Christmas 2010

Happy New Years!

One of the things I like doing is trying to keep busy, and one way of doing that is by making things. That's the good news, but the bad news is that sometimes it's hard coming up with an idea of 'what to make'. What I'm talking about is making a Christmas gift for my grandson, Aidan. Now he's only two and a half years old but it's never to early to make a gift for someone.

This year while I was running a machine at work I started thinking of things that I could make.  When you have a long cycle-time on a CNC milling machine (in this case about 25 minutes) your mind starts to think a little, and after a few quick pencil drawing, I came up with the idea of making him a coin bank (think piggy bank without the pig shape).

Speaking of the shape, I really didn't have an idea of exactly what I wanted but remembering back when I was about nine or ten years old, I had a rectangular metal bank that I keep all of my money in. The money that I had in it came mostly from allowances that I saved over time and I remember one day I counted over twenty dollars that I had, which was a bunch for me back then.

After looking at some of the material that we had in the scarp bin, I finally came up with something. I had a few ways that I could make this bank but with Christmas only a few short weeks away, I figured that I'd better take a quicker route so I choose to make it round. My first choice was to make it rectangular (like I had) but I really didn't have the right material and buying the right size would have set me back by a week or more so this is why I went with the other. The material I was going to use is 6061-T6 aluminum. Machining aluminum is pretty easy compared to any other metal and for some reason I didn't want to use wood this time. On the other hand, wood machines very easy, but again I didn't have any so aluminum it is.

The piece I started with was a solid chuck that was 5" diameter by 5 1/2" long which should be large enough to hold a few coins once it was machined. My plan was to hollow out the center leaving a 3/8" wall thickness for the sides and a 1/2" thick for the top. Why is it thicker on the top? You'll see on the next page. The bottom would be removable to get the coins out and the top would have something special just for him.

To see how it came out click on the next page.


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