Posts Tagged Sherline

ACM Poughkeepsie Presentation: Algorithmic Art

In the unlikely event you’re in Poughkeepsie this evening, I’ll be doing a talk on my Algorithmic Art for the Poughkeepsie ACM chapter, with a look at the HPGL and G-Code transforming math into motion:

Superformula - triangle burst - detail
Superformula – triangle burst – detail

The PDF of the “slides” lacks my patter, but the embedded linkies will carry you to the blog posts & background information:

See you there! [grin]

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Homage Tek CC Cursor: Pivot Milling

A test to mill the pivot hole in 0.5 mm PETG sheet worked perfectly:

Tek CC - cursor pivot hole milling
Tek CC – cursor pivot hole milling

The cutter is a 3.175 mm = 1/8 inch router bit, one of a ten-pack that came with the CNC 3018 and to which I have no deep emotional attachment, held in a collet in the Sherline. The hole is 5.5 mm to fit an eyelet. The PETG is taped to a thin plywood scrap.

The hole happened by feeding G-Code manually into LinuxCNC, after touching off XYZ=0 at the center of the pivot and jogging up a bit:

g0 y-1.1625
f1000
g0 z0.5
g2 p5 z-1.5 i0 j1.1625

Yes, I engraved the hairline using a diamond drag tool on the CNC 3018, cut the cursor outline with a drag knife on the MPCNC, then milled the pivot hole on the Sherline. This seems way over the top, even to me, but that’s just how the tooling worked out right now.

In actual practice, I’d probably mill a stack of cursors and pivot holes on the Sherline in one setup, then engrave the hairlines in a suitable fixture. I think I know enough to fit a spring-loaded diamond drag bit into the Sherline’s 10 mm ID spindle or, worst case, conjure a block for the Z-axis carrier in place of the entire spindle mount.

At least now I can remember what I did to make the hole.

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MPCNC Drag Knife Holder: Lock Screw

While calibrating the MPCNC’s probe camera offset for the drag knife holder, this happened:

Drag Knife - vertical escape
Drag Knife – vertical escape

Well, at least it’s centered on the target:

Drag Knife - vertical escape - detail
Drag Knife – vertical escape – detail

This happened a few times before, because my fingers don’t fit neatly inside the drag knife holder to tighten the lock ring:

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

[Update: The lock ring keeps the holder at a fixed position inside the 12 mm shaft and doesn’t affect the blade directly. When the ring works loose, the threaded holder can rotate to expose more blade and, in this case, stab deeper into the target. ]

So I turned & knurled an aluminum ring, then tapped a 3×0.5 mm hole for a lock screw plucked from the Drawer o’ Random M3 Screws:

Drag Knife - lock screw - side
Drag Knife – lock screw – side

A view looking along the screw shows a bit more detail around the spring:

Drag Knife - lock screw - front
Drag Knife – lock screw – front

The general idea is to set the blade extension, then tighten the lock screw to hold it in place, without relying on the original brass lock ring, shown here while cutting a boss for the spring:

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

The lock screw’s knurled handle just barely kisses the NPCNC’s black tool holder ring, so my guesstimated measurements were a bit off. Clamping the knife holder one itsy higher in the tool holder solved the problem.

I cranked on 300 g of spring preload and, squashed like that, the spring’s rate is now 75 g/mm. Cutting at Z=-1 mm should suffice for laminated paper slide rule decks.

The original sizing doodle:

Drag Knife Holder - lock screw ring doodle
Drag Knife Holder – lock screw ring doodle

The short 18 mm section clears the inside of the LM12UU bearing, although it could be a millimeter shorter. The 19 mm section comes from the 3/4 inch aluminum rod I used, skim-cut to clean it up.

If I ever remake this thing, it needs a major re-think to get all the dimensions flying in formation again.

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CNC 3018-Pro: Milling the CD Fixture

It turns out that the outer diameter of CD platters isn’t quite as perfectly controlled as you (well, I) might imagine, although the differences between CDs from different sources amounts to perhaps ±0.1 mm. Of course, instantly after putting the tape-down fixture into use, the next few discs atop my stack of scrap CDs were just large enough to not quite fit.

The Sherline’s workspace can’t maneuver the holder’s perimeter around the spindle, so embiggening the OD calls for the rotary table. The general idea is to clamp the center of the fixture to the rotary table, run a small end mill about 0.1 mm into the fixture’s OD, spin the table one revolution, and be done with it.

Of course, the rotary table’s 3/8-16 threaded center hole doesn’t match the fixture’s 6 mm center hole: we need an adapter. Start with a 1 inch long 3/8-16 stainless steel hex bolt, center drill the end, peel off the hex head, then turn to 6 mm OD, going down far enough so the threads don’t stick up out of the table too much:

CNC 3018-Pro - CD fixture milling - bolt turning
CNC 3018-Pro – CD fixture milling – bolt turning

The Sherline uses 10-32 screws, so poke a #16 drill 15 mm into the bolt to get maybe 25% thread depth (because it’s a blind hole into stainless steel for an application requiring minimal strength and I hate breaking taps), tap 10-32, clean out the hole, and call it All Good:

CNC 3018-Pro - CD fixture milling - rotary table adapter
CNC 3018-Pro – CD fixture milling – rotary table adapter

Find the trim plate from an old faucet to reach around the central boss, stack up enough flat washers to meet the nut, snug a Sherline spherical nut + washer set (because it’s within reach), chuck up a 1/8 inch mill, and have at it:

CNC 3018-Pro - CD fixture milling
CNC 3018-Pro – CD fixture milling

The fixture sits atop an aluminum plate cut to fit a smaller version of the table riser, but this requires zero fancy alignment. The 6 mm adapter centers the fixture on the rotary table and the cutter sits at a fixed radius from the center wherever it contacts the fixture rim; just spin the table and it cuts a neatly centered circle.

A test fit showed the oversize discs fit perfectly:

CNC 3018-Pro - CD fixture milling - test fit
CNC 3018-Pro – CD fixture milling – test fit

Bonus: a nice new adapter for the rotary table!

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CNC 3018-Pro: Platter Fixtures

Up to this point, the Sherline has been drilling 3.5 inch hard drive platters to serve as as reflecting bases for the vacuum tubes:

LinuxCNC - Sherline Mill - Logitech Gamepad
LinuxCNC – Sherline Mill – Logitech Gamepad

The CNC 3018-Pro has a work envelope large enough for CD / DVD platters, so I mashed the Sherline fixture with dimensions from the vacuum tube code, added the 3018’s T-slot spacing, and conjured a pair of fixtures for a pair of machines.

Because I expect to practice on scrap CDs and DVDs for a while:

Platter Fixtures - CD on 3018
Platter Fixtures – CD on 3018

And a 3.5 inch hard drive platter version:

Platter Fixtures - hard drive platter on 3018
Platter Fixtures – hard drive platter on 3018

The holes sit at half the 3018’s T-slot spacing (45 mm / 2), so you can nudge the fixtures to the front or rear, as you prefer.

The alignment dots & slots should help touch off the XY coordinate system on the Sherline, although it can’t reach all of a CD. Using bCNC’s video alignment on the hub hole will be much easier on the 3018.

After fiddling around with the 3018 for a while, however, the CD fixture doesn’t have many advantages over simply taping the disc to a flat platen. Obviously, you’d want a sacrificial layer for drilling, but it’s not clear the OEM motor / ER11 chuck would be up to that task.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Kinesis Freestyle 2: Steel Tactile Bumps

Adding tape bumps to the worn Kinesis keyboard demonstrated I really need tactile home keys, so I popped the tops and fired up the Sherline mill:

Kinesis keyboard - 2 mm drilling
Kinesis keyboard – 2 mm drilling

That’s a genuine 2 mm carbide end mill, poked 1 mm into the key cap, snuggled right up against the front edge.

Two epoxy dabs and some wiping later:

Kinesis keyboard - 2 mm tactile bearings
Kinesis keyboard – 2 mm tactile bearings

The careful alignment on the F key tells you I did it first; obviously, I should make better fixtures.

The holes could be slightly larger and maybe slightly deeper, but the bearings feel just right.

Indeed, they work so well a ball now distinguishes the far-flung Delete and Backspace keys:

Kinesis keyboard - 2 mm bearing - Delete key
Kinesis keyboard – 2 mm bearing – Delete key

Now, to see how long the epoxy lasts …

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Mini-Lathe Cut-Off Tool Holder: Improved Clamp Screw

Apparently all mini-lathe cutoff tool holders suffer from the same problem:

Lathe Cutoff Tool - OEM swaged screw
Lathe Cutoff Tool – OEM swaged screw

The clamp tightening screw is made from butter-soft Chinese steel with a swaged hex socket. As you’d expect, the hex wrench eventually (as in, after a few dozen adjustments, tops) rips the guts right out of the socket.

The screw has a M6×1.0 mm threads, but the thread around the hex recess is left-handed. While I could, in principle, print a 127 tooth change gear, rebuild the lathe’s banjo to accommodate it, then single-point a backassward M6 thread, it’s easier to just use a standard socket head cap screw:

Lathe Cutoff Tool - rebuilt screw
Lathe Cutoff Tool – rebuilt screw

The clamp screw passes through the block at an angle:

Lathe Cutoff Tool - blade view
Lathe Cutoff Tool – blade view

Fortunately, the screw is perpendicular to the angled side over on the left, making it easy to clamp in the Sherline’s vise:

Lathe Cutoff Tool - aligning to screw
Lathe Cutoff Tool – aligning to screw

Using the laser aligner seemed like a good idea at the time, but the top of the screw wasn’t particularly well-centered on the hole’s axis. I couldn’t screw the left-hand part (with the socket) in from the bottom and center the block near its surface, because then I couldn’t extract the screw before proceeding.

I used a diamond burr to grind out a flat for the screw head:

Lathe Cutoff Tool - clearing screw recess
Lathe Cutoff Tool – clearing screw recess

The flat came from about twenty manual G2 I-2.5 full-circle passes, stepping down through the hard steel block 0.1 mm per pass, at a too-slow 4000 RPM and a too-fast 30 mm/min feed, with plenty of water squirted from one side into a shop vac snout on the other. The doodle in the background of the first picture shows a first pass at the layout, with the burr centered at X=-2.5; I actually did the grinding from X=+2.5 so most of the passes started in thin air.

The screw head started just shy of 10 mm OD and the burr just over 5.2 mm, so the ensuing 5 mm circles created a flat barely large enough. If the flat were perfectly centered on the screw axis, I wouldn’t have had to grind out another millimeter on the left side (toward the bottom of the tool holder body), but it worked out OK:

Lathe Cutoff Tool - 6 mm SHCS test fit
Lathe Cutoff Tool – 6 mm SHCS test fit

The trial fitting also showed the head stuck out ever so slightly beyond the far side of the block, where it would interfere with the blade, so I turned off 0.4 mm off its OD.

If I had a 50 mm SHCS in hand, I’d have used it. Instead, I extended the threads of a 75 mm screw, then lopped off the end to the proper length. I’ll spare you the ordeal, including the moment when I reached for the cutoff tool to shorten the screw. A bag of such screws will arrive shortly, in preparation for future need.

Now the [deleted] cut-off holder works the way it should have from the beginning.

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