PathPilot Upgrade to Version 2.x.x

I registered with Tormach for the free upgrade to the new release 2.x.x of PathPilot.  A memory stick arrived this morning with the new code.   It is fairly complex process but their documentation is quite easy to follow and understand.

All seems to have gone well with the upgrade except I can no longer see the shared drive for dropping files into nor can I get the Dropbox feature to load.  All of which suggests the network connection is not working but I not winning so far.  Gloom but not a disaster.  Fresh eyes another day.

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Ratchet Wheel Trial Cut using Gearwheel Designer

I am now running Version 21 of Gearwheel Designer and it gets better all the time.

I decided to make a ratchet wheel as my next test.  This highlighted the need to think about the process order on the mill.   Below is the design image in Gearwheel Designer.

My CNC sequence was as follows : –

  1. Cut the square brass blank a little oversize and draw a diagonals on it to show the nominal centre (Manual operation).
  2. Drill four holes in the corners outside of the working area of the cutting and use these holes to fasten down the blank to the milling table (which I had protected with a piece of MDF). (Manual operation)
  3. With a drill bit as appropriate, drill radial holes in the centre of the spoke petals and also the centre hole.
  4. Fasten the petals down to the MDF using these radial holes.
  5. Cut the gash outline of the wheel.
  6. Remove the four corner screws and remove the liberated brass outside the gash cut.
  7. Cut the rough pass on the teeth.
  8. Cut the fine cut on the teeth.
  9. Fasten down the periphery of the wheel with small clamps.
  10. Gash cut the spokes to leave the petals free from the blank.
  11. Remove the screws holding the petals and remove the brass liberated.
  12. Run the final cut on the spokes.
  13. Job done apart from a light sanding to remove any small burrs.

Some more images follow : –

Gash cut done and teeth cut twice round. The clamps are in place holding it down while the petals are cut.
Petals cut and removed for the final cut on the crossings
Finished wheel after a light papering

The purists will now tell me how it isn’t a proper wheel because the crossing interfaces to the rim have radius rather than a sharp corner.

Well a file will soon fix that …. and I can tell them how I watched another three episodes of House of Cards while this wheel was being cut.

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Laser Centring Tool for Tormach Tooling System

Frustrated by not being able to use my Myford Mill Laser Centring tool on my Tormach PCNC440 I have done a redesign using Fusion 360 and 3D printing.

Tormach, Fusion360
Concept View of Laser Centring for Tormach TTS

Read about it here ……

Disclaimer : –  This post and many others on my website feature references to Tormach and its products.  I have no connection to Tormach Inc financially, commercially or otherwise.  I acknowledge that Tormach®, Tormach Tooling System®, TTS® and PathPilot® are all registered trade marks of Tormach Inc.

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Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 Raft Printing Problem

My close friend in France also has a Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 3D printer.  We bought them at a similar time.  He has probably been a busier user of the machine.   He has designed and making a very complex camera mount for tracking celestial objects.  He is using an Arduino as the controller and has never written code before.  He is having fun and keeping his brain stimulated.

A few weeks ago he reported that the raft that the machine was laying down before printing objects was not uniform and had ‘holes’ in it.   The result was that the PLA being extruded for the object being printed, would droop down into the void in the raft and spoil the finish of the object while also making it hard to separate from the raft afterwards.

We swapped ideas remotely about what might be the cause and tried various tests and experiments but to no avail.

As it happened a few days ago we were travelling down into France and calling in to see him for lunch so I had a chance to see the problem first hand.   More head scratching until …. I had the printer bed in my hand near the window and the sunlight caught the surface of the plastic laminated to the metal bed.   My eye caught a slight bubble in the plastic surface where the adhesive bonding the plastic to the metal had presumably parted company.   This was the problem !   The air bubble, small though it was, was causing a discontinuity in the bed temperature profile leading to the PLA not flowing from the nozzle correctly.

We ran a print and put the object on a different area of the bed where there was no bubbling or scratches and the raft and the print were good.

New bed plate ordered ….

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Black Saturday and a Napkin Ring

Had a bad day on Saturday.   I was milling a small tooling plate on the PCNC440 and got distracted.  Result was a coolant puddle migrating into the bottom of the Tormach keyboard followed by a broken Haimer tip.  Doom and and major gloom.  The keyboard was a write off as the fluid had got into the capacitive keyboard laminated sheets.

As it turned out a new keyboard was much cheaper to buy from Amazon than import another one from Tormach being only GBP6 and the Haimer tip while a bit more expensive was imported from Germany via Amazon.

I was in the process of trying to work out why the Z settings appeared to be changing while drilling the matrix of holes on the tooling plate.   The drill bit length was still the same figure as entered in the offset tooling table but the hole depth had reduced.   I think it might be the Tormach Tooling Collet not being fully seated into the spindle and it had jumped home.   Having just installed a new air compressor for the Fog Buster and the tool changer, it could be the air pressure was a bit low and not fully opening the R8 collet. As soon as the new Haimer tip arrives I will get back to it.

While ‘off-air’ so to speak I have been doing some 3D modelling on Fusion 360 to create some home grown Christmas gifts for the kids.   First one off is a customised napkin ring with a brass ring at each end.   The exercise  taught me how to form text around a circular body (thanks to John at NYC CNC for the demo video).  Not very sexy but functional.

sindoh, Fusion 360, kennedy power hacksaw
3D created napkin ring designed in Fusion 360 and printed using Sindoh 3DWOX and embellished with two brass rings

I struggled with cutting the brass rings and was about to design them out and go to all PLA when I had the idea to use the Kennedy Power Hacksaw like a bacon slicer to cut off thin circular shims of brass from a 2″ tube.   It worked well, was more efficient on waste than parting off in the lathe and gave a consistently wide slice.

Next request is for customised wine bottle stoppers.  Not sure wine bottles stay unfinished long enough in our house to justify this but let’s see what Fusion can deliver for the kids.

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