Lasts

Got any great sources for leather? Tools? Machinery? Looking for sources?
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johnl
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Re: Lasts

#476 Post by johnl » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:05 pm

If you check around, you can find small cnc router tables that might be able to do the trick.
Also, there are older router/duplicators that I remember from years ago. I think that they bolted somehow to a wood lathe and did their thing
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Re: Lasts

#477 Post by johnl » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:23 pm

Here is a web site that claims you can build your own. Plans are $20.
http://www.copycarver.com/uses.htm
Site looks good, but I don't know
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Re: Lasts

#478 Post by romango » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:01 pm

I tried the copycarver. Doesn't work so well. It's really a 3 axis system. Trying to rotate the model and target is a prohibitively difficult registration issue.

Two thumbs down from me.

last_maker

Re: Lasts

#479 Post by last_maker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:55 pm

Yep, I have tried the copy carver. It did suck for last duplication! When designing and building a machine for a certain industry, it is important to cross reference existing machines but also concider what worked in the past. The gilman worked, thus it makes sence to begin with a similar design but update it to work with modern motors. The gilman incomberance and wieght was all metal in motors and pullys. These large motors and pulleys are not necessary with today's motors and perhaps, I might venture to say modern motors more powerful.

The main operation of the gilman is the area I requested measurements for: The frame which holds both the model and block being turned duplicating the model last. Beyond that it is levers and over sized motors that today's motors for the same capacity are less than 4" inches in circumfrance.

Rick-

I am trying to avoid the whole CNC part because then you will need the software, thus I want to keep it analogue and accessable to anyone in the footwear industry. Lets face it, at bespoke our concentration is making footwear. Few select have figured out the last making software. The rest perhaps still scratching our heads. Having a machine to duplicate at a reasonable price is long over due, don't you think?

last_maker

Re: Lasts

#480 Post by last_maker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:57 pm

John, that is a great Idea as part of my research. thanks.

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Re: Lasts

#481 Post by johnl » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:49 am

Well, shoot, I thought that the copy carver might be good thing. I wonder if you could use a clapped out metal lathe as the basis for a carver. Lots of mass so its rigid, adjustable speeds, automatic feed, the master and the blank could be rigged up to be held and rotated 360 degrees between the headstock and tail stock, a compound that will move on the X axis as well as the Y axis. Figure out a way to mount a small router. Best of all,one that was too worn out to do metal work in the 1000s of an inch would still probably hold close enough for a last, and are very cheap.

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Re: Lasts

#482 Post by romango » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:44 am

From Allen at Jones and Vining:

We will gladly make any last you so choose, or digitize a last of your choice for your shop. We have many options available from the old Last Word catalogue, to well over 100 years of acquisitions in storage. What may not be represented in our catalogue may be available from another old defunct customer model. We use polyethylene plastic, and have 4 hinge choices. No hinge, "V" hinge, SES hinge (for handsewn mocc construction) and PAC hinge which is a little different, but does not like very much soling pressure. We have two choices in jack tubes (thimbles) and they are 1 1/2" X 9/16" commonly used on women's lasts, and 1 5/8" X 5/8" commonly used on men's lasts. All are OD measurements. We can supply all options of metal bottoms on the lasts, but we need to know up front what you need on your particular order.

Currently it is taking us around 2 weeks or less to complete a project. This changes as our production numbers increase or decrease. Please remember that we are a mass production facility first, custom last producer second, because we can not make a living on the single pairs. Our current price is ##.00 (ed: price redacted per Colloquy rules- prices are reasonable) US dollars per pair, with an additional ##.00 for shipping expenses. The extra ## will work for up to 3 pair, then we have to have additional expenses as they are figured using the carriers method of computation. Most of the custom makers don't order more than one pair anyway, so that may not be needed. You may supply us with a shipper account number and we will waive the ##.00 extra.

You can either send in a tracing of the foot with all measurements, or send an e-mail stating what you want to use for finish measurements. We will work with ball girth, and foot length (add any amount you choose for finish length depending on the toe shape), to get the finished product. If you want to pursue true custom lasts, we can take a foot scan and implement the necessary changes to an existing last so the foot will be configured well inside the last. This is very expensive and we do not push this on our customers. These will cost anywhere from ###.00 to ###.00 per pair of lasts. Before you fall out of your seat, please understand a couple of things. For each pair of shoes/boots made from that pair of lasts, the price decreases by half. Also, our time is valuable to us and we have spent many thousands of dollars on the latest technology to allow us to work in this manner. Same as if you were making a pair of boots. Standard prices versus all the add ons. Same scenario, different person. We are not trying to hold you up, but we do expect to be paid for our expertise as well.

I may have missed something here, but if I did, please let me know and I will certainly get back with you. Best method of contact is e-mail. We want your business, but we have to diversify our work load here meaning I am not always around a phone. E-mail will get me day or night, and it will be answered as the phone will, but this way I can sit down and answer several messages at once and in a timeley manner. We have never begrudged a phone call and will not start now. If a message is left we will call back.

Thank you for allowing me to explain some things. I hope you understand the reasoning behind it. I have seen it posted where we don't answer the phone. If you don't follow the menu, or contact a persons dedicated extension number, you won't get to talk to someone.

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Re: Lasts

#483 Post by romango » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:52 am

Another note about experience with the Copycarver. It is very loud and makes a huge mess. You have you stand there working it for hours on end.

Even if it had worked as a 4 or 5 axis mill, it would be brutal to use.

last_maker

Re: Lasts

#484 Post by last_maker » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:06 am

John, what is a clapped out metal lathe? Perhapes there is a part of my research that I am missing. Will you educate me on what a clapped out metal lath is or post a link to where there is a pic and an example of such. Thanks much,

Marlietta

last_maker

Re: Lasts

#485 Post by last_maker » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:22 am

Rick,

as far as any analogue copy carver or lathe, you have to stand there and watch it. it is not auctomatic Like a CNCand it will make a huge mess.When ever you exchange time for saved time, you will have to pay money. To save money and do it your self you are using your time instead of your money.

As far as the mess, this mess can be rectified if You use a vacume head table under the cutter similar to a plastic vacume forming table for plastic vacume forming.

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Re: Lasts

#486 Post by johnl » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:04 am

Marlietta
Sorry about the slang. Clapped out simply means that the lathe is well used and past its prime. It will no longer produce turned metal parts that will hold to tight tolances such as + or - a couple of thousands of an inch. It could also have damage to gears used in threading, or the back gear etc. None of which should made a lot of difference for last making. These lathes would not be worth the expense and time of rebuilding to metal working standards, but have plenty of cast iron to be rigid enough for last making. The can be picked up for usually the price of iron scrap or a little more. I would design a device that would fit on the lathe that would be similar to what you see on a key cutting machine. Envision a U shaped piece of metal. On on leg of the U is a metal pin that tracks on the master copy. On the other leg of the U is a wood working trim router that can also plunge cut.
This U piece is attached to the compound that moves on the X axis of the lathe (right to left etc.) The compound can also move on the Y axis, which is 90 degrees to the x axis.

Now the master last and the blank are held in a device that is (just for the sake of argument) 1" round steel rod 6" long on one end, then expands with an opening (like the eye of a needle), another 2-3" of steel rod, and then another (eye of the needle) opening. The blank and the master are in these openings held by screw clamps of some sort. This whole thing is mounted between the headstock of the lathe and the tail stock. As such, it can rotate 360 degrees and then be held stationary where ever you want it.

Another idea would be to acquire a table top CNC mill. They ar small and not that expensive on the used market. As in the post above, J and V will supply you with a digitized last file. There are also a number of better machine shops that can scan a master and digitize it. Would also be a good excersise for a college eng class etc.
John L
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last_maker

Re: Lasts

#487 Post by last_maker » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:15 am

John thankyou, so much for such a detailed explaination. I can tell you have lots of experience in this field of metal. Check your email. I hope to talk with you soon.

erickgeer

Re: Lasts

#488 Post by erickgeer » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:25 am

Allen,

It's good to hear information from you here- Thank you for that.

Others,

I have a few thoughts on last making and using things like copy carvers- I'm going to jump over to "One Last Question" since it's more about making than sourcing.

Erick

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Re: Lasts

#489 Post by lancepryor » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:13 am

John:


So, as you envision it, the lathe is really only serving as a stable base and provides the central axis for the original and the cutting head, i.e. the lathe wouldn't be 'running'/rotating, is that right?

The Gilman lathe does something somewhat similar, in that the cutting head moves in/out based on the movement of the tracing wheel on the original; however, the original and the copy do rotate, but at a very slow rate -- I'd guess about one rotation every 5 or 10 seconds. The cutting head has 3 or 4 cutting bits that are somewhat akin to router bits (I don't exactly recall if the cutting head itself rotates). However, the copy is next to the original, rather than held in the same axis.

Alot of the complexity of the Gilman is that it enables the automatic grading -- both length and girth -- of the copy, which therefore requires the copying/cutting head be attached to various arms to allow geometric scaling. I think it may also allow you to rotate the copy in the opposite direction in order to convert a right-foot last in to a left-foot copy, and vice versa.

I know there a few Gilman lathes out there for sale and which I've (perhaps crazily?) contemplated trying to acquire. Honestly, I think one of the challenges would be sourcing good maple or beech blocks to use in the things.

Lance

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Re: Lasts

#490 Post by romango » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:31 am

A note about good wood.

We have a bargain wood sales store where I am. I believe such places are common. You can get high quality hardwood planks at such places very cheaply.

The planks usually have some dimensional variety in length and width. That's why they end up on the bargain pile. But this is no problem at all.

You have the added advantage that you can pre-cut the last profile before laminating. This give you a very rough last shape so not so much wood needs to be removed.

I have done this several times and find it quite satisfactory.

I believe this laminated result is actually higher quality than one would get from a solid block of wood. This is because you can see that the boards are properly dried out and the glue laminate probably also makes them more dimensionally stable than a block would be.

Just my opinion though.

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Re: Lasts

#491 Post by johnl » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:49 am

Lance:
Pretty much. The lathe serves like you said as a stable base, and central axis. The lathe would not rotate under power. The device that held the master and blank would have indexing plates on the screws( round plates with holes drilled every few degress around the perimeter that can be rotated and then locked in place with a pin through the hole) that held the master and blank in place, and allow them to be rotated within the fixture and then locked in position. Depending on how you wanted to set the thing up, you could cut right to left, or rotate the thing a few degrees at a time by hand. You could also design a somewhat more complex master and raw stock holder that would allow cutting 360 degrees. I have not figured out the automatic grading, and none of this might work if I were to build it instead of thinking about it. But, I think it would be a good start. As far as the maple or beech blocks, the only thing I can think of would be to glue them up with high quality glue.
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Re: Lasts

#492 Post by lancepryor » Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:02 pm

Rick:

I've used the laminated process (per Koleff); recently finished one using hard rock maple. I just wonder about the longer term dimensional stability of the laminated method.

Certainly cutting the profile to start makes things alot easier.

John: I can't really imagine figuring out a way to grade the last using the approach you envision. At a minimum, it would add alot of complexity, even if one could figure out the geometry of the thing.

Lance

erickgeer

Re: Lasts

#493 Post by erickgeer » Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:18 pm

I'd think if the adhesive is of good quality, laminated would be fine- keep the grain as even as possible. I over heard a conversation about doing an inlay with multiple types of wood- that's where things get harry because different species will contract and expand at different rates.

OTOH, I've been told that laminated blocks will dull a blade fast on a last lathe- and keeping the sets of blades evenly sharpened is important so a pair coming off the machine is indeed the same. Not a problem if you are cutting by hand or one at a time.

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Re: Lasts

#494 Post by johnl » Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:34 pm

Lance
Grading the last in girth would not be difficult. One would only need to adjust the length of the tracking metal pin on the master, screwing it in or out in order to make the router cut closer or farther out. Lenghtwise: Thats going to take some thought.
John L

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Re: Lasts

#495 Post by last_maker » Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:38 pm

Rick,

The gilman had a pentagraph attatchment on it that was on on the orginal machine. It was an improvement 5 years later.

If you look up pentagraph duplicator in freepatents online, you can get a good idea of how this would work.

Thanks lance for your question it sheds more light on the gilman.

-marlietta

last_maker

Re: Lasts

#496 Post by last_maker » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:38 pm

By the way guys, on the subject of wood. Tree services spring up all over the country. Many of these tree services will give the wood of a felled tree for

FREEE!



All you have to do is come pic it up. maple grows here in washington so there is an ample supply.

last_maker

Re: Lasts

#497 Post by last_maker » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:51 am

Also there is a lot of FREE... maple and hard wood available through Craigs list.

If you are going to use a felled tree though, ask if it was grown in clay, sand or loose soil. In order for maple to be hard as a rock, it must grow in hard to grow area such a a packed rock, clay or clay and rock soil. You can make a softer wood hardend like maple by soaking it in a wood petrifying solution. You can look up this recipie on line. You will need a potters kiln to make the petrofiying action take hold. the degree of temp you bring it up to will determine the hardness.

When usiing a tree service, you can request them to cut the rounds in a certain length during their felling process.

Developing a good relationship with them by cleaning up the felled tree mess will insure you an ample supply of last making medium.

Any way, before using felled tree maple wood, however, you are going to need to "sun kiln" dry it. It usually takes one year in a sun kiln to drain or dry out the pith. Alternatively you can bake it at 150 degrees for 24 hours in a standard oven and test it with a moisture tester. it should be at the same humitity as your air in your area. If not continue bakeing it. It is truely cheeper to use a sun kiln.

This sun kiln is simply a shed built out of plastic plumbers pipe and clear plastic for shething. It should be place on the north shadowy side of your house. you can do a google search in thier images under "sun kiln"

while drying the cut rounds of the tree should remain in tact. After one year they can be devided for last making.

when using this wood for last making, cut it in a coffin shape. and begin your last making from that point. See golding V, I.

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Re: Lasts

#498 Post by bill_harris » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:25 pm

Long long ago before digital cameras and CAD I made a 2 wood lathe machine built around a Sears Router Recreater that would make both right and left lasts from the same pattern. I still have the dimensioned drawings from which it was built if anyone wants to see them.
I found it wanting. Not machine tool quality.
A few years ago I posted a picture of the Gilman Cone Head Last Lathe that I rebuilt and I was not able to find it so it is attached here. I added variable speed DC gearmotors to turn the spindles and drive the cross slide. I also made anti-backlash spindle boxes. The size changing mechanisms are motion modifying linkages that add or subtract from the pattern follower. This is non-trivial. A pantagraph will not create the same shape in a different size unless the cutter diameter is changed in the same proportion.
11087.jpg
11087.jpg (21.82 KiB) Viewed 640 times

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Re: Lasts

#499 Post by johnl » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:04 am

William
Could you please explain what you found substandard in the first device that you built?
I suspect that it would be the quality of the Sears unit. Do you think that we would experience the same type of problems using one of the newer copy crafters, or a shop made version of one with tight tolerances?

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Re: Lasts

#500 Post by large_shoemaker_at_large » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:02 pm

To all
I operated a last lath in the early 80's. I can not remeber the name it was from Holland WW11 vintage. I would do some grading, same kind and Mirror.

The cutter was a fixed 3 blade cutter head about 3 inches diameter. The blades were IIRC about 5/8 radius and gouge shaped. The orginal and the blank would turn.

If you can find some old posts from Lyle T. Davis he had made a last mill.

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