I haven’t moved as fast as I intended on the live steam projects. Again, just too many irons on the fire. Excuses are easy.
My little Taig Machine business has greatly picked up in the last month. I know why, it’s the new ball-screw mill. I might have the most sales for Taig for September. Taig doesn’t know why, but I must have done something correctly. I know I have been re-stocking and placing orders as one, if not THE busiest months for me with the RDS store.
I do have a workshop CNC project. I have to make a bunch more of the 1” wrenches for use on the Taig mill spindle. The 6061 T6 aluminum is on order. The wrenches have become a popular accessory. Many customers buy just one but it takes two for me to change tools in the collet. One wrench on the spindle and one on the collet. I might offer a slight discount for a set of two rather than sell them individually. But first I have to make more!
As I write this I have my 3D printer running, making ER16 collet boxes. They are a really nice way to keep those small ER16 collets in order. The Taig set is not supplied with any type of permanent holder or storage box. The boxes are selling good.
Decent weather (temperature) has come back to Texas. That makes working in the shop much nicer. That’s what I considered for getting back to the live steam work, comfortable working conditions.
I have been retired for two years or so. I do part time consulting that pays well for the hours worked, but it is not a major load on my retirement activities. In other words, not a lot of hours at one time. I still have the problem of too many creative hobbies, with my silver work and 3D printing at the top of the list.
The 3D printing, except for the creative and CAD drawing, is mostly start and forget; letting the printer run for 5, 6 or more hours without attention. That run time is available for anything else I want or need to do. I have to remind myself to stop starring at the CNC action. I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s like the swinging watch… “You are getting sleepy…”
Of the many things I am able to do, one thing I would really like to get back to is the real machining work in building a live steam locomotive. A live steam boiler and a steam engine (motor) would also be a project on which I’d like to be working. I have the necessary machine tools. I feel so guilty not using them now that I have the tools and opportunity. Read the other posts in this category and you see there have been false restarts. Yes Judge, I plead guilty.
I have an excuse. A fairly a valid one. Summers in Texas can be unbearable with the heat and (recently) the humidity here in the Dallas area. It’s always hot in Texas in the summer, but the humidity has been more like Houston than the normal – far northern (away from the coast) – Dallas.
My garage workshop… Continue reading
In this age of digital computer assisted communication, it is somewhat unusual to work with a company who still prefers to “communicate in the way we have always done it.” That seems to be the style of Taig Tools.
They are the designer and manufacturer of one of the best lines of micro machine tools made in the USA today. I am proud to be one of their dealers.
The basic design has not changed in over 30 years for their small lathe and milling machine. There have been changes and improvements for sure, but no major overall design change. One must look closely to see the differences through the years. The biggest visible change was when a power feed was added as an option to their tiny lathe.
They are introducing completely new products too, especially in the CNC controlled machines.
But the office operations are still “old school.” In my order process as a dealer, I am required to FAX all orders to the office as email is not secure or trusted. (They use an AOL email account, not using their own URL for email.) There was a time when a FAX was considered a legally binding document and an email was not. That has changed of course, and emails are as binding an agreement as FAX. Taig is staying with FAX orders.
When shipping merchandise, my eCommerce stores and most mail order business use computer live internet processing for shipping labels and automatic shipping payment. Tracking numbers are created the moment the label is created and the information is easily forwarded to the customer. I use Stamps.com and the tracking is sent by Stamps.com to the customer automatically (if there is an email address.) No extra work for me.
I have Taig drop ship machine orders directly… 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
I received a good question from reader feedback at Ramblin’ Dan’s Store. It was sent to me as a private email, but I think it is worth making my reply public. MPS2000 is a CNC micro-mill produced by MicroProto, the CNC division of Taig Tools. The question is about using a laptop computer for CNC control.
“Looking to see if there is a way to rum my machine (CNC Mill) from a lap top. Has the MPS2000 software been upgraded to true 3D?”
Not sure of your question of “true” 3D. I don’t use or support MicroProto (MPS) controllers and am unaware of any (perhaps hardware?) issues about 3D mill operation and the MPS controllers. The software is MACH3 which can certainly run 3D CNC action in 3 or 4 axes on a single parallel port. I have been doing it for nearly 2 decades.
There may be purest fanatics with certain micro accuracy issues with MACH3 and such things as trajectory planning and my answer is, “don’t use it if it is a bother.” In practical use, it works fine for the hundreds of projects I have run. (Because of issues with Windows 10) I recently switched to LinuxCNC. Not perfect either, but is works for what I need. 🙂 BTW… I don’t recommend LinuxCNC to a non-programmer unwilling to hack code.
Tormach for example, has switched to their own (self-supported) version of Linux based CNC called PathPilot https://www.tormach.com/pathpilot.html
The problem with laptops is the built-in energy conservation techniques at the OS or hardware level that may shutdown ports or interrupt the critical pulse timing. Of course, laptops are being used, but there are too many variables for it to be recommended. One solution is to use an external pulse generator… Continue reading