Waterjet cut tool

So the Surf’s crank pulley issue led to the requirement for a tool to be made to hold the crank and pulley still while undoing the centre bolt. The centre bolt is torqued to 360Nm so I need a tool with some meat. I whipped up a DXF of the idea and went to http://www.northwestwaterjet.co.uk/  where they cut it from 6mm plate steel for me. Super quick, super friendly service – well recommended.

Voltarol Medicated Plasters

Totally didn’t expect these to work Voltarol Medicated Plasters but was pleasantly surprised. I assumed these would be barely noticeable in performance and, having just twinged my back again for the first time in ages, I thought I’d risk the £10 for 2 (seems a bit steep).  I stuck one on and went about my day.

After about half an hour I noticed the absence of pain, even when doing things that normally trigger agony. Very weird. Oral medication rarely is this effective. unless it’s prescription.

The one negative I did find, and it IS a fairly big negative, is that if you’re not careful one corner will roll off your skin. The now upward stick face sticks to your T-shirt and gradually, without you knowing, rolls itself off and sticks itself to itself/your tshirt and you CAN NOT get the damn thing apart again to re-apply. On my first one it was reaching about the 10 hour mark, so I wasn’t too annoyed, but if it happens in the first 10 minutes, as it did on my second one, you lose a £5 plaster in 10 minutes. Super frustrating. Not sure how this could be resolved, but the folks at Volterol might have a smart idea!

Crank pulley failure

So in the middle of the week the Surf developed a strange squeeky knock. After a lot of faffing around and looking for the source (including thinking it was the top end – my hearing might be going!) here’s what it sounded like:

Further faffage, digging about and looking closely while listening to horrible noises found this:

Crank pulley (Harmonic Balancer) failure. Looks like I’ll need to grab one from either
Roughtrax or Milner.

Digital DTI datalogger

I had a digital DTI project on the go, and was using a complex mix of hardware to convert its serial data output to sane values, then spit it back through a serial>USB converter. This was a pain in the bum and meant I had to run that and a laptop to datalog it. Seeing as I also wanted to datalog a couple of other channels (voltage and current) this was going to require a separate input and tying them all together in the laptop. Ugh.

So I bought an Arduino Mega 2560 and an LCD touchscreen for it which came with an SD card slot. I’ve spent a little time writing the code to display all channels, allow turning on and off various IO via the touchscreen, and datalogging to the SD card. It’s working fairly well but I’m struggling to get the current resolution fine enough to capture down to the 50mA I need to measure. I may try a simple sense resistor rather than a hall effect probe. I’ll update the page soon.

CNC Machine now back alive again

I’ve been tinkering with the G0704 based CNC machine’s spindle controller again, and now it’s able to step and direction control to give me fully automatic spindle speed control.

As you can see, it’s now at least able to home itself properly again. Soon the touch probe will be here and I’ll be able to start making chips again, but I’ve still got some motor guards to make up and the flood coolant pipework to sort out.

CNC nearly alive again

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