Sunday, March 28, 2010

When is The Virgin Cut

In the beginning, I gave myself an ultimatum to make some wood dust by March 2010, & its only 3 days way...

Without further ado, here is the status.

Installed the cable chain & layout most of the cables

A closer look at the Gantry

The spindle took position.

Spoil-board in place. now it really looks like a mean machine!

 Well, getting closer now, hmm.... still need to commission the spindle, build the water cooling system for the spindle, mount the control panel, do the final cable connection, do the Emergency -Stop installation, install the gas spring, mount the Variable Speed Drive, ... and...... that's it... I guess....

My brother had booked the front seat & my neighbors are all enthusiastic to see the blue beast in action, time & money running low, potential customers & business partners asking for samples...... etc etc
...........lets see if I can make the virgin cut happen on, Wednesday, 31st March 2010.

Anyone interested to witness this historical moment (at least it is to me ;) ) are most welcome, bring your own drinks if you wish. I would appreciate a bottle of champagne or 2 for the occasion.

Thats all for now, gotta work on double shift to make this happen...

Wish me luck!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Z-Axis Concoction

You might notice there isn't much mentioned on the Z-axis.

I did my own "design" to cure my needs to have my own signature in this machine.

Using Linear Slide & Rail bar is more expensive, but it does give peace to my mind & fulfill my over-sized ego...

There you have it.
All Axis are assemble (almost)...
The last piece of purchase to get this to machine to work will be the Gas Spring & a 500mm long gear rack.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Control Panel Revisit

Took some time out from the Mechanical work to work on the Electrical & Electronics Department.

Bought a economical PC chassis to house the Atom board, its really convenient & took less then 30 minutes to get it done. Should had gone this way from day one, real salvation of my sanity.

Re-mounted the BOB with a ribbon cable to the external connector.
Changed the internal hook-up wire to 18AWG wires. I learn the hard way that thin 24AWG wires keeps breaking under its own weight & my itchy fingers didn't help.
Re-position the contractor, Rectifier & capacitor.

Opened a few holes for the cooling fan, main feeder wires, screen stepper cables... etc

Saturday, March 13, 2010

After the rail alignment, progress took a nose dive to near stop. The are 2 reasons (excuses to be exact) I can come out with.
1) I'm near physically exhausted & mentally fatigue from this build, its like taking up 2 extra jobs... and
2) After all that adrenaline rush from the previous tasks such as steel fabrications, rails grinding, alignments...etc really tough nut I'd cracked, the later jobs looked & feel so easy now, so much so that procrastination starts to creep in quietly...
Anyway, looking at the time & dough I'd invested in this baby, I made an effort to muster enough will power to continue with the journey before I add it to my dreadfully long "perpetually unfinished" project list.

Installed the gear rack on the rail.

Made the Y-track hold-down

 The Stepper Motor Drive Assembly

And here we have it. Competed Mechanical bits for the X & Y axis.

All that is left are the Z-axis before I proceed with wiring up the controls.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Now that the Chinese New Year celebration is over, & the main machine structure is up. It is time to proceed with the critical rail alignment work.

This is the most dreaded part of the build. Why so? We all know that we can ride smoothly on a bumpy & winding  road. It is the same with machine. without a through rail the machine can never travel straight & smoothly.

What is the primary objective ?
1) line the rail as straight as possible. Here, I set out for within 0.1mm which is equivalent of +/-50micron. which is about the diameter of my hair (which I had just measured...)
2) straightness of within 0.2mm along the 4.4m length x-rail & 1.73m y rail
3) parallelism between the 2 x-rail of 0.2mm

Secondary objective?
1) Using the most primitive tools & equipment I can lay my hands on in my tool box.
Tools I used
1) Filler gauge with 0.05mm to 1mm
2) 30 lb fishing line
3) Aluminium shim salvaged from Coke can.
4) Hole punch
5) a few clamps
6) an aviation straight cut snipplet
7) some spanner
8) a 3lb hammer

No rullers, no micrometer, no dial gauge, no vanier calipers...

Can this be done? Oh Yes.
The last time I lay my hands on similar work was like 2 decades ago, after which I get to supervise/instruct others just by pointing my fingers + a bit of shouting when it calls for ;) . While they slough it out in tropical heat, I get to take refuge in nice air-conditioned office sipping coffee. The for another few year, I don't even get close to job like these...

It was tough at the beginning when I got rusty over the years, but like riding a bicycle, everything came back after a little fiddling.

Will post more on details... once I get everything organized...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

No Subject

Can't find anything to post after Chinese New Year celebration. Had a full 15 days off from work, it's been ages since I had a break longer the 3 days.... Get torturous after 5 days...

The monsoon season is over, it is now the time nature turn up the heat dail, ambient temp goes up to 38C in the open & 30C indoors. On top of that humidity hoovers arounf 60~80% & it is really tough to get much work done outside of an air-conditioned environment.

I'm a weak person, I yield easily with the onslaught of heat & hardship...