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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Heading home from France and Welding Course

Well we came out for the New Year to France with lots of jobs to do and both ended up totally incapacitated with flu.  Not felt so miserable in a long time and now totally weak and wobbly.

We did manage to get the new office sorted and it’s nice to sit here working in it.

We have decided to leave early and stay overnight near Tours on the run to the ferry.  The prospect of the normal 7 hour drive in one hit did not appeal to either of us.

You know what, if you are going to be ill, it is best done at your home with your own bed and I am really looking forward to unlocking the front door on Tuesday.

Wednesday night looms exciting however as my mate and I have registered on a 21 hour introduction to Welding Course over the next 7 weeks.  Got to get back on my feet ready for that.   Hopefully some new skills to be added to my very mature CV …

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In France for the New Year

It is raining and continues to rain ….. but we have a few jobs to do about the place and plenty of logs for the woodburner.

Being confined in doors has its advantages as it gives an opportunity to write up something for the website. You might find my new page on using Printed Circuit Board as a construction medium of interest.  Click and follow : –

Printed Circuit Board as a Construction Medium


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Some Particularly Sad News

Readers of my pages will be aware of my involvement with Graham at Delph in helping to further develop his Gearwheel Designer program.  It seems there is a ‘gentleman’, Mr di Claudio,  who appears to have stolen the design and hacked the code.  He appears quite proud of his pirating activity.  It is a sad reflection of the times and the industry.

Knowing as I do the amount of time Graham has been putting in on his code I would recommend anyone interested in his application to do the honourable thing and subscribe the relatively small amount requested.   Without people like Graham having the innovative thought to produce such applications our hobby and indeed commercial interests would be all the poorer.

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Things to do and places to go

Finally got round to doing my website and blog with a view to sharing my various hobby interests and general things we get up to in retirement.

Here you will find more details on mechanical engineering, live steam locomotives, DIY, golf, growing veg and not least spending time in France.

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