This projects objective is to create a short-staff based off of the staff of the main character from the popular cartoon Craig of the Creek. This staff was a present for my roommate who loves the show and has gotten me into the show. The staff created will be from scratch.
- Wood Turning: Turning a 2″x 2″ x 3′ block of wood
- Resin Casting: Casting clear epoxy resin (and adding coloring)
- Silicone Casting: To make the casting mold for the resin
- 3D Printing
The goal of this project was to fabricate a staff based off of the cartoon Craig of the Creek to give to my roommate as a belated Christmas gift. The staff comprised of two distinct parts that had to be done separately, (1) The staff which was turned on a wood lathe, and (2) Casting a Epoxy Resin Crystal.
So the first part of this project was to create a staff that had some of the hallmarks of the Craig of The Creek’s staff. So I went to town with a 2″ by 2″ by 4′ piece of wood creating a simple cube and sphere head of the staff. This was a bit challenging because I had to turn the sphere by hand without any custom tooling. This limitation caused me a bit of anguish while trying to cut the profile of the sphere near the cube. You can see the resulting chips and rough edges where the sphere and cube meet. Once I had tackled these important features I turned the rest of the cuboid piece of wood to a cylinder. This took a bit of time due to its length, but was very relaxing to do (I normally work with metal so having auto-feed is my normal operating mode).
After turning the rest of the piece to a rough cylinder I took a step back and realized I had so much wood to work with, and that a simple taper would be a waste. So I took action tackling one foot of the shaft at a time, coming up with interesting designs -> Stepping back and imaging how to evolve the design further down the shaft -> scooch down a bit more, rinse and repeat. And after 2 hours I had a pretty rough and interesting looking staff, then came the sanding. I left the staff in the lathe and went to town with 220, 400, 600 grit sand paper until I felt satisfied. For the cube I used a orbital sander to face off each side, while locking the lathes spindle. I then proceeded to take the piece off of the lathe and cut off the top and bottom nubs. After all the finishing work was done, I created a 0.75″ hole roughly 0.25″-0.35″ deep into the center top of the staff.
To finish the piece, I decided to use a Low-gloss Tung Oil to darken the color and protect the wood. I did two separate coats to the piece before hang drying it over night.
Next came the Epoxy Resin Crystal; I decided to use (Alumilite™ Amazing Clear Cast) based off of my ability to purchase it online from Michael’s with a 40% off coupon which drastically cut the cost of the project. For the coloring I used one of the many various resin dyes out there, I can’t even recall the name.
The process for making this epoxy resin crystal was to take the CAD model I had made in my prototyping stage and 3D print it. Once 3d printed I cleaned up the surfaces with high grit sand paper to create a more smooth and even surface. Afterwards I mixed some silicone casting mix (smoothon) and poured it around the 3d print. (Note: I know I should use a vacuum chamber to get the best results but sadly the vacuum chamber I recently used was unavailable due to the holidays. This goes for the Resin casting as well). I waited the prerequisite number of hours and then some to pop open the mold. When removing the 3D print from the model I chose to carefully cut with a sharp exact-o knife down opposing sides of the crystal to just past the widest part of the crystal. I then carefully removed the crystal print and taped the model back together carefully with packing tape. I proceeded to mix the resin (part A and B) and mixed in some coloring to get a nice light shade of blue, poured it in the mold and walked away for a day + a few hours.
Once I removed the crystal from the mold I noticed I had the tale tell sign of not vacuum cambering my mold, Air bubbles. It sucked, but I decided to just sand the piece with various grits of sand paper and see how it turned out. Once I had sanded the crystal, I simply cleaned the piece as best I could and sprayed 2 layers of clear coat gloss onto the crystal.
Once dried, I plopped some 5 minute epoxy to the bottom of the crystal and pressed it into the hole until it hardened… Voila a silly staff reminiscent of Craig’s staff in Craig of the Creek.
Would you be willing to make another one for my son?
At the moment, I doubt anyone would want to pay the price that it would cost to handcraft a replica of this.
(1) Assuming the average machinist/shop rate of $100/hr, not including material costs, this project would price in the $400-600 range (Material costs not included – many material costs in the past 2 years alone have increased substantially).
(2) This process was not setup for efficiency, and I doubt there are enough people to warrant the time investment to achieve both quality and efficiency.
(3) The profit to myself would have to be above a certain threshold to counterbalance the loss of free time to work on other projects.
It just doesn’t seem practical that anyone would pay me more than maybe $150 at most. So other than making custom gifts from close friends and family; the time, energy, and money just doesn’t seem worth expending if I end up losing out in the end; Lost free time, lost energy, etc.
But if you are willing to pay $600 or more for a custom handmade staff, I would be open to discussing it. That being said, I doubt any parent would be willing to spend that when they can buy a modern gaming console for that price.