Monday, February 19, 2024

I been sick.

 I still am sick.

Sometimes I go to work.
Sometimes I try to do dishes, or laundry, or clean house, or prepare food.
Sometimes I just sits.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

video thing test

 This is a test print, intended to disclose how well the bed has been leveled.  I print several nested squares, then measure their thickness in a few places with calipers.  The outer square is enough for basic leveling, but if you compare it to several other squares you can check for curvature.

  And yes, I am using automatic mesh bed leveling with a BLtouch probe.
If it seems that I am going to lengths on this, let me tell you: perfect bed leveling will eliminate one of the most common causes for poor first layer adhesion.

Mine is acceptable right now, but I won't be happy until the mesh display is near zeros everywhere.
Blogger will not let me flow the above text around the video no matter what I try.  Weak. Sauce.

Mein Gott in Himmel!! Do you realize what this MEANS??

It means my printer is back online, that's what it means. ;)

I mean... it prints... not to say how well.  It is far from where it can and should be, with blebs on the underside of the kodama's curved head, and such-like.  I just need to do flow and temp towers with this filament.  I expect I was running it too hot, TBH.  Also retract.

 A lot of print parameters are different now with a new, higher-wattage hotend, a new heat break and heatsink, everything but the fans. To be honest, I should probably upgrade the work fan and maybe the nozzle/heatsink fan.

I have all these cool looking filaments, wanna print now, waaa


1) I bumped the text size because it seemed to me not everyone sits two feet from a twenty-seven inch monitor, and the text seemed rather small to me so I figured it would be hard to read on smaller monitors.

B. I need to find a new blogging platform because Blogger is a serious pain in the ass to use.  Why can't I flow text around video inserts without a struggle and mysterious behaviors? Soo clunky!

Monday, January 1, 2024

this is handy if you make chips...

 ...but only if you care about tool life, surface finish, that sort of thing. ;)

By the way: this calculator was a Christmas gift from my amazing wife.  I admit that I put this and other things on my Amazon (I'm sorry) wish list so my better half wouldn't have to wonder whether I'd like the socks she got me.  ;)

(a little later)

  I noticed some things I should report before I forget or get used to them.

0. This is not merely a calculator, it is also a reference book with all the tables you normally would use to make machining calcs manually.  As a calculator per se, it can be a little cumbersome.  It is also a little clunky to do trig on, which is something machinists do a lot of.  I personally have needed trig maybe three times in my life, but I am not a machinist.  That said, it does have all the usual trig functions.

This calculator is made for shop floor use. It isn't a scientific calculator and doesn't pretend to be one.
One wag said, "don't make it first year apprentice level" but that's just what it is, and what it should be.

Everything a real machinist learns in their first years, with tables and reams of paper, stays with them all their working life; this calculator tries to get rid of the tables and the reams of paper.

If you want something more, get out your scientific one and program it up.

Also, it has an equals key.

[a few gasps are heard from the audience]

Now is when all you RPN fetishists should run screaming into the night, since you won't be able to use this device. :P

I'll be slightly shocked if this doesn't offend someone

1. What the hell is a "high performance" tool? The calc offers three tool (cutter) materials: HSS, carbide, and "high performance".  At first, I assumed it meant ceramic, since that is the only other cutter material I know of.  Since I've never been a professional machinist, I figured I'd stumbled over a gap in my knowledge, and I was about to learn something new. 

 So I searched the web for "high performance" tools and materials in a machining context, and you know what I found out? Not a damned thing. Everyone says their tool / material / cutter geometry is "high performance".  The term is not explained in the manual, as if the reader is expected to know. Maybe it's a regional expression; if you're in Europe or Asia, perhaps everyone uses that term.

In any case, since the only tooling I own (er, I think) is either HSS or carbide, I may just ignore it for now.  Later I will probably discover or remember that the inserts I use in my lathe tools, and the inserts for my 3" shell mill, are all ceramic, I dunno.  I wonder how I would even tell!  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2. My experience with calculators that run on coin cells dictates that this MF - which uses one cell not two - is gonna eat batteries like mad.  I'll be delighted to be proved wrong if it happens.


• At any time during any calculation, you can switch between the inch and metric systems without re-entering anything, as should be.

• Fractions are entered (and any number in the display or memory) can be flipped between fractional and decimal display simply by hitting the slash key.  Can you remember the decimal equivalent for a 17/64 drill?  I sure as hell can't.  This changes nothing in memory, so switching what is displayed, or using it to enter a number, will not change how calculations are performed on that number.

It has more functions than most individual professional machinists will use, but different professionals will use different function sets. While reviewing opinions on Home Shop Machinist (which, unfortunately, is populated by a disproportionate number of grumpy, snarky, condescending pros and retired pros among the amateurs seeking knowledge) I found some singing the praises of one feature set (thread measuring for example - I will never own or use a 3-wire measuring kit ever, but YMMV) whilst others poo-poo'd that feature and praised something else.

Your computer can do more things than you will ever use it for too.  Relax and enjoy it.

Friday, December 15, 2023

again: what's taking so long?

In June, my wife and I got Covid for the second time and this time it laid us low.
This impacted my attendance at work; I was out for weeks and I'm paid by the hour.

In late summer, we got RSV.  Or the worst case of flu ever.  Doc thinks RSV.
My healthcare organization doesn't have the vaccine for it yet.
This impacted my attendance at work.

In late fall, I began to develop planter fasciitis; it has since become intermittently severe.
This makes using my feet for anything very unpleasant.
This also impacted my attendance at work.

At the start of December, my employer decided to punish my illnesses absences by cutting my hours by 60%.  So now I am there even less; that'll teach my, er, co-workers?
IOW, we were broke before they forked me (right before Christmas, too, wasn't that nice?) so we are even more broke now.

So, THAT is what has been taking so long.  For everything, not just this hoist cart.

"Food, clothing, firing, rent, taxes, respectability, and children.
Nothing can lift those seven millstones from man’s neck but
money; and the spirit cannot soar until the millstones are lifted." - GB Shaw

what's that?

I made the top (hinged) attachment bracket for the hoist mast and have (temporarily) bolted it to the top deck of the cart.

A semi-circular cutout in the channel will be made and the mast welded to that.

The channel will be welded to the hinges.

The hinges will be welded to the backet.

The thigh bone is connected to the leg bone.

There will be a similar bracket for the bottom deck. It will receive the bottom of the mast, which will be held in place with a removable pin.

All this so that the mast can be lowered across the top deck; otherwise I couldn't get it into and out of my shop.

aside: there are two pieces of "U" channel in this photo, both were fabricated because deep U-channel isn't exactly common.  Both are ≈.115 in. wall thickness claiming to be one-eighth inch.  The top (movable) bracket, that is sitting on the hinges, one is 1x2 and was made by milling out one of the short walls.  The bottom one in the image (bolted to the cart edge) is 1x3 and was made by welding three pieces together. Turns out my employee discount (on steel at least) is really, really good, because the store cost is really low, such that I can skip driving out to the scrap yard for many simple things pieces. I will probably be leaving that gig soon and by the gods I sure will miss that employee discount!

 sigh: I bet there aren't many steel yards where we plan to move up in the mountains.  sigh.

Monday, December 11, 2023

something is (finally) happening here...


What it is ain't exactly clear...

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

in the mean time... some light reading

 Have you ever wondered about the origin of the humble "miniature" neon lamp? (NE-2, etc)

 Me neither.

 But Fran Blanche posted about this fellow, and I read the Wikipedia page about him, and I found his story interesting enough (despite the inventor's tragic end) that I suspect my readers will find it interesting as well.

 I'm sorry I still haven't much to report from the workshop.  Covid took a lot out of both my wife and I, and my energy levels just aren't up to any extra effort.  Work takes a lot out of me, because standing and walking on concrete floors for eight hours is exhausting to my coworkers who are half my age. It's hard on your knees, ankles, feet... ask any nurse!  So all my energy reserves go to making minimum wage, then my days off are spent recovering from my job.

 All whining aside, the main shop project is still the lifting cart.  There is incremental work I could be doing on it, but it would help me tremendously if I had the three inch (or so) steel tube or thin-walled pipe that will be the mast.

 So that's what I'll be working on when I can.

 Unfortunately, no other interesting projects on the burner right now.

More as it happens though, I promise.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

hiatus again

We got covid over the summer.
Other things have happened.
We're broke.
I haven't had any free time.

So not much is happening in the shop right now.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

hoisting cart progressing

 Literally found this cart (just the bottom part) in an alley. It is 1 in. birch ply, with 800lb rated casters mounted on steel hat sections running the long way on the underside.  It looked to me like a very beefy version of a bell cart, missing the frame that mounts to the four posts.

 Steel pipe dropped into the existing sockets nicely and are secured with three fat set screws each.  A top deck was cut from 3/4 in. ply, sanded and coated with black polyurethane, and mounted to the steel pipe risers with pipe flanges.

 Steel bracing is provided to distribute the overturning moment of the mast and jib when loaded.

 The mast will be hinged at the top deck, and fixed to the bottom deck with a removable pin, so it may be lowered to get it out of the room.

 Two 12 in. long, swing-out outrigger jacks (more pipe) will be provided near the mast end, to resist the overturning moment when the loaded jib is swung around to the sides (ie; to lower a load onto the work surface).

 I now have most of the steel and parts onhand except the mast itself.  A swivel mount for the jib arm at the top of the mast still needs to be fabricated.  Rather than a sleeve (hard to find), I'm planning a four-sided cage made of angle iron, with a COTS thrust bearing on top, and four machined brass bearing surfaces to take the loads on the sides of the mast inside the cage.  It works in my head...

 More as it happens.

Friday, March 17, 2023

a material handling incident Wile E. Coyote would have recognized

  So there I was*, minding my own business in my shop, making a lifting rig for my rotary table, so I can hoist it to and from my mill's table with ease and safety...

 For a while now, said rotary table has been sitting on a wheeled cart, on top of a random steel framedingus to bring it to a convenient height, all just so I can move the damned thing around the shop easily.  note: the top of the cart has carpet on it.  (former bell cart)

 The steel framus is just a random leftover, roughly cubic, from something I once took apart.
note that it is smooth(ish) and painted on top.
note that the bottom of the rotary is very smooth indeed... and it leaks oil.
  (ooh! foreshadowing!)

 Said cart was in my way, so I gave it a shove with one foot.  A hard shove, since there's some two hundred pounds total mass there.  To my astonishment and horror, the cart moved smartly as intended, the cubical framatron went with it as intended, and the rotary stayed put in mid-air for a split instant (because Newton was a savage motherfucker, shit must have been wild before he invented inertia) then succumbed to gravity and fell to the remaining top of the cart.

 It did not hit the cement floor and break (cuz cast iron, cuz!) and it did not touch my foot.  My ancestors were looking out for me this morning.

 I moved the cart to take the picture, but everything on it remained where it was after the incident (and will remain there - the rotary at least - until the paint has dried on the second half of the lifting sling I was making).  The gizmoframe was shifted by the table coming down at an angle.  No toes were harmed in the making of this safety film.

 Speaking of lifting slings; the reason I was making a lifting sling is that I have (temporarily, until the hoist cart is built) rigged a hoist over one end of the mill table, enabling me to get the 59kg / 130lb beast up and down without hurting my back.  So far so good.  But the table has long rods for handles, 11.5cm / 4.5in long.  Putting a chain sling or hooks on these and lifting is dangerously unstable.

 Maybe I've spent too much time as a Texas Tank Watcher, but the "correct" solution seemed obvious: make a custom lifting rig which solidly prevents shifting and makes for a clean, level lift.  This we then do.  I finished the first half a few days ago.  Fabbing the second hook took only a few hours early this morning, followed by primer.  I will update this post showing it in use when the paint is dry.

 This is a typical pattern of fabrication for me whenever I need to make more than one of something (unless I have drawings and am doing precision or interchangeable parts); I complete one to figure out how to do it, then I make numbers 2 through N, subtracting any mistakes I made on the first one.

EDIT: action shot:





* 'there I was' indicates this is a 'war story'.
If this were it a fairy tale, it would begin with "once upon a time."