Dragonfly

Sometimes I wonder if I should change the blog’s name to “The Electromechanical Mercenary”, mostly because I keep doing things like this:

Extras:

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Those were developed in just under one and a half weeks, so they should count only as prototype. I am preparing a fancier version with hollow axles on all gears, better pneumatic mechanical advantage and overall higher quality in design, mostly because I can, but also to show-off at Eurosteamcon 2016

versions

Some more shots of the beautiful model that wore it:

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This is my wallpaper for the time being:

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Lastly, the blue in the wings is high quality automotive reflective tape, so you must avoid taking pictures with flash, or this will happen:

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Watersports (To kill a laserbird, 3 of X)

After you’ve broken two laser tubes (one chinese, one high quality) because of lack of refrigeration, it’s about time you hodor honor the promise of making that damn waterflow sensor you said you were going to make in the first place the first time you broke the laser.

Everything starts with a drawing:

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Nice try, but no, that’s not even a (blood) flow detector.

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Looks like a plan, doesn’t it? XD

Let’s build something

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Cut and drill the acrylic as needed:

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Mill some slots for the water to run past the buoy:

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Add magnets, of course!

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Acrylic rod drilled and sealed with epoxy.

Polish:

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Glue nicely to prevent leaks:

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Mill a slot, glue some reed sensors (since it’s not a tachometer, you don’t really need hall effect sensors), add connector of your chosing. I used a DB9 because I want all the connectors for external devices to be all different, so I can’t mistakenly connect two.

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Succes!

How it works:

The magnet buoy resides at the short piece, acting as a loose plug. Once water starts flowing, it will push it upwards, however, if there is not enough flow, the venturi effect will prevent the buoy to get past the slot interface and up to the top of the sensor, signaling for a decreased flow, probably because of clogged filter. If there is nothing wrong with the setup, the water will swiftly push the magnet carrier up to the top of the assembly, activating the laser enable and allowing you to lase whatever you want.

So, the laser is safe-ish, for now. ^^

 

Concentricity.

spacers

So, I was making these spacers to align some boards into an adhesive backing and I would like to point out that if you ever do something like this, you MUST NOT lathe the recess using the hexagonal body of the spacer. If you do, they (lathed part and center of rotation of the screw) will be very misaligned (up to 0.5mm).

Use, instead, a screw wrapped in copper foil to attach it to the chuck, then lathe away until you achieve the desired diameter. (2.52/50 in those). Also, be careful to make shallow passes or you might bend the screw and mess up something.

(yeah, not much electronics lately, I know. Just wait for it, I’m preparing something really cool, continuing a previous project)

Spineless II: Poor man’s ball joints.

Today I’m going to show you how the spinal prop ball joints where made:

Aria

Materials/Tools:

  1. Threaded balls.
  2. Polycaprolactone, a.k.a. friendly plastic.
  3. Access to a lathe, or a friend that has one for a small turning job.
  4. 3 lip chamfer tool (and power drill/lathe)
  5. Clamp.
  6. Scissors.
  7. Pliers.
  8. Ball’s appropriate allen key.
  9. (optional) Plastic dye.

First of all, you must understand what you want to do. You want to encase the ball in some material wich allows it to swivel freely, more or less something with this profile:

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Ideally, that would have the thickness of the support, but that presents a bit of a problem when the ball is already odd sized:

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I don’t have a 5.4mm drill bit for the anvils to encase the ball. Also, this kind of arrangement won’t provide any ball centering, so it IS going to be off to one side or another.

The solution? make a flange on the anvils so they fit snuggly in the hole of the support:

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That, of course, comes with it’s own set of problems, first of all, the odd sized holes:

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Again, I don’t have a 5.6/5.7 drill bit at hand (I usually only have x.9 bits to use prior reaming an even sized hole). You could always modify the thickness of the support so it gives you a better hole size, but any variation will mess up that fit. Nothing that a bit of ingenuity can’t solve.

For now you can build the anvils, taking care of drillng the holes for the ball slightly smaller than the contact points (I could have used 5.5 mm in this case, but went with 5mm because I didn’t want to take any chances). Also, since you’re at it, drill and tap one of the anvils so you can screw the ball in there, and doesn’t move on further operations.

They should look like this:

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Now comes the trick. Using a chamfer tool to eat away the corners, slowly fit both anvils until you can’t rotate the support around them (so their spacing when resting against the ball, matches your support thicknes, in my case, 4mm)

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And they will look more or less like this:

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Also, altough the drawings show a smooth bore, you must provide a means for the ball brace to stay in place, otherwise it will slip out of the support.
I just drilled a hole from the free end of the support and 2mm onto the cylinder’s body itself:

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And now it’s time to assemble some ball joints!

First, melt some friendly plastic (I dyed mine black for aesthetic purposes only, be warned, it’s a mess, use gloves!) then loosely press fit it in the hole you are going to use:

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Trim the excess:

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Now, before everyting cools, submerge both the support with the plastic and the ball holder anvil in very hot water to ensure that the plastic doesn’t cool quickly and flows around everything:

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(I couldn’t hold both and the camera at the same time ^^U )

Now, do both these steps QUICKLY!

Assemble the support with the hot plastic and the COLD (room temp.) anvil:

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Then press fit all, use the clamp to ensure everything stays in it’s place:

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Note how the plastic oozes from the hole, that’s good, it means it probably filled everything as supposed to.

Wait for it to cool a bit, then, grabbing only the support…

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Pull the cold anvil from it:

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If you look carefully, you can see the metal from the ball, as there is almost no material left between it and the oozing plastic from the cold anvil:

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Using the pliers, just rip off the leftover. If you didn’t wait long enough, the soft plastic will deform and mess up the joint. If so, just melt everything up and start again, friendly plastic doesn’t mind it:

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Assuming all went well, unscrew the ball with the allen key, but DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, wiggle the ball yet. Unless you waited a lot, the plastic in contact with the ball is still soft and will grab the ball and deform if you move anything. Leave it to one side to cool down and repeat the process. I was able to do three joints with a very hot glass of water, (didn’t had a thermometer to monitorize water temperature).

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If you applied enough pressure, that bit of flash should come off easily:

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Now you only need to break-in the joint. Move the axle to one extreme and then all around the range of the joint. That will loose it enough to move smoothly but still have very little play:

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And that’s it! now you wave fully functional ball joints for normal temperature conditions. I suppose you could thread the exit hole from the support and thread a nozzle from a 3D printer to inject ABS plastic. But that’s delving into high temperatures and performances I don’t need at the moment.

And now, let’s watch it one more time in this glorious shot:

I bet you didn’t mind the vertical video. XD!

Also, remember I said you needed to provide some sort of anchorage for the ball brace to hang into? Here’s what happens if you don’t:

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POP!

SkyFall

This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again

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For this is the end
I’ve drowned and dreamt this moment
So overdue I owe them
Swept away, I’m stolen

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Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together

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Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At skyfall
That skyfall

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Skyfall is where we start
A thousand miles and poles apart
Where worlds collide and days are dark
You may have my number, you can take my name
But you’ll never have my heart

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Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
Face it all together

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Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
Face it all together
At skyfall
[…]

This is the end…

Or…is it not?

A story ends…a new stage begins…

I will soon be moved off from production to become a SMD machinist. I’ll be heading towards controlling not one but three SMT assembly lines. I have no fear in me from long workdays and odd hours, but I keep wondering what will happen to me. Will anything from the old me remain when the training is over and I’m on my own?

As said, I have no fear, but I do contemplate the fact that I might burn up quickly. I’m not sure my bosses take that into account.

I haven’t chosen the song lightly either. When it says we will “face it all together”, it’s because as long as I’m able, I am going to keep a journal, both in video and text, of what it is to become a machinist, what do you do, what do you learn, and if I burn up, you’ll see my fall.

On the other hand, I wonder if my new boss fully understands what he’s got with me. He hasn’t done any interviews, as I have been just hand picked. He barely knows me, just that I like machines, machining, electronics and stuff…but that I also don’t see my bosses as superiors but as equals.

If I see something wrong, I say so. I will always spoke my mind. I will also work more like a robot than a human (I don’t drink coffee, I don’t smoke, so I don’t loose time in nonsense. I like efficiency above everything else, and I don’t waste my time at work, or if I do it, it is in a fully approved way by the A.S. Enrichment Center).

It is interesting because I am going to apropriately meet him in a road trip across the country to get the machines. I don’t know if sitting in a car for 10 hours with your future boss is the best way of being introduced to someone.

Also, he doesn’t know that this is a reverse job interview. He doesn’t have to like me as a worker, I have to like him as a boss, otherwise I’ll pass the offer along to the next coworker who is adequate for the job. I’m not sure either where this self assurance comes. I know the job must meet some basics like let me play around, document things, carry my bag-o-tools, mount my own boards, use the tools for my personal projects, etc…plus some extras I plan to add to better fit the job timetable to my needs. Basically I don’t especially need more money (altough I could use it for something, sure.) and I don’t need being stressed, yelled, forced to overtime and work outside a normal job envelope. And since I don’t need that, I feel free to say no if all that doesn’t come with a set of bonuses and benefits as big as a mountain, apart from the money, I mean.

Of course there are still posts to be written (and some drafts to be published too) about the laser, the CNC router and if I ever finish the 3D printer, that too.

Because of too much KSP, I just feel like going too fast in a reentry…