The x-y Easel Gets an Upgrade

July 9, 2017

After (quite literally) years of development, the x-y Easel got a big upgrade this month.  Since the beginning, the linear bearing arrangement has been less than optimum, what with trying to keep costs down and trying to adapt existing easels.  I finally ordered up two 5′ long linear bearing tracks along with a precision ball-screw feed, straight from CNC router technology.

The feed is silky smooth, quiet and really strong.  To accommodate the rails, I designed a new easel frame, built from baltic birch plywood, which is mad-strong and really light.  In addition, I was able to incorporate all the new features into one easel – the handheld remote, the massive battery power supply and the computer interface.

There are a few things I’d like to tidy up – I’m still not happy with the finish, and the next easel will be stained with a deep walnut analine dye, and rubbed out with a dark Danish oil.  The computer interface is still Windows only, and I’m working on a little different strategy – doing away with the computer control entirely and using Arduino to set up a programmable hand-held remote – even with a smartphone app possible.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I have enough spare parts left over to build a little side project I’ve been getting some interest in: a wall-mount easel.  I’m putting that together and will bring it into the studio for some lengthy testing within a week or so.



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