The CNC 3018-Pro doesn’t absolutely need home switches, but (in principle) they let you install a workholding fixture at a known position, home the axes, pick a preset coordinate system for the fixture, and not have to touch off the axes before making parts.
The X and Z axis switches simply press against the appropriate moving parts:
The little tab stuck on the tool clamp provides a bit of clearance around the upper part of the X axis assembly.
The Y axis switch needed a slightly tapered tab to extend the bearing holder:
It’s made from a random scrap of clear plastic, hand-filed to suit, and stuck on the bearing to trigger the switch in exactly the right spot.
You can find elaborate switch mounts on Thingiverse, but I’ve become a big fan of genuine 3M outdoor-rated foam tape for this sort of thing: aggressive stickiness, no deterioration, possible-but-not-easy removal.
The MicroMark Cut-off saw was barely up to the task; I must do something about its craptastic “vise”. In any event, the wet rags kept the shaft plenty cool and the ShopVac hose directly behind the motor sucked away all of the flying grit.
The reason I used an abrasive wheel: the shaft is case-hardened and the outer millimeter or two is hard enough to repel a carbide cutter:
Fortunately, the middle remains soft enough to drill a hole for the collet pen holder, which I turned down to a uniform 8 mm (-ish) diameter:
Slather JB Kwik epoxy along the threads, insert into the shaft, wipe off the excess, and looks almost like a Real Product:
The far end of the shaft recesses the collet a few millimeters to retain the spring around the pen body, which will also require a knurled ring around the outside so you (well, I) can tighten the collet around the pen tip.
Start the ring by center-drilling an absurdly long aluminum rod in the steady rest:
Although it’s not obvious, I cleaned up the OD before applying the knurling tool:
For some unknown reason, it seemed like a Good Idea to knurl without the steady rest, perhaps to avoid deepening the ring where the jaws slide, but Tiny Lathe™ definitely wasn’t up to the challenge. The knurling wheels aren’t quite concentric on their bores and their shafts have plenty of play, so I got to watch the big live center and tailstock wobbulate as the rod turned.
With the steady rest back in place, drill out the rod to match the shaft’s 12 mm OD:
All my “metric” drilling uses hard-inch drills approximating the metric dimensions, of course, because USA.
Clean up the ring face, file a chamfer on the edge, and part it off:
Turn some PVC pipe to a suitable length, slit one side so it can collapse to match the ring OD, wrap shimstock to protect those lovely knurls, and face off all the ugly:
Tweak the drag knife’s solid model for a different spring from the collection and up the hole OD in the plate to clear the largest pen cartridge in the current collection:
Convince all the parts to fly in formation, then measure the spring rate:
Which works out to be 128 g + 54 g/mm:
I forgot the knurled ring must clear the screws and, ideally, the nyloc nuts. Which it does, after I carefully aligned each nut with a flat exactly tangent to the ring. Whew!
A closer look at the business end:
The shaft has 5 mm of travel, far more than enough for the MPCNC’s platform. Plotting at -1 mm applies 180 g of downforce; the test pattern shown above varies the depth from 0.0 mm in steps of -0.1 mm; anything beyond -0.2 mm gets plenty of ink.
Two of Mary’s garden soaker hoses failed their pre-installation checks with leaks from around their connectors. The problem seemed to be a break in the hose inside the connector, with water spewing out of the connector around the hose. Having previously fixed a gash in another hose, I figured I might have some success at fixing these leaks.
The general idea is to squish enough silicone rubber inside the connector to seal around the hose, then clamp the hose and connector snugly enough to hold the rubber in place:
The enlarged recess fits around the brass connector shell, which is squashed loosely around the hose and from which the leaking water emerges. Of course, because this is a different hose, the previous model didn’t quite fit and I had to doodle up new geometry:
As before, I bandsawed aluminum backing plates to ensure the plastic didn’t get all bendy in the middle:
The hose clamp (!) around the connector on the far right ensures a split in the brass shell doesn’t get any larger.
They’ll spend the rest of their lives under the garden mulch, where nobody will ever see those bulky lumps. Life is good!
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:
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:
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:
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:
Which gets an LM12UU bearing rammed into place:
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:
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:
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.
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