Kenji’s Woodworking@MicroFactory

DIY projects are popular on social media. Accounts like 5-minute craft feature simple projects to spruce up your home. However, these projects are usually gimmicky and become redundant almost immediately after they are built. Wood working is also an internet trend. YouTube is filled with time lapse videos of craftsmen creating sleek yet simple furniture from a single block of wood. Though these furniture last infinitely longer than those 5-minute craft projects, they requirement a large amount of commitment and a certain amount of capital cost. Skills and specialised equipment are needed for wood working, making it less accessible to the general public. However, with the wood working work shop in the Micro Factory, I was able to learn more about wood working.

I started with the introductory course, building the TV console for Nihal’s new home. I had experience with some of the machines like the band saw, jig saw, handheld drill and polisher sander. However, the technique was different from the acrylic and aluminium I was used to working with in school. There was more attention to selecting the right type of wood and building technique to hide the joints used to connect the different pieces; making the final product look like a single smooth piece.

Using the table saw and mitre saw was quite scary at first. As wooden is a relatively soft material, the work piece does not need to be clamped down. This means the finger are the only support for the work piece. This creates the risk of becoming fingerless. Compounded with all the internet fail video of people slicing off their hands and fingers because of a workplace mishap, I was pretty scared when I first used those machines.

After completing the TV console, the robotics team started working on the cyber physical playground. Knowledge acquired from building the TV console could be applied to designing and building the wooden structures of the playground. Techniques such as doweling was used to make the staircase and the CNC machine was used to cut the piece for the wooden dome.

A big lesson learnt after going through these projects is that planning is very important. There were many times we ended up redoing certain tasks because of the lack of planning. Sometimes sitting down to plan the best method is better than rushing head first into the task. ALSO, do not touch the screw immediately after screwing into a block of wood, it’s really HOT.

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