Once a semester my eldest son’s school send the class pet home with him.  It is only a stuffed pet, but we are instructed to take it everywhere we go and to take plenty of pictures.  The class pet is named “Harry the Hedgehog”.  In true maker fashion, my wife and I wanted to do something different.  She decided to make him a scarf, and I decided to make him a house.  I had some scrap 1/4″ plywood and a bit of free time.  In 30 minutes, I designed the house below and cut it in about 10 minutes.  Its amazing how fast you can go from design to real implementation with some of these technologies.  Comments are welcome!

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Along with the case for the Papilio Pro, I wanted to also make one for the Papilio One.  I originally thought they were the same format, but as it turns out they are not.  Though I haven’t cut it yet, you can see the photo rendering from solid works.  I think it looks pretty spectacular.

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One of my friends Xnaron wasn’t happy with the way the arms worked on his rostock max and decided to make a new setup using magnets.  The arms are made using carbon fiber tubes with printed end caps.  The magnet resides within the cap.  The mate for the magnet is a steel ball jbwelded to a screw.  I completed the modification and I am really impressed.  On one hand its very smooth and stable.  The other advantage is that the end is easily swapped.  I’ll add some links later.  check out the pic …

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FPGAs are a technology that I am very enamored by.  A long time ago I purchased a de0-nano to learn how to use them.  I never really got very far into it because of other priorities and the complexities involved.  More recently I decided to get a Papilio Pro which used a xilinx.  At the same time, I got a book called “Digital Design and Computer Architecture” which came highly recommended.  The advantage of the book is that it takes you from basic digital logic all the way through building your own MIPS computer.  Even more advantageous is the coverage of Verilog and VHDL for all examples.

Anyway, it occurred to me in the course of pursuing the book that having a loose board flopping around was less than ideal.  I designed a laser cut case for it.  I think the result is spectacular.

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A friend asked me to make some bronze bushings for him.  This was also another test for dolphin cam.  The results were pretty spectacular.  Enjoy the video.

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After 2 years in the making, I’ve finally anodized my first part.  Sort of …  As it turns out the wire anodized very well, but the part did not.  I will do another run with better surface preparation. I’ll also work to improve the contact with the part.

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About a year ago I purchased a precision vise for my mill.  Unfortunately it did not come with hold downs that would work with my mill.  I finally got around to making them.  Though it doesn’t appear so, it was a lot of work to finish all six sides and create the appropriate countersink holes.  I need to work on repeatability to make operations easier.  These parts were very rewarding to create.

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One of the challenges with anodizing is finish preparation prior to the actual procedure.  Using a polish wheel is one option, but its very cumbersome.  Another option is to use a vibratory tumbler.  Below is my first experiment with the tumbler.  The green fragments are fiberglass resin.  You can see the circulatory motion as the parts move around.

The first experiment had a rusted gear holder (steel) and a sample piece of 6061 aluminum.  You can see the progression in the picture below.  The time frames are 15m, 1h, 2h, and 3h.  Much of the rust has been removed.  The aluminum polished well up until it became impregnated with the fiberglass.  My next test will be to use ceramics, then fiberglass, then walnut shells.  Stay tuned.

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One of the things that I’ve been trying to do on my mill/lathe is to make the alignment and calibration easier.  One of the add ons for mach3, MachStdMill makes this a lot easier through the use of probes.  Unfortunately some of the probes are normally open and some are normally closed.  He provides a schematic to make 3 varied probe types work to trigger the same input.  I put the board into Eagle and had some made at oshpark.  Then I made a 3d printed enclosure for it.  You can see the board, and the video below.  I’ll upload the Eagle files if anyone is interested.

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Some time back I had received a dust deputy as a present and just got around to setting it up.  If you aren’t familiar with it, the idea is that it deposits the materials wood/metal swarf in a bucket rather than in the vacuum itself.  The bucket is much easier to clean out than a typical oddly shaped shopvac.  The overall picture of the setup is below.

So I ran my first test cleaning up swarf out of my mill enclosure.  This was a tough test because the swarf is very small and light.  I thought the flakes might bypass the deputy and go right into the vacuum.  Well, the result is amazing:

The vacuum is empty:

And the bucket is full!

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