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

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

The Hegner Scroll Saw

George CarlsonBuild Log, News, Tools

The Hegner Scroll Saw We’ve been watching school and government auctions for items to equip The MakerBarn.  We have gotten some great deals on high quality tables, cabinets, and chairs.  On one of the auctions sites, I noticed a school district down near Victoria was auctioning a Multimax scroll saw and a Delta bandsaw.  Both looked fairly rough, but I placed some bids just to see how it went.  Victoria is a long drive so I hoped by bids would be fruitful. I won both auctions.  This meant driving 300 miles, but with luck, it would be well worth it. The Delta bandsaw was fairly recent vintage.  It had been the victim of a student brawl and had been knocked over.  But the upper and lower trunions were broken, but everything else survived.  A few used parts off eBay and some new tires, and the bandsaw tuned up beautifully. The … Read More

Electronics at The MakerBarn

George CarlsonNews, Tools

We aren’t all woodworking and machine shop; we also have a wonderful electronics lab in the works. The lab centers around four tech stations.  Three of the stations will be configured for experiments and testing audio and other low frequency work including micro-controllers.   You could use one of these stations to work on anything from tube amplifiers to Arduinos.  The forth station is equipped for work with RF (Radio Frequency) devices.  If you are into Ham Radio, this will be your favorite workspace.  Ever wonder what the spectral output of you WiFi router looks like?  The 9594E cover spectrum up to 2.9GHz. The normal tech stations will each be equipped with a Tektronix 2246 100MHz oscilloscope, BK Precision 5MHz Function Generator, lab multimeter, and power supplies.  The RF station will have an HP8640B signal generator, an HP 8594E Spectrum Analyzer, and an HP 5328A frequency counter.  All tech stations will … Read More

Our Roll-In Metal Cutting Band Saw

George CarlsonNews, Tools

We just finished refurbishing the Roll-In Metal Cutting Band Saw. This saw was donated to The MakerBarn. It was in pretty rough shape because it had been sitting in a storage warehouse for many years. The machine was stripped down to nuts and bolts. Bearings were replaced. Paint was stripped and repainted. A few parts had to be fabricated, and the rubber tires were replaced. The vise needed quite a bit of machine work, but it too came out fine. The motor was rebuilt, and new electrics installed. The machine even has MakerBarn’s MACS system installed for safety. It’s all ready for some metal cutting action!