Saturday, December 31, 2011


Well its now 55 minutes into the new year. 55 minutes past my CNC dead line. Sadly I didn't make that dead line but I am close.
What do I have? I have a CNC table with working X and Y axis. The Z axis wouldn't run due to the less than capable stepper motors. the final thing I have moving forward us a clear path and end goal.
That path is to buy a gecko 540 drive and stepper motors. This will run over $500 but its going to be controlling a $1500 table so that price is on par. I've been hired on at ORNL so I will be able to generate the capital required to finish this project up. So here's the big question. When? That's the hard line. This next semester is going to be jam packed. Senior design. The ORNL internship. Searching for a post graduation job. The list goes on.  My initial though was to push the deadline out till the end of February but to be safe I'm going to say March 15th. This gives me time to gather the funds, wait for it to be shipped, have some unknown delay, get it together, and crank out a piece.
There it is. I'm happy. Big things are happening this year. I graduate. I get a real time job. I finish the CNC.
Thanks for reading

Friday, December 9, 2011


Yeah that title is cliché as all get out but deal with it. :-) Currently I'm excited that the projects not dead. That sentence needs a little back story. Last week (that time I should have been studying for finals) I got everything hooked up and ready to go with the motor drivers and Boarduino sled I constructed to hook all those motors up in a cleaner manner. I eventually got enough spare time to get it all hooked up to the CNC and with bated breath to see if it would work. Yeah I spelled that right too! I googled it. Anyway, the whole thing went to hell as soon as I gave it the command to move any of the axes. The motor were skipping steps like crazy. There just wasn't anything that was going to make it all work.

I didn't throw anything. I didn't even get super upset. This project has been going on for years. Literally. Its just another hurdle in the road I told myself. So I left the garage and started looking for the solution. The Gecko g540 is probably the most recommended motor driver  over on so thats where I started. Ahren over at CNCRP has a kit that comes with everything to fit the need I was having.

For the small price of $520 the quick and easy solution could be mine. Right? Well no. Since Ive spent the majority of my project fund on the table itself I don't have enough left over to purchase such a fine piece of equipment. More on that later though.

Back to the drawing board I went. (another cliché phrase, is this guy kidding?)  The RepRap stepper driver V2.3 that I've built and am using is built around the Allegro A3982. Not much information is out there about the max specs of the v2.3 driver boards but Allegro provides specs for their chips so I just assumed that the circuit was built to utilize its capabilities.

"The A3982 is a complete stepper motor driver with built in translator for easy operation. It is designed to operate bipolar stepper motors in full- and half-step modes, with an output drive capacity of up to 35 V and ±2 A. The A3982 includes a fixed off-time current regulator which has the ability to operate in slow or mixed decay modes."

Hey I've got four, count them four, of these little drivers and I planned on frying one in the process anyway. After frying a HobbyCNC driver back in the first days of this project Ive come to expect to break a few things from time to time. So I scrounged up the biggest laptop supply I could find, cut the end off of it, found another old ATX power supply, cut the end off that too. Then I wired it all together and gave it a go.

After all that you're wanting me to say it ran perfect and I went on to cut something out or anything spectacular. Well not exactly. It bound up but it did have moments where it ran like it should. Even after cleaning the screw, the rails, and a light WD-40ing, it still bound in places going at the G0 rapid linear motion speed. At the slower G1 speed it did much better. This signifies that the motors are at the edge of their performance curve. Fortunately, Im still only running them at a fraction of what their capable of. Currently Ive got a 20v 6A power supply. Meaning that if I can get a hold of one closer to 35V it should make enough difference to get back on track to hit that dead line.


For now, enjoy this video of my latest Rube Godlberg project that knocks over a can of WD-40

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Making the stable connection

 Its like one of those movies that starts with the ending scene. I put together a "Shield" for the Boarduaino to connect the motor drivers. Now its one step further away from looking so ghetto. Unfortunately one of the shafts of the steppers is slightly bent. Its not something I've noticed before so I'm pretty bummed. Never the less I'm hoping that its not enough to matter with helical cut motor couplers. 

I'm weird about symmetry so three motor connectors just wouldn't work. Which is cool because I have four stepper drivers to. Maybe one day Ill incorporate a fourth axis. For now its just a spare connector on the proto board since there's no designated pin for a fourth axis in the GRBL config file.

 There are 4 pins required to run each of the stepper drivers. 2 ground pins, a STEP pin, and a DIR pin. Its complicated to route the wiring on the bottom of the proto board without making it look like a rats nest. A finger nail clipper makes a great wire cutter. Its easy to handle and if you have a hang nail its good for that too. :-)

Here's a picture of the final wiring on the underside of the proto board. It's all pretty close but there's no shorts. The wiring will be hidden in the end when the whole thing is mounted in the computer case.

Hopefully Ill get a chance to connect this all back to the table later this week. Ive got some finals and a proposal to give to the Biosystems Engineering Department. Here's a couple pictures for you interwebians.

Trying to revive the dead.

As an engineer and resident nerd, when a piece of electronics breaks the first thing that comes to mind is can I fix it? I've managed to bring a sound system back to life with a single capacitor. Actually I met a guy while working at Radio Shack that was buying LCDs on Craigslist and fixing them by replacing capacitors on the main board.

So when my router stopped working I decided to crack it open. Netgears routers are simple to take apart if you have a set of torrix bits. There are four screws under the feet. Typically these feet are glued in place but it seems that Netgear may reuse these shells or repair them often because the feet are hinged rather than stuck in place with an adhesive.

 Looking at the internals, its pretty easy to look around. There's no metal covers hiding anything. Everything is open for the pokin'....Sorry. Ill never say that again. Anyway upon inspection I saw that it indeed had a blown capacitor. The green one on the left had a bulge in the top of the canister.

This gave me an opportunity to play with the macro setting on my Nikon D3000.  Enjoy the eye candy. It hard to tell its blown without comparing it to the brown cap beside it so I took a picture with both of them in the frame.

 You can see how flat the one on the right is. Its almost convex compared the blown capacitor.
Radio Shack is way overpriced on parts but the convenience of being able to go down the road and pick it up the same day makes paying 1.49 for a single capacitor ok. Its slightly larger than the original cap due to the fact that it has a higher voltage. When dealing with capacitors you can substitute one with a higher voltage but its important to keep the farads the equivalent. They balance the impedance of the circuit as well as other fun stuff.

So after all this did it work? Sadly it did not this time but it did give me a good reason to upgrade to a N router. It also may provide some useful spare parts in the future. There's several SMD LEDs, resistors, and other junk that could be salvaged with the aid of my high tech solder reflow system (an electric skillet). For now I'm going to keep it intact just in case I come up with another idea to fix it. Drop me a line if you have any clues.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Placing Random QRcode on walls!

HEY! Thanks for scanning one of my secret QRcodes strategically placed around UT campus. You are now one of the elite few that will be counted in this social experiment. Years have been added to your life. I swear.

If your interested in electronics and CNC related projects feel free to check out the rest of my blog!

Hope you enjoyed the link! If you're interested in making your own QRcode you can visit some one else's website.

Oh, and feel free to comment on where you found the QRcode placed. I gave several to friends and told them to spread the love.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mechanical Portion....CHECK

The CNC has a method of travel now! I finished up adding the power-train components I picked up a couple of days back. I'm pretty excited about that. The X and Y axis are pretty smooth. The Z axis is slightly rough to turn but this may be to the weight of the carriages and router plate. I'm afraid that the motors that I have wont be able to work that axis. We'll see when we get there. For now, we celebrate the victory at hand.
Now I'm going to make you quit being lazy and read from the other side of the screen.

A small list of items that will need to be acquired is growing as we move forward in the project. First is a table surface. A simple half sheet of MDF should do the trick there. Next is a router mount. I haven't decided on what I'm going to use for a cutter but its going to start out small. I have available to me something about twice as large as a Dremel but half as big as a typical router.  Its my dad's. This will most likely be the starting implement due to it's weight.

The next chapter of the project begins today. The electronics section of the project will be executed mostly in my lab (AKA a small room of my house I clutter up with my junk) . I've dug out the hardware that I was preparing for the previous iterations of the CNC. It was like digging for fossils. I had to blow the saw dust and metal shavings off of it with compressed air. As I've mentioned previously the brains of the setup is a Boarduino with an Atmega328. That's now running the latest version of GRBL. Version 0.6. Fortunately flashing GRBL to the Arduino was much easier this time. Used to be you had to compile it from scratch and then run a string of commands to get it to flash onto the processor. Now you just load a hex file using the Hex Uploader found here. It seems that if I was booted into UBUNTU at the time I was doing this that it might still be as hard as it used to with the AVRDude commands and what not. If your forced to do that and get hung up I have instructions on my old blog at  Things may have changed a bit over the past couple of years but the idea should be the same.

Where am I now? So far I have repaired one of the broken Reprap drivers that ended up with a damaged connector early in the process during my last attempt at a CNC. I built four because I fully expected one to not work since it was the first time I had ever ventured into the world of surface mount soldering. It turns out not to be as hard as people make it out to be. All four turned out great and working. Back on topic. I have a working boarduino loaded with the latest version of GRBL, four working v2.3 RepRap stepper drivers, and a modified computer power supply unit to run it all. Things I need. I need to run back and grab one of my stepper motors to test each of the driver boards and get the wiring to a more permanent stage. Then I need to mount it all up, find a test Gcode file,  and hope that the motors are beefy enough to do the job. So that's the plan. Ive got 47 days to finish this up and at this point I am on schedule to meet the goal! Tomorrow its back to the daily grind of school and end of the semester Senior projects. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A home of its own.

Well, I finally got the spare cash flow to order the rest of the power train components for the CNC. I picked up the couplers, shafts, and collars from Ahren at CNCrouterParts. That dude is fast. I emailed him a question and within the hour he had replied. I ordered the gear from him and it was at my house 2 days later. He is legit and a great person to do business with. I also got some astounding service from McMaster. I ordered the ACME rods from them and they were on my door step the next day. Crazy stuff compared to some of the other troubles I've had in the past from other companies.

I went over to my Dads shop to get to work on the power train and ended up building a rolling cart from random scrap pieces of building materials he had laying around the shop! As you can see I've found out you can post pictures beside text. So enjoy this new feature! Any way. There it is. Its held together with what I would call sewing needles (air-gun "nails") and glue. ;-) Its on wheels so its easily movable and once I cut some slots out in the faces of the cart it will be able to hold the electronics pretty well. Unfortunately, building this also means that I didn't even touch the CNC other than to pick it up and put it on the cart.  With classes coming to an end I'm going to have to hit it hard to make some free time to finish this up.  As I sit here and type this post Ive got 52 days 10 hours 40 minutes and 5 seconds...4 seconds...3 seconds... Its coming up on the CNC deadline.

That brings me to my next point. What is finished? Where is the line? I'd like to define that. The end goal is to have a working CNC machine....and something cut from said machine. I want to start the 2012 with a working tool that can be used to take a drawing and translate it into a physical piece you can hold in your hand. With the current hardware I think I'm going to be limited to circuit boards and 2 dimensional objects  due to some of the limitations of my driver setup and the gcode interpreter. We'll have to start there.

What's my hardware setup? Fair question. I think I may have alluded to it in the past. Its another DIY project I did in the past. Its troublesome...its unreliable, Its even ugly but I built it. Its a trio of reprap driver boards that I learned to make using solder paste, surface mount components, and an electric skillet. Yeah it worked great. Really. Anyway the thing is that there's a bunch of wires coming and going from each of the drivers to a boarduino (also a DIY project. First thing I ever soldered). It needs to be cleaned up and wire managed. Currently its all mounted in an old PC case. It ran one of the previous CNC machines I attempted. When I say "ran" I mean that very...very...very loosely. I was able to feed the boarduino a single gcode command through a terminal and it would execute it. Above that things would go wrong instantly. There were timing issues, wiring issues, and above all the screws were just that. They were threaded rods from lowes. The would bind and get all kinds of messed up. Ill try to pull a picture of the one thing I cut with it. Its just a couple of lines in a piece of MDF. I use it as the picture for my Dad when he calls my phone. He takes time out of his life to help me with these projects so I figure he deserves that.

Moving on past that learning experience. This time I have real ACME rods and legit hardware. Things such as helical couplers and thrust bearings.  Things that I couldn't afford back in the first two iterations of this project. Ill end the post with this.

Precision isn't cheap and no amount of engineering and creativity can be substituted for a well designed part. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and buy the $20 dollar couplers or the $30 dollar carriages rather than trying to engineer your own.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ardunio GPS on the CHEAP

I'm still waiting on money to get straight before I go off and purchase anything else for the CNC. I've got about 300-400 more to go on the table and then Im going to have to figure out the electronics I've already got. I'm sure they are going to need repair and Ill have to navigate my way through the software. That's all for another day.

I get antsy when I've got nothing going on in the project realm so I went ahead and spent 20 bucks on a Pharos 500 GPS. Its one of those stamp sized units that came with Microsoft's streets and maps software...I think. Anyway I've got a couple Arduino Mega 2560 boards and since the 500 natively outputs in a serial fashion it was easy to communicate with..

I say easy but it took me some tinkering. The mega has several serial communication pins and if you hook the GPS up to the main one, it trips up the Arduino on start up. So you have to (well I did, I dont guess you have to) unplug the GPS and then plug it back in after you get booted up. The solution to this is to move to one of the other serial pins and just edit the code. Ill post a follow up with the modified code and a picture of the modified receiver.

Modified receiver? Yeah! That's how its done. Everything Kuztoms! No for real I had to break it open and solder pins to the board to make it bread boardable<-- Spell check says Im making that word up].

All in all the project has been a success. It was relatively cheap and  filled that whole in my boredom. So check it off the list. Where can I go from here? I'm thinking a reverse geo-caching project but that will have to be another day.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Competition motivates me!

I wasn't planning on working on the machine today but I was inspired by one of the other members on CNCzone. KriegKuts is in the process of building a FLA-100 as well. Dude's Build Thread can be found at the link provided! The rail system I set up to drill the holes for the X rail needed to be modified for the 6 inch Y rail. Basically instead of the small bolts and wing nuts I had to use a C clamp. Not as elegant but it worked. Today I didnt have the help of my dad so having a plethra (<---Nice word huh?) of C clamps of all shapes and sizes to hold the rail as I drilled it. I skipped the mid size bit this time and went straight from the center bit to the 3/8 bit.

I was going to stop here for the day but then I realized that the Z axis only needed 6 holes to be mounted. I didnt trim the rail or the supporting 8020 extrusion so pretend you don't see that. As for going straight to the 3/8 bit.


You can see it turned out fine. Im sure it shortened the life of the bit but after today Im done with it and its paid for itself. I bought 2 and only needed 1. That means Lowes gets to have one of their nice $11 kick ass bits back Im am so amazed that Im able to work with raw steel and get precise enough results to even slide the rail into the extrusion. 

Without adjustment of anything I checked the height of the bottom of the Z rail on both sides. Less than 1/16th of an inch different. Thats nuts. Now Im off to check my bank account and see what I need to do to pick up the power components.

$310 plus shipping. Ouch. But that's all that stands between me and moving on to the electronics....which Ill be salvaging from my last build. Arduino + DIY Reprap drivers + some creative thinking. Thats the teaser of the day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

X Rails and Ganty assembly

Its days like this that make me proud to be a DIYer. Drilling the holes for the rails was much simpler than I had anticipated! I also noticed that CNCRouterParts just put out a jig to help people do the drilling. My dad owns a lower end drill press from Harbor freight. It works pretty well but you can tell it has a noticeable amount of play in the chuck so every hole has a small amount of variation in it.

In order to avoid compounding the variability I took extra precautions to ensure each hole was as close as possible. It worked out really well this time and I saved a good amount of cash by drilling the holes myself rather than buying the rails pre-drilled from FLA (not to mention the time I would have spent waiting for them to be shipped and get here )

For those of you willing to take the venture into making your own rails heres what I did.

Set up a guide to make sure your at least the same distance from the edge each time. I used a small piece of aluminum angle I picked up from Lowes  Use a center bit or a counter bore bit to start a small pilot  hole. Use some cutting fluid with every hole you drill. It makes things go so much butter. lol not really but it did make a big difference. After you have each of the holes started, move up to a drill bit about half the size of the final 3/8 bit your going to use. Any thing will do, just make sure you use the cutting oil. With this bit you can either go all the way through or only partially. Both are good but we found that not going all the way through helped to hold the cutting fluid when you move up to the final 3/8 bit.

Here's a couple pictures of the setup I had going on the drill press. It worked really well.

Once all the holes are cut it all goes together like seen in the drawings. An interesting side note is that the assembly forum post that I mentioned

Yeah that one. It shows him placing the carriage bolts on the 8020 and then tring to get the rail to go on it. That seems really difficult so I just put a bolt and nut in each of the holes and slid the rail into place. It only took a couple minutes. One of the legs was a wee-bit (sp?) close but in the end it all worked out.

That's all I had planned on doing today but I finished pretty early in the day so I got to throw the gantry together. That was much more complicated. The 3030 extrusion is extremely hard to drill through in a straight line. Even when using a jig made from another piece of 8020 I was typically not perpendicular to the piece.

Getting to this point never loses its appeal. Being able to push the gantry along that x-rail is the first pay off you get in a CNC build like this. This time I plan on cutting something. The original machine I tried to construct out of MDF never made it past the gantry push stage.

This machine is without a doubt the most sturdy machine I've attempted to construct so far. I feel confident that it will withstand the abuse were going to put it through.

Ok so whats next? Next I need to drill the holes for the Y rail. Mount that and the associated bearings. Drill the Z axis rail and mount that plate.. Then comes the hard part.... Finishing. Ive got some power train parts I need to order but that going to wait until I get the table assembled.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

One step closer - Base Assembled

Here is a couple pictures of one of the more beautiful things I have made. Alright alright. I didn't really make that. I assembled it. A lot of work went into it to get it from the raw t-slot to its current state. Its incredible how many times you have to take that thing apart in order to fit everything and then you realize that something else needed to go on there so you have to take it all apart again
Extruded Aluminum CNC frame

Extruded Aluminum CNC frame
Next task is to drill the hole in the x-axis rails. That's going to be a long hard task to do in a steel rail.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Turning $350 in $670

Before I go into the aw inspiring way I cut $320 from the bottom line of this project, lets first take a moment to look at a fine piece of hardware purchased from FLA and explain why I have this big countdown running now. The bearing blocks are crazy cool in the way that they are adjustable. Much better than anything that I have attempted in the past.

Now on to this count down thing. As I mentioned in a previous post, I need a dead line. so here it is.

If that's not enough time then I deserve to fail.

Here sits $350 worth of aluminum.

And here is $670 worth of aluminum.

The difference is a five dollar saw blade from Lowe's and the ability to accurately cut the different lengths. The lengths needed to make the bed have been cut. Holes still need to be located in all of the pieces in order to assemble the bed.

I have ordered the flat steel bar stock for the X and Y rail. I'm not looking forward to drilling the multitude of holes in each of them but I will save over a hundred dollars by drilling them myself...If I can manage to get them accurately located.

Other news is that I found out I'm going to have to order some 8020 gussets that aren't included in the fastener bundle I picked up. Not a big deal but another expense to add to the list. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


 Alright! As stated at CNCzone, the goods did finally arrive. Albeit a tad beat up. UPS bears one part of that blame but FLA bears the other part for shipping it in such a flimsy box in the first place. Non the less its here!

I literally felt like I just got a box of legos. All I wanted to do was sit down and put everything together. Unfortunately I didn't have time so I put it back in the box.

Last bit of news is that Nate, from FLA, finally contacted me. Here's what he had to say.

"Sorry for the delay.  The past 2 weeks we have been dealing with the damage from Hurricane Irene and then major flooding last week.  The shop as well as individual homes were flooded and we are finally done with the cleanup effort.  I had to replace a computer and haven't had access to email all week.



Its better late than never as far as I'm concerned. Once he shipped the parts they got here pretty quick but getting to that point was a pain. My advise for you Nate is to get a good friend that you can call and tell to post a message on your website letting everyone know if your having problems and can't get to the emails or UPS store...or hop on over to the library for a couple minutes and set up an auto reply on your email telling people who email you whats up. I'm not faulting you for taking care of you and yours. I would have done the same but give the world a heads up if your going to be gone for an extended period of time so people like me, who don't know your situation, don't freak out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One small step for my CNC....Apparently one giant leap for FLA

Its not much but the little status on my order changed from "to ship" on over to "Shipped". Its only took 7 business days (11 normal days due to the holiday, geeze feels like forever ago), 2 separate unreplied emails, a unreplied PM, and a post on CNCzone warning others of the time frame its taken so far for the fine staff over at FLA to casually place this order in the mail.

I'm giving this guy a hard time but all I care about is the parts showing up. I really wouldn't have minded it taking so long if I would have been kept in the loop. I once waited 2 months for a set of compressors to ship from California. The guy emailed me pretty soon after I placed the order to let me know the warehouse was out and there was a wait but that he would keep me informed.

With that said I don't know Nate (presumably the owner and operator of FLA). I've never talked to him so I don't know whats "on his plate" as someone on CNCzone put it. My only suggestion is put some warning on your site to let people know its going to take a couple weeks for it to ship. Maybe a little note by the price.

Something like this.

Price 370.00
Qty. 1
***Note: Due to high demand. Products may take up to 7 business days to ship***

This performs two tasks. First, it informs the customer that there is a wait and second it makes people want to go ahead and place the order if they're thinking about it since it sounds like the product in high demand. In reality its your time that's in high demand but that's the sales side of me coming out.


Free advice.

Respond to emails. It takes 2 minutes of your day and everyone has a phone that's capable of getting email these days. (If you don't, odds are you shouldn't be selling stuff online)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

DIY Graphics LCD arduino shield

Here is a shield I put together for my arduino mega so I didn't have to keep wiring the lcd in every time. It also has two buttons connected as well. Pretty fun when its up and running. I also have a bluetooth module I would like to add to the shield.

I have tested the BT module and connected it to me phone. Its pretty nifty to be able to control the arduino from my Evo. Eventually I would like to write the code to have it run the air ride on the blazer. I need to learn a tad bit more Java before I can do that though. :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

8020 - The Industrial Erector Set

 The UPS man is my hero. I got all my raw 8020 in the mail earlier this week. Its been the most exciting thing that's happened all week with the exception of today being my two year anniversary of being married to my great wife Holley Pickett! As soon as I get a couple free moments I'm going to start cutting the t-slot to the needed lengths.
//Redacted to save the internet from one more complaint.

Ive ordered a plethora of parts from which so far has been less than awesome... I hate to give bad press to people but I placed an order with them on the first of September and it still has not shipped according to the website. Not including the holiday or weekend that's still five business days. Ive also contacted them through their website and through CNCzone(to be known furthermore as the Zone). No response from either over the last two business days. According to threads on the Zone, this is the norm for the company because its his side business but the products always show up.

That sounds weak but what can you do.
So here I sit whining on the internet. I could delete this section but I think Im going to cross it out to see who will try to read it anyway. Its like whispering. Everyone wants to know whats being said. 42 is the answer.
//End Redaction

Where do we go from here? Well first off I need to cut these parts and patiently wait on FLA parts to come in. I also need to order some steel plate for the guide rails and accurately drill holes in them. Yeah I decided to go the route of drilling my own even though I cited a great build thread last post about how terrible an idea it was to try to do it on you own...but then again I'm me, I'm the best, and there is nothing I cant do myself, right? That's the mindset of all of us DIYers and how often has it saved us so much moneys yet cost us so much time.

Here's my latest idea. It got me motivated on bagging the blazer so well see how it works out this time. 


Ive got countdowns on the home screen of my phone for graduation, end of this semester, and it used to have one for bagging the blazer. This may seem crazy but Ive been programed by watching soo much Macgyver that seeing a clock counting down gets my blood going and puts me in go mode. Lame but if it works, it works.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wow...No really...Wow

Alright in my research (time wasting between classes) Ive been scouring great reasource. Couldnt say enough about it. Ive been a member since 2008 when my ideals of making a CNC were just that...ideas. Not deep pits to try to and make money bridges over.

I know you like that. I just made that one up.

Any way I ran across a link, which I found a link in, which led me to some other page, that eventually led me to this internet win.

That link there is internet gold and its going down in the history books...well at least the history books of my blog.  Anyway for you lazy people out there it's basically a picture book of the build Im about to start. It includes everything. How to assemble it. Which way the screws should face. The common pitfalls.

Speaking of pitfalls, as a DIYer I sometimes find myself in one when I over estimate my ability. A story about trying to build a crap ton of iPod audio out connectors comes to mind where I found out my soldering skills were less than I had needed at the time. With this being said I was thinking about buying my own steel plate in order to save another hundred bucks.

Hey, How hard can it be to drill a couple holes and a hundred bucks brews a lot of beer (BTW I brew beer as another one of my hobbies).

Now I may still do this but in addition to my own personal second thoughts the author of the aforementioned article laments several time about his decision in not purchasing the pre-drilled steel. Now with that in mind, I do have possible access to the Biosystems engineering departments machine shop....maybe...hopefully.

More to come as this unfolds but be on the lookout for pictures of a 50" UPS box on my front door any day now cause Im notorious for asking people to guess whats in boxes delivered to my house. It could be anything. Truck parts, Arduino junk, Hiking gear, or even the occasional **insert something crazy here**

As always, have nice day
^^Completely stolen from FPS russia

Monday, August 29, 2011

This post has NOTHING to do with zombies

Due to the fact that I stopped working on my CNC...and got rid of my old phone it...and stopped using my old blog anyway, it only seems right to get rid of said blog and start a new one. One with much more Google love. One with an Android app. So here it is. Feast your eyes on the new and awesomer (<-- not a real word) blog with a great view directly into the depths of my mind. Not only is this a VIP pass to the projects setting in my laboratory or my workshop its a channel for you to learn from me and my mistakes.

First off lets get a project started. I just bought a whole crap ton of this...

That's extruded aluminum for you uneducated people. Its the building blocks of the adult erector set. Sadly there wont be any bacon in this post either but if its bacon you were looking for you'd be over on youtube watching epic meal time so back to the project.

Basically the failures of my past attempt at building a CNC machine could be summed up in several things....well one. Hand tools are not very accurate in my hands. Ive performed a lot of things with hand tools. Anything from hanging drywall to cutting the frame of a truck to add air ride so Im pretty capable of most tasks. But cutting a perfectly straight line for 48 inches is just as hard as it looks using a skill saw. This is where the T-Slot (extruded aluminum) comes in to play. Its straight and easy to tweek if its not perpendicular.Its cheap enough to get in mass quantities from eBay and hopefully easy to work with. That point will be determined when it gets here in the next week or two.

Keep a look out for other posts pertaining to a couple arduino projects Ive got going on and possibly the rooting of an EVO 3D.