Even though Andy says he is still learning, his work is testament to someone who is able to integrate it fully into his workflow. Having created a vast amount of commissioned projects from coffee tables to chairs; and picked up many awards along the way, we asked Andy to tell us which one is his favourite piece and why…
Tough question … I like them all! I like the pieces that gave me the opportunity to really use the software in conjunction with my furniture building. For instance, I enlarged a double size bed to queen size, so the headboard had to be lengthened. I offered my client the option of making that headboard insert a carving from VectorArt3D, instead of using a plain piece of wood, and this video shows the result: Click Here to view video. I used a good piece of Cherry oversized for the opening, cut the Bird in Circle design into it, and lap joined the ends to the existing headboard. Like much of my CNC work, I used a lacquer finish.
I also like my Officer’s Insignia Box (picture above and left), of which I make about one each month, because it uses so many aspects of the software and the Desktop (Click Here to view video). The insignia box is a three piece affair, with two sided carving on the top and middle sections. It is made from walnut wood that I milled on my sawmill (which I recently sold, by the way, so I could have more time making furniture), and uses very fine brass hardware. I am able to carve the Officer’s warfare specialty design into the top, the name of the officer and anything else desired on the underside of the top, and each pocket holding a specific uniform device cut with a ballnose pocket toolpath has the device name v-carved in the bottom. It, too, is lacquer finished.
The software and machine allow me to do things that otherwise would be cost prohibitive, if even possible such as making a 1/8” thick crab inlay (picture below) into a cutting board using a 60 degree v-bit to make bevelled sides for a perfect fit (Click Here to view video). Using Aspire and the eps file of the crab outline from VectorArt3D, I could cut the pocket for the crab in cherry wood, then by flipping the crab in Aspire I could make a toolpath to cut outside the crab outline for the inserted piece of maple. By using a start depth 0.15” below the top surface and a flat depth 0.075” below that, the 60 degree cutter makes a slightly undersized insert that fits fully into the pocket for a great glue up. It would take days to do this by hand, and the job would not be as good as the CNC product. I recently used the crab inlay file in conjunction with Aspire to make a very nice Lazy Susan, which presented other challenges as the crab surface was itself recessed into the lazy susan below a perimeter lip.
Andy’s past work is impressive (and very nicely documented with all the videos!) However being the busy man he is we knew that he would be working on something new, so we asked Andrew what projects he is currently involved with…
I was asked to strengthen the backs of a set of dining chairs, so I used Aspire and the ShopBot to make extra beefy curved back slats and a decorative carving (Click Here to view video) ). I made a prototype, and am currently finishing up the other chairs in the set.
I recently purchased a digitizing probe and have made a prototype of an antique chair crest rail carving. The plan is to cut 50 of these pieces for a run of chairs by another maker. (Click Here to view video)
From Naval Officer to Award Winning Furniture Maker, past to the present Andrew’s story has been an interesting journey, as a man who clearly does not stand still we finished by asking Andy what are his plans for the future of his business and work…
I am very anxious to get some time to learn more about the 3D modelling in Aspire and make some more artistic pieces of my own design. In the meantime, I continue to integrate this new tool called CNC into my furniture design/construction and repair business. I also have been asked to teach at Peters Valley School of Craft in New Jersey in 2015 and have elected to do the first ever (for the school) course on introduction to CNC routing using the ShopBot Desktop and Aspire software. I will continue to produce my videos for other makers and aspiring makers to see how I work, bringing CNC into the productions whenever it is used (YouTube Channel AndyPitts1000).
We’d like to thank Andy for taking the time to talk to us about his use of Aspire in his business. We’ll look forward to staying up to date on his website and informative YouTube channel (see below) and hope to revisit him in the future to see how his use of CNC along with his traditional skills continues to progress.
If you would like to view some more of Andy Pitts work, watch more of his fantastic videos or get in contact with him please use the info and links below.
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/AndyPitts1000
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