Posts Tagged Sherline

T-shirt Shop Rags

Small wipes made from worn-out cotton t-shirts absorb most shop liquids, don’t overstay their welcome after short projects, and prevent the deep emotional attachment leaving swarf in the clothes washer. Scissors cutting gets tedious, so mooch a rotary cutter and slash away:

T-shirt shop rags

T-shirt shop rags

Synthetic fabrics don’t work nearly as well as cotton, so pay attention to the labels.



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Plotter Grit Wheel Bushings

As part of recommissioning the lathe tailstock, I made some bushings to adapt Dremel sanding drums bands to an 8 mm shaft (in imitation of the grit drive wheels on the HP plotter):

Plotter Y bushing - samples

Plotter Y bushing – samples

They’re not all the same because the lad who’s building the plotter got to turn out his own bushings. We think the knurled version, with a setscrew to lock it on the shaft, will work better than adhesive-bonding the drum to the bushing.

The overall process starts with a rough 1/2 inch aluminum rod. Skim-cut to get a concentric surface and face the end smooth:

Plotter Y bushing - facing

Plotter Y bushing – facing

Then knurl it:

Plotter Y bushing - knurling

Plotter Y bushing – knurling

The skim cut makes the aluminum rod a loose fit inside the sanding band, but the knurling enlarges the diameter enough to make it a firm press fit and I think it’ll have enough traction to stay in place.

FWIW, the wheels in the LittleMachineShop knurling tool seem pretty bad: the central holes aren’t quite concentric with the cutting edge, the bores are a loose fit on the mounting screws, the wheels are much narrower than the slots they ride in, so they wobble uncontrollably. It’s not a fatal flaw, but they definitely produce a sub-par knurl.

Face off the front, cut the knurling down at each end, then part it off:

Plotter Y bushing - cutoff

Plotter Y bushing – cutoff

Clamp it in the Sherline mill, laser-spot the edges, set the origin in the middle, and center drill:

Plotter Y bushing - center drill

Plotter Y bushing – center drill

Drill and tap for a teeny M3 setscrew:

Plotter Y bushing - tapping

Plotter Y bushing – tapping

Clean out the chips, debur the hole, install the setscrew, and you’re half-done: do it again to get the second drive roller!


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NEMA17 Motor and Bearing Mounts

As part of coaching a student (and his father!) on their incredibly ambitious build-a-plotter-from-scratch project, I suggested stealing using HP’s grit-wheel paper drive, rather than fiddling with guide rods to move either the pen carrier or the entire paper platform. Dremel sanding drums seem about the right size and they had an 8 mm shaft harvested from a defunct printer, so a pair of mounts moves the project along:

NEMA17 and Bearing Mounts - Slic3r preview

NEMA17 and Bearing Mounts – Slic3r preview

The motor mount code is a hack job from my old NEMA17 mount and the code has a lot not to like. The bearing mount puts the bearing on the proper centerline using brute force copypasta and depends on friction to hold it in place. The two models should be integrated into the same file, the shaft centerline shouldn’t involve the printed thread width, and blah blah blah:

NEMA17 motor and bearing mounts

NEMA17 motor and bearing mounts

I had him turn the shaft adapter from an aluminum rod in the mini-lathe: he’s hooked.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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More Tommy Bar Handles

Having used a nail for far too long, this is a definite step up for my machinist vises:

Tommy Bar - machinist vise

Tommy Bar – machinist vise

The vise knob has a hole just barely passing a length of 3.4 mm = 9/64 inch mild steel rod from the Small Box o’ Cutoffs.

While I was at it, I made a handle for the parallel jaw clamps:

Tommy Bar - parallel jaw clamp

Tommy Bar – parallel jaw clamp

Those knobs pass a 3.0 mm = 1/8 inch rod, similarly sourced. Inexplicably, one clamp expected no more than a 7/64 inch rod; a brief introduction to Mr Drill Press persuaded it concerning the error of its ways.

I should have made the handles distinctively different, because they’ll get mixed up in the box of vises & clamps. Next time, fer shure!

The Tommy Bar handles use the same solid model as the Sherline Tommy Bars, with hole diameters as noted. Cyan PETG is definitely easier on the eye than red PLA, although it does fade into the background clutter around here.

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Vacuum Tube Lights: Duodecar Rebuild

You’ll recall the LED atop the 21HB5A tube failed, shortly after replacing the bottom LED and rewiring the ersatz plate lead, which led me to rebuild the whole thing with SK6812 RGBW LEDs. So I printed all the plastic parts again, because the duodecar tube socket’s pin circle can fit into a hard drive platter’s unmodified 25 mm hole, then drilled another platter to suit:

Duodecar disk drilling

Duodecar disk drilling

The hole under the drill fits the 3.5 mm stereo socket for the ersatz plate lead, so it’s bigger than before.

I’ve switched from Arduino Pro Minis with a separate USB converter to Arduino Nanos with an on-board CH340 USB chip, because the fake FTDI chips on the converters are a continuing aggravation:

21HB5A base - interior

21HB5A base – interior

Adding those wire slots to the sockets definitely helps tidy things up; the wires no longer need a crude cable tie anchoring them to the socket mounting screws.

I wanted to drive the LEDs from the A7 pin, rather than the A3 pin I’d been using on the Pro Minis, to keep the wires closer together, but it turns out that A6 and A7 can’t become digital output pins. So I used A5, although I may come to regret the backward incompatibility.

In any event, the 21HB5A tube looks spiffy with its new LEDs in full effect:

21HB5A with RBGBW LEDs - cyan violet phase

21HB5A with RBGBW LEDs – cyan violet phase

I dialed the white LED PWM down to 32, making the colors somewhat pastel, rather than washed-out.

The Arduino source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Check Your Zero

A recent OpenSCAD mailing list discussion started with an observation that the dimensions of printed parts were wildly different from the numeric values used in the OpenSCAD program that created the STL. Various folks suggested possible errors, examined the source and STL files to no avail, and were generally baffled.

Finally, a photo conclusively demonstrating the problem arrived:

Caliper - digital vs. analog scale

Caliper – digital vs. analog scale

Note the difference between the digital readout and the analog scale printed on the body.

Turns out it’s his first digital caliper: he simply didn’t realize you must close the jaws and press the ZERO button before making any measurements.

We’ve all been that guy. Right?

FWIW, our Larval Engineer can probably still hear me intoning “Check your zero” every time she picks up a caliper or turns on a multimeter. Perhaps she’ll think fondly of me, some day. [grin]

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Bandsaw Worklight

Having hacked back the end of the USB gooseneck extension, a tweak of the COB LED heatsink mount for my desk lamp produces a smaller version for a 1.8 W LED:

Chip On Board Heatsink Mount - Bandsaw Lamp - solid model

Chip On Board Heatsink Mount – Bandsaw Lamp – solid model

That fits half of a random heatsink, bandsawed just to the far side of the middle fin and milled flat.

Ream out the 5 mm hole with a #8 drill for a snug fit around the gooseneck, jam gooseneck in place, dab epoxy on the corners of the recess, mash the heatsink in place, solder wires to LED, smear epoxy on the aluminum backplate, clamp while curing:

USB Gooseneck - LED assembly

USB Gooseneck – LED assembly

And it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself:

USB Gooseneck - on bandsaw

USB Gooseneck – on bandsaw

The hook-n-loop tape holding the cable to the bandsaw gotta go, but should suffice until I conjure a better mount.

The alert reader may wonder how a 9 V COB LED runs from a 5 V USB cable with nary a trace of a voltage booster to be seen. Well, that’s not really a USB cable any more; I paralleled the red+white and black+green wires for lower resistance, then hacked a 9 VDC power supply into an old USB hub:

Hacked USB hub - PCB mods

Hacked USB hub – PCB mods

I ripped out the upstream USB plug, hotwired the 9 V supply where the 5 V USB wires used to be, soldered jumpers on the downstream sockets to short the outer two pin pairs together, razor-knifed the power leads going into the epoxy-blobbed USB controller, and declared victory:

Hacked USB hub - in use

Hacked USB hub – in use

Admittedly, that “In Use” LED runs a bit brighter now.

I have a few other tools on that bench in need of LED lights; when I build ’em, they can all plug into this hub. No reason to invent new connectors & cables & all that. It may need a power switch.

Turns your stomach, eh?

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:


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