Hawaii, Combine Harvesting and Alibre v Fusion 360

Hawaii Ironman and Seattle

Having got home from Chicago I had a few weeks at home before we left for Hawaii where my son was participating in the Ironman World Championships.  This is a crazy triathlon event in 30 degree heat and he finished in just over 9 hours.

We played a few rounds of golf on the Makalei course on Hawaii which is at 2500 feet above sea level. Sometimes in sunshine, sometimes cloud and sometimes hissing down with rain all of which made it challenging.   We also visited Pearl Harbour which was quite moving and this included visiting the Aviation Museum on Ford Field.

No visit to Hawaii by a Brit would be complete without a visit to the Captain Cook monument in Kealakekua Bay.  We completely misjudged the arduous terrain we would experience in getting down to the monument and nearly came to grief with dusk fast approaching.

Captain Cook Monument Inscription Plaque in Hawaii

On the way home from Hawaii we stopped over in Seattle for a few days which was a culture shock on body temperature.   We visited the Pacific Science Museum and the Space Needle plus a tour of the Boeing works as part of the stay.  The PSM is brilliant for kids (and OAPs).

All in all a good trip but will now be glad to get back in the workshop.

CAD & Farming

Being away home and more precisely away from the workshop, allowed me to do a few write ups that might be of interest and both of which were stimulated by reading forum posts on MEW.  My waffle would have been too long to post in the normal way.

The first write up is about CAD/CAM and my concern that there will probably be unfilled expectations from the news about Alibre doing a special deal for MEW readers.

To 3D CAD or Not

The second write up is about harvest time in North Yorkshire that is based on my younger days in a farming family.  This has been on the stocks for some time and the posting on the forum kicked me into finishing it off.

combines and harvest

Hope you enjoy these two missives and more proper stuff from the workshop soon.

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    IMTS 2018 Manufacturing Fair in Chicago

    My visit to the MHUB/NYC CNC event also allowed me to visit the IMTS 2018 manufacturing show in Chicago.   My goodness what an event.  Lots of walking and lots of drooling over the latest technology for wasting metal.   Some of the machines were almost as large as my home in the UK.   I have never seen so many cutting tools.

    I did fall in love however …. with the Datron Neo milling machine.  It has a small footprint but a big punch with a 40k RPM spindle, 24 position tool changer with tool checking and an astonishingly elegant software user interface.  It is way out of my pocket but for a small prototyping shop or educational establishment I think it will be very attractive.

    I also picked up a Centroid Acorn OEM machine controller board which looks like a panacea for Mach3/4 based systems.  More will follow on this as we get to grips with it.

    So a good trip all round.  Two good events.  Two aching feet.  Some nice memories of a very beautiful city.

    ‘The Bean’ on the Chicago lake front.

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      NYC CNC at MHUB Chicago

      Rather than have the annual Open House at his factory in Zannesville, John Saunders at NYC CNC decided to have a joint event in Chicago at the MHUB facility under the banner of a Manufacturing Entrepreneurship Summit.

      The format was for key presentations together with the attraction of having a tour of the MHUB setup which is a resource facility for product development.

      John Grimsmo, a highly respected knife maker, told of his ups and downs prior to his current success.  This was followed by Jay Pierson telling his not dissimilar path to his company’s success in the machining work holding market.

      After a break for a tour of the facilities there was an update from AutoDesk regarding developments on their wide portfolio of engineering software with particular interest in Fusion 360.   There was then a closing Q and A session.

      The tour revealed the breadth and depth of the resources available to external organisations at MHUB to help get a product to market.   An extensive mechanical workshop, 3D printing, electronic workbenches and software development are just a few of the tools and resources available.   It was impressive.

      The afternoon and evening passed quickly and it was good to see some familiar faces from my visit to last years Open House and the training course I attended in Zanesville.

      John Saunders in checked shirt flanked by Jay Pierson, John Grimsmo

      As I sat listening to Jay and John I could not help but identify with how they had got to where they are and the parallels with my business days.  We may be many years apart but we have all suffered the same ups and downs, long hours etc that are an essential part of getting to success.

      An excellent event.

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        NYC CNC Open House in Chicago this weekend coming

        My travel agent (aka my adorable wife) has got my airline tickets ready so I can attend John Saunders’ Open House bash at MHUB this Sunday coming in Chicago with 3 days afterwards at IMTS 2018.

        Hopefully I will meet up with some of the friends I met at the NYC CNC training week and last year’s Open House plus all the new contacts that I have made via this blog.   Also hoping to be blown away with seeing new technology (totally out of my budget) at IMTS.

        Looking forward to it ! More to follow !

        Woody

        Imaging Astronomy in France

        We are fortunate that our house in France is in a small village in the middle of nowhere, on top of a hill and with very little light pollution.   As a consequence I have installed a 10.25″ Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain telescope so that I can do some star watching.  I think the only other place where I have seen better skies is in the middle of a desert in Namibia.   It can be absolutely breathtaking  to see the Milky Way in its full glory and some of the star clusters are mind blowing.

        One of my closest and  long standing friends John lives near Limoges and he is similarly smitten by things mechanical, optical and horological.   He recommended that I invested in a webcam to mount on my telescope to take some digital imagery of the planets.    As a result I picked up a NexImage Celestron camera on Ebay and was ready to experiment.

        The process is fairly simple (in theory) ….. you find a planet and lock the telescope to it and then record a few seconds or minutes of video.   The video is made up of frames and you use software to select the best frames and then stack the frames ‘on top of each other’ to enhance the image.   (iCap to get the video footage, PIPP to filter the best images, Registax to stack the images). The results are startling in that you start with a wobbly blob in the eyepiece and end up with a pretty clean image of the planet in question.   Thankfully there is a lot of help and assistance out on YouTube to get you to a result.

        So here is my first attempt at Jupiter which I was pretty pleased with.

        celestron-icap-pipp-registax
        Jupiter image processed with Registax

        Yes I know you might be thinking how many other things does this guy play at ?? ….

        Some people when they get to mature years want to travel the world and see places.  I just like to make things, experiment with stuff, stretch and widen my technical knowledge.   Do stuff that I never had time to do while busy working in order to give me me time and resources to do stuff when I stopped working ….. keeping the grey matter active.

        Fortunately I have a wife that tolerates my eccentricity and for that I am eternally grateful.

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