Copying carving a rotary dial phone
I wasn't sure if it was practical to do a good job of it, so I made a test carving of just part of the dial. That worked out well enough, so I went ahead.
I glued up a block of wood of the right size. Before carving, I traced the approximate outline of the phone onto it with a pencil and cut that out on the bandsaw. Removing lots of material just with a router isn't much fun.
The phone blank, along with the original mounted in my copy carver. I attached a piece of wood to the bottom of the phone, which I screwed down in my copy carver setup. I added a piece of coat hanger wire at the back of the phone to further fix it in place.
This time I'm using a ball nose router bit with a similarly shaped follower. It can't get into the corners very well, but it leaves a nicer surface.
I was limited by the length of the bit and the reach of the copy carver, so this is as far as I could get in this orientation. Also notice the ridge along the side of the copy. That ridge is a copy of the coat hanger wire holding down the original.
I could have increased the reach by 2-3 cm by clamping the router further down and using a longer follower bit, but that still wouldn't be enough to reach all the way down the front and back.
I sure got a lot of dust on myself, sitting in front of the router and working away. After that, I moved the dust collection hose and mounted it to the frame of the router copier so that the hose was always within about 20 cm of the router bit. That still wasn't enough to pull in all the dust, but it captured most of the finer airborne dust.
Re-aligning the workpiece and original after rotating is a bit tricky. But it's easy enough to check by ensuring the stylus and the router touch the workpiece and original at the same time from all sides.
I don't have the patience of a wood carver though, so I didn't go so far as to give the copy a nice smooth surface like the original.
Copying the phone's handset presented an interesting challenge. It doesn't have a flat bottom to mount it by. So I made this block of wood that it fit tightly into. It needs to be mounted quite rigidly, so that it doesn't get bumped out of place from tracing all the surfaces with the follower.
Checking the blank - I have to make sure the router always hits the blank before the follower hits the original. As it turned out, I had cut away a bit too much from my blank and had to glue a few bits of wood back on. Oops!
Carving away at it. Note the dust hose just behind the router. Moving that hose closer to the router really helped to cut down on airborne dust. The bigger chips still accumulated all over the place, but there was less dust in the air.
After carving it as much as I could from the top, I flipped the workpiece and original so I could carve the other side. Here's aligning the workpiece with the original. That procedure takes a few minutes to get it just right.
And you may ask "why would you copy a phone?" - well, I figured it was a neat and unusual yet familiar shape to try to carve out of wood. And really, most "carvings" aren't actually useful. Although I suppose I could copy useful items with the machine - like violin backs, guitar necks, or gun stocks. But I'm not building any of those things. I could always make some spoons, but I think carving a phone is way cooler!