This week in Subtraction, we’re making foosball players on the wood lathe. Supposedly, we’re going to play an actual game with our players, but hopefully I will not play. I’m terrible and don’t particularly like the game– in terms of tabletop fictional sports, I prefer air hockey. (So Canadian of me!)


I’ll be position 12 on these fictional teams. Go fighting Blues!


I saved my firewood from last week to use this week, a decision I was glad for when I saw my classmates scramble to glue plywood together. My firewood is very soft, but it seemed a solid decision when a few of their glued pieces fell apart on the lathe. I also had enough material to spare half of my wood for a jig.


On Saturday, Nate and I worked together to produce this little jig. I took down the wood, but I got distracted and let the scraper go flying when Swapna walked into the shop. She made me take a break and took down more of it– accidentally rounding the part we wanted for the jig. Woops! Thank you, Swapna, though– it was very kind of her to force me off the lathe. I guess I was more shaken than I thought I was.

We learned many things in making the jig, including how to use the 4 jaw chuck and how to get the headstock pinned. There was a lot more mental math than I’d like this week– I think everyone had trouble trying to figure out how to get 90/180 degrees when they’re divided by 5!


Here’s the jig, along with the taken down firewood for my actual piece. Since the jig was narrower than expected, we put the other hole 90 degrees from the one visible here.


Sunday was the day I thought I’d finish off the assignment, but so did everyone else! Since you can’t book timeslots for the lathe, I made a little signup sheet– to the consternation of everyone on the list after #6… Sorry guys.


While I waited for my turn, I came up with ideas of how to make my foosball player unique. Since I didn’t want my team to lose, I stayed away from the ideas that seemed unstable, and settled on the chess piece.


When I actually turned, I thought I might do a knight instead of the Queen that I drew. To make a Queen’s crown seemed like a lot of whittling that I didn’t want to do. Here’s the piece after sanding on the lathe.


Unfortunately, as I added details on the helmet, I kinda got disatisfied and sanded the whole thing down to a flat top. It’s now a castle! I tested the thing out on the actual foosball table (hanging out with the goalie here) and it looks pretty good.


Unfortunately, I discovered that, though the hole goes straight through, it’s slightly misaligned from the other side. Here you can see where the hole should be through my misaligned hole. Fortunately, this gave me a reason to finally use my deburring tool– if I tried to just drill it, the bits slip to where the hole already exists. The deburring tool let me take off just the bottom left corner.


With a little more drilling and deburring, it fits! Now I can let Monday come with no worries– my piece will fit into spot #12.