French Tablecloths and Fusion 360

OK this is a silly one I know but follows on from my theme of just how valuable a 3D printer is to own and how it makes you think outside of the conventional box when solving simple problems.

French markets always have a stall selling brightly coloured table clothes in various materials.   These rarely have a prepared hole in them for your sun umbrella to slot through as you sit quaffing and nibbling in the sunshine.   If they already have a hole it usually doubles the price.   If you make a hole yourself then it will fray and degrade.

Up steps “Fusion Man” and in five minutes you have a design for a locating boss and ring to sandwich protect the hole in the material and keep the cloth fixed on the table.   Design done and its off to the Sindoh 3DWOX to print it.

Lay the table cloth on the table where it will be used and ensure it sits square all round.   Crawl under the table and with a Sharpie pen or similar, draw the shape of the hole on the back of the table cloth.

Remove the cloth from the table and flip it over.  Place the printed ring over the marked circle and remark the circle position to the ring ID.  Cut out the marked ring circle but make the cut about 3 or 4 mm smaller all round.  (Nail scissors are ideal for cutting curves).  Test fit the boss. Because the hole in the cloth is slightly smaller than the boss diameter, the material will naturally turn up the vertical face of the boss.  Check it is not causing wrinkles in the cloth when on the table.

Put hot glue around the boss at the horizontal/vertical interface and then push the boss through the cloth to let the glue hold it in place.

Apply glue to the locating ring and push this in place over the boss to sandwich the material between the ring and the boss.  Here is a greatly exaggerated cross section.

Job done.   Siesta time.

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Mill Turning on the Tormach PCNC440

I just dared to hit run on my first attempt at Mill Turning.  I need to qualify this in that the first run I was cutting air above the set up.   It looked OK so I put the real material in the spindle and I got a turned part as designed in Fusion 360.   I didn’t part it off and you can see the result below.

Mill Turning set up for first trial run

Mill Turning is where you place the material you want to shape (usually a rod of some kind) in the mill spindle instead of a milling tool.   The tools are mounted on the milling table (see above in the vice) and are completely stationary but move via the actions of the table in the X axis and the spindle in Z.   The software is conned into thinking the material is really a milling tool and that the tools are the material.

It has taken me the best part of a week to work out how to model this in Fusion 360 and I have been helped enormously by watching Jason Hughes on YouTube.  It involves allocating a different Work Coordinate for the location of each tool.

If I can get this more streamlined and get some better lathe tooling in place to support it, then I will be able to turn clock pillars.   This was the last stumbling block in moving to CNC assisted clockmaking.

Tonight I am a very happy bunny.  A glass or two of Merlot with dinner perhaps ?

Update – For a full write up on the process and how I got there go to my mill turning page and download the pdf.

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Clickspring Therapy

Some days you walk into the workshop and while you know you have long term projects lurking, you just feel like having a distraction therapy day.  For me this usually means adding some tooling in some way or other.  Yesterday was one of those days.

While looking around I spotted one of my storage boxes with all the parts I had accumulated to make some table tooling grip nuts as shown by Chris at Clickspring.   These are similar to a commercial item.  As I now have a tooling plate on the Tormach with a matrix of M8 holes it seemed like a good ‘all in one day’ project and would satisfy my therapy distraction.

Chris did not give any dimensions in his write up but there is more detail in his Patreon video which is subscription only.   One gem he passed on was using a piece of 1mm thick material to offset the three jaw chuck to create an eccentricity to the locking nuts.

I have created a page detailing my approach here.

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Sherline Motor Assembly for clock wheel cutting

After completing the write up on the Sherline CNC Indexer for use on the Myford for clock wheel cutting, I realised that an important part of the process was the cutting mechanism itself.

I had adapted the Sherline headstock motor and spindle assembly to mount on the Myford vertical slide to act as a secondary cutting source. I use this for cutting clock teeth and for drilling holes ‘off centre’ to the lathe axis for such processes as arbor mounting holes.

The full write is available as a pdf on the associated page on this site.

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Open Thinking when Solving a Problem

I think I have mentioned this before …. when you have different ways to solve a problem it is often easy to get locked off into a long winded but potentially elegant solution and miss the point.

3D printing has brought this home to me on a number of occasions.

An example – I have variable speed controllers on my Myford Lathe and Myford mill.   The controllers are identical and each have an ON and OFF push button.  The bezel around the ON button on one of these had cracked and come away leaving the switch floating in its mounting hole.

My first reaction was to replace the switch.  I contacted the controller supplier to ask for a part number and distribution source to buy a new switch.  They ignored my email which was fortunate as I would probably have ordered a complete new switch assembly.  I would then have had all the grief of stripping down the controller case and wiring in the new switch.   This would probably have invalidated any warranty etc etc.

Instead I stepped back and looked at the problem from a different angle.  The bezel while broken still had enough of the ring and thread intact and simply needed gluing back together.   However it would not have been strong long term.   What it needed was an outer strengthening ring.

Fusion 360 called and the Sindoh 3D printer.   A ring was designed and printed  (20 minutes) and the bezel strengthened and made good.   I also printed three more rings and put these around the remaining three switch bezels as a preventative action should they also weaken and crack.

A simple, low cost and effective solution with the added benefit of reduced downtime in the future.   But the point is that it wasn’t the first solution I was considering correct though it might have been.

3D printing is such a useful resource to have available but you need to think outside of your normal approach to a problem to realise its potential.

Sorry that wasn’t mega interesting but I thought it worth sharing …

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