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Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

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  • Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

    When I first started woodwork, my projects were real simple. A box, a photo frame… stuff like that. Because to me it’s only worth creating something really nice (something that doesn’t look cheap) I use expensive wood.
    At the start I wasn’t too confident about my woodwork abilities so I used to create the item first with cheap wood and then when I got it the way I wanted, then use to recreate it with more expensive wood.
    Did anyone do the same? Or am I weird LOL
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  • #2
    Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

    I don't do it for whole projects, but I do use cheap wood for various stages of the project to check out how things will work.

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    • #3
      Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

      Norm does it all the time.
      Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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      • #4
        Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

        Woodworklady

        Welcome to the forum.

        You are not weird in this respect (I don't know about other weirdness ).

        When making doors/drawers, I use cheaper grades of wood first.

        I also use cheaper wood when setting up and trying out new router techniques to be used on a project.

        For a large project and for checking scale, heavy cardboard can also be used to construct a mock up.

        Even very experienced woodworkers (not me) will tell you that they try out things with cheaper types of wood. It burns just as good in the shop stove and the pain of messing something up is not as great.

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        • #5
          Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

          I have but not intentional, LOL,

          I have found the need to redesign more on mechanical projects (things like machines with moving parts) than on non mechanical, like most wood working projects, boxes (cabinets) , and the like,

          Furniture can need and some times wise to make a prototype, especially if it is a height or a seating issue, the angels of the back and seat, the height of seats, (with and with out cushions), desk heights and table heights and top thickness, or find some thing that works and copy it, in those areas,

          another thing is some of us that have been doing this for years, do have prototypes, there the old projects that are now basement or attic fixtures, or have been retired, Just the other day I threw out a chair I made in high school, it was OK but a little tall in the seat, I used it in collage and early marriage, then it has set in an old out building for the last 30 years, or more, and figured it was about time to retire it,


          I do not think one makes a project and in some way trys to figure out how to improve it, or make it easer or better in some way, If you were to build it again,
          Last edited by BHD; 09-17-2008, 10:24 AM.
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          • #6
            Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

            I am fairly new to woodworking and my first few projects out that did not turn out well. After wasting some expensive wood I decided protoypes might be a good idea to figure out any challenges. I also found this helpful to fine tune any templates used for the final product. Although its time consuming to build a prototype first I find it a valuable experience.

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            • #7
              Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

              i also make parts of my projects, usually not the whole thing. i do make lots of trial pices to make sure dadoes and other pieces fit right. and i still find the need to make at least 1 wrong cut as i did today cutting a dado. i also make setup blocks during the project to make rips precise. Pez, i started out making as many jigs as possible. that way you dont waste expensive wood. i am working on an outfeed table from wood magazine. i work on it very hard on weekends and still it seems to take forever. but i dont mind the time invested, its like therapy after dealing with customers problems all week. happy woodworking to all!

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              • #8
                Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

                For my next project, I want to build a Green & Green end table from a recent woodworking magazine. For this, I think a prototype would be a good idea. So far, most of my projects have been made using burled and figured woods for which prototype builds don't really help a lot. That being said, I could've done better had I made the prototype first. From my experience, I feel prototypes can always help. No matter what the project, there's going to be that particular joint or something that will stump you. Also, seeing the project in whole in the prototype can help with aesthetics of proportion.
                I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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                • #9
                  Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

                  For some projects I actually do a mock up using Google SketchUp. It's a relatively easy 3D modeling tool which you can download for free and play around with the basic construction to get it right. Anything overly complex and I like to actually have the physical material to work with.

                  One thing modeling helps me do is remember all edges and sides when measuring. I tend to make newbie mistakes and cut a piece an inch too long or too short because I've forgotten that it's to be butted up against another piece.

                  --Jeff

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                  • #10
                    Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

                    For some I do and for some I don't. For an end table LOML wanted, I made a prototype so she could make any design changes after having used it. With all the family she has here, all the prototypes find a home if they are not kept by us. Just add some sanding and a few coats of wipe on finish. However, in the case of the end table, it is still in use after 18 months as it fit the bill and she hasn't yet decided what wood she wants for the bookcases, coffee table, etc she now wants to go with it.

                    With all projects, tho, I cut and mill extra boards for things like door stiles and rails, etc, that require a lot of different set-ups for tenons, mortises, etc, as it is always nice to have a spare that has gone through the whole process, step by step, in case something goes wrong with one of the "finish" pieces down the road. If the "spare" hasn't been too badly mangled using it for the initial test cuts, it can substitute for the finished piece, or at least be used as a set up gauge to duplicate the cuts.

                    Go
                    Practicing at practical wood working

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                    • #11
                      Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

                      I don't have any prototype creation but i am planning to create a prototype,




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                      Rapid Prototyping

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                      • #12
                        Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

                        When working in the shop on a complex project I rarely do mockups or prototypes, but I will use scrap to test cuts and dry fitting to check assembly before gluing anything.

                        I also use pocket screw joinery a lot and I find it allows me to "back up" in a project to refit or re-engineer something that crops up. In my experience, pocket screw joinery needs no glue. If cut edges are clean and square, the joints are easily as strong whether glue is used or not, so I prefer not to use it.

                        But I'm one who uses SketchUp heavily before projects actually start out in the shop. I find it allows me to do every detail, including internal fit inside joints where you couldn't actually see the fit, even in a test piece. SketchUp permits accurate dimensioning and, if I do it right, materials lists can be extracted from the drawings.

                        d

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                        • #13
                          Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

                          i make cheaper wood proto's , something i also do so as to cut down on silly mistakes,( still screw up though) i will write down the lengths of cuts for each piece, the hieght/width/depth of the overall piece, what depth of cut i did, how deep i set the router on each pass, etc. etc. then when the project is done i have a written out materials list along with instructions so if i need to make a second or third piece i have all the set up and lengths of cuts to duplicate it exactly..

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                          • #14
                            Re: Did you guys create a prototype for your first projects?

                            If the piece has some intricate components, I like to make MDF mockups of those pieces. MDF is cheap as dirt and when you have the piece made to specs you have a prototype for future replications.



                            Bill

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