Posts Tagged Sherline

Kenmore 158 LED Heatsink: Epoxy Sculpture

The LED mounting plate inside the sewing machine’s end cap sits 30° from the vertical axis of the needle. Even though the surface-mount LED emitters have a broad pattern, it seemed reasonable to aim them toward the needle to put the brightest spot where it’s needed.

The LEDs must have enough heatsinking to pull 2+ W out of the solder pads, so I figured I’d just epoxy them firmly to the mounting plate, rather than try to gimmick up a circuit board that would interpose a fiberglass slab in the thermal path.

Combine those two requirements and you (well, I) get a wire fixture that provides both power and alignment:

LED mount - wire fixture

LED mount – wire fixture

The LED body is 5 mm square, sin(30°) = 0.5, and the rear wire raises contact end by 2.5 mm. This still isn’t an exact science; if the center of the beam lands in the right time zone, that’s close enough.

Testing the LED assembly at low current before entombing it shows the emitters have six chips in series (clicky for more dots):

LED mount - lighting test

LED mount – lighting test

The grotendous solder job follows my “The Bigger the Blob, the Better the Job” principle, modulated by the difficulty of getting a smooth finish on bare wires. Indeed, the first wires I painstakingly bent, set up, and soldered turned out to have an un-solderable surface, much like the header pins from a while ago. That hank of wire now resides in the copper cable recycling bucket; you’re looking at Version 1.1.

Two strips of Kapton tape under the ends of the wires hold them off the (scoured and wiped clean!) aluminum plate, with more tape forming a dam around the nearest edges:

LED mount - epoxy pour

LED mount – epoxy pour

Despite being steel-filled, JB Weld remains nonconductive, the epoxy-filled gap under the wires insulates them from the plate, the wires aren’t shorted together, and there’s a great thermal bond to the heatsink. Good stuff, that JB Weld!

A view from the back side shows the epoxy sagging over the wires before I added another blob:

LED mount - epoxy pour - rear

LED mount – epoxy pour – rear

The LED assembly just sits there, without being anchored, until the epoxy cures. The epoxy remains thick enough (in the rather chilly Basement Laboratory) so that it doesn’t exactly pour, can be eased into place without too much muss & fuss, and stays pretty much where it’s put.

After the epoxy stiffened a bit, I gingerly positioned stranded wires not-quite-touching the LED wires and applied a dot of solder to each. Powering the LEDs from a bench supply at 500 mW each took the chill off the heatsink and encouraged proper curing:

LED mount - heated epoxy cure

LED mount – heated epoxy cure

Fast forward to the next day, return the heatsink to the Sherline, and drill a hole for the power cable. It’s centered between the wires in Y and between the fins in X, which is why I couldn’t drill before mounting the LEDs:

LED mount - drilling cable hole

LED mount – drilling cable hole

It’s not like I’m building this from any specs…

Trim the wires, solder the cable in place, cover the wire ends & joints with JB KwikWeld epoxy, and it’s done:

LED mount - final epoxy

LED mount – final epoxy

With the LEDs running their 230 mA rated current, the entire heatsink gets pleasantly warm and the mounting plate isn’t much warmer than that. I loves me a good JB Weld job…

However, I suspect they’ll shine too brightly at full throttle, which means an adjustable power supply looms on the horizon…



Kenmore 158 LED Heatsink: Machinable Wax FTW!

In the quest for More Light around the Kenmore 158’s needle, I’m replacing the pair of 10 mm LEDs with a pair of 21 V / 115 mA = 2.5 W surface-mount emitters that require a good heatsink. Because the heatsink must mount inside the sewing machine’s end cap, there’s not much air circulation: when sizing the heatsink, I figure that nothing exceeds like excess.

There doesn’t seem to be any way to measure the available space inside the hinged end cap, so the plan is to fit the largest possible heatsink, run it for a while, and then build a smaller (and presumably less awkward) heatsink based on those measurements.

I sawed a slice off an aluminum heatsink harvested from a junked PC, wrapped masking tape around it, and filled it with machinable wax to prevent the fins from chattering:

Heatsink filled with machinable wax

Heatsink filled with machinable wax

Pouring the wax into a cold heatsink worked about as poorly as you’d expect, so I held the heatsink over the stove burner, slowly remelted the wax into the bottom of the fins, and topped it off with more wax from the pot. I’m almost certainly using too little fire; the stuff melts at a bit under 300 °F and doesn’t really get liquid at any temperature I was comfortable with. The double boiler we use for candle wax won’t get nearly hot enough.

Clamped into the Sherline’s vise, it’s obvious that the slitting saw won’t quite reach all the way through:

Heatsink - slitting saw setup

Heatsink – slitting saw setup

I figured the height by working backwards from the outside of the end cap and forward from the bulkhead at the end of the arm. As it turned out, the middle fins fit and the outer two didn’t, but it was surprisingly close. The length turned out to be spot on, which is the sort of coincidence that tells me I’m on the right track. This is not an exact science.

One cut along the front, another along the rear, and the fins popped right off:

Heatsink - cut detail

Heatsink – cut detail

Those aren’t broken teeth on the blade, they’re just loaded with wax and aluminum dust.

I love the way Sherline’s little flycutter produces a nice finish with minimal effort:

Heatsink - flycut fins

Heatsink – flycut fins

My plan to secure the heatsink to the sewing machine by repurposing two convenient screws was foiled by the lower screw: it’s too short and sports a fine 6-40 thread. Not only does my heap lack 6-40 screws, Eks doesn’t have any, either; I would have lost big money on that bet.

Brownell’s has a fillister-head screw assortment including 6-40 threads, so that problem will Go Away in short order, but they’re out of stock at the moment. My other Brownell’s assortment (which they no longer carry) includes 5-40 screws, but …

This being a prototype, I simply milled a recess to accommodate the offending screw head:

Heatsink - screw head clearance slot

Heatsink – screw head clearance slot

The upper screw originally held the incandescent lamp socket in place and will be long enough to hold the heatsink.

In there somewhere, the ragged bandsawed edge on the far side got itself milled smooth.

Some trial fitting showed the two outer fins must be 2 mm shorter to fit inside the end cap, so the finish on those isn’t nearly as nice:

Heatsink - removing machinable wax

Heatsink – removing machinable wax

That shows the machinable wax on its way out of the fins, urged along by whacking the ends with a wooden stick. The wax doesn’t adhere to the aluminum and leaves a clean surface, although I’m sure I should scrub it down with solvent to remove any residue.

A bit of paper-doll cutout work provided a shape for the plate that will hold the LEDs, then some bandsaw and hand-filing and milling trimmed it to fit. The heatsink has a slot along the edge, barely visible at the right end of the previous photo, so I hand-filed a rabbet in the plate to let it sit flat against the bottom of the slot and the end of the fins.

Steel-filled epoxy (good old JB Weld) secures the plate and provides good thermal transfer. The steel bar holds the plate against the fins while the epoxy cures:

Heatsink - epoxying LED mount

Heatsink – epoxying LED mount

After some iterative abrasive adjustment on the belt sander, the assembly just barely fits inside the end cap. This view looks through the bobbin access hatch opening in the bed:

Heatsink - endcap trial fit

Heatsink – endcap trial fit

The two outer fins hit various mold sprues / vents / protrusions inside the cast (!) end cap. I think the next version will have three fins, as the cap rides right against the outer fin; the abrasive adjustment came into play on that fin and the end of the LED plate.

The plate could be a bit longer, but let’s see how this one works out.

The notch just barely clears the arm that moves the needle sideways during zig-zag stiches. The rectangular joint guides the arm left-to-right (vertically in this image), but doesn’t slide up-and-down. I think it’s as far out as it’ll ever get, but, again, this is a prototype.

Now, to mount LEDs on that plate…



Eyeglass Temple Re-Repair

Unfortunately, the smooth interior of the temple spring pocket and the smooth exterior of the hinge plate didn’t provide enough mechanical lock for the epoxy; the pieces pulled apart after a week.

So I put a stake in its heart:

Eyeglass temple - tapered pin

Eyeglass temple – tapered pin

That’s a tapered brass pin from the Box o’ Clock Parts, buttered up with a dab of epoxy, then shoved firmly into a 41 mil (#59) hole drilled through the pocket and the edge of the hinge plate.

Fast-forward overnight, apply a Dremel grinding bit, and it looks passable:

Eyeglass temple - ground tapered pin

Eyeglass temple – ground tapered pin

If that doesn’t hold, those glasses are gone.

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Low Voltage Interface Adapter Plate

The Dell GX270 chassis has a small support plate under the CPU, evidently to support the heatsink and fan:

Optiplex GX270 CPU heatsink mount

Optiplex GX270 CPU heatsink mount

It slides neatly into those clips on the system board tray, but it’s not actually locked into position. I think that allows it to slide around a bit under the system board, providing vertical support without constraining the board’s horizontal position. Anyhow, it looked like the easiest way to support the prototyping board that will hold the low voltage interface circuitry.

By some mischance, I found a nice aluminum plate exactly the right width, so only one side needed a saw cut and squaring. Coordinate drilling four #6 clearance holes matched the support:

LV Interface Adapter Plate - drilling

LV Interface Adapter Plate – drilling

That corner of the tray had another system board retaining clip, but rather than bashing it flat, I just sawed a slit in the plate so it can slide right into position. Note the perfect alignment of that screw hole:

LV Interface Adapter Plate - retainer

LV Interface Adapter Plate – retainer

I love it when all my mistakes cancel out!

Four more holes matched the prototyping circuit board and, while I had some epoxy mixed up for another part, I fastened four standoffs over the holes. A washer under each original screw soaked up exactly enough space that the screws barely indented the case and, as if by magic, hold the support plate firmly in place:

LV Interface Adapter Plate - installed

LV Interface Adapter Plate – installed

Of course, that means I must remove the circuit board to get the tray out, but the AC interface board must also come out, so we’re not talking a spur-of-the-moment operation.

The switch in the lower left corner is the original Dell “intrusion monitoring” switch harvested from a complex metal stamping in the diagonally opposite corner of the case. It’s epoxied to the case wall, with the plunger contacting a shim epoxied to the top of the case, and will eventually disconnect the AC line power from the drive electronics: case open = switch closed = lethal power off.

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ET227 Transistor: Monster Heatsink Mounting

Back in the day, heatsinks like this sat atop Moah Powah Pentium CPUs:

ET227 transistor on heatsink

ET227 transistor on heatsink

I picked it because the hulking ET227 transistor fit neatly on its backside, it seemed capable of handling 30 to 50 W of power, and I have several of them in the Big Box o’ Heatsinks. No careful thermal analysis was involved…

Mounting it on the polycarbonate sheet inside the repurposed GX270 case involved drilling & tapping a pair of 6-32 holes in one side:

ET227 Heatsink - tapping

ET227 Heatsink – tapping

That’s not rigid tapping on a Sherline, it’s aligning a hand-turned tap in the spindle bore. Sorry.

And, yeah, you’re not supposed to leave the semiconductors mounted when you’re drilling the heatsink. I figure there’s nothing I can possibly do without using a hammer that will bother that transistor in the slightest. What, me worry?

The transistor collector runs at line voltage, which means the entire heatsink will pose a lethal shock hazard. I thought about isolating the collector and failed to come up with anything I’d trust to be both thermally conductive and electrically insulating over the long term; the screw heads must be isolated from the collector plate, too.

The screws stick out below the polycarbonate sheet, just above the grounded EMI shell lining the case, so I flattened them a bit:

ET227 Heatsink - mounting screws

ET227 Heatsink – mounting screws

The simple rectangular strip to the rear of the chassis mounting clips is just slightly thicker than the screw heads, so they can’t possibly contact the case:

Chassis Clips

Chassis Clips

It gets glued to the underside of the nearly invisible sheet:

ET227 heatsink - gluing screw shield

ET227 heatsink – gluing screw shield

With Kapton tape over the heads, Just In Case:

ET227 Heatsink - mounted

ET227 Heatsink – mounted

It makes a nice linear counterpoint to the jumble of AC interface wiring:

AC Interface Chassis

AC Interface Chassis

The insulating sheet on the case lid came from the bottom of the original GX270 system board, where I think it served much the same purpose. It’s surely not rated for AC line voltages, but the thought must count for something:

AC Interface Chassis

AC Interface Chassis

More of the parts are flying in formation…

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AC Interface Chassis Mounting Clips

The Dell GX270 system board mounts on a tray, latching into small tabs, with a single screw locking it in place. The tray then slides into the metal EMI shield / case, latching onto more tabs, with a spring-loaded pair of tabs snapping into a slot under the green latch:

Optiplex GX270 - system board tray

Optiplex GX270 – system board tray

All that is well and good for a mass-production PC system board, but poses a problem for mounting anything else: there’s no room for screw heads below the tray, adhesives really don’t bond to slightly flexible aluminum sheets, and I definitely can’t do large-scale precision metal bending.

So a cheat seems in order. The general idea is to support a 6 mm polycarbonate sheet on clips that slide under the small tabs along the front, support the sheet on the rear tabs, and secure it with the screw. That’s thick enough to allow tapping holes for mounting screws, so everything else can mount to the sheet.

The sheet fits around the power supply on the right, protrudes over the rear of the tray to the back of the case (with a recess around the green latch), and clears the hinge assembly on the left. There are no dimensions, as it’s all done by eye with the Joggy Thing.

AC Chassis Shaping

AC Chassis Shaping

A drive bay EMI plug from a long-discarded PC provided some nice springy steel strips that slide neatly under those tray tabs:

Drive EMI shield

Drive EMI shield

That actually took a bit of trial-and-error:

AC Chassis mounting brackets - practice makes perfect

AC Chassis mounting brackets – practice makes perfect

My first attempts used slightly thicker steel that didn’t fit nearly as well, plus I wasn’t quite sure how wide they should be.

As with nearly all plastic doodads around here, the white plastic mounting clips / brackets come from the M2:

Chassis Clips

Chassis Clips

The two brackets in the middle of the solid model slide around the tabs at the rear corners of the tray and capture the bent-over top section below the polycarbonate sheet.

The strip in the rear goes around the screws holding the heatsink to the sheet; more on that later.

The PLA brackets get themselves glued to the sheet with IPS #4 solvent adhesive, a hellish mixture of chlorinated hydrocarbons that attacks most plastics with gleeful enthusiasm. I positioned the brackets on the tray, slobbered adhesive on their tops, slapped the polycarbonate sheet in place, and applied clamps:

AC Chassis - gluing bracket blocks

AC Chassis – gluing bracket blocks

The final bonds weren’t as uniform as I’d like, but they seem rugged enough. The lip along the rear of the tray was slightly higher on the left edge, which may have interfered with the clamping pressure; it’s obviously not a controlled dimension.

The tapped holes in the sheet accommodate screws for various bits & pieces.

All in all, that worked out pretty well…

The OpenSCAD source code:

// AC Interface sheet mounting brackets
// Ed Nisley - KE4ZNU - August 2014

Layout = "Build";		// FrontClip RearClip HeatSink Build

Gap = 5.0;					// between Build objects

//- Extrusion parameters must match reality!

ThreadThick = 0.20;
ThreadWidth = 0.40;

HoleWindage = 0.2;			// extra clearance

Protrusion = 0.1;			// make holes end cleanly

AlignPinOD = 1.70;			// assembly alignment pins: filament dia

function IntegerMultiple(Size,Unit) = Unit * ceil(Size / Unit);

// Dimensions

FC_Block = [45.0,30.0,IntegerMultiple(5.6,ThreadThick)];
FC_Retainer = [15.5,9.0,3.0,15.0];					// central section: L,W,H, inset from front

RC_Block = [30.0,25.0,IntegerMultiple(5.6,ThreadThick)];
RC_RecessOffset = [9.0,5.0,IntegerMultiple(4.8,ThreadThick)];	// X,Y,thickness
RC_SlotWidth = 2.5;

HS_Insulation = [80.0,16.0,2.5];
HS_Hole = [8.0,40.0];					// screw clearance dia,on-center

// Useful routines

module PolyCyl(Dia,Height,ForceSides=0) {			// based on nophead's polyholes

  Sides = (ForceSides != 0) ? ForceSides : (ceil(Dia) + 2);

  FixDia = Dia / cos(180/Sides);

  cylinder(r=(FixDia + HoleWindage)/2,

module ShowPegGrid(Space = 10.0,Size = 1.0) {

  RangeX = floor(100 / Space);
  RangeY = floor(125 / Space);

	for (x=[-RangeX:RangeX])
	  for (y=[-RangeY:RangeY])


// Front clips

module FrontClip() {

	difference() {

		translate([0,(FC_Retainer[3] - FC_Block[1]/2),(FC_Retainer[2] + FC_Block[2]/2)])
			cube([(FC_Block[0] - 12*ThreadWidth),FC_Retainer[1],FC_Block[2]],center=true);

		translate([0,FC_Retainer[3] - FC_Retainer[1]/2,FC_Block[2]/2])


// Rear clips

module RearClip(Hand="Left") {

HandSign = (Hand == "Left") ? -1 : 1;

	difference() {

		translate([0,RC_RecessOffset[1],RC_RecessOffset[2] + RC_Block[2]/2])
			cube([RC_Block[0] - 2*RC_RecessOffset[0],

		translate([HandSign*(RC_Block[0]/2 - RC_RecessOffset[0]),



// Heatsink bumper

module HeatSink() {

	difference() {

	for (x=[-1,1])



if (Layout == "FrontClip") {

if (Layout == "RearClip") {

if (Layout == "HeatSink") {

if (Layout == "Build") {
	for (x=[-1,1]) {
		translate([x*(Gap + FC_Block[0])/2,(Gap + FC_Block[1])/2,0])
		translate([x*(Gap + RC_Block[0])/2,-(Gap + RC_Block[1])/2,0])
			RearClip((x == -1) ? "Left" : "Right");
	translate([0,-(RC_Block[1] + HS_Insulation[1]/2 + 3*Gap/2),0])

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IEC Power Socket Mount

The original Kenmore Model 158 sewing machine used a two-wire line cord:

Kenmore 158 - terminal block

Kenmore 158 – terminal block

In light of my modifications, grounding the frame seems prudent. The heap produced a long IEC extension cord with screw-mounting ears on the socket end that fit neatly into the GX270’s rear panel area occupied by two PCI cover plates, so a bit of Quality Shop Time seemed in order.

The GX270’s carcass yielded a complex bit of sheet metal that held the hard drive and a few other odds & ends, with some clean right-angle bends in exactly the right places:

Dell drive bracket - intact

Dell drive bracket – intact

Some bandsaw work removed the gimcrackery:

Dell drive bracket - first bandsaw pass

Dell drive bracket – first bandsaw pass

More bandsawing produced a rough outline:

Dell drive bracket - second bandsaw pass

Dell drive bracket – second bandsaw pass

Sawing to length, removing the small flanges, and squaring the sides:

Dell drive bracket - squaring edges

Dell drive bracket – squaring edges

I traced the existing PCI cover tabs, bandsawed the outlines, and filed to suit:

Dell drive bracket - basic outline

Dell drive bracket – basic outline

They look a bit ragged, but fit well enough:

Dell drive bracket - trial fit - interior

Dell drive bracket – trial fit – interior

From the outside, it looks like it grew there:

Dell drive bracket - trial fit - exterior

Dell drive bracket – trial fit – exterior

The divider between the PCI slots succumbed to tin snips and a bit of filing. The tabs climbing over the bottom edge come from the internal EMI shield covering the entire back surface.

A bit of coordinate drilling and manual milling produced the IEC socket outline

Dell drive bracket - drilling and milling

Dell drive bracket – drilling and milling

Which looks pretty good from the inside:

Dell drive bracket - IEC socket - interior

Dell drive bracket – IEC socket – interior

And great from the outside, if I do say so myself:

Dell drive bracket - IEC socket - exterior

Dell drive bracket – IEC socket – exterior

Match-drilling a #6 clearance hole below the hole in the clamp arm, then ramming a self-tapping case screw into it, provides a convenient grounding point for the sewing machine cord:

IEC Socket Mount - ground screw

IEC Socket Mount – ground screw

The chassis lid has two matching holes for those screw heads, which would ordinarily hold the two PCI cards in place. I could remove the clamp arm, but it doesn’t get in the way of anything.

I loves me some Sherline mill work…


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