"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Grizzly G9955 Dust Filter

I decided I needed to add dust control to my high speed rotary carving. Actually I decided that a long time ago. I have finally taken the first step. The Grizzly 9955 is about the cheapest version I could find as none of them do (that is filter) as well as I would like at a reasonable price.

I can’t fault this machine for that problem as it is the very nature of filtration that the smallest particles are the worse kind for human lung health and are also the hardest to filter out.

This filter says it will filter down to 5 microns but I have serious doubt of that, at least on a continuous basis. Most filters actually become more effective (not efficient) the dirtier they become (up to a point of no air flow or media failure) so where when is the 5 microns determined?

Yes, I am an air filtration expert from over 50 years in the HVAC business and having owned an air filtration service.

My propose here is to test the subjective effectiveness of this unit. I don’t have expensive test equipment to make critical measurements and I also don’t think in my case it is worth the effort to be that critical.

Note Grizzly on the label recommends (requires?) the use of the face mask filter when using the machine. So it is pretty clear the user should not depend on just this filter to provide safe breathing air.

I adjusted the poly carbonate panels to provide a narrow gap at the work area. This produces a higher velocity to the air flow at this point and better ensures the dust will be carried back to the filter material.

The filters are listed as 2 inch. That is a bit… Continue reading

A View on CAD, CAM, CNC Software Upgrades

The Vectric (software) company has just released version 3 of their Aspire CNC software. Nothing too earth shattering as far as major changes that I can see, but some very nice-to-have upgrades in performance and design ease. The update from version 2 is $400.00 USD. Hmmm… a lot?

A new outright full edition Aspire purchase is $1995.00 USD. It is Vectric’s highest priced do-it-all CNC package. So the $400 update cost doesn’t sound too bad. I also got to thinking that a single skilled programmer writing updates and improvements just for me would probably bill out at over $100 per hour and actually earn maybe $40 per hour ($80,000/yr) That is certainly very naïve thinking but don’t kill the message here. So at best $400 buys 10 hours of program changes, or only 4 hours at retail.

So is the upgrade worth it? You bet. I haven’t made the move but it will be coming.

At first look, Aspire and the other CNC packages offered by Vectric seem to be highly centered on CNC overhead routers and to a smaller extent, CNC mills. Many if not most of the projects shown on the web site as examples are executed in wood. That is far from the many real abilities of the software. Aspire is designed to take a block of any sort of machinable material and turn it into a 2D or 3D item of beauty or value. Wrapped 4th axis machining designs can also be executed.

I don’t think Aspire or Cut3D (another Vectric 3D package) can totally replace the function of my Rhinoceros Modeling and design tool which is used to design highly detailed fully multi sided objects such as full size cars, boats, motorcycles and even buildings. Rhino can also be used to design jewelry… Continue reading

HB2 Action

I ran some Lithophanes this evening. I realized I had my iPhone in my pocket so I grabed a short segment of the HB2 in operation.

What you need to note is the quiet operation with the Taig spindle running at 10.600 RPM and the bit cutting at 50 IPM (Inches Per Minute). Most of the noise is the cutter in the Corian solid surface material making the 0.10 to 0.20 depth cut. If you listen carefully you can also hear the higher pitch “chirping” of the z axis stepper motor. I am “eighth stepping” the motors so it takes 1600 steps to make one shaft rotation. You are hearing those steps.

Most folks are running very loud (screaming actually) routers or high speed rotary tools to do this work. It’s hard to even think over the noise level. I have to wear ear protection with those spindles, but not with the Taig spindle. It’s nice…

Still a Drag?

I had a great weekend. I had to mow the grass but that is expected and still makes for a great weekend. For this Blog it was great because I got to put a lot of run time on the HB2. About six hours in total.

I even ran the Mayan calendar in a 7.75″ diameter on some Corian. I’ll post some pictures soon. The detail was excellent.

I think I may still have a little drag on the axis screws. It didn’t bother the CNC work this weekend. I have some spray bearing grease I will inject behind the Thrust bearings and see if the intermittent slight rubbing noise goes away.

If the grease doesn’t help, I already have a plan to put a “step” at each end of the screws and just remove the thrust bearings. That way the only thing the screw end can contact is the center race of the bearings.

That’s what I should have done in the first place. I did find out how easy it is (when you have a lathe) to modify the ends of the axis screws.

How I noticed what may be the rub is I changed my micro-stepping from quarter to eighth. I now run 8,000 steps per inch rather than 4000. That’s 0.000125 inches per step, way too fine than really useful . This was done not to increase accuracy but make the steppers run a lot more quite (but also a lot hotter).

Quarter stepping was still more accuracy (0.00025″) than I needed and it is supposed to provide more torque. The motors run cool. The noise however is more than 3 db higher and the twin Y’s were driving me crazy with their loud sound. Now I hear a sweet soft… Continue reading

Broke My Axe

The HB2 broke a coupling on the Y axis again. The couplings have been fine for 6 months. Must be more loads on it than I thought, but it is the axis with the dual steppers. It should have ½ the loads. The X and Z axis have never been a problem.

I thought it was most likely an alignment problem causing the couplings to flex too much. I was very particular in checking the alignment in the last replacement.

This time I am ordering extra heavy couplings from PDJ. They are the same style and exact size as I have been using but are built much stronger. They are a bit less expensive too, probably because Phil buys them in greater volume.

The failure spoiled a project I was cutting. Always happens near the end don’t you just know… I am glad it was a concept part and not some valuable slab of rare wood.

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