Where to begin with this one… Well, sometimes an idea pops into your head and it won’t leave. This is one of those. I think I was partly inspired by Simone Giertz’s giant spool lamp and Claes Oldenburg.
I started by taking very precise measurments of a standard push pin and designing a 3D model in Fusion 360. I started scaling up the size until the steel pin was close to a commonly available size of steel rod. That happens to be 34 times the size of a standard push pin and the steel rod is 1.5″. My lathe can handle up to 10″, but the largest part of the giant push pin is nearly 12″ so I had to get creative.
Due to the height restrictions of the X-Carve I had to split the top and bottom into three pieces each. The milling was time consuming, but very straight forward. I used a 1/4″ flat bit to do the roughing and a 1/8″ ball nose bit for the final pass. The results were quite good. Only a few minutes of sanding to get them smooth.
I found an add-on software for Fusion 360 called Slicer for Fusion 360. This let me cut the model into layers of a predetermined height. That happened to be 1/4″ hardboard. I initially planned to make the entire thing out of pre-cut circles but wanted to experiment with 3D carving on my X-carve so I only cut circles for the center section.
The software nested the pieces for me once I put in the max cutting capacity of the X-Carve, numbered the pieces and cut an indexing hole so assembly was bulletproof. There were a couple pieces that broke the tabs while milling so I had to recut those. That’s where the rejects came from.
Once the center was assembled I used the lathe to clean up the excess glue and gave it a quick sanding. I glued all three pieces together and gave it two heavy coats of Rustoleum Chalk Paint. This is overkill, but I found that nothing works better for sealing MDF types of wood. It also sands easily to a beautifully smooth finish. You can see how smooth and glossy the paint came out after just a single coat of Rustoleum Apple Red paint!
I wanted to have the steel pin turned by someone with a metal lathe but couldn’t track anyone down who was willing to do it on relatively short notice. Instead, I consulted Jonathan Katz-Moses ( who agreed that I shouldn’t die if I add a couple pieces to support the steel in my wood lathe. Great news! We were right! I used an angle grinder with a general purpose disk to remove the bulk of the material and a 120 grit flap disk to finish it off. It turns out that having the material turning in the lathe while grinding didn’t really help. Any slight imperfections introduced by the grinder were compounded when it began to hop. Instead, I used a paint pen like a machinist would use Dykem and marked the high spots while it was spinning. Then I’d just grind the high spots down until everything was perfect!
Sand an polish to finish on the lathe before cutting some grooves in the other end at the portaband. Those give the epoxy something to bite into so the pin doesn’t come out.
Good god, that’s a lot of steps for something so ridiculous…. It ended up being 71 layers and used 1 and a half sheets of 4′ x 8′ sheets of 1/4″ hardboard. The true superstar was my daughter for holding the pin at the end of the video. It weights 75% as much as she does!
28lbs (12.7kg) standing 30″ tall and just under 12″ wide.
I have submitted an application for a Guinness world record since I can’t find a bigger one
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