Long time no post. Machining and trying to get back on my feet.

Well, it has been some time since I posted, about a month and a half or so. There have a been a number of events that have occurred in that time that have both beneficial yet disappointing. I’m not really sure where things are going right now but I hope they get better. 
 
Anyways, on to some things I’ve been working on.
 
Machining
While I am a decent machinist, it is a job that I vowed to myself I would never do again. Lo and behold, I am machining again in order to get some funds and to simply make it through the months in terms of rent and bills. Some of my previous stuff has left me bone dry in terms of money. Realistically, I should thank my lucky stars that I have a skill I can fall back on that pays well and is relatively easy, most others are not so lucky.
 
Luckily, the shop I’m working at is pretty decent, though I’m not the machinist I once was and my machining style doesn’t really match the pace and style of the jobber shop I’m working at. Hopefully I either get better soon or find something more along the lines of what I’ve become good at.
 
Stamping machine with the Haas mill
This is a little project that I came up with after thinking about dot-peen machines. Basically the idea is to take a Haas mill and allow full control of its machinery to turn it in to a makeshift dot-peen marking machine.
This feat is accomplished through the serial port with a pass-through interpreter box connected to a computer.


Haas Tool Room Mill TM-2

Here is how it is all achieved.
 
First Step: Computer – 
 
  This is where the points and fonts are generated and created. All of the end points are sent out from the computer at a lower baud rate than the mill uses. This allows for longer cable length on the RS-232. Of course I could use USB or RS-485 but RS-232 is more common an interface. A sample output might be:
 
MOVE X.455 Y1. (Basically a rapid move)
STMP X.461 Y1. (Stamp here)
STMP X.467 Y1. (Stamp here)
HOME (Go back home)
 
The communication is full duplex between the pass-through and computer so that the pass-through can request more data.
 
Second Step: Pass Through – 
 
Despite its name, it does not actually pass data through. It interprets the data and controls the stamping head. It will interpret the data and send the machine the appropriate G-codes to perform the commands. The pass through will communicate with the machine at 115200bps whereas the computer <-> passthrough is about 9600bps. a sample output might look like this (based on the above text):
 
G00 X.455 Y1.;
G01 X.461 Y1. F200.; (move to stamp position)
DPRNT [S]; (Is at position, passthrough will stamp)
G01 X.467 Y1. F200.; (move to stamp position)
DPRNT [S]; (Is at position, passthrough will stamp)
G28 G91 Z0;
G28 G91 Y0;
 
Third Step: Stamping head – 
 
Not really a step so much as device to peen the surface of the part. Here is a picture of an earlier design I made for a stamping head.
Solenoid head for custom dot-peen machine

 
 
I don’t know if I’ll ever do this one. Macros need to be enabled in order for this to work so a lot of machines won’t be able to take advantage of it. Also, my time is limited.
 
Programming a CAM system
 
Since the shop I’m at has no CAM system for the guys on the floor and I don’t want to use a cracked copy of say, Gibbs or MasterCAM. I’m writing my own. The going is slow but I am slowly developing a little 2.5D cam system. The math function are working and the object creation is starting to come on line. Now for an interface. I am thinking of migrating over the VB.NET for this program since it does have a lot of nice object handling functions and it is a little easier than creating a user interface from scratch.
 
 
Anyways, That’s what I’ve been up to for the last while. Hopefully I get a car soon so that I don’t have to walk in this anymore. 🙂

Walking down 97st in edmonton

 
This was taken on my walk home the other day.

Viscometer Project, coming along…

I thought I would have nothing to post but I do I guess. I’ve felt the need to really expedite this project now that I am starting a business. I have done a few of the mechanical things associated with it after a major redesign. Today I have completed the design of the board and despite it’s sloppiness, I’m happy it’s done. Now to get it made.


Viscometer Board 3D View
Viscometer Board 3D View

Viscometer Board traces
Viscometer Board traces


Like I state in the description, I used the autorouter on this image, I may revise many of the traces so that ripple can be eliminated from IC’s by bringing the caps closer electrically to Gnd and Vcc. This week I hope to finish the machining side of the device, I’ll have to wait for bolts from Fastenal to arrive but it’ll be worth the wait. Here are some shots of the parts so far, note that the main block is made of phenolic, I love this material since it looks kind of like wood but is reasonably machinable.

Machining the block
Machining the block

Phenolic Block Finished
Phenolic Block Finished

Coming along, main block and holders finished
Coming along, main block and holders finished


Just for the record, here is the list of, well electrical features:

  1. 16 key Keypad for data entry, mostly for calibration.
  2. 16×2 LCD display for seeing alarms and viscometer output.
  3. 24V motor, PWM driven with TIP102
  4. Light interrupted sensors for top and bottom
  5. provisions for temperature sensing
  6. RS-485 Out
  7. Provision for an external RS-232 board, if needed
  8. TVS’ed to the hilt, hopefully this will prevent funny stuff from happening.

Anyways, let’s hope she all works out in the end.