I made a modified Aztec Calendar in the theme of Star Wars for my daughter’s Christmas present this year. I came up with the idea of adding a clock into the design because I was thinking while the Star Wars design was very cool, adding a clock made it more functional. I think it turned out pretty well and judging from her reaction she did as well.
But that got me thinking. Because of the Star Wars Theme, I would not be able to sell this clock but I am liking this idea. In fact, it gave me the thought of some other 3D carvings I been working on in the background as artwork displays. But again the idea of incorporating the clocks seems appealing to me. So I wondered if maybe if I added a Mayan Aztec Calendar for real instead of the Star Wars Theme maybe that would turn out ok.
I made her clock out of 1/4″ MDF spay painted carbon black then engraved that gave it some contrast. The numerals are done in silver acrylic pain using the Shelack overcoat method. The clock motor and hands were purchased on Amazon and were for 1/2″ face. I had to put a washer spacer to make it work on this 1/4″ design.
The Aztec calendar design is quite common in the CNC world. I have heard it said it’s almost a passing rite to make on on your CNC. Also, you can obtain the vectors from numerous sources. I chose to buy a design from Etsy. I started by loading the DFX vectors into Aspire but quickly learned there were too many short and open vectors and my computer really was bogging down. In the download was a PDF version and loading that into Aspire worked much better.
I cut a test on 1/2″ MDF with a new 30 degree 0.005 bit that ended in a fail. All the fine lines broke off during the milling as MDF is just not ridged enough.
My favorite material to CNC is maple so I picked up a board from my local sawmill. Needing to join two boards together I used my OneFinity to join the boards. Here is a video on the process.
The cut was much better however there were fuzzies all over the detailed cuttings. I ran my Dremel over them but the cuts were too deep and narrow to get into them. It became obvious this was not going to work out. After some research on the Vectric forums, I read running a second pass slightly deeper cleans up the edges. My first attempt was cut at 0.1 inches and after looking at the cuts I thought that was probably a bit too deep. So my next attempt will be 0.06″ on the final pass, 0.05 for the first pass. I ran the first pass @ 100 IPM, the second finish pass @ 150 IPM. Each pass also had a clearance cut using a 2.5 mm end mill. Each pass took about 5 hours using the latest OneFinity Beta 1.0.6 firmware which really speeds up the acceleration of the machine. Still, it is over 10 hours of cut time.
The result was truly amazing. This is a picture of the clock straight off my machine. I just added the clock dive and hands for effect. Almost no fuzzies to sand. The detail is spectacular. I am really happy with how it turned out.
I had envisioned painting the face flat black and then using “Rub n Buff” gold on all the faces as shown on my simulation preview. But after cutting I don’t think I have the heart to cover up the natural wood. So I am probably going to spay shellack. I have a new clock motor coming from Bear Woods next week to mount.
I am not sure if I will want to make these for sale. While I am sure some will want one the amount of work and cost of material probably will not warrant the market value. We’ll see maybe I will be convinced.
After the final finishing I will post and update photo.