Rock Me Archimedes - (a.ka. my road to recovery)
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Joined May 25, '19 

I wanted to share a special post (at least for me). Recently (about 3 weeks ago, I had brain surgery). Going in to the surgery, I knew I would have some time to recover so I tried to plan some activities that I could do that would help me to recover. Of course very high on that list was my Glowforge. I figured, it wouldn’t be too physically taxing, it would allow me to really use my mind and would be something I would enjoy doing.

So I picked a project, Rock Me Archimedes. I thought it would be pretty simple and yet because I had to make it from scratch (no design to start from) it would still be a challenge. Well, surprisingly it was more of a challenge than I thought it would be. First, after the surgery, I was struggling to stay awake much less focus; so, week one was occasionally trying to think about how I might tackle the project. For the second week, I would spend a few minutes a few times a day trying to work on the design. The top came out pretty quickly (even though I made a critical error), but the trick was the fulcrum. Not only was I going to need to create a living hinge from scratch, but I also wanted to come up with a good way to attach it to the top. I spent a lot of time struggling with this. Every time I thought I had it, I would put the design together, print it and find out that it wouldn’t work. After many redesigns, I finally got it work. Next I wanted an inner tray. This presented a few problems and again my recovery was playing a factor. I kept making simple mistakes that I felt I should be avoiding. For example making the tray too big to fit under the top. Sounds simple, but at this point nothing was simple for me. I did come up with a creative addition to the tray that not only kept the marbles separated but also accounted for the rib I wanted in the living hinge. The bottom of the tray has a slot for it. By the time I was done and the bottom fulcrum and tray were working, I put it all together only to finally go back and read the rules. (yep, I had missed an obvious fact. The original top I only engraved lines between the wholes for the marbles)


So back to the drawing board. I had to engrave the lines (I thought about cutting and gluing but opted for engraving to keep a much more finished look).

In the end, this project has taken me several weeks and has been a big part of my recovery. But it also taught me something else. It reminded me to be patient. I can’t count the number of mistakes and redesign moments in this project. Certainly many of them were due to the my surgery and recovery. But, if I had been more patient and focused and taken a bit more time in the planning and design digitally, it may have really reduced the trash can full of mistakes (yep that much material) I made.

I am very happy with the result and the journey I took to get there. I am super excited to be back and share this with the community.

And for anyone wondering, my recovery continues to go very well and soon the only evidence that I had the surgery will be a 4 inch scar on my head and my better health.

P.S. Other than the marbles, this was entirely made from MDF. In the future, I may print it out of nicer woods, but for now, I am happy with the result.











Edit…Feb23, 2020…
This project continues to teach me. After having everything done, I was testing the balance and finding that the marbles weren’t having enough of an effect. After re-learning a bit of the physics for levers, I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t considered the weight of the MDF. This meant I had to think about how to really lighten the load. so I first did a test by engraving holes in the bottom (had to engrave so they wouldn’t cut the top). This showed me that I was on the right track. So I re-designed the top to have the holes hidden in the middle layers. so the top and bottom don’t show them.

The board on the left was from the original pictures after I engraved holes, the board on the left is the new design with those holes cut fully through the middle layers but hidden.

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