Just worth saying
Perhaps it is time to return to machine shop activities. The making of real parts with brass and steel and aluminum. For that matter, any machinable materials.
I have been beating myself (mentally) with the Junque I make with plastic 3D printing. Some things need to be made with plastic. I will certainly keep making plastic parts.
Small mechanical things like live steam and gas engines can only be modeled in plastic. Not made operational.
Fall season is returning to Texas USA and the weather will cool.
My shop is in an unconditioned attached garage and subject to the extreme air temperatures. Working in a 100 degree shop is unbearable to an old dude like me. I have fans to move the air around. I really need an (air) conditioned workshop. Both for heating and cooling.
If I ever move from here, there are certain conditions that will have to be satisfied. A conditioned workspace for the machine shop and a conditioned space for my amateur radio “ham shack”. Could be tied together but the radio-electronics area will have to be a separate area or room.
Pipe dreams for now but dreams are allowed.
Where does all the time go? Oh yeah, smokin’ that dream pipe.
Tormach xsTECH Router
A first impression. My impression. NOT a user report.
Note well: It called a ROUTER not micro-mill. Or any type of mill. Routers and mills are cousins, but don’t live in the same family group.
I was extremely excited when I saw this tool for the first time. I like Tormach equipment and I especially like their Linux based PathPilot controller software. This little baby OH router, the Tormach xsTECH actually runs full strength PathPilot!
It’s also a complete, full house, tools and all, everything one needs to get up and running — 3-axis micro overhead router. WOW! Continue reading
Gosh! Haven’t posted here in a while. Got derailed and off track by playing with the demon of three-dimensional printing. You know, push a button and out pops a three-dimensional PLASTIC component.
Pretty much a sit back and watch effort. Similar but different than CNC machining. No chips flying around, or mist cooling required. Additive rather than subtractive manufacturing. It has its place but IMHO not for durable goods. Great for prototyping and making plastic models.
It is not the printing that is the most value. The printer is just another tool. The most value for me is the amount of CAD drawing (and mastering) acquired in designing parts for printing. The same skills that instantly transfer to good old fashion CNC machining.
The point is Plastic 3D printing is here. I have learned how to use it at a hobbyist level. But for making real, functional items, subtractive machining is still holding its own.Continue reading
More Than a CAD
It’s been a while since I have run my original CNC Taig Micro-Mill. It’s the one configured for metal work and has the mist cooling installed. There is nothing operationally wrong with it as far as I know. Just haven’t had a project where I needed its services.
I have always used RhinoCAD (Rhinoceros) with RhinoCAM to generate the design and the Gcode necessary to run the mill. I am presently working with FUSION360 CAD with its built-in CAM. FUSION360 has become my go-to CAD for 3D printing because of the very good built-in STL generator. Rhino can do STL too but has some issues (for me) in producing first-time usable STL.
CAM is a whole new layer of complexity after creating the CAD drawing. Of course, the first challenge is the CAD, as what is drawn must be something that can be produced by milling. It is possible to draw parts that can never be machined.
The CAM requires the complete understanding of the milling operation and all the tools that can be deployed on the target milling machine. In the case of the Taig Micro-mill, tool size is limited to the machine’s abilities and speeds. I have no need for things like an automatic tool change. I am a hobbyist, not a manufacturing center.
CNC is certainly not “push the button and go”. The complexity is what I love about the process.
I use two different CNC controller software systems to control the movements of the milling machines. The older mill is using MACH3. The newer WAX cutting mill runs on LinuxCNC controller software. I was very pleased to see what is called a POST processor available in FUSION360 for both controller formats.
The POST processor is a function in CAM that… Continue reading
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I have an e-Commerce website where I sell Taig Tools. The URL is http://ramblindan.com Known as “Ramblin’ Dan’s Store” a.k.a. “The Hobbyist Machine Store”.
It should be obvious it is a spin off from here, The Hobbyist’s Machine Shop.
I quietly sell Taig equipment and parts, without much promotion. It was never intended to be a major source of income. Until a few years ago, I had a very stable “real” Energy Engineer occupation managing very large energy solutions (energy savings) construction projects.
I am now retired with more time. With one product line, the store probably never will be a large money maker. I enjoy running the business part time and selling a good product that I like to use myself.
So, sales are usually sporadic and don’t require a lot of my time to fulfill. However, in the last few weeks the top has blown off the slow simmering pot. I don’t know (yet) what has turned up the fire, but it is a very good sign. I hope it is an indication that people are getting back to making things in their workshops.
One reason may be that the Taig CNC Mill and a CNC lathe are now available with ball screws. I have just filled two orders for them.
I use my newest Taig CNC mill for wax carving for cast silver work. It gets a lot of run-time. I don’t have the ball screw mill in my own shop, but it has been a thought… The problem is I don’t really NEED ball screws for what I do.
What I am seeing is my customers are buying lathes and mills, and a lot of accessories, so there must be a new surge in… Continue reading