New Youtube Channel for a new time

I’ve decided to start a new Youtube channel simply because I feel as though adding my projects and the things that I like to a video channel will drive me in ways I hadn’t had before. Thus far, I have 0 subscribers (aside from myself) and I’m genuinely curious to see how well I can make a Youtube channel work out. I believe I have some interesting things to share and some boring but popular things to share as well and a new Youtube channel that explores all those things.

Here’s a link to the channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwxvlEKdkh9eV9qLXHBh3fw

Not the most graceful URL but I will get a better one once I get some subscribers and I’ve been around for a while. I will explore things that I do such as electronics, gaming, machining, photography and whatever else I come across.

Here’s a video detailing something mundane, my calculator collection.

So, feel free to look at my channel, subscribe and like a video or two. 🙂

What a coincidence… The Remote indicator is alive!

Well, I was looking at my site and noticed that my last entry was November and it was the very project I’m starting to finish right now.

remoteacator

This is my Remote indicator. It’s a tool I developed after having found that standard indicators are a pain in the ass in some circumstances. While you can bash something together with off the shelf parts like say,  a Mitutoyo digital dial and a SPC box, that option can be pretty expensive.

Now I’m going to start developing the next version while I test out this one. The next one will be slimmer, more efficient and more attractive. There will be an optional Infrared communication port for it so when it’s sitting inside a deep bore or whatever ,it can still be read.

My new office and projects I’m working on

My office in September my office in October

My new office is filling up, now I need to move some of my test equipment in and start developing. Truth be told though, I have been developing some interesting things and soon I will post them here on the blog again. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like posting about the things I make but it’s always a good time to keep a good record of the things you do.

🙂indicator

Some more of Edmonton and what’s happening!

Like I’ve had to say many times before, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s not because I haven’t been doing anything but because I simply haven’t taken any real pictures of anything crazy. Maybe I’ll post a bit later. First to post a few images that I haven’t posted as yet. They’ve been sitting here on the server for quite some time but i know people like these images so I’m not going to do a comparison, just post 🙂

Edmonton Derrick
This, I believe used to stand near 51st avenue. Nobody’s been able to confirm though.
Edmonton Downtown 1959
This is downtown Edmonton Circa 1959
Edmonton Downtown 1974
Downtown Edmonton 1974
edmonton civic center plan
This was a hypothetical city center plan for Churchill Square. It is vastly different today. I suspect this was from the lated 50’s, early 60’s
NAIT 1963ish
This is NAIT from when it first opened. From what I can tell, it’s about 1963 and looking from the south side of the building.
university early 70s
This is the U of A in the early 70’s
West edmonton mall mindbender
A promotional postcard from West Edmonton Mall’s the MindBender. From about ’85
west edmonton mall
West edmonton mall, late 80’s Early 90’s. looking NEE

Well, I hope somebody out there enjoys it!!!

 

Diminutive, a small EDM prototype

For the last little bit I’ve been working on a small EDM prototype for use on large parts, pipe sections or for use in the field. While they do make and sell these things, the vast majority of them require the use of vibratory assistance, aren’t terribly accurate and are relatively low powered. I intend to make one that is accurate and could potentially be used as a ram EDM in a pinch. Also, I’d like it to be able to use copper and graphite electrodes so polarity reversal is necessary.

This is the linear drive of the small EDM. It has 8 inches of travel and is surprisingly rigid and play-free. I was going to use a gear motor on the top with a rotary encoder but since the loads are quite small a stepper should be OK, even at higher speeds.
This is the linear drive of the small EDM. It has 8 inches of travel and is surprisingly rigid and play-free. I was going to use a gear motor on the top with a rotary encoder but since the loads are quite small a stepper should be OK, even at higher speeds.

I’m currently trying to come up with ways to mount this guy on magnetic bases but also allow for small amounts of fine adjustment so that if there is a need for precision work, the unit can be dialed in. Right now the coupling is made of two pieces of steel. I’m going to replace one of them with nylon to reduce noise. I was going to use a spider coupler with rubber in between but I didn’t have one kicking around on the weekend when I was making it so I just made my own.

It's all made from 7075 aircraft aluminum. Pretty strong stuff. The movement was initially pretty stiff because the screw, which is just hot rolled, was a little bit out so I had to run it back and forth to wear in the brass acme nut. I may put two acme nuts into the travel block simply to take up play, as it stands though right now there is less tan .0003" of play, even with significant force applied.
It’s all made from 7075 aircraft aluminum. Pretty strong stuff. The movement was initially pretty stiff because the screw, which is just hot rolled, was a little bit out so I had to run it back and forth to wear in the brass acme nut. I may put two acme nuts into the travel block simply to take up play, as it stands though right now there is less tan .0003″ of play, even with significant force applied.

So next things next, the prototype electronics. Right now I’m simply going to use what I have laying around, so a TM1638 display, a cheap chinese stepper driver with a toshiba stepper driver and I opted for an Arduino to drive the motor. I will be making a full fledged PCB that will nicely fit in a box but I need to get the pulse generator and sensory circuits working first, then I can integrate them fully on to one PCB.

Just a rough testbed for the motion control and a simple interface. I would like this thing to be nice and easy to use.
Just a rough testbed for the motion control and a simple interface. I would like this thing to be nice and easy to use.

Well, anyways, I have quite a bit more work to do for this project. Even a single axis CNC can be a little more tricky since it’s doing more than simply positioning. A ram EDM is a dynamic machine that reacts to the sensory input to keep the cut running smoothly and with appropriate voltage and gap settings.

More later.

Quick post: JY-MCU TM1638 Drawing

Just figured I’d share a drawing I made of the JY-MCU 8 digit TM1638 display for whoever wants it. I love these displays and figured others might like them too.

tm1638 model

jy-mcu display tm1638

REMINDER: I did not include the headers on the front. I usually clip them off because they are useless when trying to fit them in a panel!

jy-mcu display tm1638 (in PDF format)

jy-mcu display tm1638 (zipped IGES / IGS file)

Summer is almost over

Yes, summer is almost over and it’s been about the whole summer that I haven’t posted anything. That’s not to say that I haven’t been working on anything though. Here are a few of the things I’ve been working on.

Autonomous Submarine

This project hasn’t gone as quickly as I had hoped. I’ve been working mostly on the SONAR portion of it but frankly this summer has been very busy work-wise and thus I’ve been at a loss for getting stuff done. I’ve also been working on a viable, yet inexpensive depth sensor for the craft. For this I have to give a shout out to Farnell/Newark Canada who were kind enough to give me a sensor for the occasion. Visit them at http://canada.newark.com or http://element14.com

The 100 psi sensor that Farnell/Newark sent me
The 100 psi sensor that Farnell/Newark sent me

With this device I can easily keep an accurate depth reading up to my limit of 130ft. Yes the depth is arbitrary but that’s a good depth for most lakes around here. The idea first is to simply plunge the chassis down into the depths and record the images recorded from the main cabinet.

 

A very simple chassis
A very simple chassis

Well, there’s not much to her but perhaps I can get it dipped into a lake before the snow flies.

Some games

Yes, I’ve been working on games again. It’s a fun diversion for a while and it’s been a while since I’ve made anything substantial. Here’s a couple of screenshots

My start at a game called Prellex. Not very good looking yet but I intend to have smart AI take the place of large numbers of enemies to provide difficulty.
My start at a game called Prellex. Not very good looking yet but I intend to have smart AI take the place of large numbers of enemies to provide difficulty.
Another rendition of my old game Reaction. I should probably finish this one since it's a pretty fun game and would work well for HTML5
Another rendition of my old game Reaction. I should probably finish this one since it’s a pretty fun game and would work well for HTML5

Anyways, aside from that I’m working on a basic design for a 2D stepper driven table for use with a stamping head but realistically I haven’t had the time to do anything with that.

We’ll see what the next few months brings!

3D printing, some thoughts and a potential design

Some recent developments, whether they are fruitful or not, have got me thinking seriously about the design of 3D printers, their use and some of their current drawbacks.

Additive manufacturing has come a long way even in the last 15 years when it was just a novelty and not useful for much more than rough prototypes. While 3D printing will probably never supplant ‘subtractive’ methods such as turning and milling for most things, I believe it will be a real boon for strange, esoteric and one-off parts with limited mechanical demands.

This got me thinking about my own design and what I perceive to be some of the issues with current machines all the way up to commercial machines. A couple of those issues are of concern when making a upper-tier hobbyist grade machines for making prototype parts.

These two things are, the effects of gravity on the part when heated or produced, and the effects of uneven heating throughout the process of printing a given part. This will not only increase accuracy but reduce the need for support structures while printing.

Here is a rough pic of my idea for a 3D printer:

A rough mockup of the 3D printer
A rough mockup of the 3D printer

Having a heated suspension fluid eliminates the wow caused by uneven heating and the droop generated from gravity when the part is properly heated. By keeping the liquid level slightly lower than the workpiece you can still generate lattices without the fear of them filling in. The inflow and outflow should be computer controlled via electric pumps and valves, this way the fluid can remain hot without having to heat the whole enclosure. Draining from the bottom will partially help ensure that the cooler fluid is drained first. You could even add a filter to remove detritus.

For the fluid height sensor, I would probably try to tie it in with the nozzle height somehow without interfering with the work envelope. The level would need to be maintained very accurately in order to ensure maximum efficiency. For this sensor I would probably use my old design for a viscometer with the two Piezo discs, instead of measuring viscosity, I would just check for fluid contact, for this purpose it proved to be very accurate and resistant to fouling.

For the fluid, it should match the density of ABS fairly closely. Mineral oil or Propylene Glycol might be good candidates. The idea is to have a fluid that is non-toxic, non-flammable, somewhat viscous and chemically inert with plastics.

Some drawbacks

  • Fragile hollow objects with no holes (a ball) may become deformed due to fluid pressure. though this would require quite a bit of depth to achieve. Not to mention that the item would want to float.
  • Structure needs to be very rigid and acceleration and deceleration needs to be toned down as to not allow the fluid to slosh around which could shake the part loose during printing.
  • potentially messy with fluid being added to the mix.
  • mechanically more complicated and motion components need to be at least resistant to fluid being used.
  • Fluid would probably need to be changed with different materials. A fluid denser than the plastic being laid down may cause issues.
  • Stronger binding to the table is required especially with lattice heavy designs, floating will occur.

Anyways, that’s my idea, posted for posterity. Maybe someone will find it interesting or foolish.

VariGage moving along nicely

The ugly prototype of the Varigage Circuitry.
The ugly prototype of the Varigage Circuitry.

Well, things are proceeding, slowly but well. I’ve been busy with Christmas and general work and relaxing but it’s time to carry on with the device.

This prototype currently has the following features:

  • An Arduino Mega (will be replaced with a PIC)
  • HD44780 display module, may replace it with a nice flat transflective LCD
  • an ugly keypad
  • Input for quadrature from linear scale
  • Output to DC motor
  • Switching 12v to 5v supply
  • rs485 transciever for communication to the anvil

All of the parts are made but not entirely finished. Going to finish them soon. I was able to assemble them and the actuation is smooth as silk.

Anyways, gonna try to finish the mechanical soon so I can have the ungly prototype up and running. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a finished version ready for the oil show.

Enough fucking around… The VariGage

Well, After some time thinking about it, it’s time to take things into my own hands and design what I want, the way I want it. Since it’s shortly after my 34th birthday I’ve realized that time is getting short and I have to forge ahead.

Hence, the VariGage. I’ll change the name later but it suits it just fine for now.

The prototype VariGage. Not much to it right now but the implications of a miniaturized version are great.
The prototype VariGage. Not much to it right now but the implications of a miniaturized version are great.

This device will allow for a multitude of gaging options with full communication between the anvils and expansibility. Gagemaker makes something quite similar however, mine differs in a number of ways in both design and use.

  • Affordability, the average machinist should be able to afford a unit to fit in their repetoire. While it’ll be a very expensive tool, it’d be nowhere near the 12,000 bucks or so of the GageMaker device.
  • Anvil communication. The device will communicate with the anvils allowing for future use of anvils that weren’t available upon first creation of the device. also this allows for cheaper calibration of anvils rather than the device itself.
  • The device is motorized. It will position itself to the desired location and hunt when the user is pressing and calibrating a gage on the device. The final version will involve a clutch to allow rapid hand positioning
  • Light weight with modular display design.

These are a few of the differences. The market is completely different from what GageMaker sells. I’m not even completely sure it’s sell able but I simply have to build it. I have a few other ideas and designs I have to get done but this is the first in the line and I think it’ll be very interesting when done. Heck, it’ll be nice to have if I go to another shop even, who knows. 🙂