Home' Nonahood News : NONA 040116 Contents When I was offered a commission to design and build
a rack for the Nonahood News that would be placed in
the new GuideWell Innovation CoRE (Collaborative Re-
source Ecosystem), I jumped at the chance. I was lucky
enough to get a glimpse into the inner workings of the
new facility shortly before their grand opening. On that
first visit, much was askew; tables were still being built,
and many rooms were not fully furnished. What I saw,
however, was inspiring. I knew as soon as this project
was brought to me, I wanted it to be something more
than just a simple newspaper rack. The inspirational
space of the CoRE deserves better than that.
The design process was fairly straightforward. I
used Sketchup, a free 3D modeling program. Sketch-
up has some limitations, but it is a great way to get
started doing 3D work as it has a low barrier to entry
and plenty of tutorials online. I first measured a stack
of newspapers to determine the dimensions the rack
would need to accommodate. I made a little box in-
side of the program that represented a “model” of the
stack. For fun, I took photos of each side of the stack
and imported them into the program to serve as a
“texture” for the model. Now my little grey box looked
like an actual stack of newspapers.
Using the virtual newspaper stack as my reference,
I designed three conceptual versions of the stand. The
concepts went from “mild” to “wild.”
The first was a very basic, box-like
structure that was boring but function-
al. With the second concept, I stripped
away as much of the structure as pos-
sible, leaving a skeletal framework.
The final concept was a bit far-fetched;
it involved a piece of slate suspended
in space by four steel cables.
When the time came to select the
final concept, the first version proved
too plain and the last version was too
wild. The “Goldilocks” concept be-
tween those two was selected as the
final design. Side note: In these situ-
ations, always include something crazier than what
you actually want - it will make the one you want to
build look saner in comparison.
The consistent theme between all of the concepts
was to use mixed materials. I hope to echo the ideals
of the CoRE by mixing several elements into one co-
hesive structure. Combining wood, stone, and metal
together into one cohesive piece is an analog to the
many facets that will come together to create great
things at GuideWell Innovation.
There were some challenges. Because the concept
chosen had no outer “shell” to lend support to the struc-
ture, it needed very precise measurements. The frame
pieces had to fit together perfectly square and flush with
one another. Luckily, a benefit of designing the model in
3D is that obtaining exact measurements for each com-
ponent becomes a trivial task.
The metal components were another challenge. I
have a small CNC mill in my garage called a Shapeoko
3. A CNC mill works a bit like a 3D printer, but in an op-
posite method. 3D printers work by building up material
to make a part while a CNC mill removes parts of a block
of raw material to create a finished part. I have milled
plastic and wood in the past but never aluminum. I knew
the machine was capable of working with aluminum,
but metal is a less-forgiving material than anything I had
worked with before.
The job called for two machined
aluminum parts: an engraved dedi-
cation at the top of the stand and a
milled Nonahood News “N” on the
front of the stand. A trip to Skycraft (if
you’ve never been, you should check it
out) yielded the raw material I needed:
three 1-inch-wide strips of 6061 alu-
minum. 6061 is an alloy of aluminum
that is relatively easy to machine.
The business end of a CNC mill
is an end mill - basically a specialty
drill bit. End mills come in different
shapes and sizes. The smaller the di-
ameter of the end mill, the more precise you can be
with your final product. I started off with my smallest
end mill, which was just 1/64 inches’ diameter.
I programmed the design, fastened my aluminum
to the machine, and let it rip. I felt a thrill as the mill be-
gan to cut into the aluminum in a very precise pattern.
About 2 seconds later, the end mill snapped off! As pre-
viously mentioned, metal is much less forgiving than
other materials. This was all happening the day before
the grand opening, so I was pressed for time. Rather
than recalculate all of the parameters that control the
movement of the CNC, I opted just to use a bigger end
mill. Might makes right, after all! I removed the broken
piece and replaced it with a 1/32-inch end mill.
After updating the parameters to account for the
new size, I re-ran the job. This time, everything went
smoothly! The Nonahood News “N” was perfectly ma-
chined into a strip of aluminum. The engraving of the
dedication was much easier and involved a special
bit called a vee bit that allows for the precise detail
needed for small lettering. Once the aluminum pieces
were machined, they were polished and fastened to
the frame of the stand.
I was able to deliver the stand just in time for the
grand opening. As I placed it in position and made my
exit, the red carpet was being rolled out and the string
quartet was warming up. I’m proud to have contrib-
uted a little bit to the GuideWell Innovation CoRE. If
you visit, be sure to stop by the cafe area and pick up
the latest copy of the Nonahood News!
They Just Don’t Make
Newsstands Like They Used to!
Live music + Local produce
@ Laureate Park Village Center
8601 Tavistock Lakes Blvd Orlando, FL 32827
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28 APRIL 2016
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