Big build day!

I have basically been thinking about building the display board all week, but haven’t had a chance to until today because of both work and weather. I’ve found this thinking time useful for planning the cuts and assembly procedure. I read up on some woodworking “best practices” that suggested a scrawl for marking lines, which turned out to pair with a recent tidbit of wisdom that Laura Kampf shared in a recent video about cutting lines in plywood to prevent splintering. And this morning, I wrapped up the technical drawing with the dimensions laid out in inches because I don’t have sufficient metric measuring tools.

Technical drawing titled "Layout (Woodworking)" showing a diagram of the front and left sides with many specific dimensions called out

Shaper3D’s ability to use different units and precisions for drawings was a lifesaver. I designed the display board in metric units, trying to use multiples of 50mm and 100mm because they convert to whole inches with acceptable precision, but I really didn’t want to have to do a bunch of math when reading each dimension.

First thing I did in the workshop was set up my phone on a makeshift camera stand, and then I moved a workbench out of the garage in front of my blower fan to get set up for circular saw cuts. I’m still trying to manage dust in the garage with a meager set of tools, and moving outside is the easiest option right now.

Two photos: 1) heavy-duty shelving unit parts assembled in a square with a protruding beam holding a mounting bracket for my phone and 2) me using the circular saw on a workbench located just outside my garage

Once I had a board of plywood that was reasonably close to 400mm x 400mm (~15.75in x ~15.75in), it was time to mark out the locations of each of the 24 screw holes. This took some careful measurement because I realized that I only had two sides that were actually 90° from one another. (My circular saw and aftermarket saw track are not super precise.) I was able to use my square to draw the eight parallel lines and then measure out and draw the three perpendicular lines to find the centers of each screw hole. The spacing tools I 3D printed were useful as a validation of the marked-out measurements.

Photo of me looking at two rails laid out on the board with the spacing tools

Once I had the lines drawn, I poked the awl at each crossing, set my drill bit depth to just under the thickness of the board, and patiently drilled out each of the 24 holes. I did a spot check fit of some of the rails and they attached wonderfully, so I removed them and started sanding. The board was already in pretty good shape, but I still went with three rounds of sanding at 80, 120, and 220 grit sandpaper. Then I attached the rails and carefully hand-tightened the screws to avoid cracking or splitting the 3D printed parts.

With the board nearly complete, I turned to make its attachment to the wall: a plywood French cleat. (It’s cleats everywhere!) I set up my circular saw for a 45° cut and build a small jig out of clamps and scrap wood. The saw is a little hard to handle at an angle, but I took it slow and the jig worked as planned. I also pulled the miter jig out to cut two equal cleats for the back of the display board.

Me cutting French cleats with the circular saw

Then it was time for final sanding! I took some 80 grit to the new cleats to take the sharp edge off the 45° wedges, and then I did my best to remove excess with some 80 grit from the edge of the board that wasn’t true after my initial cut. It required some vigorous sanding, but turned out reasonably well. Then I did three passes of 80, 120, and 220 grit over the rails to take off the 3D print layer lines and smooth out the small inconsistencies between each rail.

Me showing the sanded display board

I flipped the board over and carefully drilled holes and installed the two cleats to hold this to the wall, and then I did a happy toddle around the garage as I cleaned up and put everything away. Before heading upstairs, I updated my “2023 intentions” with this project.

Two photos: 1) back of display board showing cleats hanging from a metal bar and 2) photo of whiteboard that says "2023 intentions: 1. Make cool shit 2. Do cool things --- 1. Merobiba's plant stand 2. Art display board"

I brought the board up to my office, laid out the cleat for the wall, and hung my awesome new art display board with the few test clips I printed earlier. The next phase of this project is to design and print clips that will reasonably hold the cards, plus a few other non-card items.

Photo of desk area with display board surrounded by other wall hangings and desk accoutrements