Tuesday, February 28, 2017


I made stilts for my girlfriend for her birthday. The feet are rounded so they don't splinter. The ledges are made of hickory, rabbeted, screwed, and glued.

Here's a photo of her using them. Maybe I will make her a folding fan next year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Electronic Leadscrew Control Panel

A year ago I started making an electronic leadscrew for the Taig lathe, which is a leadscrew coupled to a motor. The motor is controlled by a computer of some description. Generally an electronic leadscrew is used on an otherwise manual lathe, to allow threading or automatic feed.

Design goals:
  • Keep a simple user interface
    • No electronic displays
    • Unambiguous if something isn't working as it should
    • Intuitive
  • Build it well
    • Reliable connectors and enclosure
I designed this panel in CAD and paid Ponoko to cut/engrave it out of acrylic.

I'm right handed, so the most used buttons went on the right (9, 10, 11). With the three selector switches (6, 7, 8) and two-digit thumbwheel switches (5), the user can choose just about any metric pitch, any inch pitch, and a wide range of feed rates. Part of the project was a precise limit switch to stop the lathe carriage, indicated by the 'limit' light (3).

You can view the panel components here.

Below is a panel with screw 'holes'. Being laser cut, I also sized the holes differently in case the above panel was too tight/loose.

I mostly abandoned this project after being honest with myself: I hardly ever need to cut single-point threads. For my own purposes, I can usually just use a threading die or modify a screw.

I think it was a good lesson in not buying stuff. Despite the project never being finished, I like what I made.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Power Hacksaw and Wooden Bushings

I rebuilt this Craftsman power hacksaw. It is slow, but quiet and accurate.

Above is the belt tensioning assembly.

Here is the depth stop block and switch flicker. It turns the saw off once it cuts through the material.

I gave the saw to a friend who makes longboards--he will use it for machining.

I also made some lignum vitae bushings on the manual lathe. 3/4" OD. I think they look really cool! Accurate as well, and fun to machine.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Shipping Crates

I boxed up the milling machine to send to my friend who bought it from me. I think he will use it better than I did. I made the crates of 1/2" C/D fir plywood, which is close to the price of cardboard per square foot! Each box weighs around 50 lb. Not only will the plywood protect the contents better than cardboard, but the crates should be useful for other things for many years to come.

The lids are attached with M8 flat head hex drive screws, 35mm long, screwed into tapped hardwood struts. I drew symbols to aid in removal and replacement of the lid.

Both are packed tight!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Drill Press VFD Mount

Made of beech. Everything fits nice! The switch on the left is a disconnect for the VFD, the motor start/stop switch is on the front of the drill press head.

Hard to tell from the darkness of the photo, but it's tight quarters inside the VFD. The wire ferrules make it less frustrating to connect the mains and motor.