R & D Lab

/R & D Lab

Here is a blog of things that we are currently working on in our Research and Development Lab! Anything you see here probably isn’t available in our store yet, but commissions are highly appreciated. You can commission anything you see here just send us an email and inquire about the price. Typically commissions are in the $50-$200 range.

Wine Bottle Wine Glass

By | 2017-06-27T20:23:16+00:00 June 27th, 2017|R & D Lab|

I know that I have been terribly remiss in updating this website with all my latest works.  Honestly I have a minimum of two new creations every week, so it’s a bit of a time consumption to take pictures and post them.  But I will make a better effort in the future.

Ok, so I was approached by a wine maker to create wine glasses from wine bottles.  Now mind you I initially thought tumblers.  But I did my usual background check (google images) and saw someone had come up with the idea of cutting the top off of a wine bottle, inverting it and turning it into a wine glass.  So I thought *brilliant*!  I can so do that.  So it turns out that cutting a wine bottle and getting it to break on the score line is a *LOT* more difficult to achieve than it sounds.  So 15 bottles later… then you have a sharp edge, which isn’t lip friendly.  So then you either have to sand the edge smooth, or flame polish them.  So given the choice I went with playing with fire.  So I tried to melt the lip with a propane torch and it wasn’t enough.  Plus you have to rotate the bottle and bottle top while doing so.

Which is perfect because I freakin’ love to make jigs.  Sometimes I take on a new project simply because I want to make the jig to do the job.  So I made one.  And I totally over did the jig, but it works great.  I then upgraded my flame from propane to Oxy-Acetylene, which worked fabulously.  So now I got the lip of the glass flame polished.  Now I need a base.  So to prove that this whole crazy scheme would work I designed a base to be 3d printed and I did so.  But (and I’m not exaggerating here) the minute I pulled it off of the 3d printer, one of my muses (Dylan) in the shop said “you should turn the base out of an exotic hardwood”.  I looked at him with that quizzical look I get when I know a freekin’ brilliant idea when I hear one.  So I pointed at him accusatorialy and proclaimed “*BRILLIANT*”!  I also happened to have some bubinga disks from a memorial cross project that I did.

I turned the base to include a dowel in it, then drilled a hole in the cork to fit the dowel.  Put it all together and what to do you get… I wine glass made from a wine bottle.  Terribly apropos don’t you think?

So here we are.  This is the one that I made for my mother and father for Mothers Day and Fathers Day.

Latin Pride Shirts

By | 2017-06-12T18:20:20+00:00 September 9th, 2015|R & D Lab|

I’m currently working on a set of t-shirts for a good friend.  She’s fiercely proud of her Latin American heritage, but equally proud (if not more) to be an United States Citizen.  So I came up with these designs and intend to give them to her for her birthday.

Now the third one in the batch I made for myself.  I live in a heavily hispanic neighborhood.  Which has it’s advantages and disadvantages.  One of the advantages is that the food is freekin’ awesome.  It helps that I have a massive addiction to Chimichanga’s, Nacho’s, and Chicharone’s.  Don’t get me started on my addiction to Chile’s.  Chipotle’s are probably the single greatest contribution to modern society that Latin America has gifted us with.  The disadvantage is that I’m about as white as you can get, and my Spanish is only medium, I’m not fluent.

But I got distracted.  The third shirt, I’m making so that I can put a smile on my Chicharone vendors face the next time I walk in to buy some!

Custom Wood or Acrylic Puzzles

By | 2017-06-12T18:20:20+00:00 August 26th, 2015|R & D Lab|

Yet another product that I’m developing for the Christmas gift giving season is custom photo puzzles.  I’m intending for them to be made out of wood or Acrylic.  With wood I’m thinking of using MDF (medium density fiberboard), because it doesn’t have a grain and it etches so beautifully.  I also thought of doing these in clear acrylic!  So imagine clear acrylic plastic with a white ghost image in it.  Now break that up into puzzle pieces and you get what I’m going after.  It will be darn impressive.

So first I take the customers image, then I remove the color from it, then make a puzzle out of it.  Simple.

I’ve already tested the idea in the shop with a few people and I think I might have pre-orders on this one!

Bigger Badder Aztec Calendar!

By | 2015-08-25T20:59:51+00:00 August 25th, 2015|R & D Lab|

I’m working on making my custom etched Aztec calendar wall piece bigger and Badder.  It’s going to be over 24″ in diameter.  I’m going to break it up into 3 pieces and make it look like a natural fracture of stone.  Even though it’s made out of wood!  You’ll assemble it yourself with 3 simple steps and a frame behind it will hold it all together, plus provide a simple hanging spot.  You might want to commission one now, because I’ve already got pre-orders in the shop!  I love it when I sell stuff I haven’t even finished yet.

Custom Laser Cut Hardwood Dominoes.

By | 2017-06-12T18:20:20+00:00 August 25th, 2015|R & D Lab|

So one of my many products that I’m gearing up for the Christmas gift giving season is custom laser cut wooden dominoes.   The picture above is from the web, I haven’t gotten around to making a whole set yet for product pictures.  I’m going to be making them out of hardwoods such as walnut and maple.  The cool thing is that you can make the dots on the dominoes anything you want.  So my initial production models will be geared toward the comicon sci-fi crowd, because who doesn’t want Darth Vader helmet dots on their dominoes??

I’ve already done a test on maple and they have this amazingly beautiful solid clink to them as you set them on the table!  I could sit there and do that all freakin’ day long!

It’s going to come in a nice custom made wooden box which you can custom engrave anything you want on.  So I’m officially taking commissions for the first ones.  Be the first to order a set!

Zeppelin/Airship 3d puzzle

By | 2015-08-25T18:32:05+00:00 August 25th, 2015|R & D Lab|

I’m working on another 3d puzzle model.  I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do a zeppelin model.  And I finally got fixated on it enough to get it started.  It’s going to be a 3 dimensional puzzle model similar to the one pictured above.  But mine is made out of baltic birch plywood (for strength in all directions).  Plus I’m making mine to be a scale model of the Hindenburg zeppelin airship.  I spent a lot of time making sure that it is as accurate as possible, but I did have to take some minor artistic license on it!  My current model is about 23 inches (58cm) in length.  It will be available soon in our etsy store.

Now I know there are a lot of airship enthusiasts out there.  So I’M SIMPLY DYING to have someone commission a scale model of ANY other airships.  Like the R-1c Shenandoah, the Los Angeles, the Akron, or the Macon!

Laser cut wine glass box

By | 2015-08-25T19:20:39+00:00 August 25th, 2015|R & D Lab|

I recently completed a laser cut wine glass box for my fathers 70th birthday.  And I completely forgot to get pictures of it.  But Mom is sending them as soon as she has a moment.  So basically I took the idea of a slotted laser cut wood box (like the photo above) and adapted it with built in hinges to open up and display 4 custom engraved wine glasses.  As soon as I have time I’ll be adapting the design and posting the boxes for sale on etsy.  You’ll be able to get whatever you want engraved on them so they make for superior gifts for any time of year!

I debuted the prototype at my Fathers’ 70th birthday party as a custom made gift for him.  I included 4 custom laser etched wine glasses with his vineyard logo on them.  I’ve already got pre-orders for the next batch!

Build Your Own Slingshot Kit

By | 2015-08-25T21:02:35+00:00 August 16th, 2015|R & D Lab|

I’m developing an inexpensive DIY Build your own slingshot kit.  It’s composed of 5 layers of laser cut plywood.  It comes with wooden pins so everything aligns correctly.  You simply glue it up, then file the corners if you want, and/or paint it (if you want).  The kits are expected to sell for $25 plus shipping.  But quantity orders can be down in the $18 each for orders of 10 or more units.  It will come with rubber bands and a custom leather ammo pouch.  The problem is going to be writing directions for the darn thing.  I’m contemplating just making a you-tube video for it’s construction.

Using TSP art to make products

By | 2017-06-12T18:20:20+00:00 August 12th, 2015|R & D Lab|

I’m a big fan of mathematically derived art. There’s a famous mathematical problem called the “Traveling Salesperson Problem” (TSP). It goes like this, given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city exactly once and returns to the origin city? So you can take any regular photograph, and discard the right amount of information from it, and you get a set of points. Then you can use a TSP solver to connect all the dots with ONE single continuous line. If you do that as a vector graphic then you can take that to a CNC machine and create ART! So my plan is to take a photo, I’ll probably use Einstein as my demo. Einstein is good for that (see my halftone Einstein). Then using a computerized quilting machine and contrasting thread to the fabric, and you’ve got a quilt with someone’s picture on it. Or the same could be done with laser etching on wood (or some other material that creates contrast when etched). Now taking orders!

T-Rex Trophy Head

By | 2015-08-25T21:14:58+00:00 August 11th, 2015|R & D Lab|

I’ve been developing this large t-rex head to be mounted on a large wooden badge, just like typical animal trophies.  The advantage of this one is it’s made out of cardboard (recycled), so it’s not as deadly as a real one!  So since no actual animals were hurt (exept for their feelings probably) this is a more politically correct trophy mount.  Not to mention a jaw dropping conversation piece.  Commission a dinosaur (or any other animal) trophy mount today!