Deer me, Deer you, Bookstand-Deer!

And off we go for another nice DIY tinkering howto. Again we needed a birthday present for a friend of ours, which is a deliberate Otaku and IRC-Nerd on #satf, rizon. Those folks happen to have a bot that can draw ASCII-Art pictures mainly of deers – that look just like the bookholder deer below.

As you can imagine our friend was flabbergasted (i somehow like that word) to the last. Read on for more details on how to build it!

So, there we are for detailed build instructions. As for materials and tools you’ll need … this could be somehow hard to get depending on where you live. We’re lucky to have a *good* shop for metall stuff around, so we had a cheap go on a remaining stock Aluminum-sheet-metal. We went for quite thick material as we wanted to bend it, 1.8mm for reference. That descision might sound a bit too much, but it simply looks better, more sturdy and has less risk of breaking when bending it into the final form.

Aside of that you’ll need a printer, a hobby-knife for cutting out the template and some transparent film for protecting the metal as well as pinning the template to the metal. For cutting out we used a Dremel (not original, but by Proxxon) and for the final finishing you’ll need some fine/small files.

If you want to give the Aluminum a brushed look you’d need a thick (and straight) piece of wood, a F-clamp as well as some 600-sandpaper.

Again, only IF you want to seal it – we recommend a airbrush/spraygin and proper clearcoat, we used something slightly different – worked nice nonetheless.

Okay, off we go for the actual work. Print out your template, cut out the outlines with your hobbyknife and pin in to the sheetmetal. Then put the protective mask/film over it to protect the metal from scraches and hold the template properly.

What you'll need - and how to use 😛

Start cutting out the outlines very slowly (the thick material may take you a long time…)

Slowly (any normal dremel won't allow you anything else) cut along your mark. Be carefull not to make your cut too long for "inside" corners - so you don't harm the actual shape.
Remember to flip your sheet metal from time to time - the backside is wonderful for refining the edges - especially for "inside corners"

As a little note: Really really be careful not to grind too far at “inside corners”, it’ll look really bad. A nice fix for “too small” edges is to turn over the sheetmetal and cut a bit from the backside, then turn to front again, and so on. Also, if one of your grinding discs got too small – save it for those jobs! 😛

The first (easy) piece comes off ... huge success!
Back view of the next, more complicated cut
Skipped forward a bit. After cutting you want a good fine and small file to smoothen up the edges and corners. Remember to keep the protection layer so you don't make any unwanted scratches - which happens easily with files.
Detail of the head-section - this was the hardest cutting-work.

Okay, so for the brushing. First off – this is a picture of our first try, please note that it is a bad idea to first bend the deer, then brush it. But as for the general method – you need a straight piece of wood (here: the triangle) and push your sheetmetal against it so to straighten it. Then take another (smaller) piece of wood and wrap the sandpaper around it. If you now grind using the triangle as a guidance so all your “streaks” and scratches are exactly in the same direction you’ll get that nice brushed look. You’ll need to grind forth and back about 4-5 times, if you want a finer brushed look more often using a finer (800) sandpaper.

Brushing *after* bending is no nice idea :P. Remember to do it before.
Details of the brushed look.
Yay, finished (almost)!
Detail before cleaning/sealing.

The two finished deers (uncleaned/sealed)
For sealing we'll use our airbrush (0.2mm nozzle)...
... and lascaux transparent matte varnish/sealer. Wasn't made for this usecase, works like a charm nontheless. Remember to use this only thinned at least 1:1.
After spraying quite some of that stuff on the two deers they need to dry at least 30minutes.
And finished they are - holding our stack of University and Nerd books 😛

Check out that DIY brushed alu - nice, isn't it?

Nice, isn’t it? You may consider a different cutting technique for the rough outlines as normal dremels take *ages* (litterally, we’ve been grinding and cutting almost 16hours for those two deers here). Nonetheless this brithday-present was a rock-on gift, and the ability to custom-make any pixel-art into a bookstand is *THE* idea for a decent gift.

I hope you enjoyed this a bit picture-centered tutorial. If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment system, i’ll answer as soon as i can.

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