Metalworking at the barn

George CarlsonBuild Log, Making, News, Tools

Woodworking has always been a big part of the work going on at The MakerBarn, but now we are seeing more metal projects being built.  With the completion of the machine shop, addition of powder coating, and the near completion of the welding shop, expect to see even more heavy iron at The MakerBarn in the near future. Jody Cochran is powder coating a small weldment used on the new miter saw table being built by Kyle Fraczek. It’s just a large washer with a 1/2″ nut welded in, but you could never find one at the hardware store.  It’s used for mounting the feet on the large cabinet. Rob Nixon made this super dial indicator holder for the lathe.  Made from 6061 aluminum, brass, and steel, it should last a lifetime. This is a special quick-clamp designed for the new welding table.  It is a good example of offset … Read More

CNC Router Class

George CarlsonEvents, News, Tools

The CNC Router Class held on March 26 was a success.  The class covered CNC (computer numerical control) in general, and specifically for the CNC Router.  In the last half or the class, V-Carve was discussed and examples were done.  V-Carve is the CAD/CAM software used for controlling the CNC router.  It is a very powerful design program that can be used to generate DXF files for the laser cutters as well as G-Code to drive the CNC routers.  The MakerBarn is fortunate to have a makerspace license for V-Carve which allows members to use V-Carve free of charge on their own computer. The next class will be held on April 23rd.  There are only 8 openings, so be sure to sign up early.  Contact George at geotekds@swbell.net for questions or reservations.  This is a members only class, there is no fee for this class.  

Powder Coating at The MakerBarn

George CarlsonBuild Log, Making, News, Tools

With the completion of the downdraft table/powder coating booth, and the acquisition of a new oven, we now have the facility to do powder coating. Powder coating is a process where a dry powder-like paint is applied to a metal piece using electrostatic attraction. The piece is then baked in an oven, causing the powder to melt then polymerize into a very durable coating. Here’s an example. This is a butterfly cut from a piece of 1/4″ steel using a plasma cutter. The butterfly was cleaned and then blasted in the abrasive blaster to remove the mill scale and give a nice even surface for the power coating to adhere to. After this point in the process you should use gloves to protect the clean object from oils on your skin. Oils on the surface of the part are not good for the powder coating.   The powder is then … Read More

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.  

Digital Readout for the Mill

George CarlsonTools

In my opinion, no milling machine should be without a digital readout (DRO).  If you ever had to use an old machine without a DRO, you would be amazed that anyone could produce good results.  Counting turns of the handle, reading tiny numbers on dials, making sure all movements were from the same direction, and having to compensate for lead-screw wear; none of this is necessary if the machine has a DRO. There several different technologies used to build the linear scale used to determine machine position.  The DRO on our mill uses high precision glass scales.  Inside the scale housing (spar) is a long strip of glass.  The glass was coated with a fine layer of chromium, then fine lines were etched in the chrome as many as 50 per mm. The reader module, which is attached to the spar, slides along the glass scale.  The circuitry inside the reader … Read More

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