"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Long Weekend

Thanks Presidents and TAC. I have an extra long weekend ahead. More time to pla… er, work in the shop. 🙂 I have a couple of mods to make to the old CNC power supply/controller and am considering hooking it up to the HB1 machine. I have some new Dremel sized router bits ordered but may pick up one more at Lowe’s if they don’t show up today. Then I can give the HB1 machine a workout this weekend.

The new PS/Controller won’t be ready for awhile and I am anxious to see the little HB1 in operation again with the new Dremel mount. I may even get motivated to add the limit switches. A dilemma many of us hobby machinist face. Is it more fun to constantly modify the tools or use them? ~ Dan’l

Projects Not Quite on the Bench

I am getting enthused with my many design sketches for the next CNC machine. It has been hard for me to scale back on size with my design schemes. It all relates to my own advice that I must have a product I want to produce and size the machine to accomplish the task. What I really must do is to keep it within a size constraint that will fit into my residential shop area. It still looks like ~ 25 x 25 or so working area with larger overall dimensions.

There have been lessons learned on the first machine I built both good and bad, which in a way makes the bad discoveries a good learning experience. Boy is it ever true; the bigger you want to go the much more it is going to cost!

On the first machine I found out how critical perfect alignment is for a machine just to be able to move. I am planning for that on the new design. Linear slides do not tolerate poor alignments and deflection.

It is too soon to release my machine design thoughts. I don’t have all the details worked out as I like to design/build. I am considering doing some drawings this time. It will be a more serious design than the first machine and that may gather interest from other hobbyists. I am definitely aiming at the hobbyist user (me) but the design will be able do serious work. A small machine shop is definitely required to build this one. I plan to make some of the more costly parts. (Mmm… maybe a kit design?)

I am currently working on the new CNC controller and I will grab some pix of that as it goes together. Electrically it will be very… Continue reading

Missing RhinoCAM

I received the update to Rhinoceros 4.0 yesterday. It loaded into the MS Vista OS just fine. When first booted that worked fine. However, after clicking on a few axis quadrant displays (this is a 3D drawing program) there was an obvious problem. Various quadrant screens would black out. Ugh! I was sure this was a known problem and I expect first releases will usually have some bugs. Vista is certainly no easy beast to tame first time out. There were already two updates to Rhino version 4.0. A quick trip to the Rhino website and after what seemed like umpteen times asking me to enter my registration code, I obtained the updates.

A painless update install followed and I also updated Flamingo (update included with Rhino 4.0 package) to run with the new Rhino 4.0. Flamingo is a graphic ray tracing plug-in I purchased for Rhino 3.0. After a bit of work it makes drawn objects look real after rendering. I am glad I didn’t have to replace or pay to upgrade Flamingo.

Rhino 4.0 now starts quickly and flawlessly as compared to Rhino 3.0. The screen looks the same as my earlier version but perhaps the tool icons are a bit larger. Don’t know… It just seems “easier” to look at. That’s not very quantitative, but my impression. A tool you are going to use when drawing for hours on end needs to have a good “look” 🙂

I obtained the update through MecSoftat a very good discount. I also ordered and was to receive the update to RhinoCAM, another plug-in to run with Rhino 4.0. but for some reason the RhinoCAM update was not in the package. MecSoft is the producer of RhinoCAM (and Visual Mill) so I think they just forgot to put it… Continue reading

Late January Ramblin’

Dan in shopTexas weather is going crazy as usual. It is 32 degrees (F) and raining one day then 62 and sun the next which was yesterday. This morning it is 35 and semi cloudy. I know they say this in every place I have lived but, “If you don’t like the weather. just wait a day…” 🙂

Outside Christmas deco was taken down (finally) yesterday. When packing it looked like I cornered the market on outdoor extension cords. I use over 35 to run all the circuits on the computer controlled light system. The weather was perfect and my back feeling good enough to tackle the task. Ten more months and counting… too long to just leave them up.

The online store is doing OK. Gears are starting to sell very well. I recently sold a Proxxon lathe and have two folks at present wanting to know when I can get the next one. The one I own is for sale but to ship it would double the freight cost as I already paid to get it to me. Shipping it again would not be for free. I may just pay the tax on it and keep it for myself. It is a great little lathe and actually the same size Kozo uses to build his 3/4 scale locos. His is an Emco with the attached mill, no longer available.

My shop is a mess at the moment. I have several projects to work on and Christmas piled all around me. We will fix most of the pile problem today with a trip to storage. Here in the Dallas, Texas area, basements are unknown. Shop space is at a premium and usually must be shared. I am actually willing (dreaming) to move the shop to a rental space… Continue reading

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