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Old 07-23-2012, 12:48 PM   #1
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Time to start a thread to share what my workers and I have been doing with our spare time! I've been having issues lately with prototyping lead times and work flow management, so my big focus lately is tooling up to streamline tasks and allow for more in-house machine work. Over the past few years I have modeled many motor concepts (among countless other projects) that need building, and it is time to start whittling those down! Over the summer I don't have a lot of spare time since I lose one worker to his family farm, so I've been spending my weekends working on tooling whenever possible. I would like to thank JIA for encouraging me to purchase my first mill many years back. I got hooked on machining, and have slowly learning and making parts whenever time permits. That little Sherline is now in the hands of Chris_The_Battery_Man getting good use!

My three month goal is to devote myself to three major tasks: emails, motor building, and machining. Currently I am doing order fullfillment and working the Holmes Bikes biz on top of regular duties, but by the end of the summer I will have my Logistics Manager back and will be hiring another employee to take over Holmes Bikes. This will free up about 20 -25 hours a week for me. Our spoke machine stays pretty busy, so I'm really looking forwards to pawning off the Sapim Custom Spokes to somebody else. Luckily the worker coming in September is already trained on the machine so I can just hit him with a stack of invoices. I am currently training a motor winder to relieve me of another 10 hours per week sitting in front of the power winder, so I can REALLY focus on the fun stuff! OK, on to the shop work to prepare for when my duties shift...

The project that is #1 on my list is getting a CNC machine ready and running.

Parts list:
Taig 2019cr mill from a2zCNC.com, along with some basic tooling
Stepper motor controller kit from HobbyCNC.com
4th axis kit from Soigeneris.com
plus a big box of endmills from Enco and MSC

First part, assemble the stepper drivers. I liked having the kit version as I know what every part does in the controller. In case of a failure it will be very easy to troubleshoot and understand, 'cause I built it! Here you can see the driver board and power supply stuffed into a project case. I used a 36v supply since the electronics are all 50v rated.



Here you can see a bit more crammed into the case. Power cap, wiring, etc...



Next up is the heatsink for the driver FETs. They all share a common ground, so I didn't have to insulate the heatsink. I whipped this simple thing up on the mill using handcranks.




Here it is mounted up with some heatsink compound. I used layout dye to keep the nuts tight. A cheap mans loctite!




The controller box all buttoned up, just waiting for the final stepper wires and some indicator LEDs.





Next up is the stepper motors. 305 ounce/inches. Plenty of power for the little taig! The Stepper controller has a nifty function where it reduces current after some idle time. I have it set at 10 seconds, but right now I don't have the idle down function enabled since the system isn't tuned.





Of course since I didn't just buy a complete machine from Taig the stepper motor shafts didn't work. They are too long by 7mm. So I cheated a bit and used the mill as a manual machine to shorten them. It would have been easier to use a slitting saw for cutting, but it was easier to mount the steppers in a vice horizontally. I used a sheet of paper between the vice and the motors to keep them from getting marred. The operation was simple, just rotate the shaft by hand crank while I fed the Y axis into the bit.




The modified stepper next to the stock unit





All bolted up, easy right?




And now we have an almost functioning CNC machine!






Just wait until we get the G-Code running! I already have a few programs ready to try once the system is set up and calibrated. I will be using Mach 3 on a dedicated machine to control the stepper controllers. The goal is to be cutting parts by next Monday, and boy do I have plenty to cut!

Last edited by JohnRobHolmes; 07-23-2012 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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The second project I am working on is a Vacuum chamber for resin impregnation. No deadline on this, as we already have a dipping chamber in use. This chamber will primarily be used for 540 brushed armature work, as we have another chamber that is used for ESC impregnation and molding work. I'm a bit lazy when it comes to manual work, so when I can build a machine to work smarter instead of harder you bet I will do it!

This will technically be a VOI (vacuum only impregnation) process chamber, since VPI (vacuum pressure impregnation) also uses positive pressures and machines in the 10s of thousands of $$ range. I got chewed out by a resin rep one day about the difference of VPI and VOI . The resin we use for impregnation calls for vacuum on wire bundles thicker than 1", wire sizes smaller than 30ga, or stators where resin cannot penetrate along the longitudinal direction. Since a normal 540 armature does not meet any of these criteria, the vacuum duration and intensity is non critical. This device will use vacuum for automation, but a change in the routine could easily make it a VOI system for parts that do need vacuum for proper impregnation. I may automate the chamber with PLC, but I don't think it will be needed.


The first and most critical part I completed this weekend. It is the barrier layer between armature and resin chamber. Step one, rough the part out on the band saw. I hate working with acrylic, I was covered in it...




I should have cut that disc a little closer to the lines. The next step was to cut it down to fit snugly inside the chamber. I am doing a full acrylic design to keep the parts visible. Easier process control this way. Anywhoo, chuck the rough disc up on the lathe and true it up.






I kept the finish a bit rough for good bonding strength. As I said before, I should have cut it a little tighter to the lines. The amount of plexy noodle was annoying. Hard to tell how big the pile is, but it was annoyingly large.






Next step is the chamber bottom and lid, to be continued later this week. I'll leave you guessing as to the overall design. I'm pretty proud of myself on this one, it is pretty slick for a low budget build. I only went through 4 concepts before figuring out how to half the material and labor costs

Last edited by JohnRobHolmes; 07-23-2012 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Shop Holmes

Cool little cnc setup you've got there

I can't wait to see what parts you will be rolling out now.
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:26 PM   #4
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Isn't it cute? It won't be a workhorse for metal cutting, but it sure beats having nothing! The biggest reason I picked it up was to increase prototyping turnaround and to finish up the dyno build. Kinda sucks to wait 6 weeks for a part, test it, then wait another 6 weeks for the next version. The better proto machinists I use are backed up almost 3 months and my local machinist retired, so I was almost forced into it. The Logan lathe you see above was originally bought when I was modifying outrunners to work in crawlers before any other companies were offering us options. How times have changed!


You're getting some of the first parts off the machine Jake
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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You're getting some of the first parts off the machine Jake
That's exciting news
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:45 PM   #6
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You could write a best selling novel on time management! Seriously, with the things you share w/ us on the forum, between school, starting/running a business, family, moderating the forum,ect.. it's amazing ( to me, at least) what you accomplish in a 7 day week, I'm sure there are personal things that you have to find time to do as well.
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:49 PM   #7
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Very cool John, nice to see this coming along. I will be in touch this week

Later,
Farmer
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Old 07-23-2012, 05:02 PM   #8
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You could write a best selling novel on time management! Seriously, with the things you share w/ us on the forum, between school, starting/running a business, family, moderating the forum,ect.. it's amazing ( to me, at least) what you accomplish in a 7 day week, I'm sure there are personal things that you have to find time to do as well.
Thanks for the encouragement! Most of the time I feel that my weeks are not very productive. Just filling orders, managing inventory, and talking with other companies eats most of my time so it feels nice to get something extra accomplished here and there beyond the status quo of keeping food on the table. I generally work 60 hour weeks, then take the weekends "off". Most weekends include another 10 or 16 hours of work renovating or cleaning my house too, but sometimes I will just power down and have a totally lazy time building 75 foot slip and slides for the summer weekends. We could ALL take a note from Don (BWD) though, that man is crazy productive! I've been trying to steal some of his mojo lately and finish my 100 item list of projects

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Very cool John, nice to see this coming along. I will be in touch this week

Later,
Farmer
Sweet I'll have a little extra surprise for my team members that want some swank goodies. I've been floating along without really giving y'all much focus the past few years so it's time to make up for lost time
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:03 PM   #9
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Sweet I'll have a little extra surprise for my team members that want some swank goodies.
I like the sounds of this All of these mills are playing hell on my tool envy...if I only had a shop that was a little more climate controlled (moisture) it'd be hard to keep from picking up something like a Smithy 3 in 1
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:14 PM   #10
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I'll have a little extra surprise for my team members that want some swank goodies. I've been floating along without really giving y'all much focus the past few years so it's time to make up for lost time


You gonna be bringing some bikes to Nats? I'd like to pimp one
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:14 PM   #11
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hey john, when you first started holmes hobbies did you get most of your winder equitment and all other stuff for biulding brushed motors from a guy named Todd Putman? he is a big racer at my home track, and when i told him what i was running for a motor in my crawler he said that he sold most of his brushed motor equitment to you when he stoped making brushed motors.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:58 PM   #12
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I'll have a little mini bike at nats if I can get everything else sorted in time to fix it! I had a 300lb man ride it and break the frame, so it needs some welding attention and extra cross bracing.

I did pick up most of Putnams equipment and inventory, along with a few other companies. I also got the pleasure of getting jammed full of information from them all too! Much of the tooling I built on my own as well, but having spare equipment is always a good idea in case of failures.
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:03 PM   #13
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Looking cool John. I am definitely getting use of the new mill. It unfortunately got to me a day or 2 before I left for Vegas last week, so I didn't have a whole lot of time to play with it before I left. But last night I spend about 5 hours playing on it, and covered my bench in shavings

I was so excited to get a mill, I got a new super beefy bench for it. Now I just need to make some shields to keep the chips contained and then some air to blow the chips away from my work.

Got a good buddy coming over this weekend who is a machinist, to give me some newb tips on using/maintaining/adjusting things on the mill and my lathe. Super stoaked now that I can make more stuff

Heres a pic of when I first got it home last week.

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Old 07-24-2012, 02:29 PM   #14
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Very glad to see it getting good use! It was mostly collecting dust at my house anyway.
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:40 PM   #15
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Ace used to make all of his wheel adapters on a little CNC Sherline like that.
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:52 PM   #16
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I'll have a little mini bike at nats if I can get everything else sorted in time to fix it! I had a 300lb man ride it and break the frame, so it needs some welding attention and extra cross bracing.

I did pick up most of Putnams equipment and inventory, along with a few other companies. I also got the pleasure of getting jammed full of information from them all too! Much of the tooling I built on my own as well, but having spare equipment is always a good idea in case of failures.
oh cool. small world i guess. haha never would have figured that the local big name in new york would also know one of the bigger names of brushed motors for crawlers as well.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:56 PM   #17
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Got it running, and did some simple engraving operations. I'm on the way out to a party now, I'll post some pics and/or vids when I get spare time.


Now I need to do some direction swapping or reprogram my hand held controller to reverse directions. I thought I had it all done but when I started doing operations it was cutting the letters backwards.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #18
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I spent the morning playing with my new toy and getting used to incremental and absolute G Code modes. I made a simple armature plate out of scrap acrylic to help with production, it was easy and a good first project to get my feet wet. Now I have a big mess to clean!


On to the next project! I suppose I should read the documentation for the Mach3 software and CAM programs too
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:26 AM   #19
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you can largely ignore the existence of incremental mode. Once you get used to your cam software, everything will be based off absolute.. its important to understand the difference, but eventually you'll get to a point where its VERY rare to use incremental, and even then its usually just for simplification of a sequence.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:04 AM   #20
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I used CAM software in absolute for the lettering, and the holes were done through keyboard input. I wondered whether whether drawing it in cad or typing the Gcode would be faster, and just started typing while I was still wondering. After the first row of holes I got tired of entering the new X coordinate and switched to incremental so I could just repeat the last three moves over and over in sequence. Drill, raise, move 1", repeat. I could certainly see the benefit in banging out code manually for many parts.
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