As promised in my previous post, the prototyping has begun! I must say though, I definitely anticipated this process would be easier. Turns out I need to increase my table saw skill points before I really get cranking out these light boxes.
First things first, the default table saw blade was way too large for what I needed. With 36 teeth it was meant for larger pieces of wood, like what you would use to build a fence. I needed something much smaller and more precise in order to avoid rips and damage to the wood. After some major hunting, I managed to find a blade with teeny tiny teeth that would do the job for me. It was also a plus that this blade was $20 compared to the others that were $70+.
With blade in hand, it was time to try out my heavy duty equipment. One thing I discovered is that sometimes manuals can make things more confusing than they need to be. Also, it is quite apparent that not many 135lbs girls use table saws. I definitely got a workout just changing the blade!
After figuring out what parts go where and what screws the manual was telling me to loosen but didn’t need to, I replaced the safety barriers and was ready to let it rip! As excited as I was to get cracking on the prototypes, I knew that I should practice on scrap wood first. Despite this, I still wasn’t saved from mistakes. The wood was easy to push through and get a clean cut, but the acrylic… that was a different story.
It turns out that the built-in fence is great for guiding the wood through the cut, but is not so great for the acrylic. Since it’s so narrow (about 1/8″), it’s just small enough to get wedged under it… leading to crooked cuts and cracks. On the bright side, I managed to get four sheets through unscathed, so I will be busy for a little while!
My next task? The hardboard… any ideas on how to get a 2′ by 4′ pieces through without losing a limb?
Lessons learned? When it comes to prototyping, always expect the process to take at least four times longer than you think. It also might require some creative thinking (my favourite!) on your part in order to avoid future mishaps. Also, this isn’t so much a lesson as a statement: be sure to wear safety gear! I’m so glad I had my safety goggles on – I had no idea how much acrylic shavings there would be!