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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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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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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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

Rosebud Grate CAM and manufacture on Tormach PCNC440

While doing the drawings for the Rosebud grate on Fusion 360 I cheated slightly.   From my measurements, I made a best estimate sketch of the needed grate size to fit the firebox floor and having drawn this up, I did a 3D print of an equivalent size thin piece of PLA.  Having trial fitted this printed plate I did some trimming on the Fusion drawing ready to create the CAM.

I had bought in some 150mm square black mild steel plate and cut it roughly to width but left the length at 150mm this being longer than needed.  This allowed me to clamp the ends of the stock to my tooling plate on a piece of MDF.   I had one clean cut edge on the cut stock to use as a reference.   When mounted I checked this with the Haimer to make sure it was running parallel in the X plane.   Note I cut the MDF to roughly the same size as the plate so as not to interfere with the clamping.

I did a PathPilot width and length measure using the Haimer and found the centre of the plate and set this as G54.  My Fusion drawing and CAM were referenced to centre. I was now ready to go.

First operation was to spot the matrix of holes and the second op was to drill them out to 4.1mm.   Third op was to countersink the holes to 3mm depth.  This was a bit interactive.   I just worked on one hole only to start with and did repeated cuts using a BS3 countersink until the depth was correct.   I then did a ‘chose similar size’ selection in Fusion CAM and then ran the full op.

This now left machining of the profile of the plate to the size of the fire box floor dimensions as per the CAM and my dummy PLA plate.

rosebud grate first operations
First Ops on the Grate, spot drilling and then hole drilling. Note the clamps on the outside of the plate area.

Clearly the clamps were now a problem as the end areas were excess material on the length.  To get round this I removed the drilled plate from the MDF (the MDF had already started to degrade and swell with the cutting fluid) and mounted a new piece of MDF on the tooling plate with M8 fixings.  As you will see below I went a bit OTT with these …. there is even a hidden countersink one under the plate to stop the MDF bowing upwards …

I remounted the grate on the new MDF with a single woodscrew in one of the grate holes and checked and adjusted the angle of the plate so the good edge was running true in X as before.  I then added a ‘sprinkling’ of more wood screws so the plate was firmly in position and running true.   I then re-referenced G54 to the centre of the grate as before.

Plate remounted on a new MDF backing plate and held in place with randomly placed wood screws using the grate hole matrix.

Now I hate making swarf (chips) of material if it is not necessary … so having got the plate securely in place on the MDF I then took it off again and cut off the excess material on each end of the length.   Sad really but you never know when you might need a couple of small pieces of steel …

The grate could now be mounted back on the MDF with the plethora of screws positioning it back as before.  I did re-check with the Haimer and also rechecked the Z height once again.

The CAM adaptive profiling was with an 8mm cutter.  Obviously I was cutting air at each end of the grate where the stock was now missing but not a problem.

Profiling almost complete. The MDF is starting to degrade and swell.

I could have used a super glue and masking tape holding method but the black mild steel does not have a smooth surface like BMS and I was doubtful how well it would hold.   With hindsight the method I adopted did give me some flexibility in the process method.

The final process on the Myford Super 7 was to make four posts to sit the grate at the correct height spacing above the ash pan to match the old bar grate position.  These posts were fixed onto the grate by sacrificing four of the holes.  This of course reduces the hole count and therefore the hole area percentage occupancy from 15.17% to 14.62% – but not worth worrying about.

Finished grate standing in the ash pan and also the 3D printed test shape

So now I have to prove that all this effort was worthwhile and the grate will make a difference to the Polly V steaming.  More to follow on this in due course.   We have had some rain over the past couple of days so the Club track will no doubt be open for steaming in the near future.

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