Kenneth Maxon, who runs the fascinating Max’s Little Robot Shop, wrote to tell me of some Starrett calipers he has which incorporate a precision spring loaded device for precise positioning. He describes it thusly:
I am lucky enough to have some older starrett calipers that perform phenominally and they use a similar mechanism. Inside the head under the dial) there is a sliding spring loaded cam mechanism that moves the head by a precision amount of compression.
Most people look at the markings on the face of the dial and assume that each tick is 0.0001, however, the actual numbered ticks are 0.0001, and each individual tick if 0.00001 apart.… Read the rest
Most machinists know that if you need accuracy to a thousandth (0.001″) or better, you can’t use a calipers. At the same time, the digital calipers is such a convenient tool for ID, OD, and length measurements. Machinist’s of yore were fond of their steel rule, but many of the newer generation are fond of their digital calipers.
Is there no way to make the darned things a little more accurate?
Enter the Caliper Pressure Device.
I’m going to call it a “CPD” rather than spell it out every time, but the basic premise of the CPD is that the accuracy issues of a digital calipers are due to flex associated with uneven application of pressure.… Read the rest
The main screen with a popup “hint” showing…
Backplot / Simulator running a part program…
“Hints” tab with a couple of errors showing…
Check it out and sign up for the free beta test…… Read the rest
Managing your tool length offsets and other tool data is essential for successful CNC work. This new two part Cookbook Recipe article delves into topics like:
– How Tool Length Offsets are used
– Pros and cons of positive versus negative tool length offsets
– The many flavors of touch offs
– Gage lengths and all that goes with them
– How to turn your VMC into a zillion dollar height gage
– Probe-style tool setters
– Tool presetters
– Tool data management
– The importance of consistent tool length for chatter
Hope you enjoy the series. Part 1 is available now, and part 2, which will delve into presetters, data management software or systems, and chatter will follow shortly!… Read the rest
We’ve always been able to properly calculate the tapping drill size for cut and forms taps, but now we’ve added feeds and speeds for carbide cut, carbide form, and HSS form taps. As you will see, these taps can bring a lot faster tapping performance to the table (pardon the pun!). G-Wizard will also tell you when a combination is not recommended, for example form tapping hardened tool steel is not recommended.… Read the rest
I love the finish on aluminum IronMan from CNCZone is getting here:
Translucent Candy Red Powder Coat, not anodizing!
While it looks like a nice anodizing job, IronMan reports it is Columbia Coatings Translucent Candy Red. I have the impression from the post he chose it because he didn’t want to go to the trouble of setting up an anodizing line. Whatever the reason, it came out looking great. Makes me wonder what the relative durability of this finish is compared to anodizing. He states a mirror finish on the aluminum is needed to get results like this. He obtained that finish first with 600 grit sandpaper followed by buffing with polishing compound.… Read the rest
We’re now accepting orders for the G-Wizard Machinist’s Calculator. Just click the link on the registration page to buy.
The Beta pricing is only available for 30 days and then it’ll be list priced. List is $69/year for a subscription and $129 for 3 years. Beta pricing is $99 for 3 years.
Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for the free beta test of the G-Wizard G-Code Editor. This product has been coming along nicely, though it is still a number of months away from shipping.… Read the rest
In with the New (G-Wizard G-Code Editor) and out with the Old (G-Wizard Calculator). After having been tested by literally thousands of machinists from over 500 different companies from all over the world, I’ll be closing the G-Wizard 1.0 Beta Test next week. The calculator has come a long long ways with the help of many great suggestions from our Beta Testers. I really appreciate all the diligence and help!
You can still register as a Beta Tester until the end of the week, but Friday, October 22 will be the last day we accept Beta signups. I’ll close it at 6pm Pacific Time just so we have a defined cutoff.… Read the rest
We’ve just finished up 2 weeks of Alpha Test and all the serious bugs reported by the initial group of 50 testers have been fixed. Therefore, I’m opening up GWE for general Beta Testing. If you’d like to try it out or just learn more about it, the home page is here with a registration button.
G-Wizard G-Code Editor…… Read the rest
We’ve reached a point where its actually pretty easy to build special purpose robots for various manufacturing tasks. For example, here is a robot that cuts off blocks of resistors from the rolls that feed pick and place machines. It’s used to put together parts packages for electronics kits (hat tip to MAKE Magazine for this video):
Some of my other long-time favorites are this little CNC punch press:
It’s hand powered and just uses the CNC to position the material. I’d love to have a positioner like that with some sort of universal clamping system so I could move it around the workshop and use it where needed for various tasks.… Read the rest
I’ve had this crazy idea for a long time, so bear with me as I explain it. I live in Northern California right on the Monterey Bay. The views are gorgeous and the weather is generally good, but it can get pretty chilly at night. It’s a shame, because the clearest most gorgeous nights are often the coldest. I was sitting around a little firepit we have with my brother one day when an idea hit me–what if the furniture could be heated, even just a little bit? You know how nice it is to have heated seats in your car, well this would be the same for the lawn furniture.… Read the rest
If you want to minimize tool marks resulting from lead-in and lead-out moves while profiling, align those moves with the part corner. For example, check out those moves on this part:
Finished part is blue, toolpath is yellow. Note lead-in/lead-out on the lower corner, exaggerated for emphasis…
The technique works because the tool only touches on the corner during lead-in lead-out. If you can’t manage to use the corner, approach with an arc as described on the milling surface finish page.
… Read the rest
With the G-Wizard Calculator Beta Test nearly over (if you haven’t signed up, you should, as there will be special pricing for Beta Testers–pass the word!), I’ve been spending a lot of time getting GWE, the g-code editor, ready for some testing. This week, its been made available for Alpha Test, which is an exciting milestone. Alpha is the step before Beta, and it means things are likely still pretty buggy, not documented, and generally it may surprise you. You’ll have to decide whether you want to be an Alpha Tester or wait until things are a little further along and it gets more stable.… Read the rest
Here’s the prototype for the Super Soaker:
Visit the Wired Magazine article for a bunch more cool prototypes…… Read the rest