Friday, 12 October 2012

Photography Apple Boxes DIY... part 2

So the first step is to set up a jig for routing out the handles in what will be the end pieces of the boxes. As I want four 8" x 12" x 20" boxes, and as the ply is 18mm thick I've worked out that the end pieces need to be 167mm x 269mm, I decided on a single handle/hole in the ends, set near to what will be the top of the box, this way I can pick up a pair of boxes with  one hand.

Here is the jig set up, the blocks restrict the movement of the router, the block holding down the plywood takes on two jobs, holding down the plywood and also restricting the router. If I was building loads of boxes I'd have built a specific jig just for cutting the handles, it didn't seem worth it for the 12 holes I had to cut. I've marked my bench so that if, or rather when I make some Half size Apple Boxes I can use the same set up.

First cut, I did between three and four passes to finally break through the ply, it puts less strain on the router tool.

Once the hole is cut it just need a good sanding, on both sides just making sure there are no potential splinters to stab me when I go to use the handles.

The router runs along the ply gripping block edge first, then in a clockwise motion up to the top block.

I only had 12 holes to cut, I spent a bit of time setting up each one and clamping them down, though it isn't that critical to be off by a few millimetres.

Why is the middle support piece also cut, my guess is that a strap or cable could be passed through the box to securely stack a number of boxes together, so I cut mine like I'd seen others done.

Top lid on and the first box is now screwed and glued together, just need to do the final routing of the edges, plugging the screw holes and the sanding.

 Looks like there will be a part 3 to this job, till next time.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Photography Apple Boxes DIY... Part 1

I have a bee in my bonnet about Apple Boxes, I've wanted some for ages, but I've always made do with saw horses or milk crates, even peli cases. In America a Full size 8" x 12" x 20" Apple Box will cost you $30, that's about £18.50 at todays exchange rate, check out Calumet Photographic website here in the UK and that same box will set you back a glorious £54. It's no wonder then that the internet is littered with photographic and movie equipment sites with tips for building your own.

So that's exactly what I've been planning to do. I've read a good deal about the cutting and assembly of the boxes, I've listed the site I've found most useful below. I used too build skateboard decks and snowboards in my youth, I still build skateboard decks (labour of love) so I've got routers, core cutters, power drills, and enough G-clamps to sink a battleship. I've got everything I need for the job except a large chop saw/saw bench. This wasn't about to hold me back, with my roughly drawn out diagram illustrating just how I needed the 8' x 4' x 3/4" ply wood sheet cut to get 4 full size Apple Boxes, I popped down to the nearest B&Q DIY store and had a very nice chap cut everything to size for me, and they didn't charge me a penny more than the cost of the sheet of plywood, all of  £29.

This is the cutting list/drawing, it includes 8 off 305mm x 508mm (tops & bottom), 8 off 167mm x 508mm  (side pieces) and 12 off 167mm x 269mm (ends and middle pieces), this gave me enough bits from an 8' x 4' sheet, as long as it was cut up in the right order.

So here is the wood, cut to size, ready for construction to begin. This first box was built up without cutting the hand holds, I wanted to check that everything fitted together properly first, so this one hasn't been glued, just screwed together for now.

The drill bit I used for the No.8 size holes with countersink, the drill length can be altered by loosening a grub screw, the holes will be filled later with wooden cores cut using a core cutter.

The piece in the middle of the box gives the the top and bottom sheets extra support, it'll stop them sagging if a very heavy weight is placed in the middle of the completed box. Care was taken to make sure the ends were flush to the side pieces.

The edges will be sanded when the box is finish, I'll use a 1/2" Router with a radius cutter to round the edges first. Below you can see the sketch for where the handle hole will be cut, I'll need to set up a jig to cut these out so that every box has the holes in the same place, again a Router will be used to cut the holes out.

The bottom lid is now screwed to the rest of the frame, it's almost a perfect fit, a little sanding and it'll be stop on.

Here is a view of the top lid, pre-drilled and ready for assembly, 14 No.8 x 1 1/2" screws will attach it to the rest of the box.

Just prior to the top going on I ensured all the sides were level, which they were.

So an almost finished Apple Box, just needs taking apart and the handles cutting, reassembling and glueing, the edges running over with the Router to put a bevel on them, cores put in all the countersunk screw holes, sanding and then a coat or two of varnish to finish. I'll cover all that in Part 2

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

I took a long lunch today...

I decided I needed to get some air this lunchtime, lots of it, so I set off on my Mountain Bike. It's quite chilly today, skies are mostly blue, a good autumnal day, fresh. I find getting on the bike and pedalling helps me to think, I can churn any problems I might have over in my mind without the distraction of the phone, or the internet, it really works, I've got back into the office now and I know exactly what I want to do, how to achieve it, and I've even come up with some ideas for a new project. Note to self - I really need to bring the bike to work more often.