Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mother Dragon Scroll Saw Pattern.

Click Image to Enlarge.

Okay I know this pattern will not be everyone's cup of tea but I like dragons. I call this Mother Dragon. She is clutching her fledglings close to protect them from a dragon slayer. The dragon is a little over 15 inches tall. The pattern only includes the dragon cut pattern. You will need to come up with the frame. I simply spray painted 1/4" thick Baltic birch plywood black and added simple framing. The dragon was also cut from 1/4" thick BB ply.

I'm going to give away all my secrets. :)

I often receive email asking how I create my patterns. Another question I get is how do I come up with the idea. This pattern is a good example to answer both questions.

I was watching a YouTube video showing a grizzly bear with her cubs. She was very agitated that she was being watched and became very aggressive. That was the start if the idea. I was going to do a grizzly with her cubs. 

I opened Corel Draw to begin the design and noticed a piece of clip art I had saved. It was available for commercial use and I had saved it thinking I might eventually use it. 

I immediately decided that she would be a great stand in for my mother grizzly. All I had to do was add baby dragons, wings, arms, feet, and body and I was good to go. I also needed to edit the head graphic so it could be cut. Simple right? 

I started by editing the head. I added horns to give her a more fierce look. I bridged all the open areas to make the head ready to cut.

Next I hand drew the body trying to get a natural curve. An S curve is usually pleasing so I started there. I added all the scales freehand making them get smaller near the end of the tail. I also wanted her to be in the air and not on the ground so than influenced the body shape.

The legs and arms came next. I spent quite a bit of time looking for reference photos and trying different freehand drawings. I knew she would be clutching at least two baby dragons so I drew the arms and legs leaving room for them. 

Now was the most difficult part of the design. Every time I drew what I though would make a baby dragon it looked terrible. They were too complex and just looked like small adult dragons. At that point I used my good friend Google image search. You can search for free to use for commercial use images using Google and that's what I did. 

I found the perfect little dragons. It was available to use without copyright issues and it only needed very small changes. They reminded me of a cross between a lizard and tadpole. All I had to do was put them in the correct position so she could grasp them with her hand and foot. I added a little veining to show the grasping toes.

Okay she was all done but then I remembered that she was flying. Wings. I needed wings. I started drawing the wings pointing up. That did not look good and made her way to large to cut. Back to Google for more reference photos. I saw several drawings where the wings were wrapped around the dragon almost like a cape. I wanted something close to that but still wanted her to look like she was flying.

This time I found a set of wings through Google search but they were not in the position I needed. I used a combination of tracing and hand drawing and finally came up with what I thought looked the way I wanted. After positioning the wings I was done. I used the position of the wings to help make the wood stay stronger while cutting. I had them overlap some of the weaker areas to give strength. I did the same with the end of the tail. I had it overlap the tail of one of the baby dragons so it was not hanging out in space.

I spent another half hour making some adjustments and she was ready to cut. The whole process took about two and a half hours. That was pretty quick because I didn't have to start over several times which is what usually happens. :)

I printed the pattern and was off to the shop. It took me almost two hours to cut her out. I spent another hour messing around making a very simple frame. My original idea was to cover the backer board with fabric. Patty could not find any fabric in her collection that I liked so I just used black spray paint. If I was to do it over I would wait and find the appropriate fabric. I wanted plain red fabric. 

Somewhere around six hours from grizzly bear video to finished Mother Dragon. That is near the maximum time I will spend on the daily pattern for the blog. The average is probably around three hours. It's shorter when I don't do the actually cutting. Some patterns don't need to be cut because they are simple enough that I can see there are no problems. Others need to be cut so I know they will work.

Throw in a couple hours answering email and you pretty much have my day. Best job in the world. :)

Click Image to Enlarge and see contest details.

We made it over the 7,000 entry mark today. 
There are 6 days left to enter. I would love to see us get
over 10,000 entries this month. Nothing to lose so you
might as well enter. $50 is enough to get a pretty
good supply of blades or clock inserts.

Enter your photo by email.

January's 2WAYS2WIN contest had great participation so Stephen at Bear Woods and I want to do it again.

WAY2WIN #1: Click the link above and enter the giveaway. That simple. Enter everyday.

WAY2WIN #2: Post up to three photos of your wooden trains, planes or automobiles on the Bear Woods Facebook page.

This is not a review. This is an affiliate link and my wants and dreams. I want this table saw. It is my dream saw and I have been saving for it for quite some time. Assuming Uncle Sam does not beat me up too bad I hope to put this saw in my shop this year. 

This is the 1.75HP 110 volt version. $2.469 + $250 shipping. Why would I need a $2,700 table saw? For the same reason that I have health insurance. This machine for those not familiar has skin detection sensors that prevent the blade from cutting flesh. As soon as flesh comes in contact with the blade an aluminum break engages the blade stopping it and the blade drops down under the surface of the table. This all happens in milliseconds. Demonstrations show that at most you will get a nick that requires a bandage. 

I am careful in my workshop. I try to follow as many safe practices as I can but accidents happen. Most table saw accidents result in the loss of a finger or worse. If someone ask me to put a dollar value on one of my fingers it would be more that $2,700. That is how I will justify buying this machine. I think that is a valid justification. It's certainly a better excuse than my normal "Because it looks cool and has lot's of buttons and flashing lights." I use that excuse a lot. 

I know many of you have seen this saw at Woodcraft or other fine woodworking stores but if you haven't then it's worth the effort to see it in action. During demonstrations the typically use a hot dog in place of a finger. Most of the time you can't even see the nick. I did see one demonstration where an actual finger was used. I don't care how good the tool is I'm not sticking my finger in it for a test.
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