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Browsing articles in "Cool"

Use a Digital Microscope to Monitor Insert Wear

Jul 25, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products, Techniques  //  No Comments
Digital Microscope

I saw this trick over on Practical Machinist and thought it was pretty cool.  How many times do you hear on the shop floor, especially a Job Shop, “How long have those inserts been in there?”  It’s hard to keep up with tool life unless you have invested in a bunch of automation.  Inserts and other tooling can and do wear out, and it’s almost always better if you can spot the wear before something breaks.  If you have a digital microscope, it’s easy.  For those that have access to a PC at their CNC machines, USB digital microscopes are cheap.… Read the rest

Making Cool Fasteners to Set Off Your Projects and Products

Jul 23, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

I like cool and offbeat fasteners. Call it a fetish, but I got hooked on weird fasteners working on cars. They can be very decorative and aesthetically pleasing. Take this shopmade example for a folding knife that I saw recently on the awesome HSM Shopmade Tooling thread:

The “bolt” looks great on the knife, doesn’t it? The tool would be a real nuisance to make manually, but very straightforward with CNC. I’ll have to try something like this at some point. It needs to wait for my CNC lathe to be finished though.… Read the rest

Crazy Cool Wood Joinery with CNC

Jul 12, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Router, Cool, Techniques  //  3 Comments

If you can imagine it, you can probably make it with CNC.  But how many of us are so used to seeing non-CNC’d things that we forget to imagine?
There is an indicator on the front of a Mac Powerbook laptop.  The case is aluminum, and if the indicator is not lit, you can’t see any evidence of an open.  When the indicator lights up, it is as if the indicator can actually shine through the aluminum.  It’s done by means of tiny holes put there via CNC controlled laser beam.  … Read the rest

Do you like weird gears? Wooden gears? Do you have a CNC router?

Jul 11, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Router, Cool, Software  //  No Comments

If any of those are true, there’s two things you need to do.
First is to check out this Clayton Boyer video that went viral with nearly 2 million views as I write this:

I’ve written about Clayton’s wooden geared clocks before.

Gears designed with Gearotic Gear Design Software…
The second thing you need to do is try out Art Fenerty’s (the father of Mach3) Gearotic Gear Design Software.  Gearotic lets you design those sorts of oddball (as well as regular geartrains) gears you see in Clayton Boyer’s video.  Go on over to our Gearotic Gear Design page and check it out.  … Read the rest

Make Awesome Control Panels and Signs With “Gravograph”

Jul 8, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, CNC Router, Cool, Techniques  //  No Comments
CNC Control Panel

I learned a new technique from this great article on CNCZone describing how the original poster used a product called “Gravograph” to make this gorgeous CNC control panel:

And here is some work in progress:

This engraving material is a laminated plastic, that has a self-adhesive to make it easy to stick to aluminum or whatever the real structural material for your panel might be.  The plastic has a layer of black that is 0.012″ thick and then white underneath.  Set your engraving depth to just a little deeper (say, 0.015″) and look for great looking results like these.… Read the rest

Imagine It + CNC = Built It

Jul 4, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool, Products  //  1 Comment
Titanium Pen

I got involved with CNC because I like to create things.  It is the ultimate tool for it.  With the right CNC Skills, if you can imagine it, you can probably built it.  I confess I have a serious Design Fetish.  I love great Design.  Objects can be art.  They can delight our senses and our sense of the aesthetic.  CNC has made so much more of that possible both by enabling more complex things to be created (the imagination should not be hampered by the simple) and by pushing down that power of creation to the garage shops, do it yourselfers, and makers out in homes everywhere.… Read the rest

Converting a Norco A-Line Bicycle to Electric Power

Jun 29, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  2 Comments
electric bike has a lot of very cool projects, and I really liked this conversion of a classic mountain bike to electric power.
Here is the finished bike:

Battery box, LED headlights,  and control panel on the front, electric hub on the back.  Pretty slick!

Crystalyte HS3540 Electric Hub Motor powers this project…

Dashboard includes GPS navigation…
A bike like this can apparently reach speeds of 45 MPH, so a suspension is helpful even on smooth roads!
Check out the original article for much more information.  The machine work required looks very straightforward.  … Read the rest

The World Before DRO’s

Jun 28, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  No Comments

For those who like machines and mechanisms (and I’ll assume that is most of you as it is me), there is a world of interest in learning how things “used to be.” How were chronometers made accurate enough for sailing ship navigation well before we could look up the time on our iPhones? One of my favorite topics is all the tooling manual machinists need that CNC doesn’t. The electronics and computer software make it superfluous. A rotary table, for example, is unnecessary to the CNC’er (unless you want to turn it into a 4th axis), but quite useful for manul machining.… Read the rest

French Fit Tool Storage

Jun 25, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Router, Cool, Techniques  //  3 Comments

French fitting is the term used when toolboxes, cabinets, and drawers have fitted compartments that outline each tool.  Gun presentation cases are also commonly French Fit to the outline fo the gun.  There are a lot of ways to make a French Fit case or tray.  As a CNC’er, you’re in a position to carve such custom trays out of wood or a variety of other materials.  If you want to store your tools in French Fit Cedar, that’s pretty easy to do.  The cedar is said to have good properties to keep the tools from rusting.… Read the rest

Making a Titanium Engagement Ring with CNC

Jun 23, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments
CNC Titanium Engagement Ring

Got a great note from one of our G-Wizard users over on the User’s Club:
I had a project where I needed to cut a bunch of contouring with a 0.035″ x 0.3″ long ball end mill in titanium alloy. It went as smooth as could be. After G Wizard, I’m more worried about breaking tiny end mills by accident when it is not in the mill than I am about it breaking when cutting.
I asked if he’d send photos of his project and it turned out to be this gorgeous engagement ring:

Here is the 4th axis during roughing with a 0.055″ endmill…
The 4th axis was simply used to index, and 4 index positions were needed to complete the work.  … Read the rest

Neat Little CNC Toolroom Lathe: Harrison Alpha

Jun 16, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products  //  No Comments

Despite my CNC gang lathe fetish, a CNC toolroom lathe would be a more useful thing in my own shop. Here is the sweet little 13″ swing Harrison Alpha:… Read the rest

John Grimsmo: Consummate CNC Knifemaker and Entrepreneur

Jun 2, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, CNC Projects, Cool, Techniques  //  1 Comment

I’ve been meaning to write another John Grimsmo post since I heard he picked up a sponsorship from Tormach.  Congratulations to both parties–I think the marriage is great.  John is gaining a machine in the Tormach that will take his business up several levels from the much smaller mill he converted, and Tormach is getting a great spokesman who just does what comes naturally to create what could be called “Tormach Reality TV”.
As a serial entrepreneur myself (I’ve founded 4 companies including CNCCookbook), I always enjoy watching another entrepreneur start up a successful business.  … Read the rest

CNC Plastics Project: Stepper Motor Covers

May 31, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool, Products  //  1 Comment
Step Motor Cover from PVC Lumber

I first wrote about these nifty covers back in 2009.  Here is what they looked like from that article:

You can buy them inexpensively from various sources.  I believe CNC4PC has them, for example.
But lately, I’ve come across two different folks who made their own.
Here is Connor’s version from his CNCZone G0704 conversion thread:

Step motor cover from PVC Lumber…
It’s machined in three pieces from PVC lumber and then glued together.  I’ve seen several projects made with PVC lumber and it looks like a worthwhile and easily obtainable material.… Read the rest

Ilia’s Electric Chopper Build

May 19, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  No Comments

I first became aware of this project and the site it is on ( when traffic started coming to CNCCookbook from there.  I always go check out new traffic sources because it is usually something interesting.  Boy did that turn out to be true!
I was getting traffic because Ilia had kindly responded when asked about good sources of information to learn CNC and machining with a link to CNCCookbook.  Better still was his project–an Electric Chopper Build.  I love it when someone starts a totally over the top build.  It really captures the imagination and reaffirms what I love to tell people:  Once you have a machine shop in your garage, you can build practically anything.… Read the rest



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