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MPCNC Drag Knife: Ground Shaft in LM12UU Bearing

The 12 mm drag knife holder on the left slides nicely in an LM12UU bearing:

Drag Knife holders - detail
Drag Knife holders – detail

However, its aluminum body isn’t really intended as a bearing surface and it extends only halfway through the LM12UU, so I finally got around to modifying the 11.5 mm body on the right to fit into a section of 12 mm ground shaft:

Drag Knife - turning 11.5 mm body to 10 mm
Drag Knife – turning 11.5 mm body to 10 mm

The general idea is to turn the body down to 10 mm OD; the picture shows the first pass over the nose after turning the far end down and removing the flange in the process. Exact concentricity of both ends isn’t important (it gets epoxied into a 10 mm hole through the 12 mm ground shaft), but it came out rather pretty:

Drag Knife - 11.5 mm body - turned to 10 mm
Drag Knife – 11.5 mm body – turned to 10 mm

The ground shaft started as a pen holder:

DW660 Pen Holder - ground shaft
DW660 Pen Holder – ground shaft

I knocked off the ring and bored the interior to fit the 10 mm knife body. The large end of the existing bore came from a 25/64 inch = 9.92 mm drill, so it was just shy of 10.0 mm, and I drilled the small end upward from 0.33 inch = 8.4 mm.

The smallest trio of a new set of cheap carbide boring bars allegedly went into a 5/16 inch = 7.9 mm bore, but I had to file the bar body down and diamond-file more end relief into the carbide for clearance inside the drilled hole:

Modified boring bar vs original
Modified boring bar vs original

I blued the bit, kissed it against the drilled bore, filed off whatever wasn’t blued, and iterated until the carbide edge started cutting. Sissy cuts all the way, with no pix to show for all the flailing around.

Epoxying the turned-down drag knife body into the shaft: anticlimactic.

The solid model features a stylin’ tapered snout:

Drag Knife LM12UU holder - tapered end
Drag Knife LM12UU holder – tapered end

Which gets an LM12UU bearing rammed into place:

Drag Knife - LM12UU holder - inserting bearing
Drag Knife – LM12UU holder – inserting bearing

The steel block leaves the bearing flush with the plastic surface, rather than having it continue onward and indent itself into the wood; I can learn from my mistakes.

The new idea: a single spring pressing the knife holder downward, reacting against a fixed plastic plate:

Drag Knife - LM12UU ground shaft - assembled
Drag Knife – LM12UU ground shaft – assembled

Unlike the previous design, the upper plate doesn’t move, so there’s no problem caused by sliding along the screw threads. I should run nylock nuts up against the plate to keep it in place, stiffen the structure, and provide some friction to keep the screws from loosening.

The top of the knife holder now has a boss anchoring the spring:

Drag Knife - turning spring recess
Drag Knife – turning spring recess

As you’d expect, the ground shaft slides wonderfully in the bearing, because that’s what it’s designed to do, and the knife has essentially zero stiction and friction at any point along the bearing, which is exactly what I wanted.

The spring, from the same assortment as all the others, has a 48 g/mm rate.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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MPCNC Diamond Engraver: LM3UU Bearings, First Pass

Gripping a diamond engraver in a collet chuck worked well enough, but the MPCNC’s pen holder lacks sufficient downforce and lateral stiffness. The bit has a chrome-ish plated 3 mm shank, so I tinkered up a mount for a pair of LM3UU linear bearings from the LM12UU drag knife holder:

Diamond Scribe - LM3UU - Rev 1 - point view
Diamond Scribe – LM3UU – Rev 1 – point view

The shank isn’t exactly a precision part, but a few licks with a diamond file knocked off enough of the high spots so it slides reasonably well through the bearings. The bearing alignment is more critical than a simple 3D printed plastic part can provide, so a real version may need bearings in a metal shaft press-fit into the plastic; brute-forcing the bearings into alignment sufficed for now.

The butt end of the shank press-fits into a disk held down with three springs, similar to the LM12UU mount:

Diamond Scribe - LM3UU - Rev 1 - top view
Diamond Scribe – LM3UU – Rev 1 – top view

It draws Guilloché patterns just fine:

Diamond Scribe - LM3UU - Rev 1 - first light
Diamond Scribe – LM3UU – Rev 1 – first light

I don’t like how the spring-around-screw motion works, even if it’s OK for small excursions.

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Monthly Image: Turkey Hen and Chicks

Mary saw a fox trotting behind the garden, gripping a (dead) turkey chick in its jaws, with the hen in hot pursuit. The fox dropped the chick, circled the pine grove, picked up the chick, and departed stage right. The hen eventually led her remaining chicks into the yard, but gathered them underneath while watching for danger:

Turkey hen with chicks - alert
Turkey hen with chicks – alert

She settled down for a few minutes:

Turkey hen with chicks - resting
Turkey hen with chicks – resting

With the fox safely departed, she released the chicks:

Turkey hen with chicks - emerging
Turkey hen with chicks – emerging

Then they returned to foraging, with one chick trying out its wings:

Turkey hen with chicks - dispersing
Turkey hen with chicks – dispersing

Two days earlier, she led nine chicks through the yard; we think the fox picked off a chick a day. She lost two more during the next four days, suggesting they rapidly improve their ability to scamper out of harm’s way.

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Monthly Science: Water Bottle Refill History

This year’s Northern Star Quilt Guild show in the O’Neill Center at WCSU gave me an opportunity to update last year’s data points, although not quite in the way I expected.

The overview:

Gym water bottle refill station B - overview
Gym water bottle refill station B – overview

The left display is rotting out:

Gym water bottle refill station B - left
Gym water bottle refill station B – left

The center display seems undamaged:

Gym water bottle refill station B - center
Gym water bottle refill station B – center

The right display took a direct hit:

Gym water bottle refill station B - right
Gym water bottle refill station B – right

So the middle station refilled 3025 = 10460 – 7435 bottles, roughly eight bottles a day, every day, for a year. Seems like a lot of refilling, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the other watering hole last year, but here’s what it looks like now:

Overview:

Gym water bottle refill station A - overview
Gym water bottle refill station A – overview

Left:

Gym water bottle refill station A - left
Gym water bottle refill station A – left

Center:

Gym water bottle refill station A - center
Gym water bottle refill station A – center

Right:

Now, it’s entirely possible I have the two stations reversed, in which case I have numbers for all three displays:

  • Left = 242 = 4758 – 4516
  • Center = 633 = 8068 – 7435
  • Right = 800 = 9689 – 8889

Does a bottle or two a day, every day, for a year, seem more reasonable? Hard to say, so, with a bit of luck, we’ll have more data next year.

For science!

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MPCNC Drag Knife: LM12UU Linear Bearing

The anodized body of the drag knife on the left measures exactly 12.0 mm OD:

Drag Knife holders - detail
Drag Knife holders – detail

Which happy fact suggested I might be able to use a standard LM12UU linear bearing, despite the obvious stupidity of running an aluminum “shaft” in a steel-ball bearing race:

Drag Knife - LM12UU holder - solid model
Drag Knife – LM12UU holder – solid model

The 12 mm section extends about halfway through the bearing, with barely 3 mm extending out the far end:

Drag Knife - LM12UU - knife blade detail
Drag Knife – LM12UU – knife blade detail

Because the knife body isn’t touching the bearing for the lower half of its length, it’ll probably deflect too much in the XY plane, but it’s simple enough to try out.

As before, the knife body’s flange is a snug fit in the hole bored in the upper disk:

Drag Knife - spring plate test fit
Drag Knife – spring plate test fit

This time, I tried faking stripper bolts by filling the threads of ordinary socket head cap screws with epoxy:

Ersatz stripper bolts - epoxy fill
Ersatz stripper bolts – epoxy fill

Turning the filled section to match the thread OD showed this just wasn’t going to work at all, so I turned the gunked section of the threads down to about 3.5 mm and continued the mission:

Drag Knife - LM12UU holder - assembled
Drag Knife – LM12UU holder – assembled

Next time, I’ll try mounting the disk on telescoping brass tubing nested around the screws. The motivation for the epoxy nonsense came from the discovery that real stainless steel stripper bolts run five bucks each, which means I’m just not stocking up on the things.

It slide surprisingly well on the cut-down screws, though:

Drag Knife - applique templates
Drag Knife – applique templates

Those appliqué templates came from patterns for a block in one of Mary’s current quilting projects, so perhaps I can be of some use whenever she next needs intricate cutouts.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Baofeng Big Battery Capacity

I bought a pair of third-party 3800 mA·h batteries for the Baofeng UV-5RE Plus (whatever that means) radios on our bikes. Oddly, the packs carry the same “Model BL-5” identification as 1800 mA·h batteries shipped with the radio:

Baofeng BL-5 Batteries - 1.8 and 3.8 Ah
Baofeng BL-5 Batteries – 1.8 and 3.8 Ah

The obviously mislabeled “Baofeng” battery eliminator also sported a 3800 mA·h label:

Baofeng Battery Eliminator - overview
Baofeng Battery Eliminator – overview

I conjured a “test fixture” from a clamp, copper sheet, and copper tape snippets:

Baofeng battery - test setup
Baofeng battery – test setup

Which produced interesting results:

Baofeng BL-5 3800 mAh packs - Ah - 2019-05
Baofeng BL-5 3800 mAh packs – Ah – 2019-05

The 250 mA load = 15 hour rate seemed reasonable to simulate radios spending most of their time in power-save mode, but the packs still delivered only 2.8 A·h.

The packs also claim an unnaturally precise 28.12 W·h, but they’re still underperformers at 20 W·h:

Baofeng BL-5 3800 mAh packs - 2019-05
Baofeng BL-5 3800 mAh packs – 2019-05

Anyhow, I can run the radios for a week without (worrying about) running out of juice during a ride.

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MPCNC Drag Knife: PETG Linear Bearing

Having reasonable success using a 12 mm hole bored in a 3D printed mount for the nice drag knife holder on the left, I thought I’d try the same trick for the raw aluminum holder on the right side:

Drag Knife holders - detail
Drag Knife holders – detail

The 11.5 mm body is long enough to justify making a longer holder with more bearing surface:

Drag Knife Holder - 11.5 mm body - Slic3r preview
Drag Knife Holder – 11.5 mm body – Slic3r preview

Slicing with four perimeter threads lays down enough reasonably solid plastic to bore the central hole to a nice sliding fit:

Drag Knife - 11.5 mm body - boring
Drag Knife – 11.5 mm body – boring

The top disk gets bored to a snug press fit around the flange and upper body:

Drag Knife - 11.5 mm body - flange boring
Drag Knife – 11.5 mm body – flange boring

Assemble with springs and it pretty much works:

Drag Knife - hexagon depth setting
Drag Knife – hexagon depth setting

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work particularly well, because the two screws tightening the MPCNC’s DW660 tool holder (the black band) can apply enough force to deform the PETG mount and lock the drag knife body in the bore, while not being quite tight enough to prevent the mount from moving.

I think the holder for the black knife (on the left) worked better, because:

  • The anodized surface is much smoother & slipperier
  • The body is shorter, so less friction

In any event, I reached a sufficiently happy compromise for some heavy paper / light cardboard test shapes, but a PETG bearing won’t suffice for dependable drag knife cuttery.

Back to the laboratory …

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