Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rotary Axis

I used my new rotary axis for my Sieg KX1 to cut a big gear ( 60 teeth, 77.5mm outside diamter ). Each side of the tooth is made with about 10 cuts, so it has many straight lines. It doesn't seem to run as smoothly as the gear which I milled around the profile.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bridgeport Repaired. Auto Spindle Off added.

I have spent 2 days fixing my milling machine.
The PC that I used to control it stopped working; the floppy drive had failed and none of my 6 spare floppy drives worked, so I guss it was a motherboard problem.
I found another old PC to run the software on. Fortunately, I found the source code for my PC control ( "Heeksatrol" ) which I wrote in about 2001. So I was able to modify it.

I took the opportunity to automatically turn off the spindle when the tool needed changing, or the program had finished running.
I looked at the relays and tranformers in the machine, but decided to simply add a RC servo to physically turn the spindle switch. I made my program output on one of the unused parallel port pins and connected an Arduino with the servo attached ( source code here ).

While calibrating the speeds, I blew some of the machine's power transistors, so I had to replace them.
Anyway, now my machine cuts metal and turns the spindle off, so I know when to jump up and change the tool. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

16mm needs sharpening

Listen to this cutting. Do you think I need a sharper tool? :)
It's a 16mm diameter HSS milling cutter.

Friday, August 12, 2011

milling gears

I can make module 1 gears from acetal on my milling machine, using a 1mm diameter slot drill, for the teeth. I used a 6mm to rough it out and a 3mm slot drill to cut out the 4mm hole.


I made some gears and a casing, as an experiment.
Parts were coming out lozenged, but I fixed that by pushing on the table until something bent, so the axes are more perpendicular to each other. I tested this by checking the nozzle distance from the table at each of the corners of travel.
I was pleased with the gears I made. I ran them in a little with some brasso to get them free running.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This is not milling, I know, but...
I bought a 3D printer from here
It arrived this afternoon and I assembled it and got it to work, kind of.
The parts come unstuck while being made, which cause them to warp a bit.
Apparently I can fix this by sticking some Scotch Blue Painter's Tape to the machine bed, instead of using the green paint, they supply.
I don't know if I can buy any of this tape in Malvern, England.

 I coloured the heart with a permanent marker. You can use solvent based paint for painting ABS, though.
The heart was almost 1mm undersize in both axes.

I liked the sound the plastic part makes when I drop it onto the table.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making for money

I have been doing quite a bit of machining work recently.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Clamping with one screw in the middle

I am fitting a spur gear to a bigger spur gear by cutting an external hexagon, with small radiuses, on the outside of the gear's boss. Most of the work here was in cutting the right shape in the black acetal, including drilling and tapping a hole. The tapping was done by hand, with a tap in a chuck.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I have started adding gear design to HeeksCAD. I am hoping to design some 3D models of bevel gears, but I have started with spur gears. Bevel gears are a bit complicated.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Engraving for jewellery rolling mill

My girlfriend told me about how they put their silver through a rolling press with various items, at her jewellery class. So, I face machined a piece of 1.5mm steel sheet and engraved some mirrored designs on it. She took it to her jewellery class with some soft aluminium that I gave her and put them though the rolling mill. In the picture is the aluminium with the pattern pressed on to it. I think most of the pattern was too deep and has rough edges, but the shallower hexagon patterns were better.
The steel comes out bent, but you can use it many times.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

punch for silver jewellery

I made this punch from stainless steel for using on silver sheet for jewellery.
The photo shows its effect on pure aluminium.
I made it simply using a pocket and profile operation with HeeksCNC software on my Sieg KX1 milling machine. The design given to me was pencil on paper. I have noticed that the result is the mirror image of the design. I hope she doesn't mind! I can easily make another one the right way round.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

6 fins

I did 4 in one day. Now I have to set up to machine the big hole.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fin made from Acetal-C

I am making 6 of these. It took me a whole day just to make 2.
The operations are:
* 16mm face machining leaving 4mm thick 8mm wide sections to fit into table - 10 mins
* 6mm slot drill - 15 mins
* 6mm ball nosed - 30 mins
* 6mm slot drill - 15 mins
* 6mm ball nosed - 30 mins
* 3mm slot drill - 0.3 mins
The rest of the time is tool changing and preparation. I think I might be able to make 4 in one day.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I have developed VoxelCut a bit more, so I can test my machining toolpath.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3D milling

I am using HeeksCNC to calculate toolpath for milling a fin for a robot submarine.
My first tests are in wood, using a 6mm slot drill and a 6mm ball-nosed tool.

I need to use a bigger piece of wood and machine a flat face and some dowel holes for turning the part over and locating it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dad's Machine

Dad has fallen over and cracked a rib or two, so I am working his machine to get his work done for him.

It is a Bridgeport Series I with a Heeksatrol control. ( Heeksatrol is a PC with some software I wrote in 2001, inputting and outputting via the parallel port ).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Drag knife compensation

Someone asked about calculating a path for drag knife compensation, so I had a go at writing an  OffsetForward method for my Curve class. See the code here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Part 0014

 One of these flutes was still very sharp, so it should cut ok.
 I did all the CNC work from one side, cutting small, 2mm deep, pilot holes, with a 3mm diameter slot drill, where the 5.5mm holes need to be. Clearing all the metal with the 6mm slot drill took 2 hours.
 I cut the holes to 5.5mm afterwards on Dad's pillar drill.
 For the counterbores, I countersunk them, on the pillar drill, oversize, then did the counterbore with a 10mm endmill.
There was only just enough room to cut the 2mm slot, but there was enough room, see video.