On the first day of Subtraction class, I was asked if I was afraid of using power tools. I was taken a bit aback; it hadn’t occured to me that I’d be afraid, and I would describe my feelings more like a deep-seated anxiety than fear. I wasn’t afraid I’d cut off my hand or injure myself, but I knew that my projects would likely go wrong– and my exercise did go wrong. Now that I’ve messed up, I do feel fine. It was the anticipation more than anything. Now I just feel that I’ve learned a lot.

The first step was straightforward– finding materials. I knew I didn’t want to spend any money, so I just salvaged some 0.5” plywood from the garbage.

I then measured out where I’ll stick in the pin, with a weird twist. The ruler I used had apparently been imprecise, the product of another itper on the laser cutter. My original measurements became this unhappy face.


I then loaded the circle jig and the router bit onto the router.


A long time ago, in high school shop class, I had used a drill press before, so using it wasn’t as intimidating as the other tasks.


The sad, imprecise face is still sad, though.

Then, it was time to actually use the router. I had a little trouble securing the plywood, as I didn’t realize I would want flat screws. The trickiest part, unexpectedly, was adjusting the depth of the head. It took a little finesse sometimes.



Then the circular cut was done! It was a little imprecise, but I was too content with my work to think to fix it. In future projects I will know better.


Then came time to measure out the straight edge of the cut. Because I had been imprecise earlier, I changed my mind about where I needed to cut. It’s less certain whether the piece would come out if I had followed my original plan.



Cutting this was very straightforward.


But the piece is now done, despite the imperfections.


Special thanks to Lindsey Daniels, Chetan, and Shir for their help and guidance.