USB Disconnects: The Saga Continues

Adding those grounding wires from my desk lamp and the aluminum plate under the keyboard / trackballs to the PC case reduced the problem, but didn’t eliminate it.

Grounding Wire on Desk Lamp
Grounding Wire on Desk Lamp

Logging all that data, though, pointed to what (I think) is the cause: static discharge. I’ve been touching the screws on the wall switch before sitting down, which pretty much made the problem Go Away. Touching the (now-grounded) desk lamp or the keyboard plate still kills the hub, so the hub inside the PC must be way sensitive.

The disconnect follows the external hub’s cable, which means (I think) the jolt’s entering through that wire. I’ve already tried different cables, but perhaps different routing will help; there’s a huge tangle of wires behind the desk.

It’s enough to make one swear off this USB stuff!

Counterweight Gantry on the Ceiling

I’d planned to whack the ends off the counterweight gantry I made for Cabin Fever Expo and mount them to a plywood plate, but I hate cutting stuff up. Turns out that the entire beam fit very nicely on the floor joists over the mill and the counterweight even hangs in a reasonable location.

Sherline counterweight gantry on ceiling
Sherline counterweight gantry on ceiling

I used a plumb bob to get the pulley pretty close to the right location, then simply moved the beam around until the cable hung down through the middle of the hole. Securing it to two joists means it’s pretty nearly perfectly level along both axes, so the cable’s close enough to being vertical.

Of course, holding it overhead, aligning it, and then drilling the holes in the joists required three or four hands.

The blue doodad on the right end is the laser aligner on its new bracket. The crinkly silver tube is an exhaust duct for the never-sufficiently-to-be-damned radon mitigation air exchanger, a topic I refuse to discuss.

The observant reader will note that I still haven’t made dust shields for those open ball bearings.

Laser Aligner: Alignment Thereof

I mentioned my cheap laser alignment gizmo for my Sherline milling machine at Cabin Fever and several folks wondered how I aligned the aligner. Having just mounted the counterweight gantry and bashed out a bracket for the pointer, here’s how it went down.

Laser pointer on bracket on counterweight gantry
Laser pointer on bracket on counterweight gantry

The blue-gray bracket started life as a shelving support strut. I machined the web from between two holes so I could slide the pointer along the strut, filed off some sharp edges, and mounted the laser pointer with an assortment of machine screws & wing nuts.

I used a plumb bob to figure out roughly where the laser beam must start in order to go straight down the milling machine’s bore, then wiggled & jiggled the strut and pointer to get it more-or-less there. None of this is very precise, but it provides a starting point.

Here’s the trick: put a mirror flat on the mill table. When the reflected spot hits the bezel around the laser’s outbound lens, you know the beam is (pretty nearly) perpendicular to the table. Tweak the pointer’s mounting screws to make that come out right.

Use the plumb bob to figure out where the pointer is in relation to where it should be, wiggle & jiggle & slide everything until it’s there, then tighten & re-jigger everything to tweak the spot location.

Takes about 15 minutes, doesn’t involve any cussing, and works like a champ!