TIMBER Brand by Nanogram presents : the making of the “Scout”, our latest hack for a foldable wood veneered beard comb. Do you enjoy the design simplicity of a pocket knife and require your wooden comb to remain protected in your pocket? The Scout is the answer.
If you don’t yet know us, we are Nanogram, a group who by day serve as designers and architects and by night delight as hackers, makers and reverse-engineers. Our toys for modern humans are available at thenanogramstore or nanogram.bigcartel.com.
Today, we illustrate how to create your very own folding wood comb. In this tutorial, we walk you through AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, the laser cutter, and ultimate assembly of the beard comb.
STEP 1. Drawing your Comb in AutoCAD
With your design in mind or sketched on paper, decide the size of your comb that will eventually be lasercut. We often begin by creating guidelines. In the design of the Scout wood beard comb, we determined that a 4 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ size was optimum for our prototype.
Step 2. Creating the curvature.
Guidelines for us are always crucial. In reality, you only need to create a curve for one quadrant and use the MIRROR TOOL in AutoCAD to create the rest. This ensures an accurate and symmetric design for your DIY foldable comb.
Step 3. Separating body from blade.
As you observe, we begin to use two layers / colors in the LAYER MANAGER to start distinguishing between what will eventually be the body of the knife comb and the blade. Once you have established a form you pleased with, select the body and make it a block using the BLOCK command. We offset a preliminary drill hole for the binding post at 1/2″. This will serve as a pivot point for our eventual array of the beard comb blade.
Step 4. Arraying the blade.
In the creation of our DIY wood comb, arraying the blade is a pivotal step. This begins to inform how the comb will start to look in the open and closed positions. Before designing the teeth of the comb, get the basic form look correct. Array the blade, also made into a block, around the pivot point.
Step 5. Designing teeth
The benefit of using blocks in AutoCAD is the ability to edit one of your arrayed comb blades once and they ALL change in unison. For the teeth, we roughly find the center point of the comb and start offsetting in increments of 1/8″ and drawing diagonal lines. To create the rounded teeth of the beard comb, use the FILLET command with a radius of 1/16″ and 1/32″.
Step 6. Comb array.
Pooof. Just like that, with blocks, you edit one blade and they all update. Your DIY folding beard comb is taking shape!
Step 7. Design the stop wedge.
For our prototype of the folding wood comb, we needed to design a stop to prevent the comb from continuing to rotate ad infinitum around the pivot. We attempted to follow the basic shape of the comb and offset it 1/64″ away to provide a bit of ‘give’. This piece, as you will later see, will be hidden from view as it remains wedges between both sides of the folding comb body.
Step 8. Get to the laser cutter.
For more information on how to print from AutoCAD to Adobe Illustrator, please view our Mr. T. Magnet Tutorial. Using your laser cutter and some 1/8″ MDF or hardboard, cut out the four essential pieces of the folding wood beard comb. Don’t stress the burn marks, we will be covering the visible faces with a thin veneer.
Step 9.Cut that skin.
The secret to this DIY tutorial for the ultimate laser cut wood comb is the application of a wood veneer. The beauty behind it is manifold. Firstly, PSA wood veneers offer an additional layer of 3M backing which permits flexibility and adds rigidity to the wood grain fibers. The fact that this is applied to either an MDF or hardboard base makes for an extra strong comb. This is clutch for the teeth which are most often the most brittle part. Another added benefit of veneers is the breadth of wood types and colors. Variety is the spice of life, right? Why limit yourself to maple, cherry, walnut or cedar? Get into exotic woods if you want. Mix and match woods. Create inlays. The limits are only your imagination.
Step 10. Stick that skin.
Carefully applying the laser cut wood veneer to the beard comb blade and body, sand the faces and edges down to prevent hard edges and remove burn marks.
Step 11. Ready to assemble.
Note: We show the use of 3/4″ binding posts. This was initially used for the prototype and then discovered that it was too long. We ultimately used 1/2″. But, it gives you the brand that is readily available in Home Depot or Lowe’s. Notice how clean the sanded foldable wood comb looks…slick right?
Step 12. Glue the stop
Notice how the interior remains unfinished. You could easily face the interior parts with veneer as well. Don’t mind the extraneous lines laser engraved on the interior. This is a prototype.
Step 13. Final gluing and fastening.
For the builders and fabricators out there, yes, the above photo looks weird. We did unscrew the body prior to gluing but we wanted to illustrate the assembly process of the comb in one photo.
Step 14. The TIMBER Scout fold-out wood beard comb complete.
Once assembled and dried, you can sand this bad boy once again and apply stains or oils to make it as shiny and durable as you please. You now have yourself a durable and rugged beard comb for your back pocket. This DIY project is our gift from Nanogram to the globe for all of your years of support. Thank you for helping our cause of revitalizing downtown Phoenix through the design and sale of wood products.
For more information on how you have helped changed the urban face Phoenix, follow our not-for-profit @FLATLOT on Instagram.