Engraving a PETG sheet with a diamond drag engraver on the Sherline and filling the scratch produces a good-looking hairline, but there’s a tradeoff between having the protective sheet pull the paint out of the scratch and having the crayon scuff the unprotected surface. This time around, I scribbled the crayon through the protective film, let it cure for a few days, then scraped the surface to level the paint and see what happens.
First, an unscraped cursor:
Peeling the transparent protective film:
The hairline is solidly filled:
Scribbling another cursor the same way, then scraping the protective film to flatten the shredded edges:
The hairline remains filled, but not as completely:
A closer look:
Scraping the crayon off the film removes a substantial amount of paint from the hairline, but, on the upside, the protective film does exactly what it says on the box and the PETG surface remains pristine.
Both hairlines are, at least eyeballometrically, Just Fine™ for their intended purpose.
For reasons not relevant here, I made another clamp for a magnifying desk lamp and mailed it off in a small box. A few measurements suggested all such lamps share a common design and similar parts, so I duplicated my previous attempt, with some improvements.
On the upside, the same scrap of aluminum plate I used for the previous clamp emerged from the stockpile and, after a session with Mr Disk Sander, sported two square & reasonably perpendicular sides:
Rather than rely on my original dimension scribble, I transfer-punched the hole location from my as-built clamp to the stock:
That’s a reenactment based on a true story: the actual punching happened on the bench vise’s anvil surface, with too many moving pieces supported & aligned by an insufficient number of hands.
Drilling the 5/16 inch hole required mounting the Greater Chuck on an MT1 taper adapter for the Sherline:
It’s normally on an MT2 adapter for the mini-lathe tailstock, where it handles drills up to 3/8 inch. For the record, the Sherline’s Lesser Check tops out at 1/4 inch and the Least Chuck at 5/32 inch.
Punch & drill the 4 mm cross hole for the clamping screw:
Grab the plate in a toolmaker’s vise, set up some casual guidance, and bandsaw right down the middle:
Bandsaw the outline to free the two halves from the stock, then clean up their perimeter:
Saw the clamp clearance almost all the way through to leave a protrusion, then file the scarred kerf more-or-less flat:
Do a trial fit in my lamp, which lacks the fancy brushed-metal finish of the remote one:
It holds tight and rotates well, so break the edges and shine up the outside to a used-car finish (“high polish over deep scratches”):
The inside remains gritty to improve traction on the lamp stem:
The brass hex rod has plenty of thermal conductivity, particularly clamped into an aluminum disk connected more-or-less well to the fog lamp’s base.
The two short wires linking the two LED strips (the purple wire is data into the first LED) hold them in place around the hex, despite their desire to straighten out, pull free of their adhesive, and fall off.
The general idea was to put the LEDs at about the same level as the halogen bulb filament, thereby spreading enough light to fill the reflector housing:
I drilled a hole through the hex as a cable “conduit”, turned the end into a nice rod, then machined a stub of aluminum to fit:
A pair of slots milled along the sides of the aluminum disk fit the housing’s locating features:
Nissan used an elaborate spring latch to clamp the halogen bulb’s sheet-metal base in place, but its 50 mil wire didn’t have nearly enough give for my chunky aluminum disk. My version of a spring latch came from a length of 24 mil music wire, which definitely beats the epoxy I was planning to use.
Heat transfer seems to be a non-issue, as the LEDs get barely warm to the touch. Until they drop dead, I’ll assume it’s all good in there.
Two screws hold the lens in place, but the collision seems to have stripped their grip on the plastic and they didn’t un-screw:
Jamming a utility knife blade under the screw head and prying upward while turning the screwdriver persuaded them out of their sockets, after which the lens popped out of its form-fitted silicone gasket with surprisingly little effort:
The lamp spent a week or so beside the road, out in the weather, and shipped a few drops of rainwater through the rectangular hole under the spring latch anchor. Some delicate cotton-swab action removed most of the grime without too much damage, but the reflective film on those corrugations won’t ever be the same again.
Scribbling a (soft!) lacquer crayon over transparent plastic still scuffs the pristine surface around the engraved line, so I tried scribbling the six-pass cursor before peeling the film, as shown above. Unfortunately, the film shreds left around the line either prevent a clean fill or pull the paint out of the ditch as the film peels back:
Peeling the film and scribbling ever-so-gently left a more complete line, but, if you look very closely (perhaps opening the image in a new tab for more dots), you can see the scuffs left by the scribbles on either side of the line:
When seen from the other side against laminated decks, though, the scuffs pretty much vanish:
The absolute best-looking line is at the top, with the diamond point scribing through the (white) protective plastic film.
Multiple passes average out the waves / glitches / irregularities, at the cost of broadening the hairline.
The bottom hairline suggests a single pass with more downforce produces a broader groove and a finer line of Sharpie ink at the bottom; the top appears more rounded and the bottom more ragged.
Doing one pass with enough pressure to cut through the thinner (?) transparent(-ish) film may produce a better overall result. This will require me to get the orientation right.
The Real Hairline in my K&E Deci-Lon slipstick is a smoothly engraved, neatly half-cylindrical, channel with a smooth thread of red (!) ink / paint / pigment laid along the middle. Obviously, my engraving hand is weak …
The nightmare scenario: engraving a smooth hairline groove, completely backfilling it with paint, sanding (that side of) the cursor smooth to leave the groove’s paint flush with the surface, then polishing the plastic back to full transparency. Even I agree that’s crazy talk, at least for a circular slide rule made with laminated paper decks.
This time, I traced the inside of a drag-knife cut cursor to extract the blank from the stock and, yes, used new double-sided tape under the lower white protective film on the PETG.
Fewer air bubbles means better adhesion:
Spinning the 1/8 inch end mill at about 5000 RPM produced finer swarf at the Sherline’s maximum 609 mm/min = 24 inch/min pace, with less uplift. I suspect Moah RPMs! would be even better, constrained by melting the plastic into heartache & confusion.
Scribe the hairline with the diamond tool, ease the finished cursor off the fixture, scribble Sharpie into the scratch, and wipe
It’s Pretty Good™ when seen against an un-laminated bottom deck drawn with a Pilot V5RT pen:
The diamond point tears a slightly gritty path through the PETG, which then looks a bit more granular than a real hairline. I’ve been using four passes for emphasis; perhaps fewer would be better.