Tek Circuit Computer: Cursor Hairline

Given a machined cursor blank, clamp it into position:

Tek CC Cursor - cursor hairline fixture
Tek CC Cursor – cursor hairline fixture

You don’t want to clamp the cursor directly to the Sherline tooling plate, because the diamond drag bit would pass over two or three of those 10-32 screw holes which would, by the conservation of perversity, leave visible defects. In hindsight, I should have put a recess for an aluminum plate in there.

After a single pass at Z=-4.0 mm, add two strips of tape to protect the adjoining surface and scribble it with red lacquer crayon:

Tek CC Cursor - tape color fill
Tek CC Cursor – tape color fill

Peel the tape off:

Tek CC Cursor - tape removed
Tek CC Cursor – tape removed

Then wipe off the residue using a soft cloth wetted with denatured alcohol:

Tek CC Cursor - red cursor detail
Tek CC Cursor – red cursor detail

That looks much like the previous efforts. I’d like a more uniform trench, but I don’t know how to get there from here.

In any event, the hairline looks pretty good against laser-printed scales:

Tek CC Cursor - red cursor white laser decks - magnified
Tek CC Cursor – red cursor white laser decks – magnified

The new cursor is the lower one lying atop a laser-printed Pickett-style Circuit Computer:

Tek CC Cursor - red cursor yellow laser decks - overview
Tek CC Cursor – red cursor yellow laser decks – overview

Looks good enough to eat, as the saying goes …

Tek Circuit Computer: Cursor Milling Toolpath

Unlike the adhesive fixture, this setup requires a pause while milling the cursor outline to reclamp it from the front:

Tek CC Cursor Fixture - outline rear clamp
Tek CC Cursor Fixture – outline rear clamp

The trick is applying the front clamp before releasing the rear clamp:

Tek CC Cursor Fixture - outline both clamp
Tek CC Cursor Fixture – outline both clamp

Then continue the mission:

Tek CC Cursor Fixture - outline front clamp
Tek CC Cursor Fixture – outline front clamp

Because the tool path includes cutter compensation, GCMC adds entry and exit arcs to ensure a smooth transition:

Tek CC Cursor - Milling path
Tek CC Cursor – Milling path

The pix show a single cursor in the fixture while verifying the setup worked the way it should. Obviously, milling a stack of cursors eliminates a whole bunch of fiddling.

The tweaked MillCursor function from the mostly otherwise unchanged GCMC code:

    comment("Clamp on rear half of cursor!");

    local cp = {p0};                                             // enter at hub tangent point
    cp += varc_ccw([0mm,-2*p0.y,-],-hr,0,0.2mm,5deg) + p0;       // arc to tangent at hub bottom

    cp += {[p1.x,-p1.y,-]};                                      // lower tip entry point
    cp += varc_ccw([p2.x-p1.x,-(p2.y-p1.y),-],CursorTipRadius,0,0.2mm,5deg) + [p1.x,-p1.y,-];  // arc to tip exit at p2

    cp += varc_ccw([p1.x-p2.x,p1.y-p2.y,-],CursorTipRadius,0,0.2mm,5deg) + p2;  // arc to tip exit at p1

    goto([-,-,CursorSafeZ]);
    goto([0,0,-]);
    feedrate(MillSpeed);
    tracepath_comp(cp,CutterOD/2,TPC_OLDZ + TPC_RIGHT + TPC_ARCIN + TPC_ARCOUT);

    comment("Clamp on front half of cursor!");
    pause();                                      // wait for reclamping

    p1.z = MillZ;                                //  ... set milling depth
    cp = {p1};
    cp += {p0};
                                                 // exit at hub tangent
    tracepath_comp(cp,CutterOD/2,TPC_OLDZ + TPC_RIGHT + TPC_ARCIN + TPC_ARCOUT);

<<< snippage >>>

  goto([-,-,CursorSafeZ]);
  goto([0,0,-]);

Next, scribing a nice hairline with the new fixture.

Tek Circuit Computer: 3D Printed Cursor Milling Fixture

The original Tektronix Circuit Computer cursor was probably die-cut from a larger sheet carrying pre-printed hairlines:

Tek CC - genuine - detail
Tek CC – genuine – detail

Machining a punch-and-die setup lies well beyond my capabilities, particularly given the ahem anticipated volume, so milling seems the only practical way to produce a few cursors.

Attaching a cursor blank to a fixture with sticky tape showed that the general idea worked reasonably well:

Tek CC - Cursor blank on fixture
Tek CC – Cursor blank on fixture

However, the tape didn’t have quite enough griptivity to hold the edges completely flat against milling forces (a downcut bit might have worked better) and I found myself chasing the cutter with a screwdriver to hold the cursor in place. Worse, the tape’s powerful attraction to swarf made it a single-use item.

Some tinkering showed a single screw in the (pre-drilled) pivot hole, without adhesive underneath, lacked enough oomph to keep the far end of the cursor in place, which meant I had to think about how to hold it down with real clamps.

Which, of course, meant conjuring a fixture from the vasty digital deep. The solid model includes the baseplate, two cutting templates, and a clamping fixture for engraving the cursor hairline:

Cursor Fixture - build layout
Cursor Fixture – build layout

The perimeter of the Clamp template on the far left is 0.5 mm inside the cursor perimeter. Needing only one Clamp, I could trace it on a piece of acrylic, bandsaw it pretty close, introduce it to Mr Belt Sander for final shaping, and finally drill the hole:

Tek CC Cursor Fixture - clamp drilling
Tek CC Cursor Fixture – clamp drilling

The Rough template is 1.0 mm outside the cursor perimeter, so I can trace those outlines on a PET sheet:

Tek CC Cursor Fixture - Rough template layout
Tek CC Cursor Fixture – Rough template layout

Then cut the patterns with a scissors, stack ’em up, and tape the edges to keep them aligned:

TekCC Cursor Fixture - Rough template
TekCC Cursor Fixture – Rough template

Align the stack by feel, apply the Clamp to hold them in place, and secure the stack with a Sherline clamp:

Tek CC Cursor Fixture - outline rear clamp
Tek CC Cursor Fixture – outline rear clamp

The alert reader will note it’s no longer possible to machine the entire perimeter in one pass; more on that in a while.

The baseplate pretty much fills the entire Sherline tooling plate. It sports several alignment pips at known offsets from the origin at the center of the pivot hole:

Tek CC Cursor Fixture - touch-off point
Tek CC Cursor Fixture – touch-off point

Dropping the laser alignment dot into a convenient pip, then touching off X and Y to the known offset sets the origin without measuring anything. Four screws in the corners align the plate well enough to not worry about angular tweakage.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

// Machining fixtures for Tek Circuit Computer cursor
// Ed Nisley KE4ZNU Jan 2021
Layout = "Show"; // [Show, Build, Cursor, Clamp, Rough, Engrave]
/* [Hidden] */
ThreadThick = 0.25;
ThreadWidth = 0.40;
HoleWindage = 0.2;
Protrusion = 0.1; // make holes end cleanly
inch = 25.4;
function IntegerMultiple(Size,Unit) = Unit * ceil(Size / Unit);
module PolyCyl(Dia,Height,ForceSides=0) { // based on nophead's polyholes
Sides = (ForceSides != 0) ? ForceSides : (ceil(Dia) + 2);
FixDia = Dia / cos(180/Sides);
cylinder(d=(FixDia + HoleWindage),h=Height,$fn=Sides);
}
//----------------------
// Dimensions
CursorHubOD = 1.0*inch; // original Tek CC was hard inch!
CursorTipWidth = (9.0/16.0)*inch;
CursorTipRadius = (1.0/16.0)*inch;
CursorThick = 0.5; // plastic sheet thickness
CutterOD = 3.175; // milling cutter dia
CutterDepth = 2.0; // … depth of cut
CutterLip = 0.5; // … clearance under edge
ScribeOD = 3.0; // diamond scribe shank
StudOC = [1.16*inch,1.16*inch]; // Sherline tooling plate grid
StudClear = 5.0; // … screw clearance
StudWasher = 11.0; // … washer OD
CursorOffset = [-2*StudOC.x,0,0]; // hub center relative to fixture center
// must have even multiples of stud spacing to put studs along centerlines
BasePlateStuds = [6*StudOC.x,2*StudOC.y]; // fixture screws
echo(str("Stud spacing: ",StudOC));
CornerRad = 10.0; // corner radius
BasePlate = [2*StudWasher + BasePlateStuds.x,2*StudWasher + BasePlateStuds.y,5.0];
echo(str("Base Plate: ",BasePlate));
EngravePlate = [5*StudOC.x,1.5*StudOC.y,BasePlate.z];
echo(str("Engrave Plate: ",EngravePlate));
TemplateThick = 6*ThreadThick;
LegendThick = 2*ThreadThick;
Gap = 3.0;
//----------------------
// Import SVG of cursor outline
// Requires our hub OD to match reality
// Hub center at origin
module CursorSVG(t=CursorThick,od=0) {
hr = CursorHubOD/2;
translate([-hr,-hr,0])
linear_extrude(height=t,convexity=3)
offset(r=od/2)
import(file="/mnt/bulkdata/Project Files/Tektronix Circuit Computer/Firmware/TekCC-Cursor-Mark.svg",center=false);
}
//----------------------
// Milling fixture for cursor blanks
module Fixture() {
difference() {
hull() // basic plate shape
for (i=[-1,1], j=[-1,1])
translate([i*(BasePlate.x/2 - CornerRad),j*(BasePlate.y/2 - CornerRad),0])
cylinder(r=CornerRad,h=BasePlate.z,$fn=24);
translate(CursorOffset + [0,0,BasePlate.z - CutterDepth])
difference() {
CursorSVG(CutterDepth + Protrusion,1.5*CutterOD);
CursorSVG(CutterDepth + Protrusion,-CutterLip);
}
translate(CursorOffset + [0,0,BasePlate.z - 2*ThreadThick]) { // alignment pips
for (x=[-20.0,130.0], y=[-30.0,0.0,30.0])
translate([x,y,0])
cylinder(d=4*ThreadWidth,h=1,$fn=6);
for (x=[-30.0,130.0,150.0])
translate([x,0,0])
cylinder(d=4*ThreadWidth,h=1,$fn=6);
}
for (i=[-1,1], j=[-1,1]) // mounting stud holes
translate([i*BasePlateStuds.x/2,j*BasePlateStuds.y/2,-Protrusion])
rotate(180/6)
PolyCyl(StudClear,BasePlate.z + 2*Protrusion,6);
translate(CursorOffset + [0,0,-Protrusion]) // hub clamp hole
rotate(180/6)
PolyCyl(StudClear,BasePlate.z + 2*Protrusion,6);
translate([2*StudOC.x,0,-Protrusion]) // tip clamp hole
rotate(180/6)
PolyCyl(StudClear,BasePlate.z + 2*Protrusion,6);
for (i=[-2:2], j=[-1,1]) // side clamp holes
translate([i*StudOC.x,j*StudOC.y,-Protrusion])
rotate(180/6)
PolyCyl(StudClear,BasePlate.z + 2*Protrusion,6);
}
}
//----------------------
// Show-n-Tell cursor
module Cursor() {
difference() {
CursorSVG(CursorThick,0.0);
translate([0,0,-Protrusion])
rotate(180/6)
PolyCyl(StudClear,TemplateThick + 2*Protrusion,6);
}
}
//----------------------
// Template for rough-cutting blanks
module Rough() {
bb = [40,12,LegendThick];
difference() {
CursorSVG(TemplateThick,1.0);
translate([0,0,-Protrusion])
rotate(180/6)
PolyCyl(StudClear,TemplateThick + 2*Protrusion,6);
difference() {
translate([bb.x/2 + CursorHubOD/2,0,TemplateThick - bb.z/2 + Protrusion])
cube(bb + [0,0,Protrusion],center=true);
translate([bb.x/2 + CursorHubOD/2,0,TemplateThick - bb.z])
linear_extrude(height=bb.z,convexity=10)
text(text="Rough",size=7,spacing=1.00,font="DejaVu Sans:style:Bold",halign="center",valign="center");
}
}
}
//----------------------
// Template for aluminium clamping plate
module Clamp() {
bb = [40,12,LegendThick];
difference() {
CursorSVG(TemplateThick,-1.0);
translate([0,0,-Protrusion])
rotate(180/6)
PolyCyl(StudClear,TemplateThick + 2*Protrusion,6);
difference() {
translate([bb.x/2 + CursorHubOD/2,0,TemplateThick - bb.z/2 + Protrusion])
cube(bb + [0,0,Protrusion],center=true);
translate([bb.x/2 + CursorHubOD/2,0,TemplateThick - bb.z])
linear_extrude(height=bb.z,convexity=10)
text(text="Clamp",size=7,spacing=1.00,font="DejaVu Sans:style:Bold",halign="center",valign="center");
}
}
}
//----------------------
// Engraving clamp
module Engrave() {
difference() {
hull() // clamp outline
for (i=[-1,1], j=[-1,1])
translate([i*(EngravePlate.x/2 - CornerRad),j*(EngravePlate.y/2 - CornerRad),0])
cylinder(r=CornerRad,h=EngravePlate.z,$fn=24);
translate(CursorOffset + [0,0,-Protrusion])
CursorSVG(CursorThick + Protrusion,0.5); // pocket for blank cursor
translate(CursorOffset + [0,0,-Protrusion])
rotate(180/6)
PolyCyl(StudClear,EngravePlate.z + 2*Protrusion,6);
translate([2*StudOC.x,0,-Protrusion])
rotate(180/6)
PolyCyl(StudClear,EngravePlate.z + 2*Protrusion,6);
hull() {
for (i=[-1,1])
translate([i*1.5*StudOC.x,0,-Protrusion])
PolyCyl(2*ScribeOD,EngravePlate.z + 2*Protrusion,8);
}
}
}
//----------------------
// Build it
if (Layout == "Cursor") {
Cursor();
}
if (Layout == "Clamp") {
Clamp();
}
if (Layout == "Rough") {
Rough();
}
if (Layout == "Engrave") {
Engrave();
}
if (Layout == "Show") {
Fixture();
color("Green",0.3)
translate(CursorOffset + [0,0,BasePlate.z + Protrusion])
Cursor();
color("Orange")
translate(CursorOffset + [0,0,BasePlate.z + 10])
Rough();
color("Brown")
translate(CursorOffset + [0,0,BasePlate.z + 20])
Clamp();
color("Gold")
translate(0*CursorOffset + [0,0,BasePlate.z + 40])
Engrave();
}
if (Layout == "Build"){
rotate(90) {
Fixture();
translate([0,-((BasePlate.y + EngravePlate.y)/2 + Gap),EngravePlate.z])
rotate([180,0,0])
Engrave();
translate(CursorOffset + [0,(BasePlate.y + CursorHubOD)/2 + Gap,0])
Rough();
translate(CursorOffset + [0,(BasePlate.y + 3*CursorHubOD)/2 + 2*Gap,0])
Clamp();
}
}
view raw Cursor Fixture.scad hosted with ❤ by GitHub

The original doodle with some notions and dimensions that didn’t survive contact with reality:

Cursor Fixture doodle
Cursor Fixture doodle

I have no idea why the Sherline tooling plate has a 10-32 screw grid on 1.16 inch = 29.46 mm centers, but there they are.

Soft Vise Jaws

A Round Tuit™ finally arrived for this long-delayed project:

Vise soft jaws - installed
Vise soft jaws – installed

They’re bandsawed from an impossibly heavy-duty U-shaped aluminum extrusion salvaged from a scrap pile; the flanges are 6 and 7 mm thick. I’ll put in a good word for the Proxxon 10/14 TPI blade, because it goes through aluminum plate like butter.

The wood strip under the top flange raises the fillet on the interior angle enough to let the extrusion sit flat on the top vise jaw and square against the gripping side. It’s held in place with double-sided carpet tape.

They’re faced with a rubber sheet I thought was twice as thick when I picked it out of the Big Box o’ Squishy Sheets, but turned out to be two thinner sheets invisibly stuck together. Carpet tape holds one of the sheets to the jaw; I expect the other sheet to fall off in short order.

You’re supposed to embed neodymium magnets in the jaws to hold them to the vise. As far as I can tell, they’re perfectly happy to just sit there all by themselves and, anyway, magnets would grow lethally sharp and bulky steel fur coats in short order.

Squaring the long edge didn’t pose much of a problem:

Vise soft jaws - squaring edge
Vise soft jaws – squaring edge

Tidying the ends, however, required more setup:

Vise soft jaws - squaring ends
Vise soft jaws – squaring ends

That’s the Sherline Tilting Angle Plate at 90°, with barely enough room on the far side for the base of a Starrett Double Square to set the extrusion vertical; the hand clamp holds it in place while tightening the step clamps. It sits on an aluminum sheet to put its upper end three smidgens over the angle plate, letting me flycut one smidgen for a clean edge.

Now I can retire the old soft jaws, which have served for too many decades and are far too ugly to show; improvised from weatherstripping glued to bent-square copper pipe and intended as a quick fix. You know how that goes …

Reversible Belt Buckle: Setscrew

The post in my reversible belt buckle popped out again, a year after punching it back in place, so it’s time to do a better job.

Grab the buckle in the Sherline vise, center on the post hole, and drill a #38 = 2.58 mm hole:

Reversible Belt Buckle - cross drilling
Reversible Belt Buckle – cross drilling

Tap it M3×0.5, clean out the hole, tap the post + spring back in place, dab threadlocker on the shortest M3 setscrew from the assortment, snug down on the post, and reinstall the belt:

Reversible Belt Buckle - M3 setscrew installed
Reversible Belt Buckle – M3 setscrew installed

Looks like it grew there, doesn’t it?

Now, as my buddy dBm will remind me, the real problem is too much weight in the saddle, but this fix should move the symptoms elsewhere …

Tek Circuit Computer: Cursor Hairline Scraping

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:

Tek CC - Cursor red lacquer - plain - overview
Tek CC – Cursor red lacquer – plain – overview

Peeling the transparent protective film:

Tek CC - Cursor red lacquer - plain - partial peel
Tek CC – Cursor red lacquer – plain – partial peel

The hairline is solidly filled:

Tek CC - Cursor red lacquer - plain - peeled
Tek CC – Cursor red lacquer – plain – peeled

Scribbling another cursor the same way, then scraping the protective film to flatten the shredded edges:

Tek CC - Cursor red lacquer - scraped - overview
Tek CC – Cursor red lacquer – scraped – overview

The hairline remains filled, but not as completely:

Tek CC - Cursor red lacquer - scraped - partial peel
Tek CC – Cursor red lacquer – scraped – partial peel

A closer look:

Tek CC - Cursor red lacquer - scraped - peeled
Tek CC – Cursor red lacquer – scraped – peeled

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.

Magnifying Desk Lamp Pivot Clamp: One More

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:

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - squaring stock
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – squaring stock

Rather than rely on my original dimension scribble, I transfer-punched the hole location from my as-built clamp to the stock:

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - locating stem hole
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – locating stem hole

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:

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - drilling stem clamp
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – drilling stem clamp

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:

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - drill cross hole
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – drill cross hole

Grab the plate in a toolmaker’s vise, set up some casual guidance, and bandsaw right down the middle:

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - sawing clamp halves
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – sawing clamp halves

Bandsaw the outline to free the two halves from the stock, then clean up their perimeter:

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - rounded
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – rounded

Saw the clamp clearance almost all the way through to leave a protrusion, then file the scarred kerf more-or-less flat:

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - filing interior
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – filing interior

Do a trial fit in my lamp, which lacks the fancy brushed-metal finish of the remote one:

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - trial fit
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – trial fit

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”):

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - surface finish
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – surface finish

The inside remains gritty to improve traction on the lamp stem:

Magnifying Lamp Clamp - interior
Magnifying Lamp Clamp – interior

Declare victory, box it up, and away it goes!