My CNC machine has recently started to develop some nasty problems with its flood coolant system. I decided this was a good opportunity to overhaul it so I rebuilt a section of the enclosure to better capture and filter coolant and also made a new flood nozzle system. Everything is working really well now and I'm loving it. I've detailed the whole process in the linked video.

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Although my initial attempt at forming steel parts was mostly successful, I didn't feel like I got the closure that I desired. I decided to take another attempt at forming a couple of steel parts that applied all of my learnings and the results were significantly better. I've detailed the results and process in the lined video. There is plenty more that can be done but I'm happy with the results in the meantime.

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Plasma cutting is incredibly useful. Paired with bending and welding it is often the fastest and cheapest way to build any kind of mechanical structure or enclosure. Results that might take a day on a 3D printer or on a CNC mill can be achieved in minutes on a plasma cutter. Not to mention the cost of sheet metal is a lot cheaper than 3D printer materials or billet for machining. I'm constantly making folded and welded structures with m...

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When I was designing the downdraft for my plasma cutter I was concerned that it might eject too much metal dust out of my shop and into my driveway. It turns out that I was right and as I've been cutting more I've noticed a real uptick in accumulated metal on the ground. To address this problem I built a filtering system designed to remove the bigger particles from the exhaust. Since I'm not concerned with smoke and really extremely fin...

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My plasma cutter really likes to take a nosedive into material that it is cutting. I set out to make this less catastrophic with a magnetic torch break away. If you're interested in building your own you can download the stl files here. It is designed for captive 10-24 nuts and fasteners on the torch mount and M5 socket head cap screws to attach it to the Z axis. The mix of metric and english is due to the off the shelf linear axis re...

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Forming

I've never seen anyone form sheet metal using 3D printed tooling so I thought I would give it a try. It worked surprisingly well. I've detailed the process I took to design and get the forming (mostly) working in the video. The end goal of this project was a replacement blade guard for a sawzall. I took this approach as an experiment though in general since I don't need 100 of these it certainly isn't the most efficient approach given the total amount of work and low cost of the sawzall. That said if you do need 100+ of something this technique could be amazingly cheap and efficient.

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Everyone loves 3D printing because you can make almost any arbitrary shape that you want with very little effort. This is mostly true, but when you want to make functional parts sometimes the answer is to not make it fully 3D printed. This has been my experience trying to make 3D printed timing belt pulleys. My original design was fully 3D printed which sort of worked but had a fatally annoying issue of loosening up every few days, usually at the most inconvenient time possible.

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The company I work at has an annual hackathon where teams come together to build all kinds of crazy stuff over 3 days. The team I work with seized the opportunity to build a 3D printer that really doesn’t have any reason to exist. It prints parts out of 3/4” wood sheets and the results are pretty cool.

The vision was simple: We want a giant wooden benchy and we want it now. For those who don’t know, a benchy is an informal test p...

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My CNC mill is tiny. It is not very stiff, it can't spin tools very fast, and the spindle motor is a paltry 500W (~0.6HP). It's certainly fun, but these shortcomings become major limiters whenever I try to push the limits and remove a lot of material fast. My quest to probe the limits of what my mill can do has made it clear that I really need to know the relationship of actual mechanical power at the tool vs. RPMs vs. torque. RIP broken endmills...

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MPGs, sometimes called "jog wheels" or "pendants" are a user interface to CNC machines which makes it easier to precisely control. MPG is short for "manual pulse generator" since it allows you to manually generate motor move pulses. I've wanted one ever since I took the knobs off my mill to convert it to CNC. With an MPG you can operate the CNC machine in a very similar way to a manual mill - simply by turning a knob to "directly" move an axis. T...

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