Tooling Day

Each of my CNC mills has a home designed and produced tooling plate.  Both have a 25mm pitch matrix of tapped mounting holes and a further submatrix of 3.7mm tooling pin holes.   Why 3.7mm ?  So I can turn down 4mm silver steel for the tooling pins to create a retaining shoulder.

My small CNC plate has M5 tapped holes and the Tormach 440 has M8 tapped holes.   What struct me was that I has starting to create dual sets of hold down tooling, some with M5 and some with M8 mounting holes.   Not a good idea. (Entertaining and therapeutic though it might be to have ‘tooling days’).

Clearly a mounting with M8 holes was not much use with tooling having M5 mounting holes but the other way round would work if I had M8 to M5 adaptors.

As a result I have spent the day creating adaptors which you could call male and female.   Both are made from M8 hex head tensile screws with the female ones retaining the M8 head and the male ones utilising the cut off portion of thread.  I had to undercut the thread ends behind the heads so the female adaptors would sit flush.  Having undercut I then skimmed all the tops of the hex heads to be same depth.

All the turning was done with the ER25 collet chuck instead of the 3 jaw which is normally fitted to the Myford.  The male adaptor versions were a pain to turn down to M5 diameter and had to be done incrementally as the M8 threaded end could not be heavily gripped in the collet.

The female versions are quite useful if a job is being run on the Tormach that needs suspending above the table so it can machined to full stock depth.

Nothing revolutionary or original but a day well spent.

A picture explains : –

Male and female M8 to M5 adaptors
M8 to M5 adaptors in place on the Tormach tooling plate

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Halloween Steaming of the Polly

Each year the engineering club I am a member of has a Halloween Steaming evening for families and friends.   The 7″ ground level track (1.35 miles / 2.2km) and the 5″ raised level track (1361 yards / 415m) get decorated with spooky stuff and we run with lights on the locos.

I fit a 100mm diameter angel light ring on the smoke box door and have a couple of small LED torches either side of the front running board and a red flashing rear light.   The front view is pretty bright as a result but evening running in cold weather means lots of steam and seeing what is going on is difficult.   Add to this I need my spectacles on to see the water level in the glass and my specs steam up.   Add to this the fact that the oiler is running a bit heavy at the moment so my specs also get a fair amount of oil splatter.

I started the fire using charcoal soaked in white spirit and had steam pressure fairly quickly.   I loaded the fire to just below the first line of tubes and set off.

I was pulling both my driving trolley and the passenger trolley and worst case this was 3 adults.   I had severe wheel spin if I wasn’t careful with the regulator movement.   The raised level rails are aluminium and the weather was damp so this was not unexpected.   When heavily loaded the fire was really drawing well but as the evening went on it became more of a struggle to maintain steam pressure.   The top of the fire had a crust of darker red on it but when the fire was poked this broke away to an incredibly bright fire.

Analysing this is difficult.   Was the fire too deep and the draft from the Rosebud not sufficient ?   Were the holes in the Rosebud getting clogged with ash and reducing the draft ?   Or something as simple as letting the water level drop too low ?

Lots of questions that I am still working on.   That aside I definitely need a session on the rolling road to adjust the oiler.

Picture taken by my son as myself and Dave prepared for another run.

Polly V on the Halloween running

 

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Clocks all Change – Reading Memorial Clock

The last weekend in October is clocks change here in the UK with a one hour shift back to GMT.   For those that remember to do it, this delivers an extra hour in bed but it is a pain to change traditional clocks one hour back.   This is even more so with Turret Clocks such as those on churches and ancient buildings.   The easiest solution is to stop the mechanism on Sunday and come back to it on Monday one hour earlier to restart it.   While this is the easiest method it does upset these ancient mechanisms that have just had 6 months of stable running.  The alternative is to wind the mechanism forward 11 hours and drive those in earshot scatty with all the bell chimes one after another.

I was very fortunate to be invited by David Pawley to help him reset some of the clocks on his maintenance list and one in particular impressed me.  This is the Memorial Clock at Reading University.   The clock tower was built circa 1920 as a memorial clock to all those associated with Reading University that had not returned from the Great War.  There are some 101 names recorded from WW1 and further names from WW2 and latterly from Afghanistan.   It is a beautiful clock and a fitting memorial.   The only sad aspect was that its enormous bell is muted these days so as not to disturb patients at the neighbouring Royal Berks hospital. 

Reading University Memorial Clock

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NYC CNC Ding Video

First day back in the workshop after the holiday and I think I left my brain on a beach somewhere …. acute lack of thinking lead to poor stock referencing on the mill tooling table leading to broken tools and messed up material.   Much gloom and doom ensued.

In my frustration I walked away from the machine and thought instead I would catch up on NYC CNC activity while I had been away.   John had posted a video of CNC crashes that they had experienced.   I sat twitching and cringing and came away from watching it feeling so much better.

John does regular Wednesday Widget and Friday Fusion sessions and I have recommended to him he adds Thursday Therapy as a new series.

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Golf Caddy Locks and Ring Lights

Golf Caddy Locks

We have a couple of rigid golf caddy cases that take a full golf bag plus whatever else you can squeeze in when going on a holiday trip.   Last trip to Hawaii this included lots of shoes, snorkels, flippers etc.   These have or at least had two cabinet style locks on them but not anymore.  Customs / security at Seattle decided they wanted to have a look inside and took the easy option and smashed the locks off, had a look inside and then Gaffa taped the case back up.  Lovely.

Everything arrived home safely with nothing missing but now the debate on how to replace the locks.  Clearly the idea of locking them does not go down well with baggage security teams.   I have knocked up a design in Fusion that only needs a single cable tie to make it secure.  I have 3D printed a concept model from the Fusion design and I have now run the finished items in aluminium using the Tormach CNC.   I used a combination of CNC and manual milling to get the results and this highlighted once again that the combination of a CNC and manual is incredibly useful.

Gold caddy with 3D printed trial lock in place

 

Close up of the prototype lock without the peripheral shaping

 

Fusion 360 representation of the lock design without the locating pins and hinge pin.
Replacement latches for golf caddy security

 

Ring Lights

have been receiving requests for my machine spindle illumination lights using car headlight ring light clusters and have got the process fairly slick. 

 I first of all edit the centre clearance hole in the boss in Fusion in preparation for printing.  I then 3D print the power supply box and lid and while putting this together I get the boss print underway.  The boss takes around 7 hours to print on standard quality.  .   Given the amount of interest being shown I think a formal write up would be useful for others with perhaps the Fusion file as a download.  Working on it and more to follow. 

New ring light off the production line. Note that the baking foil reflector is getting easier to do.

Update – the ring lights are available on Amazon at around GBP14 per pair and you can select diameter (and colour).  Buy the largest diameter you can so that there is reduced shadowing around the tool point in the mill or drill press.  They are cheaper to buy on EBay from China but there is a longer delivery time.

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