Posts Tagged Sherline

Vacuum Tube LEDs: Milling a 0D3 Spigot the Right Way

Now, with the 0D3 tube properly clamped and aligned in the Sherline mill:

OD3 Octal - V-block clamp

OD3 Octal – V-block clamp

I can slowly run an end mill down onto the spigot:

0D3 Octal - milling spigot

0D3 Octal – milling spigot

Eventually converting the whole post into black dust in the vacuum cleaner:

0D3 Octal - milled spigot

0D3 Octal – milled spigot

That was completely uneventful, which is pretty much the whole point of good fixturing, isn’t it?

Applying the vacuum cleaner while milling seems to have kept the dust out of the base, although I’m not sure I can pull that trick off every time.


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Improved Octal Tube Base Clamp

In order to clamp the tube in a V-block, the clamp must position the tube’s centerline so the envelope will clear the V groove, thusly:

OD3 Octal - V-block clamp

OD3 Octal – V-block clamp

The clamp now extends into the V-block and surrounds the entire Bakelite tube base:

Octal base compression clamp - Slic3r preview

Octal base compression clamp – Slic3r preview

The little divot captures the clamp screw and the slot lets the whole affair compress just enough to firmly squeeze the entire tube base.

The tube data table now includes columns for the envelope OD and the base OD, although only the 0D3 (and similar) Octal tubes in my collection have a bulging envelope and a smaller base. You can build clamps for cylindrical glass tubes if you like; I don’t vouch for the accuracy of the table contents.

For whatever it’s worth, the 6SN7GTB tube I started with has a 32 mm Bakelite base and the 0D3 tube has a 29 mm base. That should probably justify two separate entries in the table, but I’m making this up as I go along.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Vacuum Tube LEDs: Grinding Off a 0D3 Base Spigot

Rummaging in the Hollow State Electronics box produced the shapely 0D3 regulator tube with an intact spigot / key post in its base:

0D3 voltage regulator tube in socket

0D3 voltage regulator tube in socket

Because the glass envelope (1.5 inch = 38.1 mm OD) extends beyond the base (1.125 inch = 28.6 mm OD), the simple base clamp must let the tube extend over the workbench:

0D3 Octal tube - V-block clamp

0D3 Octal tube – V-block clamp

There’s no way to clamp that mess in the Sherline, so, rather than freehanding the shell drill, I misused a Dremel slitting wheel to grind away the end of the spigot, which normally extends a bit beyond the pins so you can’t possibly insert the tube into the socket the wrong way:

0D3 Octal tube - ground-off spigot tip

0D3 Octal tube – ground-off spigot tip

The missing end exposed the hole in the middle of the post and showed this tube’s evacuation tip didn’t extend into the spigot. Emboldened by that, I continued the mission until the wheel wouldn’t reach any further:

0D3 Octal tube - Dremel grinding

0D3 Octal tube – Dremel grinding

That didn’t work well, but at least I didn’t break anything and nobody will ever see those mauled pin tips.

Obviously, the only way to do this right is to clamp the tube properly and mill the spigot flush with the socket; it’s time for more 3D printing…


Vacuum Tube LEDs: Octal Tube Base Drilling

Clamping the octal tube into the Sherline let me set the XY=0 origin to the center of the base with the laser dot (visible near the front):

Octal tube clamped on Sherline mill

Octal tube clamped on Sherline mill

Find the edges, touch off the half the 32.2 mm diameter, then align the drill at XY=0 directly over the exposed evacuation tip:

Octal Tube - drill alignment

Octal Tube – drill alignment

Make a very shallow cut to verify the alignment:

Octal Tube - drill first touch

Octal Tube – drill first touch

Just inside the scuffed ring from the drill, you can see the fractured ring where the original one-piece Bakelite spigot / key / post broke off.

Then extract the drill from the chuck, file more relief behind the cutting edges so they actually cut, re-chuck, and continue the mission:

Octal Tube - drilling

Octal Tube – drilling

Pick a nice Bakelite ring out of the drill:

Octal Tube - drilled ring

Octal Tube – drilled ring

And eventually you can see all the way to the glass envelope:

Octal Tube - base opening

Octal Tube – base opening

The (knockoff) Neopixel LED sits directly below the evacuation tip and is about the same diameter, so much of that enlarged opening will be in shadow. Despite that, the tube does seem noticeably brighter:

Octal Tube - drilled base opening

Octal Tube – drilled base opening

Drilling that tube was so harrowing that I can’t imagine similar surgery on an intact octal base.

Perhaps just slicing off the tip of the Bakelite spigot and gluing a single very bright red/orange LED in place, rather using than a (knockoff) Neopixel a few millimeters away, will suffice.

Or just give up, top-light these tubes, and move on?

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Octal Tube Base Clamp

One of the octal tubes in my collection has a broken spigot / key post that lets some light in through the bottom of the normally opaque Bakelite base:

Octal socket in CD - LED diffraction

Octal socket in CD – LED diffraction

Perhaps drilling out the base would let more light pass around the evacuation tip, but that requires a shell drill to clear the tip. Some doodling suggested a drill with 12 mm OD and 8 mm ID, which was close enough to one of the smaller homebrew drills in my collection that I decided to see how it worked:

Shell drill assortment

Shell drill assortment

You (well, I) can’t freehand such a hole, particularly with a glass tip in the middle, so I needed a way to clamp the tube in either the drill press or the Sherline. A pad for the clamp screw in a V-block seemed appropriate:

Vacuum Tube Lights - Octal base clamp - Slic3r preview

Vacuum Tube Lights – Octal base clamp – Slic3r preview

The screw hole sits at the 1/3 point to put more pressure near the pin end of the base. Maybe that matters.

The setup looks like this, with a small red laser dot near the front of the base:

Octal tube clamped on Sherline mill

Octal tube clamped on Sherline mill

The tube rests on a random scrap of plastic, with the hope that the drill won’t apply enough pressure to break the glass envelope.

In normal use, the V-block would be oriented the other way to let you cross-drill the cylinder. In this end-on orientation, drilling torque can rotate the tube; compliant padding for more traction may be in order.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist now includes a module that spits out the clamp:

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Hard Drive Platter Drilling Fixture

After drilling the platter for a Noval tube, I finally made a fixture to hold the platters firmly, but gently, in the proper position for drilling:

Hard drive platter - drilling fixture

Hard drive platter – drilling fixture

The platter sits more-or-less flush with the surface, where credit-card plastic pads work fine. Thinner platters may require compliant padding.

The solid model has locating pips at ±50 mm from the center and airspace below the platter for the drill bit:

Vacuum Tube Lights - hard drive fixture - solid model

Vacuum Tube Lights – hard drive fixture – solid model

The 1.16 inch hole spacing matches the Sherline’s tooling plate. The center hole seemed like a Good Idea, although it has no purpose right now.

The OpenSCAD source code is the same as before; just set Layout = PlatterFixture; and it’ll produce the right thing.

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External Li-Ion Pack: More Sawing

Two of the external Li-Ion battery packs I’m using with the bike radios seemed to fail quickly after being charged, so I sawed them open to check the state of the cells. This time I used the fine-tooth cutoff blades, rather than a coarse slitting saw:

Li-Ion pack - sawing case

Li-Ion pack – sawing case

As before, a 2 mm depth-of-cut, done 0.25 mm per pass after the first millimeter, seems about right. I didn’t saw the front of the case near the jack, which proved to be a mistake; the interlocked case halves need cutting.

No cell trouble found, which leads me to suspect an intermittent short in the battery-to-radio cable that trips the battery protection circuit. The spare cables went into hiding during the shop cleanout, so I can’t swap in a known-good cable just yet; of course, the existing cable behaves perfectly on the bench. The suspect cable is now on my bike and, if the problem follows the cable, further surgery will be in order.

For the record, the insides look like this:

Li-Ion pack - interior

Li-Ion pack – interior

The cell label seems to show a 2004 date code:

Li-Ion pack - cell label

Li-Ion pack – cell label

Given that I got them on closeout in early 2010, it definitely isn’t 2014.

Unlike some of the other cheap batteries around here, they’ve been spectacularly successful!