Saturday, 25 April 2015

Back up your blog.

 After reading Peppers recent post about reasons as to why people delete their blogs, I noticed a few people had mentioned some blogs had "changed", and were now flogging sunglasses, cameras, etc. I'd noticed a few blogs like this in the past year, this happens when a blog is hacked to steal the followers, basically they gain a free audience on the back of the hard work of the original blogger, nasty.  I also wondered if the host site might accidentally delete a blog, that does actually happen occasionally according to angry bloggers I found in a google search. So I thought it would be a good idea to backup my blog regularly, replacing the last copy with a new copy etc.

  It also means if you delete your blog for whatever reason, you'll still have a copy of it.  I've gotten rid of things in the past, and there is nothing worse than regret...Someone else is sitting on my great grandmothers chair right now!

Here's a little handy pictorial guide for those who need it.  I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the only one who has never thought of backing up my blog, and you've all been doing this for ages, but if I can reach one blogger like me, it's worth it :D

Starting from your blogger dashboard, where the reading list is etc, follow the arrows and click

Export blog.....Delete option is FAR too close for my liking, it should be on the other side of the page somewhere in the corner! Keep a steady hand on the mouse...and click on Export blog, wear glasses if you need them :D

The download will contain each post consisting of all words, photographs and comments but not the template. ie, your background, etc.

After you download your blog, it will be somewhere on your computer, you might even want to rename it so you can find it easily. Hopefully you will never need it, least it's there for peace of mind.  I feel so much more relaxed now! :D

P.s. The file will be in XML format, and won't make a bit of sense, but if you were to import/upload it to blogspot, they will reconfigure it back to sense.

Friday, 24 April 2015

1:12 scale Wire basket tutorial

Ray Storey Glass bottle, Mini Mundus washstand kit and Daffodils kit by Bonnie Lavish

Before starting, you will need straight wire. You can use a dremel tool and vice to straighten wire.  You will need to run some wire wool down the unstraightened wire first, put one end of the wire into the drill and the other in the vice, then pull the wire taught, wait for the twang to end then briefly switch the dremel tool on. Run your finger and thumb down the wire to make sure it isn't kinked, and wear goggles whilst the tool is switched on...or like me, close your eyes and hope for the best!  There are other ways to straighten wire, but this is the way that works for me.

You will need:-

  • Wire (suitable for soldering)
  • Solder and flux
  • Soldering iron (preferably one with flame)
  • Wire snips
  • Wooden block or similar (something that you don't mind getting burnt..)
  • Wire wool
  • Graph paper
  • Masking tape
  • Stainless steel tray

To work out the length of the wire pieces needed, place them against your block as shown, the parts touching the wooden block will be the base of the basket, and the overhang will be the sides.

To work out the number of wires needed for each side, place the block onto a piece of graph paper. I've chosen to use each 1mm square as the spacing guide. The blue lines indicate the other wires needed, that aren't shown. Make sure to leave a small space at either side, as indicated by the red arrows.

You will need to do this again, with the other side of your block (if you're using a block with equal sides, then just double the number you got originally)

Once you have all of your wires cut to length, carefully wash them in soapy water and leave to dry, and only handle with tweezers afterwards.

Let's try and explain this... You have to stick down strips of masking tape on to the back of a stainless steel tray, with the STICKY SIDE UP!.  The horizontal strips have to be parallel with a gap slightly less than the height of one of the wires...and the same for the vertical strips, with the other length of wire... The following pictures will probably help to make sense of this..moving on..

By the way, you have to do all of the above so that you can slip this little bit of graph paper under ;)

Use tweezers to place the wires as shown, using the graph paper as a guide to keep everything straight and evenly spaced.  

Then lay the other wires on top as shown...

Use a paintbrush to apply flux under the wires, being careful not to dislodge or bend them.

You will need two strips of masking tape to hold down the top wires, at either end.  This helps to make sure the top (horizontal) wires are all in contact with the bottom (vertical) wires. Be careful not to tack them down too tightly though, it's mostly to make sure they don't move about when applying the solder.

Use a craft knife to slice off little bits of solder. You can try using them at that size, or you can be mad like me, and cut each slice in two, as the red line indicates.

Welcome to the most awful part! You now need to carefully place each bit of solder so that it "might" be touching the upper and lower wire at the same time... HAVE FUN! You can actually lift the solder pieces by touching them with your tweezers or even a tapestry needle, they're that light, thankfully the flux on the wires causes them to stick on quite easily, no balancing act, you'll be glad to hear.

Once they are all in place you can use the flame of your soldering iron to melt all of those little bits of solder...and hope everything goes to plan.

And then you will be left with something like this.. I burnt mine slightly!.. but the show must go on., and a few bits of solder did NOT join the wires either..luckily it does the job regardless....And I'm not doing all of the above again for aesthetic purposes! :D

To make the rim of the basket, get a length of the straightened wire, and bend it around the block. You will need to twist the ends together, which is a bit tricky.   And I only had one hand at the time to demonstrate this, the other using the camera, so this is a mirror image of one half of a picture. You use your index fingers to push the wires together so they cross over close to the block, this makes it easier to twist them. Hope this weird picture helps!  P.s. You don't want to make the "wrap" too tight, the vertical wires of the basket mesh need to fit between the "wrap" and the block.

Make two small twists by hand..

Then use pliers to twist them a bit tighter and closer to the block. 

Use pliers as shown, and then clamp tightly.

..Now both sides of the wire meet in a straight line, then you can snip the excess of the twist as shown. Don't snip the twist off!

You can now remove the wrap from the block, and clamp the twist in pliers, as shown.

Now you have a lovely straight join. Lovely!

Place the mesh over the block.  It was at this point, I realised a wire was missing from the vertical section of the mesh..whoops!

Using your fingers to firmly hold the base of the basket mesh to the block, use a ruler or something similar to carefully bend the wires over each side of the block. It helps to  roll the ruler over the wires, so place the ruler slightly back as the red arrow indicates, then roll it towards you. Don't worry about them not being straight as you bend them, you can tidy them up later.

Just wanted to stick this extra photo in, in case the above one didn't make much sense... I'm not Martha Stewart by the way! :D

Now with the wire mesh formed over the block, you can carefully shimmy the wrap down, until you have it where you want it.

Due to that missing wire from earlier, I've decided to fan the wires out slightly on this side, but they should have been vertical. I quite like it though! Anyway...Use your paintbrush to put flux on the wires as shown.

In order to get a good join, all of the vertical wires, need to be touching the horizontal wire. You can use a bit of folded tin foil or tea light foil, until that is achieved. Then place a sliver of solder as shown, and blast with the soldering flame. Work one side at a time.

Er..having technical problems.. Don't forget to flux and solder the twist! It is important that all vertical wires have soldered properly to the horizontal wire, unless you don't mind having a "vintage" basket.

When you remove the basket from the block, snip off the excess wire, including the twist, and carefully file the edges.  Make sure to clean the basket with soap and a toothbrush or wirewool, to remove the flux residue. I would imagine you could paint these, Tamiya spray paint would probably work very well.

Click here for a great tutorial by a Japanese miniaturist, for making an umbrella frame, which should be very useful for people with more advanced miniature wirework ideas.