that I am going to need to get a lot of feedback from blade people to make this project work.

The reverse grip feels a little less “fat” in my hand, but I don’t know now how to improve it. A little stumped here.

Making training blades – First Attempt

So eventually I want to try making some real knives, but first I want to make some training blades. Basically knife shaped and weighted objects, but constructed with out points or blades. You use training blades like this to train in the martial arts. It allows realistic attacks, without the pesky side effects of “oops” – “I think I just cut open your jugular vein” or “I think I just stabbed you in the kidney for real!”.

While I have never done business with them, Empire training blades ( has a nice looking catalog of training knives. In particular I liked their loveless training blade – so for my first knife I figured I would use that as inspiration / target. The Empire blades are only like $30, and so unless you are trying to learn from making the knife, like I am, or trying to go into business making them I suggest just buying one and finding some place else to spend your time. Like training with the blade.

Any way, my first attempt cutting out the knife was going well enough until I realized, all too late, that the g-code assumed a roughing pass had been done. So the mill buried the cutter into the stock, then snapped off the bit trying to do a heavy cut. Luckily it was a small cutter designed to snap under those conditions.

Engraving Plastic

So Ian came over again this weekend with a weird project – he wanted to make some protective plastic covers for photographic filters, which is easy enough, but he wanted to try engraving them.

I had never done engraving with the mill, but Ian had mentioned it before, and I had been meaning to try it, so I already had purchased some engraving bits. All in all I thought the engraving came out ok. Main lesson learned is I need to make some specialty mounting fixtures for working with thin stock.

Normally I used double sided tape, but Ian wanted to preserve surface finish on the soft plastics so we ended up making a jig from wood to hold the parts.

I really need to make a real engraving fixture

This post is mostly a reminder to make such a jig in the future.