Posts Tagged Sherline

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!


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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