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Posts Tagged Sherline

Multimeter Probe Cable: FAIL

A reasonably good silicone-wire multimeter probe set arrived last spring and has worked well enough (I thought, anyhow) for the usual voltage measurements, but recently failed while measuring a small current. We all know how this will turn out, but the details may be of some interest.

Measuring the resistance from tip to plug located the fault to the black probe, after which I poked a pin through the insulation near the plug:

Multimeter probe - diagnosis

Multimeter probe – diagnosis

The two leads near the bottom go to my shiny Siglent bench multimeter. Despite their similarity to the failed probes, I’m pretty sure Siglent has better QC (well, mostly).

The probe’s resistance was near zero from the tip (offscreen to the left) to the pin and megohms from pin to plug (on the right). Figuring the wire worked loose, I pulled it away from the plug:

Multimeter probe - disassembly 1

Multimeter probe – disassembly 1

Huh.

Although I wouldn’t have trusted those probes anywhere near their alleged 1 kV rating, seeing that exposed copper-like substance was disconcerting.

Hacking off the strain relief bushing around the wire got closer to the fault:

Multimeter probe - disassembly 2

Multimeter probe – disassembly 2

And, finally, the problem becomes obvious:

Multimeter probe - disassembly 3

Multimeter probe – disassembly 3

Yet Another Cold Solder Joint:

Multimeter probe - cold solder joint

Multimeter probe – cold solder joint

Pulling a black banana plug from the heap, I decided to drill a proper hole to anchor the wire:

Multimeter probe - drilling plug

Multimeter probe – drilling plug

Which looked like this afterward:

Multimeter probe - soldered plug

Multimeter probe – soldered plug

And produced a strongly mismatched pair:

Multimeter probe - repaired

Multimeter probe – repaired

Ain’t it amazing how much fun you can have for a few bucks, all delivered by eBay? [sigh]

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Astable Multivibrator: RGB LED Strut Fixture

One cannot (or, perhaps, should not attempt to) solder parts to 14 AWG wires seated in a 3D printed battery holder base, so I cleaned up the edges of two polycarbonate scraps:

RGB LED Strut Fixture - flycutting setup

RGB LED Strut Fixture – flycutting setup

Then drilled holes to match the strut positions:

RGB LED Strut Fixture - drilling

RGB LED Strut Fixture – drilling

The holes fit snippets of the original wire insulation, because, after all, polycarbonate is a thermoplastic, too.

Stretch some copper wire to straighten and work-harden it, add insulation snippets, then maneuver everything in place:

RGB LED Strut Fixture - assembled

RGB LED Strut Fixture – assembled

I definitely need a third (and maybe a fourth) hand to hold each part, the solder, and the iron, but at least the wires won’t walk away in the middle of the process.

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Toy Cast Iron Stove Lid Lifter

This seemed appropriate for a day involving toys of all descriptions…

A cast iron stove (most likely a mid-last-century reproduction rather than a Genuine Antique™) emerged from a living room recess:

Toy stove with repaired lid lifter

Toy stove with repaired lid lifter

The line across the lid lifter handle shows where it broke, long ago, likely while being played with. Back then, I’d done a static-display-grade fix with a dab of clear epoxy, but a better repair seemed called for; my repair-fu has grown stronger.

I expected the handle to be pot metal, so drilling a hole in both ends for a music-wire stiffener seemed reasonable:

Toy lid lifter - laser alignment

Toy lid lifter – laser alignment

Much to my surprise, the carbide bit skittered off the surface, leaving fine swarf standing on the end. Turns out the lid lifter is cast iron, just like the rest of the stove!

Given that much of a clue, I aligned the pieces in a pair of machinist’s vises:

Toy lid lifter - alignment

Toy lid lifter – alignment

Slide apart (the vises stand on a smooth glass sheet; the nubbly side is down), dab silver solder flux on the ends, capture a snippet of 40% silver solder in the gap:

Toy lid lifter - silver solder setup

Toy lid lifter – silver solder setup

Hit it ever so gently with a propane torch and slide together:

Toy lid lifter - silver soldered

Toy lid lifter – silver soldered

The solder flows at 1200 °F = 650 °C, roughly corresponding to the blue-gray color near the joint. The nice purple (540 °C) on the left shows where I held the flame to start, with yellows (400 °C) on both sides. Good enough, sez I, it’s going to be a static-display exhibit.

Most of the solder went to the back side, so I filed it smooth and buffed off most of the heat coloration with a stainless-steel wire wheel in the Dremel:

Toy lid lifter - bottom

Toy lid lifter – bottom

A little more wire-brush action left the front side looking good:

Toy lid lifter - top

Toy lid lifter – top

As with most of the repairs around here, it simply makes me feel better …

Now, go play with your toys!

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Astable Multivibrator: NP-BX1 Base

Adapting the NP-BX1 battery holder to use SMT pogo pins worked well:

NP-BX1 Holder - SMT pogo pins

NP-BX1 Holder – SMT pogo pins

The next step is to add sockets for those 14 AWG wires:

NP-BX1 Battery Holder - Wire Posts - solid model

NP-BX1 Battery Holder – Wire Posts – solid model

Start by reaming / hand-drilling all the holes to their nominal size and cleaning out the pogo pin pocket.

Solder wires to the pogo pins and thread them through the holder and lid:

Astable - NP-BX1 holder - pogo pin soldering

Astable – NP-BX1 holder – pogo pin soldering

That’s nice, floppy silicone-insulated 24 AWG wire, which may be a bit too thick for this purpose.

The pogo pins will, ideally, seat with the end of the body flush at the holder wall. Make it so:

Astable - NP-BX1 holder - pogo pin protrusion

Astable – NP-BX1 holder – pogo pin protrusion

Dress the wires neatly into their pocket:

Astable - NP-BX1 holder - pogo pin wiring

Astable – NP-BX1 holder – pogo pin wiring

Butter the bottom of the lid with epoxy, clamp in place, set it up for curing, then fill the recess:

Astable - NP-BX1 base - curing

Astable – NP-BX1 base – curing

While it’s curing, make a soldering fixture for the 14 AWG wires:

Astable - drilling strut soldering fixture

Astable – drilling strut soldering fixture

The holes are on 5 mm centers, in the expectation other battery holders will need different spacing.

Solder it up and stick the wires into the base:

Astable - NP-BX1 base - detail

Astable – NP-BX1 base – detail

Jam a battery in and It Just Works™:

Astable - NP-BX1 3.8V - 20ma-div - cap V

Astable – NP-BX1 3.8V – 20ma-div – cap V

The traces:

  • Green = supply current at 20 mA/div
  • Yellow = LED driver transistor base voltage
  • Purple = other transistor collector voltage
  • White = base – collector voltage = capacitor voltage

The measurement setup was a bit of a hairball:

Astable - NP-BX1 base - current probe

Astable – NP-BX1 base – current probe

For completeness, here’s the schematic-and-layout diagram behind the circuitry:

Astable - NP-BX1 base - schematic

Astable – NP-BX1 base – schematic

I love it when a plan comes together!

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Vacuum Tube LEDs: 21HB5A on a Guilloche Platter

With the Joggy Thing running in LinuxCNC 2.7, touching XY off on the fixture was trivially easy:

LinuxCNC - Sherline Mill - Logitech Gamepad

LinuxCNC – Sherline Mill – Logitech Gamepad

The pips are 100 mm apart at (-50,-50) and (+50,50). Astonishingly, the laser aligner batteries are in fine shape.

I should have protected the platter before drilling all those holes:

Guilloche platter - drilling

Guilloche platter – drilling

All’s well that ends well:

21HB5A - Guilloche platter

21HB5A – Guilloche platter

It looks even better in the dark, although you’d never know it from this picture:

21HB5A - Guilloche platter - dark

21HB5A – Guilloche platter – dark

I wish I could engrave those patterns on already-drilled platters, but dragging a diamond point into a hole can’t possibly end well. I could deploy the Tiny Sandblaster with a vinyl mask, if I had enough artistic eptitude to lay out a good-looking mask.

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LinuxCNC 2.7 vs. Logitech Joggy Thing

The old Atom running LinuxCNC for the Sherline finally stopped booting, so I popped the Optiplex 760 off the stack and did a live-USB trial run. The latency / jitter worked out around 25 µs, slightly worse than before, but still Good Enough, and the StepConf utility coerced the motors into working OK.

What didn’t work was the old Eagle-to-HAL code defining the Logitch Gamepad as a Joggy Thing to allow smooth joystick jog control. Well, stuff changes over the course of eight years, but, in this case, the fix turned out to be a one-liner: the probe_parport module isn’t needed nowadays.

With that out of the way, it runs fine:

LinuxCNC - Sherline Mill - Logitech Gamepad

LinuxCNC – Sherline Mill – Logitech Gamepad

The INI and HAL files defining the Sherline configuration as a GitHub Gist:

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T-shirt Shop Rags

Small wipes made from worn-out cotton t-shirts absorb most shop liquids, don’t overstay their welcome after short projects, and prevent the deep emotional attachment leaving swarf in the clothes washer. Scissors cutting gets tedious, so mooch a rotary cutter and slash away:

T-shirt shop rags

T-shirt shop rags

Synthetic fabrics don’t work nearly as well as cotton, so pay attention to the labels.

 

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