Posts Tagged Sherline

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!

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Vacuum Tube LEDs: Brass Ersatz Heatsink

A chunk of 1/2 inch = 12.7 mm brass hex rod looks pretty good as an ersatz heatsink serving as an ersatz plate cap on a halogen bulb standing in for a vacuum tube:

Halogen bulb brass cap - overview

Halogen bulb brass cap – overview

The knockoff Neopixels measure just over 10 mm at their widest points, but some judicious filing rounded it off and brought it down to fit in the 3/8 inch = 0.375 = 9.52 mm hole I drilled in the hex:

Halogen bulb brass cap - wiring

Halogen bulb brass cap – wiring

I let it run for a day like that to make sure the thing wasn’t going to crap out, then epoxied everything in place. If the WS2812B controller fails, the repair will require drilling out all the electronics and wiring, then rebuilding it in place.

The fins come from the same HSS cutoff tool I used for the Bowl o’ Fire cap, cut at 2.5 mm intervals to produce 0.9 mm fins that IMO better suit the smaller diameter. I stopped cutting when the tool got through the hex flats to produce a continuous ring, cut the hex off a bit above the top fin, rounded the end with a carbide insert cutting tool, then sanded the flats to shine ’em up a bit:

Halogen bulb brass cap - detail flash

Halogen bulb brass cap – detail flash

It turns out that 12 inches of wire inside PET braid barely reaches from the cap to the Arduino Pro Mini in the base:

Halogen bulb brass cap - Arduino Pro Mini

Halogen bulb brass cap – Arduino Pro Mini

Next time, I’m going to add half a foot more wire than I think it can possibly require, with PET braid to suit.

A thin ring of clear epoxy holds the “heatsink” at the dead center of the bulb. It lights up a bit more than I expected, so opaque epoxy may be in order:

Halogen bulb brass cap - detail red

Halogen bulb brass cap – detail red

It’s still too big to suit even the big 21HB5A tubes, but brass definitely wins over plastic!

That blue PETG base has become the least-attractive part of the lamp, but it’s survivable for now.

It runs the same TubeMood firmware as the Bowl o’ Fire.

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Vacuum Tube LEDs: Bowl of Fire Floodlight

Although I didn’t plan it like this, the shape of the first doodad on the mini-lathe reminded me that I really wanted something more presentable than the (now failed) ersatz Neopixel inside the ersatz heatsink atop that big incandescent bulb.

So, drill a hole in the side:

Ersatz aluminum heatsink - drilling

Ersatz aluminum heatsink – drilling

Epoxy a snippet of brass tubing from the Bottomless Bag o’ Cutoffs into the hole:

Ersatz aluminum heatsink - tubing trial fit

Ersatz aluminum heatsink – tubing trial fit

Recycle the old wire and PET loom, solder to another fake Neopixel, blob epoxy inside to anchor everything, and press it into place:

Ersatz aluminum heatsink - epoxying LED

Ersatz aluminum heatsink – epoxying LED

Cutting the failed LED & plastic heatsink off the wire left it a bit too short for that tall bulb, but some rummaging in the heap produced a 100 W incandescent floodlight with a nicely pebbled lens:

Reflector floodlight - overview

Reflector floodlight – overview

A thin ring of clear epoxy secures the ersatz heatsink to the floodlight:

Reflector floodlight - finned LED holder

Reflector floodlight – finned LED holder

This time, I paid more attention to centering it atop the General Electric logo ring in the middle of the lens, which you can just barely see around the perimeter of the aluminum fin. By pure raw good fortune, the cable ended up pointed in the general direction of the socket’s pull-chain ferrule; you can’t unscrew the bulb without tediously unsoldering the wires from connector atop the knockoff Pro Mini inside the base and squeezing them back out through the ferrule.

With the firmware set for a single fake Neopixel on pin A3 and a 75 ms update rate, the floodlight bowl fills with color:

Reflector floodlight - purple phase

Reflector floodlight – purple phase

It puts a colored ring on the ceiling and lights the whole room far more than you’d expect from 200 mW of RGB LEDs.

Pretty slick, even if I do say so myself …

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Mini-Lathe: First Cuts

Despite the craptastic way finishing and the cross slide DRO malfeature, the Little Machine Shop 5200 lathe works well enough for my simple needs. I really like the quick change toolpost:

LMS Mini-lathe - first cuts

LMS Mini-lathe – first cuts

The QC post and tool holders have very nice machining and surface finish; they evidently come from an entirely different production line than the lathe components. I can definitely get used to using carbide inserts, although I ordered some HSS inserts for interrupted cuts.

The HSS cutoff tool does what you’d expect:

LMS Mini-lathe - first cut - drilled and slotted

LMS Mini-lathe – first cut – drilled and slotted

The holes in the end came from short (“screw machine”) drill bits I got for the Sherline’s painfully limited Z axis travel. Even so, chucking one in the 1/2 inch capacity LMS drill chuck shows why a 16 inch bed isn’t excessive:

LMS Mini-lathe - drill chuck vs bed length

LMS Mini-lathe – drill chuck vs bed length

The 6 inch = 150 mm scale on the bed (to the right of the tailstock) extends to the limit of tailstock travel, so you could have another half foot of stock sticking out of the 3 jaw chuck. A collet in the spindle would give you another two inches, but it’s snug in there.

On the other paw, this is a little lathe intended to make little things. It’ll do fine…

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Monthly Science: Hard Drive Mood Light Thermal Coefficient

Having that knockoff Neopixel fail from overheating prompted me to measure what was going on. Because the LEDs sink most of their heat into the package leads, the back of the LED strip should be the hottest part of the package and the Mood Light’s central pillar should be pretty nearly isothermal. Despite that, I figured I should measure the temperature closer to the back of the strip, sooo I drilled a hole for the thermocouple…

Clamp the whole Mood Light to the Sherline’s tooling plate with the pillar sides mostly square to the axes and line up the spindle 2 mm behind the LED strip:

Mood Light - aligning thermocouple hole

Mood Light – aligning thermocouple hole

The two clamp pads are CD chunks, under just enough pressure to anchor the Mood Light.

Screw the cap in place (to match-drill both holes at once) and drill a 2 mm (#46, close enough) hole down past the top LED:

Mood Light - drilling thermocouple hole

Mood Light – drilling thermocouple hole

I tucked the Mood Light into a box to ward off breezes, jammed one thermocouple into the new hole, let another float over the top platter, then forced the Neopixels to display constant grayscale PWM values (R=G=B) while recording the LED and air temperatures every five minutes:

Hard Drive Mood Light - temp vs power data

Hard Drive Mood Light – temp vs power data

That was easier and faster than screwing around with automated data collection. The data has some glaring gaps where I went off to do other things during the day.

I turned those numbers into a graph, printed it out, puzzled over it for a bit, then annotated it with useful numbers:

Hard Drive Mood Light - temp vs power data - graph

Hard Drive Mood Light – temp vs power data – graph

That first little blip over on the left comes from a minute or two at PWM 32; the cooling time constant works out to be a bit under 10 minutes. The warming time constant looks to be somewhat longer, but not by much.

Eyeballing the endpoint temperatures for each PWM value, feeding in the current measurements, and creating a small table:

VCC 5 V
Current 0.057 A
Package 0.285 W
Total 3.42 W
PWM Duty Nom Power Failed LEDs Net Power °C Rise
0 0.00 0.00 0 0.00 0
32 0.13 0.43 0 0.43 6
64 0.25 0.86 0 0.86 12
85 0.33 1.14 1 1.04 16
128 0.50 1.71 1 1.62 24
192 0.75 2.57 1 2.47 35
255 1.00 3.41 4 3.03 42

The same blue LED that failed earlier dropped out again, plus another package (on a different strip) went completely dark shortly after I clobbered the LEDs with full power at PWM 255. The Net Power column deducts the power not used by the failed LEDs, under the reasonable assumption that the total heating depends on the number of active LEDs.

All the failed LEDs worked fine when they cooled to room temperature, so, whatever the failure mode might be, it’s not permanent. The skimpy WS2812B datasheet says bupkis about a protective thermal shutdown circuit, although it specs an 80 °C maximum operating junction temperature. I’ll stipulate a 20 °C temperature difference from junction to thermocouple at PWM 255, but that doesn’t explain the first blue LED failure at PWM 85.

Methinks these knockoffs will be much happier operating in the mid-30s.

Turning the last two columns of that table into a graph (minus the PWM 0 line to let the intercept float around) looks like I’m faking it:

Hard Drive Mood Light - Temperature vs Power

Hard Drive Mood Light – Temperature vs Power

The Y intercept is off by less than 1 °C, which seems pretty good under the circumstances. The  kink at PWM 85 shows that I probably didn’t allow enough time for the temperature to stabilize after the blue LED failed.

So, in round numbers, the thermal coefficient for a dozen knockoff Neopixels on a plastic pillar inside a stack of hard drive platters works out to 14 °C/W.

The raised sine waves in the Mood Light produce a long-term average PWM half of their maximum PWM. They’ve been perfectly happy with MaxPWM = 64 pushing them barely 6 °C over ambient, so they should continue to work fine at PWM 128 for a 12 °C rise… except, perhaps, during the hottest of mid-summer days.

Obviously, I should jam a thermistor inside the column and have the Arduino wrap a feedback loop around the column temperature…

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