Adding a LAN connection and other small modifications
From the title you will have guessed that I could not resist the temptation to buy an X Smart 3 while they were on special offer at GBP299.
The X Smart 3 is a lovely little machine. It prints excellent high quality models at a very fast speed. My testing suggests around a third of the time as on my Qidi ifast but of course it has nothing like the same chamber build volume.
I have had some issues with the X Smart 3, some of which were finger trouble on my part and some that needed recourse to Qidi’s excellent support team.
Attached to the link below is a ZIP file that has the full write up detailing my modifications to the X Smart 3 to add a LAN socket, modify the processor fan operation and to add extension feet to raise the body of the printer to allow more air flow. The ZIP file contains the PDF document and two STL files, one for the extension feet and one for a printed template to aid positioning the hole for the LAN socket.
Note that the LAN connection will not appear on the printer control panel but is visible by the Qidi Slicer application. The IP address allocated will be automatically defined and you will need an application like Fing to discover what this is. The control board will be discovered as a Raspberry board.
I recently bought an Imperial set of ER25 collets to compliment my metric versions. I also have a set of metric ER20 and ER11. They have all been delivered in little yellow boxes which is good from a shipping point of view but a faff when needing to use them. In the past I have made storage blocks using odd pieces of wood with tapered holes cut using a cone cut drill bit. The cone cut has a 6 degree taper and ER collets all have 8 degrees so it sort of works but not quite ideal for my perfectionist mind.
As ever, the 3D printer sits in the corner begging to be used and Fusion 360 challenges me to do something a bit more professional. The scene is set for an overengineered collet storage tray.
Now I could just model and print something to hold the twelve new Imperial size delivery but what if I add to them at a later date? What if I decide to get some ER20 Imperial versions also ? ……….. Could I create a Fusion based automated model that will cope with any sized matrix of holes and any size of collet?
The first exploratory step was to create an Excel spreadsheet (another of my fascinations) as a means of identifying the steps that might be involved in automating the design and to tabulate the different parameters of the various ER series collets. Here is a screen shot.
A little bit more detail will be needed for you to understand what this all means.
The top table just details the published specification dimensions of the ER range of collets. I needed the height of the tapered section and this is calculated. Note that not all collets have the parallel section at the top of the taper. If you extrapolate the taper it then coincides with the dimension D1 and this is one I have used in the calculations.
Each collet holder hole in the block will be an 8 degree tapered hole that the collet sits in such that it does not sit all the way through the block (I opted for a 1mm bottom gap) and such that a percentage of its height protrudes from the top of the hole (I opted for 30%). The middle right hand sketch shows the various parameters and the red outline represents the collet.
The lower table shows the set up for the model parameters with spacing and borders defined. This section allows entry of the all important ‘how many holes do I want’ and the aspect ratio of the matrix. The final two red lines shows how big the resulting storage block will be.
All with it so far ? This is so embarrassingly sad … should I even be thinking of posting it…
These various parameters are now mirrored and entered in Fusion 360’s Fx parameter set up. I have tried to be logical in the naming convention and the blue stars indicate a function that is defined and entered by the user and will also appear in parallel in the Fx Favourites listing. This allows a focussed entry of just the variable parameters without all the other background calculation clutter.
I wanted to round the resulting block size to a nearest whole number. My preferred function in Excel is “mRound” where you can define the rounding to an increment value. There is no such equivalent in Fusion. In the end I used the “Ceil” in Fusion and “Ceiling” in Excel but Excel’s “Ceiling” requires a ’rounding to value’ hence the entry line (R) in the Excel listing which is set to ‘1’ to make it match the Fusion calculations.
By setting the length and width hole count to ‘1’ a single holder can be printed and checked to dimension before doing a full matrix as needed. I found that on my first single hole print the collet sat slightly higher in the hole than designed but this was traced to a print artefact on the taper wall. This was was easily rubbed down. On similar tack, I have allowed a fudge factor for print shrinkage should this be needed. Any errors in this respect will cause the collet to sit higher on the block. This will be most apparent as the collet size reduces. The value entered (say 0.1mm) adds a linear amount to the top and bottom hole sizes and therefore the taper.
Once you are happy with the single hole print you can define the number and aspect ratio of how you want the holes to be printed on the finished block. A 6 x 2 print will match the normal 12 piece ER25 collet set. On the Qidi ifast printer this took around 4 hours at 0.25mm layer height. Note that I used the ‘Shell’ command on the block lower surface of the print to reduce material use. This means you need to place on the printer bed ‘bottom side up’.
Well I did say this was going to be a sad nerdy post but as ever I learned a bit more about Fusion, Excel, refreshed my school geometry and made the workshop even more tidy and organised. What’s not to like ? …..
While this is an almost facetious waste of time and effort, the principles used in the Fx programming has many other applications.
The planning spreadsheet has been added to my spreadsheet compendium which along with the Fusion file (for ER25) is attached on the following ZIP file link.
While investigating four facet drill sharpening, I came across John Moran’s website which detailed his design for a four facet drill sharpener. Four facet sharpening is popular for providing more accurate starting of a hole, less drilling pressure, more accurate hole size and better retention of drill point sharpness. John’s design is intended for sharpening 2mm to 12mm drill bits.
I have a Quorn grinder but it is not something that I can quickly pull out from under the bench to sharpen the odd drill. John’s design looked easy to set up and use and certainly easier to carry. I have been working with him to produce this hybrid version. I recommend that you read John’s write up before embarking on either his original design or my 3D printed hybrid version. He also presents a YouTube video on how to use the sharpener.
Here is a picture of John’s finished design. Very nicely finished and presented.
Here is a picture (not quite so pretty …) of my 3D printed hybrid version. A new baseplate might be in order to smarten it up.
The concept of combining 3D printed components with essential metal parts works very well and the resulting sharpener appears to be stable and repeatable in its results. There is a huge advantage in combining technologies in this manner. All the ‘boring’ or ‘dreading to make / leave until tomorrow’ parts are easily produced on a 3D printer and the remaining metal parts are straightforward to produce with conventional resources and skills.
Rather than go into details as a blog post, below is a link to a ZIP file that contains my full write up, 2D PDF drawings of the metal parts, STEP files of the 3D printed files and the raw Fusion files for those wanting to tweak.
If you can’t work with STEP files then let me know and I will run STL versions. STEP files are more accurate than STLs and also have the advantage of being more easily editable than STLs.
I think you will be impressed with the end result of John’s design.
If this write up or my general waffle is of interest then please subscribe to receive notices of new posts. If you build the sharpener and it works let me know. If it doesn’t work and it’s my fault for not providing enough information than email me so I can correct things.
I have already had some feedback on the 3D printed design so some of you are quick off the mark.
This feedback related to the friction of the collet holder shank in the block and also the print roughness against the depth setting screw. Both of these will relate to the print quality from your printer.
As an experiment I ran a new version of the block with a larger bore and then lined it with an aluminium sleeve that was a smooth fit on the shank. I also turned a flange on the end of this sleeve so that the adjuster nut had a smooth metal surface to ride against.
The addition of the sleeve looks promising in solving these two issues. I admit it is going against the concept of a 3D printed set of parts but the sleeve is easy to turn up on the lathe and the new block in PLA is still much easier to produce that trying to make the block totally in metal.
You can download the edited write up, new collet chuch holder block STEP and the sleeve drawing in this add on ZIP file.
Tony made the holder from aluminium but from my point of view with Fusion and 3D printing facilities the idea lent itself to be run as a 3D print. The finished device can be held in a lathe or drill press chuck using the central boss. The boss does not have to be rigidly clamped as the magnets will grab and locate the assembly up to the chuck. The magnets are very strong so be very careful as you bring the object to be demagnetised up to the lower surface or it will also get ‘grabbed’.
Attached is a ZIP file containing the Fusion 360 file. This is designed to take 10mm diameter magnets which will be a tight push into the mounting holes. I used 10mm long magnets but smaller ones will probably work just as well. The magnet mounting holes have a 1mm thickness bottom surface. The magnets need to be inserted with the alternating orientation as shown. Tony made a circular ‘keeper’ for the bottom surface from a steel disc. This reduces the attraction to swarf. The ZIP file also contains a simple lid to fit over the top side to protect the holes from accumulating magnetic swarf.
I bought three Kafer dial gauges in an EBay job lot with a view to making a dual gauge holder as per Clough42’s design.
After some thought I realised that a single holder would suffice by just flipping the orientation of the dial gauge in the holder. Rather than machining the holder I opted to 3D print as this would be sufficiently robust when gripped in the QCTP of the Myford.
Here is the Fusion image and a picture of the finished holder in place. The gauge is gripped in place by two nylon screws. A M5 cap head screw acts as the height adjuster in the QCTP.
The threaded holes are all M5 and 3D modelled in the print. They just need a run through with a tap to clean then up.
The following link has a ZIP file containing the Fusion file and STEP file along with the dimensioning sketch for the QCTP geometry.