The silicone order’s now arrived, a day late. Will be finishing up that process shortly.

I need to get to the hackspace to double-check a thread type; it’s either UNF or whitworth. Then I can order it. It’s for the high-vacuum station that’ll operate as an optical coater and outer-space environmental test chamber for the open-source space program.

Camera is now “fixed” in that I managed to cut the cheap adaptor ring off without breaking it.

Need to open up the Myvu video goggles. There should be a current-set resistor somewhere on the control board that I can replace to make it run just one display, and make it into a decent starters monocular display for the Raspberry Pi based wearble computer system. Then coding, typing and designing as I go will be doable.

Workshop’s being rearranged since my brother moved out. A new cabinet’s down there (big metal thing and reason why my back hurts so much now), so I’m seperating stuff up properly into tools, consumables and materials (including moulds).

Going to put the camera and phone on charge and see if I can’t also harvest the ornemental plums today too, on camera.

Some hair-dye would be good too.

Hackspace work

Spent the bank holiday monday at the Hackspace. Spent about 8 or 9 hours using the grinder and welder turning the salvaged box-section into the frame for the high-vacuum station. It went pretty well. Everything’s square to within a milimeter or two.

Wanted it done today to show progress before the welding gear goes off to EMF for the week.

I’ll finish it up when the gear comes back next week, or possibly earlier if I get a lift in and bring my own welder with me.

Basically it just needs some tack-welds fully welding up and the beveled console area at the back making up.

Some of the flat bar needs cutting too to make corner supports for the worktop. It’s some nice 1″ thick melamine coated stuff from the woodpile that should sit flush. The chamber base will sit recessed into it and the pump stack will hang underneath.

Some more box-section needs to go at the base too, but will be to support the backing pump and HV transformer, so will depend on where they fit best.

Also need someone to donate a scrap 19″ cabinet I can gut the mounting rails from. I’m trying to build in the facility for extra instrumentation later on.

And here’s a picture of Hipster after his EMF tank moved under it’s own power for the first time!

Finally! The mill arrived!

After 6 months of waiting I noticed Chester had the Eagle 25 mill on special offer. I called them and found out that this indeed meant the new lot of mills had arrived!
I borrowed some money to pay off the outstanding bill on it and got delivery arranged as soon as possible, since I didn’t want mine to be the last of the lot for a couple of reasons;

  • If there was something wrong with it, I wanted there still to be one to replace it with.
  • If I waited until there weren’t many left, I’d risk getting the obviously less than immaculate ones.

So yesterday around 3pm, it arrived!

I’d had some trouble with Chester when trying to find out how large the actual crate would be, since it was coming to a domestic property and we have a nice domestic garden-gate it’d have to get through. I’d been told it was 90cm wide, so to expect packaging a few cm larger than that. So as a result I was fully expecting to have to dismantle it on the pavement outside to move it in.

Fortunately the crate, once off the pallet was just small enough to fit into the front garden. :)

The reason for this was it’s packed diagonally to save space, so the crate wasn’t as wide or deep.

And there she is. :3

Checked the manual and with help from Andy, broke it down into; the base, motor, headstock, and column. Then we lugged it through to the workshop.

Whew! That’s a hell of a weight off my mind now.

I generally like the layout, though there’s a couple of niggles; the belt housing lacks an extra hatch that’s in the manual so it can be opened when the head is in a lowered position. It also has mains cabling running through it within milimeters of the spindle pulley. The quality of the table casting is also a bit rough. But of all the Chinese tools I’ve bought it’s probably the best, and I bought it understanding it would need tweaking.

It’s the R8 taper version with metric leadscrews (2mm pitch). I’ll need to make some adaptors and stand-offs for the the table portion.

The top-box should come off fairly easily, though the spindle pully is a lot larger than I expected. This might make it trickier to position the big DC motor. But overall nothing has been thrown up that can’t be overcome.

I’m going to knock a couple of other small projects out of the way before I really get started on it, but should be able to work on it pretty easily come the new year. :)

Late night confession

I’m a bit afraid right now.

The milling machine’s been delayed another month. ETA is now early December. But I’m not complaining. Technically I don’t have enough money for it anymore. Once it arrives I’ll have at most a fortnight to pay the rest of the outstanding balance.

Since the £700 set aside for it was going to be sitting in my bank account for some 3 (now 6) months longer than expected, I decided to try and grow the money a bit before it went finally into low-fluidity material goods.

I’ve been spending a lot of money this week. A lot of it either on repairing or replacing tools, but mostly on these horns I’ve won on ebay tonight and the upright rotary table for the 4-axis mill project.
And I’ll be spending more once the horns arrive. I’ll be casting a lot, painting, trying out foam-rubber casts, mostly in the hope of getting enough wonderful quality items ready that I’ll be able to storm both Etsy and MCM Expo with them.

I think I can do it. But I’m still gambling again. And to be honest with myself, my previous gambles haven’t had very good returns.

It’s a supportive routine though. Waiting for supplies and parts to arrive sets me up with a waiting list in my mind, so I get on with immediate jobs a lot faster.

All I do is talk about what I do now. I’m sorry it’s likely not a very interesting subject to most.

Backlog/owed items are almost all done. Legacy projects are either scrapped or progressing. Things are generally improving. Life’s clearing out the chaff.

Will try and get back on Skype in the workshop again tomorrow. Talking while I work may help further.