- Still working on the Chain Drive Clock. There’s a lot of electronics, software, mechanicals and other processes in this project.
- Video out about the Supply boxes around the studio
- Working on a video about our new Aciera F5 mill. We are very happy with this machine!
- Working on cutting a lot of numbers out of Lexan. It’s not laser friendly, and the CNC is not excited about cutting it either…
- Designing a faster way to make the Wine Display project – a whole lotta CNCing. Build time should be reduced to an hour or two. Down from a few days.
- Working on the design for a cool, small table.
- Working on the display frame for the Chain Drive Clock.
- A whole lot of rocket launches this week. We put them up on the huge screen in the gallery. SpaceX’s SN8 was awesome.
- Set up the Electronics workbench with a nice tool chest, etc. It’s nice to have a dedicated workspace for this stuff.
- Going through the storage area and labeling things. Sorting things. Organizing things.
- Started a project to beef up the main CNC router. Ordered parts to stiffen the gantry, and improve the spindle. 9 horsepower, 3 phase spindle!!!
- Installed components to stiffen the CNC Router Gantry. Much better.
- Reg is back! Building a bunch of Wine Racks for David at dfwine.ca. The CNC Router has been very busy cutting all the parts for the wine racks. We are using a new design that is more CNC friendly – but a bit less sexy than the last iteration.
- Repaired a chair! It’s nice to be able to weld stuff whenever you want.
- For the Chain Drive Clock – the numbers we had cut on our laser were too brittle. We needed to switch to Polycarbonate (Lexan), but we can’t cut this on our laser as it gives off chlorine gas, which will kill us. We had numbers cut at Carleton University on their waterjet cutter – and this worked great, with fast turn-around, and excellent accuracy. I’ve also ordered components to do a 1:3 reduction on the gearing for the stepper motors so that they’ll be able to handle longer chain lengths and heavier numbers. I ordered teeny tiny drive chains for this and they are impossibly cute. I wanted to stick with chain, obviously.
- The CNC router rebuild is coming along nicely. I ordered a bunch of parts from AvidCNC for the Z axis and a new spindle – 8.7HP!! I built an adapter plate out of 3/4″ aluminum, machining it on the F5 mill. Just lovely to use that machine. The CNC Router is back up and running, and I’ll be working on the dust collection next.
- The wine racks for dfwine.ca are about done – just getting their last coat or two of finish. I tried to cut corners and put on a heavier coat of finish – which just ended up dripping and running and looking horrible. So, now I get to sand it back to flat, and then do more finish coats. Gotta learn to avoid shortcuts, and just do things right.
- The Nazca cat in the window of our studio is getting dimmer, which is annoying. The fake neon LED strips seem to fade out after a month of continuous illumination. It’s a pain to have to replace all these LED strips. And where the heck can I find better quality lighting for this?
- Another big-ish project this month was drilling out all the holes on our welding table to 5/8″. We had originally cut them on the CNC Plasma a bit small, with the intention of drilling them out. Well, Reg got into it, and spent a couple of days drilling holes. Thankful we had the mag drill for this.
- I came into the shop on the weekend just to play around with the CNC. I used the Stipplegen2 program to process some images and then cut them on the CNC Router. I did things like Einstein, The mona Lisa, a big banana, a fingerprint and my logo. It’s interesting to see how stipplegen2 works and how to best process images for it, and how to CAM the output so it looks decent.
- i found out that the rack and pinion drive system was causing me some issues on the CNC. I can actually see the rack gear flexing enough to make the whole CNC Gantry move by up to 1/8″ when it reverses direction. I’ve ordered some more rack clips to see if I can stiffen the system. And then I’ll finish the fine tuning by relaxing the motor acceleration parameters a bit.
- Back to the Chain Drive Clock – assembling with the waterjet cut digits and a much longer chain. I’ll have to revamp the code to deal with the longer, heavier chain. I have also ordered the parts for a 3:1 reduction in case needed. My feeling now is that it won’t be needed.
- I played around with box making software like https://en.makercase.com/ and the built-in Vectric box gadget just to try to get a recipe together for fast boxes. Every solution has issues, but I made a bunch of useful boxes and parts trays for projects on the go! I also wasted quite a bit of plywood. It’s odd that the Vectric box gadget doesn’t save some of the important settings – but the code for the widget is available and pretty easy to modify, so I’ll just do that. I found another box gadget on the Vectric forums – but the code was a nightmare. Impossible to fix it’s issues.
We were very happy to see an article about us published in the excellent Ottawa Arts web site Apt613.ca!
Bruce Burwell wrote a very nice article about us, focused on the sign out in front of our building, which we’ve been updating every few weeks. Thanks for the nice article Bruce, and for taking the time to come visit.
The Nazca Cat project is a sort of “neon” sign made in the shape of the Nazca Cat found on a hillside in Peru in October 2020. I liked the design of the cat, and found a nice image from a news story on CBC. Some quick digitizing in Vectric Aspire, a bit of CNC Routing, and some LED “neon” lighting, and the project was complete! It looks great in the window of our studio!
Here’s the lights I used from eBay: LED Strip Neon Lights 2835 SMD 120LED/M Flexible Silicone Tube Waterproof 12V 5M
(I’d check around on ebay for the best deal on these. And also look for a 12V power supply. 3Amps or more)
We recently took delivery of an Aciera F5 mill. This is a very high quality Swill mill from the 80’s. It’s a joy to use!
At first we were keeping our tooling in a drawer – but the tools quickly overflowed the drawer – plus they were banging around and could get damaged. Time for action!
It was just a few minutes work to draw up a tool holder in Vectric VCarve Pro, then export it to SheetCAM in order to create a tool path for our Langmuir Systems plasma cutter. We literally had the tool holder done inside 10 minutes. I love this sort of project – one that really shows how quick the whole toolchain is, from software to plasma cutter to finished result in just a few minutes. And, now we have plenty of tool storage! (Which is getting full…)