• Flip Operation on a Handibot

    by  • December 18, 2015 • Projects • 2 Comments

    I was talking with my neighbor the other day, and he was in the process of making some wine glass holders. He told me that he had found that the holder needed to be about 10″ wide so that large glasses wouldn’t hit the bottle when put in place. I immediately started to think about how I could make this project with a Handibot. While the cutting area of a Handibot is 6″ X 8″, you can extend the cutting area by doing a “flip operation.” A flip operation will roughly double the cutting area in one dimension. The beauty of flipping versus tiling is that I can make the jig to do it with my Handibot.

    Here’s how the concept works:
    In the example above, the white box is the cutting area of the Handibot, the rectangle outlined in black is my material, and the “f” that I want to cut is larger than the cutting area. To cut it, I cut the lower portion of the “f” outlined in red in the first setup. While setup 1 is still clamped down, I have the Handibot drill two 1/4″ holes through the material and into the spoil board below. Then I remove the material and drive some 1/4″ dowels into the holes I drilled into the spoil board and rotate the material 180 degrees, using the holes in the material to locate it on the dowels. Finally, I cut the top part of the “f” outlined in blue. This process also works for two-sided machining. Instead of rotating the board 180 degrees, I could flip it over and machine the back side.

    The tricky part about doing this with a Handibot is that I also need to be able to remove the Handibot and put it back in the same place so that I can mess around with the dowels. To help me do this, I took a piece of scrap wood and drilled three holes with the Handibot and then put 1/4″ dowels in the holes. For the engineering types out there, this is known as a planar kinematic coupling. As long as I push the Handibot base against these three pins, I can very accurately relocate it after I’ve picked it up. In addition to locating the Handibot, this scrap wood gave the Handibot a stable base to sit on as it cut a narrow board.

    Handibot Coupling

    Ryan Sturmer, whom you might know as our Fabmo guru, requested more stocking stuffer projects that can be cut with a Handibot. With that in mind, here’s a link to this wine glass holder project inspired by the conversation with my neighbor. To create it, I started with a .5″ thick, 5.5″ wide board that you can get from any hardware store. I also picked up some 1/4″ dowel while I was at the store. I lined up my board with the Y-axis of the Handibot sitting in my jig and then clamped the board down. I then cut the first half the project and drilled the dowel holes.

    Setup 1
    Then I removed the Handibot and board, inserted the dowels into the spoil board, and rotated the board 180 degrees. Notice the dowels sticking up from the board.

    Setup 2
    After I broke the tabs and removed the piece from the board, I can just barely see where the cuts from the two setups meet.


    After a little sanding and rounding over the edges, I’ve got a nice wine glass holder.
    Wine Glass Holder


    2 Responses to Flip Operation on a Handibot

    1. Mark Evans
      January 1, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Great project and great technique but I feel you miss named this and that can cause some confusion.

      To flip would be to work the opposite side of the material which is another option. Perhaps rotate would be better in this context?

      • Anthony Wong
        January 5, 2016 at 6:46 am

        Good point. The principles are the same regardless of which axis I rotate the board about. I usually use this technique for two-sided machining, so in my head it’s a flip even though I was actually rotating it.

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