Material height measurement sensor

Material height measurement sensor

CNC, Uncategorized
I added a puck-style probing sensor in order to quickly find the top of the raw material I'm milling.  I wanted a sensor that would work on both conductive and non-conductive material and wouldn't require to remove the current tool and install my 3 axis probing tool. I quickly turned a 2" puck 626 mils thick and milled a flat on the side to attach a wire.  I also designed a 3D printed holder to store the puck when not in used.  I configured the input wired to the puck to be Probe 3 in Mach4. So now, when I want to probe any material height, I put the puck on the top of the material and execute a G91 G31.2 Z-2.0 F15 and when the probing is done, I can set the Z position to 0.626" I'm planning to add a custom macro in the future and get Fusion 360 to generate it at th...
Start / Stop buttons

Start / Stop buttons

CNC, Electronics
I finally wired and configured Mach4 to use the start / stop buttons that I installed along the emergency stop button a while ago.  Moving all the home / limit / probing switches to SmoothStepper Port 3 freed inputs on Port1 than I was then able to use for the buttons.  The start button that I used is recessed, making accidental activation less likely. I had to change the screen script to call CycleStart / CycleStop on inputs activation. All in all, I'm pretty happy : The buttons allow me to look at the machine instead of mouse / screen to start / stop the machine
Limit and homing switches

Limit and homing switches

3D Printing, CNC, Electronics
In order to use my newly added tool touch pad, I needed to be able to move the machine to a known (absolute) physical position.  So it was time to finish my half-wired limit / homing switches system. I did a bit of cleanup in the schematic and added a quick and dirty 'breakout' board for the SmoothStepper Port 3.  This also allowed me to regroup all limit / homing / probing inputs on the same port I used cheap 6 pins / 4 pins round connector to make it easy to disconnect the wiring (I'll move the machine in my upcoming workshop this summer).  I actually used the machine itself to machine the connector openings in the board (non-circular holes)   The 'switches' are actually optical barriers.  I decided to use optical switches due to easier installation, ...
Add a tool touch sensor

Add a tool touch sensor

3D Printing, CNC, Electronics
A few weeks ago, I made a wooden plate using my mill machine and decided to time how long it would take to mill the whole plate.  I found out that I spent 25 minutes out of 67 doing material Z measurement (zero) and Tool Z adjustement after each tool change (I want a toolchanger!) I realized that a few thing that I could do to streamline operations (and prevent small tool breakage) would be : Automated material height sensing (Z).  must work with both conductive and non-conductive materials. Automated tool length measurement before and after a tool change in order to automatically adjust the current Z position 3 axis touch sensor (I already have it, just need to make connection easy to do) I decided that the biggest time saving would be #2 - Automated tool length...
Wooden coaster

Wooden coaster

CNC, Uncategorized, Woodworking
I experimented inlaying different woods to produce attractive design.  I decided to make a coaster so I could use it afterward.   I used my upcoming company logo as the basis of the design and decided on a 4" coaster diameter, plain round for now.   I used a 60 degrees v-bit, 16K RPM, 65IPM feedrate (could have gone faster but I went with safe values).  I then glued the two parts together, making sure there was glue in every corner to prevent lift-up / delamination later, used regulard yellow wood glue.  I then clamped overnight to allow to dry.  Next morning, I used my bandsaw to remove the backing of the inlay and then sanded everything smooth using 180, 320 and 400 grit.  I than applied 6 coats of glossy varnish, sanding with 600 grit in b...
Site is now running on an Azure Linux VM

Site is now running on an Azure Linux VM

Computer
I'm happy to report that I'm mostly done migrating my site from Shared GoDaddy to a dedicated VM on Azure! Knowing that I would need a 2nd site for my personal business (more on this soon), I spent the last few weeks reviewing hosting options for either shared or dedicated hosting.  I read a lot of review and finally made the jump to an azure VM. Reasoning Price-wise, for about the same amount I get a dedicated VM that I can do whatever I want with (multi site wordpress, services etc) Pros: Low cost (24 CAD$ / month Pay-As-You-Go or 9.95 CAD$ / month for 3 years) More consistent performance Can easily scale up / down resources (CPU + RAM) as needed Access to the full cloud infrastructure as needed (backups, virtual network, other VM, storage, tiered storage e...
Sieg SC4 Mini-Lathe!   (and a new project)

Sieg SC4 Mini-Lathe!   (and a new project)

CNC, Lathe
I (finally) bought a (slightly) used Sieg SC4 Mini-Lathe!    I installed the machine beside my milling machine until my new workshop is ready next year.   I spent the last weekend drawing & 3D Printing various lathe tools support in order to have a tidy setup for all the tooling. I'm planning to convert the mini-lathe to a CNC lathe in the near future.  I already started to shop around for various parts in order to establish a preliminary budget 2 x Nema 23 Stepper (279 oz/in), dual shafts so I can still manually operate the machine 2 x 4.2A @ 50VDC stepper drives 36V Power supply 1204 ballscrews for X/Y Allow for a future tool turret (ATC) prob. Nema 17 + few inputs  Encoder on the spindle (rigid tapping) MESA 6i25 + 7i76...
Spindle Coolant Flow Indicator

Spindle Coolant Flow Indicator

3D Printing, Electronics
Ok, it's been a while since I posted, doesn't mean I stopped working on the machine! One thing that I found is that I often open my coolant bucket to ensure the coolant is flowing.   So I decided that designing and machining a flow indicator would provide a good opportunity to experiment with full depth cuts / adaptive cutting vs slotting and multiple side machining.   I already machined the part last Sunday and will post the finished pictures tonight along with comments
Designing a dust collector

Designing a dust collector

Electronics
After working with wood and MDF, I quickly realized that I needed something to collect all the dust.  I couldn't fix a ready-made design so I grabbed some good ideas in existing design and rolled out my own. Requirements: Transparent enough to be able to see the spindle / work area Clamp-on spindle Removable vacuum hose - store away when not used Allow for long / short tool lenght Flexible bristles so as not to snag into the material Magnetic dust shoe to allow quick access to work area and different bristles lengths Cheap! " template="default" order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"]
CNC Mill (late) Update

CNC Mill (late) Update

Computer, Electronics
it's been a while... I worked quite a bit on the machine and it is currently operational.  I'm still missing the cable chains (lost in the shipping - replacements underway).  The first parts that I machined with the machine where the aluminium parts needed to replace the 3D printed plastic parts. I have videos of the machine in operation that I'm currently editing to make a nicer video / presentation Here a pele-mele of pictures that I took lately " template="default" order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"]