Yesterday I went to Philip’s studio for my penultimate mentoring session. We were aiming to cut out the new improved Ho Fun design (did I say in the last blog that I’m calling it Ho Fun? Pool noodle, silly noodle name = Ho Fun). On Wednesday at home I’d drawn out the Inkscape sketches to cut and I sent them over the Philip to check, he was happy with them.

The design is now three stage modular. We have a mini one that makes the lower legs. A Medium one that makes the upper legs. A top which makes the top arch. All together it’s a tall installation or there can be the three separate ones, or two separate ones; mini and medium together and top on it’s own. I love that it’s so modular, I’ve always wanted to make a modular installation.

The first lesson I learnt is write down why the drawing is why it is. We spent some time working this out to realise it was perfectly correct. It’s easy to forgot between 4 days. New rule, always make some notes about the design. 

We began to cut but the laser cutter wasn’t going all of the way through although we did do a test cut. This meant I had to go over the cut with a knife and I’ve ended up with some spilts in the wood. It’s not too bad and is okay for a prototype but if it was the final piece I’d be really upset. I guess lots of little test cuts is best to do first. We turned it up for every go and it was only the final cut that was perfect. 

Sadly we ran out of time to cut it all, I’m going to go back on Monday to finish it. 

One problem I have is that to make it modular every slot is 12mm, the wood is 6mm, the 12mm allows for two pieces to go into one slot which creates the single arches. When it’s all up as one the gaps are then too big, they have to stay double the size to be modular. To solve this next time we’ve going to cut slots into some of my left over discs to slot in when it’s all up together, it should look nice and tidy still as it’s all circles.

For the pool noodles I’ve just emailed Coventry swimming pool to see if I can have their pool noodles as they are closing in the Spring to open a new pool. Fingers crossed they say yes, I love recycling and hate having to buy new plastic things. 

One thing I keep learning is that laser cutting takes a lot longer than I think. I was hoping that today wouldn’t take too long as I’d done all of the drawings already and checked them with Philip.  It did and didn’t work as I’d hope with the laser not always going all of the way through. A note to self is to give it lots of time, have some spare material and make some notes about your drawing and how it fits together!

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Philip. Number one for our home made pizza lunch and number two for staying with me until 6pm to get it finished. Thank you Philip.