The Wide Belt Sander is Ready

George CarlsonNews, Tools

Today Greg and I extended the dust collection system and connected it to the belt sander and the router table. The sander is awesome. We currently have 80 grit belts for fast stock removal, and several other grits up to 220 for finish sanding. The machine is somewhat complex to operate, but still not hard to learn. If you want to get qualified, let me know. We will be changing the V-belts and adding automatic controls for the air supply, but the machine can be run right now.

New Sander for the Woodworking Shop

George CarlsonNews, Tools

Big belt sander  – We are always trying to improve The MakerBarn, adding new tools and materials.  Recently we had a very generous donation of a Sheng Shing SDM-15 wide belt sander.  This machine uses a 5HP motor to power the 16×48″ sanding belt.  The belt oscillates back and forth, which helps lengthen belt life and avoid streaking the wood being sanded.  It can sand a 15″ wide swath, but being open ended on one side, the operator can rotate his panel and sand a piece 30″ wide!  The machine weighs about 800 pounds and is very solid. When we received the machine is was complete, no missing parts.  It even came with two copies of the manual.  The machine was built in October 1996, so we just missed its 20th birthday.  The sander was also in good condition except that all the internal pneumatic tubes had disintegrated.  Not a single … Read More

New machine at The MakerBarn

George CarlsonNews, Tools

The Sieg Super X3 is now at The MakerBarn.  It has a longitudinal travel of 17″, crossfeed of 5.75″ and the head can be moved 15″.  All three of these movements are displayed on the DRO.  The quill has a travel of 2.75″ and has its own digital readout.  We should be able to do some very precise work on this machine. What’s your first project going to be? Soon I’ll post a shopping list for those expendable tools each member may want to buy.  The shop will provide clamp-kits, vises, chucks, collets, and other larger items.  

The Stand is Completed

George CarlsonNews, Tools

The stand is finished, well, until we decide to make some improvements.  The stand has small iron casters to make it easy to move, but also has leveling screws to level and lock the machine in place. Now we await the arrival of the digital readout (DRO) system.  This consists of a display units and three glass scales.  The linear glass scales are packaged in aluminum spars that protect the scale and keep it free from dust and dirt..  The readout device has a resolution of 0.005mm, which is about 0.0002″!

Milling Machine for the shop

George CarlsonNews, Tools

A new addition for the shop.  This small milling machine uses the same type of tooling as a Bridgeport style mill.  So it should work well for use until we can get the larger machine.  I will be building a stand and installing a Digital Readout, so it will be a couple of weeks before we can move it to the barn.  With this machine we will be able to machine plastics, wood, and almost any metal, including steel.  Each member who wishes to use the machine will have to supply their own cutting tools.  This would typically be a set of end-mills, which is not too expensive.  When learning to use the machine, it is not uncommon to break or otherwise ruin cutting tools, so it’s best if each person is responsible for their own.  I’ll make some sort presentations at upcoming meetings about operating the machine tools, so … Read More

CNC Class Already Filled

George CarlsonEvents, News, Tools

It didn’t take long.  By the time I got this blog posting organized, the class was already filled.  Never fear, there will be additional classes in the near future. The class will be concentrating of getting members certified to use the two CNC routers we have. The small router, “Mini-Chop” was primarily designed for mechanical etching of circuit boards.  Its super precise control of the Z axis also makes it great for engraving Romark type plastic.  This is the material with a thin top layer of plastic over a thicker base of a different color. We also have “Robo-Chop”, designed and built by member George Carlson.  This machine has a 26×48″ build space and a 3HP water cooled spindle.  It is on loan until we can purchase our own high-end CNC router. Both routers use the Mach3 control system, so operation is pretty much the same for both machines. The … Read More

2016 Houston Mini-Makerfaire

George CarlsonEvents, Making, News

Imagine the Possibilities, our theme for the Makerfair It was crazy!  The Mini-Makerfaire was held at the George R. Brown convention center on November 12 and 13. We had a 20′ x 20′ booth with lots of small projects for the kids to work on.  To select the project, the person would operate the large switch on the MakerBarn Robot Control Panel.  A large version of Makey would spin his “Wheel of Making” and randomly select a number for the project. We had around 200 – 300 kids (and some adults) build the projects Greg created.  The booth was very crowded both Saturday and Sunday. With all the clattering from Makey, and the constant use of the Aztec drum, we had to be the noisiest booth at the show.  Another big attraction was the Van de Graff Generator.  After a transfer belt change on Sunday morning, the generator was producing 10″ sparks. … Read More

Our new Powermatic Tablesaw

George CarlsonNews, Tools

This is a Powermatic 66 built in the early seventies.  It was in very good condition, considering the age, when we got it.  The purpose of this saw will be to cut dados and box joints.  This can be done on the SawStop, but the brake cartridge needs be be changed if a dado blade is installed.  This will save our woodworkers alot of time when switching between normal and dado cuts.  The saw is pretty heavy, just ask Greg.  Once we got it in the shop, it was cleaned and the bearings and belts were replaced. Here’s the machine all cleaned up.  The machine has a 3HP three-phase motor.  Since we don’t have three-phase power at the barn, I installed a VFD (variable frequency drive) to provide the three-phase power.  One advantage of using the VFD is that it allows the start and stop time of the motor to … Read More

More Additions to the Shop

George CarlsonBuild Log, News, Tools

It’s been busy lately. John Buckley and I built a high-tech router table. The machine uses a 3HP water cooled router spindle and an Arduino controlled router lift. The computerized lift makes making precision cuts easy. We are also in the process of rebuilding a Powermatic 66 table saw. This a heavy-duty industrial saw that will be configured for making dado (wide slot cuts) cuts and box joints. This means we can make dado cuts without having to re-configure a saw. A wonderful time saver. Lastly, the RoboChop has arrived! The RoboDhop is a 27×48″ High Precision CNC router. It has a 3HP water cooled spindle and high precision ball screws for positioning. It is on-loan as a way to see if we would like to purchase our own CNC Router. Shortly I’ll announce classes to teach Vectric V-Carve software and how to use the machine.

A new addition to the shop

George CarlsonNews, Tools

One of the latest additions to our arsenal of tools at The MakerBarn is an abrasive blasting cabinet. Since we have a large air compressor and the entire building has been plumbed for compressed air, installation of the unit was easy. “Sand blasting” can be quite messy, but with the sealed cabinet, the operation is quite clean and comfortable. Parts to be blasted are brought in through a door that seals. The operator’s hands go into large gloves in the front of the cabinet and a window allows the operator to see inside. A shop vac keeps the air inside the cabinet clear of dust. The unit has been supplied with 100 grit snow-white Aluminum Oxide abrasive. This is a fine abrasive that looks much like sugar. It works well for quickly removing rust and paint from metal surfaces. It also works well for texturizing a surface, or etching glass … Read More