Metric Cross Slide Conversion

I recently bought a big pile of lathe spares, including a new leadscrew and nut to convert the cross slide to metric. I'm working on gradually converting the whole machine. I started on the cross slide because it's the most commonly used, and typically is used to the tightest tolerances.

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Plasma TV Brackets

Justyn bought an amazing plasma TV on ebay for a bargain £50. It was sold as broken, but it seems the seller was incapable of pressing buttons - it actualy works fine. It lacked a stand or any means of attaching it to a wall. For a few weeks it was simply gaffer taped to the radiator, but eventually we could live in fear no longer, and decided to fabricate some brackets.

The back of the TV has some captive nuts to screw a bracket to. Justyn bought two 500mm lengths of 20x20x3 steel box from Metal Supermarkets, and I supplied the metalworking equipment. 

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TFT Repair

I rescued a 17" Sony SDM-S74 TFT from a WEEE bin. It powered up ok and displayed an image, but the screen went black after about 2 seconds. So I dismantled it and had a look around.


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Emerald Pendant

It was about time I made a piece of jewellery for my good friend Lou. She likes green, and I like precision handiwork, so I thought this pendant would make a nice birthday present. It features a 6x4mm oval emerald tension set in the central cutout, and two 1.5mm diamonds bead set at the top and bottom.

Graver Preparation

Attaching a handle to a new graver, grinding it to the right shape for use and forming a sharp, polished cutting face... [flickr-photo:id=1887220359,size=m]
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Z-Axis working

In the early hours of this morning the Z-axis was completed. A new, much higher torque NEMA-23 motor from Motion Control Products (part FL57STH76-2808B ) was added, along with a length of 10x3 trapezoidal leadscrew and nut from Marchant Dice . In addition an adjustable mounting was added to one end of one of the guide rails to allow them to be adjusted perfectly parallel. Here are the results of a pen pretending to isolation mill a circuit board layout. Video:

Submitted by jeff on Fri, 08/24/2007 - 11:41. categories [ ]

First output of the CNC table (videos!)

Over the last week or so, Rob and I have been working frantically on a CNC table for PCB drilling and general experimentation. I've been doing the mechanics, Rob's been doing the software and we've been working together on the electronics. See the flickr set for details of the build so far.

I'll be posting in detail about the construction later on. I've got stacks of blogging to do, but have absolutely no time at the moment!

Very early yesterday morning we got the first output.

Videos follow, in ascending order of awesome...

Submitted by jeff on Wed, 08/15/2007 - 11:49. categories [ ]

Hold the phones - inkjet

Thanks to Paul I just remembered another idea. Since the UV laser pulses are too slow for laser use (on further reading, 50% duty cycle is massively optimistic), use an inkjet printer. Have the output of the UV air laser connected to a fibre, and stick the other end of the fibre where the ink cartridge lives. Add some focusing optics on the end, and presto. 

Need to modulate the output of the laser according to the make-ink-go-now signal, and we're away.

So the next question is power density...

Submitted by jeff on Tue, 08/07/2007 - 17:26. categories [ ]

Direct PCB laser printing - a different approach

Recently I've rather gone off the whole direct toner to PCB approach. Just doesn't seem to be robust enough. Having recently fabricated some PCBs in the Chemistry department I've seen some of the insane artwork they use. The artwork is (or was, before it was outsourced) produced in the university printing studio. The artwork is staggeringly good - incredibly black. High resolution too.

The process is as follows: 

Submitted by jeff on Tue, 08/07/2007 - 14:05. categories [ ]

Haptic Watch

Just had an insane, rambling lunchtime conversation with Rob, Paul and Alexis. Talked about projection, then multipoint touch interfaces, then haptics.

Then I thought "wouldn't it be cool to have a haptic watch, so you could feel the time". Perhaps after a while the brain would just weave it in to your everyday sensory experience, and you'd always have a sense of what the time was, the same way you can feel the temperature. Finding out the time would no longer be a query-based system, you'd just know it.

Submitted by jeff on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 13:55.