Wednesday, May 09, 2007


NYC Adventure

Some call it the greatest city in the world. I call it the hardest place to get lumber in the world. In a city of 16 million people, you'd think there would be hundreds of hardware stores to service the building masses? Well, you'd be partially correct. However, hardly any of them carry wood, and the ones that do have a poor selection. That leaves you with the option of going to one of the 3 big-box retailers in the city. I also don't have a car which compounds difficulties.

I took the subway down to Lowes after work, shopped around for a while, and found a score: 5/8" x 2' x 2' particleboard sheets. I would really have preferred MDF, but they didnt have it in the size I wanted. Anyway, the nice thing about these types of boards is that they are cut very straight, have little warping (careful of water...) and are pretty strong. I snagged 5 of them. I also snagged some 1x4's for the support and the Y carriage. I tried to get a 4x4, but they only sold them in 6 foot lengths. way too long for me =) I settled on getting some more 1x4's and using some of those stacked as the z axis stuff.

Anyway, it was a ridiculous trip home. As I said, I had to take the subway. That meant tying up the wood, some in my backpack, slung like a crazy, wooden sword and me carrying the rest. I nearly hit a girl with the 4' piece of 1x4 which was really embarrassing. Did I mention particleboard is heavy? Yeah. Do they put lead in this stuff? On the plus side, I only had 1 transfer and there was a rad subway musician playing.

"Did I mention particleboard is heavy? Yeah. Do they put lead in this stuff?"

Naah, it's the glue they use to stick all the sawdust together that makes it heavy.
all in the name of reprap?
Do they not have DIY shops with a cutting service in the states? The big B&Q DIY superstores which are dotted all over the UK offer 4 cuts for free and the rest at 50p. They use a circular saw which runs on rails fastened to the wall. You get perfectly straight and parallel edges, hard to destinguish from the original ones. I managed to make my second attempt machine from MDF without doing any cutting myself.
they do... but the 2x2' ones were the perfect size already. also, the staff at the stores i went to arent really friendly.

you could probably get by with it if you needed to...
I was coming in to suggest using the businesses cutting service.

Now I'll suggest grabbing a comment card next time you're in there. The two home improvement big-box stores in Lawton had fine service, even 15 minutes before closing. The semi-big-box home improvement store in Altus always has good service, (of course, I go there with my dad...who graduated, or is teaching, several of the staff there.)
I don't know what the type of saw they use is called but I would love to have one on my garage wall. It is balanced and moves around like the square on an old fasioned drawing board. New RepRap NYC group meets every 3rd Sunday of the month.
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