Friday, September 11, 2015

Making a Mobile Workbench



My second mobile bench. Full of hippy paintings. It was destroyed in a fire.

If you want to see more of it click here.

I have moved a lot in my life and I got tired of building a new workshop every time so I started making a mobile bench about 26 years ago.

The first one I made I sold to a partner in business to get rid of her.

That and my Harley Davidson--- that was hard.

The next one I built ( the one in the link) I made with a jig saw and a welder and electric drill and the rest hand tools.

That also was hard.

I built it so that it would fit into a VW Combi camper.

We did shows where I would make jewellery on demand.


.The current one---made out of 30mm hollow steel tubing.

Two shapes like this, one top and one at the bottom.


I made small pieces of tubing so that the top and bottom can be taken apart.


The corner struts are fitted in and later I bolted then together.


The basic frame coming together.

I made the entire bench so that everything can be taken apart.


With the center struts also in place


Here I am welding the table top  strip supports.

When I fit the melamine wood, I want every ‘cell’ to lie lower  than the steel frame.

That way, nothing can roll off the bench.

So basically, the steel is 30 mm square and the wood is 25 mm thick, leaving a 5 mm ridge around the three ‘cells’ of the bench top.


I made a potent wheel system so that it can be raised and wheeled to another place.

The square bar at the side is lifted and locked into place.


I can lift the bench fully laden with the roller in place.

When it is lowered it sits tight on the ground, because it is so heavy.


Frame with the drawer guides in.

This bench works on the KISS principle


I painted the frame metallic blue and fitted the roller.


Building the extraction and filter system for the polishing motor.


Fitting the rotary extractor fan.


At the top is a removable filter. It really sucks well.

The machine is called Linda Lovelace—I’m not saying why.

At the bottom there are two input plugs for electricity.

The middle brown part has a drawer that stores all the polishing buffs.


I used an Abbot and Ashley motor to polish and grind.

At 2800 rpm, it’s got serious grunt.

Behind the buff is the detachable filter unit.


The other side has got a 150 mm grinding wheel on.

On the side so the grinding stuff doesn’t interfere with the polishing buffs.


The front of the bench has drawers for drawing paper, polishing buffs,and a Gravermax access door.

Trust me, you need clean drawing paper and stationary.


When everything is closed, nothing sticks out.

The holes are the handles—you stick your finger in and pull them open.

Rare earth magnets act as catches to hold everything closed.


I use sliding everything.


This is my acid station.

Bi-carb on the left, sulphuric acid in the rear and Sodium-bisulphate on the right.

It has a sliding cover over it.

The inside is glass and silicone.

It doesn’t mess at all.


The black square is my melting area.

It has a steel top and a soldering pad underneath for insulation.


This is the front access door to my Gravermax.

The picture was taken while I was wiring everything up.

The gold  square at the top left is a quick connection for the Gravermax’s air compressor.


Just because I can, I made a brass fitting.


The front of my Gravermax is underneath my sliding gold tray.

I think pouches suck and they waste time and space.


I made a detachable side panel.


It slots in like this.

The two switches at the left bottom are the master switches for the polishing system and the rest of the bench.


It hangs all my most used tools.


Below my melting square is space for my oxygen and propane tanks.

I am using external tanks at the moment.


Door closed.


Everything slides.

This is my soldering pad

I have two third arms, (GRS) one of which I made a third ball joint so it is more articulative. ( new word)

My solder holder is on the right.

It has a flip up lid so that my cockatiel does not eat the solder pieces.


This is my burr tray.

Everything has it’s place.

The burrs fit into a clear 6 mm sheet of Perspex.

Below  the Perspex is a sheet of paper which annotates the size or type of burr that goes into the correct hole.

This is not an OCD thing.

It is simply that I don’t waste time looking for a burr, and It cuts my work time down to the minimum effort.

Bench 1 (22)

This is my slide out for all the immediate tools needed.

Pliers, files with the handles marked to indicate what file it is, five hammers and my main triblet.


This is the bench as it stands today.

I have been working for four years on it already.

This picture with the gold tray removed.

I added the microscope a bit later.


The top drawer contains buff sticks and Gravermax and hand setting tools.


The second drawer beading tools, pens and setting stuff.


Everything can be broken down, including the hanging motor support and the lights as well.


Here with the gold tray in in place.

The second and third drawers contain gold and silver stock like plate, bars and wire.

The two foot pedals are for the Gravermax and hanging motor.

The overall dimension are 1250 mm long, 700 mm deep and 900 mm high.

The middle cutout is 580 mm wide and 350mm deep.

The tray is 670 mm high from the ground.

And I don’t hit my knees at all.



I like black to show up gold and diamonds.

But I will spray paint the tray to a different colour like purple just because.


Sawing peg.

I use GRS everything.

I have the roller on a separate stand at the moment.


I use two architectural lights with 100w reflectors in.

I lines the inside with aluminum foil so the covers don’t get so hot.

If I pitch at a new place all I need to do is plug the bench in and I can make jewellery right away.

Click on pictures to make them bigger.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Making a Rotary Burnisher



Making your own Rotary Burnishing Tools

Rotary Burnishing Tools are used in various metalsmithing applications to smooth out and cover up porosity holes in metal.

These burnishing tools are used and form part of the Making Fused Jewelry Tutorial which  is an in depth technical tutorial consisting of 47 pages and over 80 pictures, showing three different projects and various methods of setting stones in fused metal and fused component manufacture.

making rotary burnishing tools burr

I start with an old 3 mm ball frazer for this one.

making rotary burnishing tools shaping

I rough shape it on a bench grinder, just to get most of the teeth off.

making rotary burnishing tools forming

Once it is rough shaped it needs to be smoothed out a bit more.

making rotary burnishing tools sanding

I sand the ball tip further with a 220 and 1200 grit buff stick whilst it is spinning in my hanging motor.

I have a free tutorial Making Buff Sticks on my Jewelry Making Classpage.

making rotary burnishing tools flame

Once the ball is smoothed out to 1200 grit, I bend it to just under 90ยบ using my torch.

I use my steel block and then heat the tip cherry red.

making rotary burnishing tools bending

It looks hotter than it really is, and also it doesn't heat the steel block at all.

making rotary burnishing tools heat

With soft pressure and as the tip heats up it bends slowly.

making rotary burnishing tools angles

This is the angle that I have found to be the easiest to use.

making rotary burnishing tools close up

Looks terrible, but it's easy to fix up.

making rotary burnishing tools 1200 sanding

I use a 1200 grit sanding mandrel to remove the fire scale, which isn't very thick.

making rotary burnishing tools polished

And then I use a normal polishing buff on my polishing motor to shine it up.

making rotary burnishing tools shapes

These are the four different rotary burnishers that I use most often.

Generally spoken, burrs are made of high speed steel.

These are heat hardened and then tempered for general use.

When the burr is shaped and bent, the temper is removed, effectively making the metal softer.

With the next shape I make I will also show how to restore the hardness to a burnisher.

making rotary burnishing tools shapes flat

With this shape there is a little more work to do to obtain the desired shape.

First I rough shape it on the bench grinder.

making rotary burnishing tools shapes flame

This time I first heat the front of the burr bright orange and then allow it to air cool.

This will bring the metal to a hardness that will allow it to be filed with a normal file.

making rotary burnishing tools shapes flat sides

Then I file two flat sides on it and gently round all the corners with 220 and 1200 grit sand paper.

The I polish it on my polishing machine.

Now, as with the burnishers in Image No. 11 and this one and the one in Image No. 21, they have to be re hardened.

For sure one could use them as they are, because the high speed steel is harder than gold or silver. So if they were to get marred, all that has to be done is to polish them up again.

making rotary burnishing tools harden burr

But it is just better to make them hard again.

An egg cup filled with engine oil is all that is needed.

The burnisher is heated to bright yellow like in the picture.

making rotary burnishing tools oil cooling

Then it is quenched in the oil until it is cooled down.

making rotary burnishing tools flat 1200

The tip is covered in scale when it comes out of the oil.

It is easily removed with your 1200 grit buff stick and then polished on the polishing motor.

making rotary burnishing tools finished

Finished, hardened and ready for use.

making rotary burnishing tools round edges

I made sure all the corners have soft curves.

making rotary burnishing tools pointed

This one was also made from a 6 mm ball frazer and ground into a three sided shape on the bench grinder.

Then it was also finished with buff sticks and polished on a polishing motor.

It is then hardened as well.

This shape is handy for getting in narrow spaces.

making rotary burnishing tools magnified point

This is the basic shape, and you can imagine that were it spinning very fast, it would move the metal forward quite nicely.

By moving metal forward, I mean moving it forward to close any holes and pits that make up porosity.

making rotary burnishing tools suppliers

This is a commercially made burnisher. They are costly.

I price them at $34 to $100.

They are big and clumsy.

I seldom use them.

making rotary-burnishing tools suppliers close up

A close up showing the smoothed out burnishing head.

making rotary burnishing tools before burnishing

Here is a before and after comparison of some 14 kt gold with quite a lot of porosity .

I used the rotary burnisher in Image No. 11.

making rotary burnishing tools after burnishing

As can be seen, there is a substantial improvement.

This free burnishing tutorial is a part of my
Making Fused Jewelry Tutorial which is an in depth technique tutorial consisting of 47 pages and over 80 pictures showing three different projects and various methods of setting stones in fused metal and fused component manufacture.

All premium Tutorials follow the exact same format as seen in this free PDF downloadable - Making of Rotary Burnishing Tools