Week 46, 2015 – Radiation and the Stimulated Emission Thereof

A new post? After Fallout 4 was released?! And it’s actually ON TIME?!?!?!  Yeah, I amaze even myself sometimes.

Five days ago, Fallout 4 dropped.  So I’ve kinda been doing nothing but playing that since then…  But that doesn’t mean nothing of note has been going on, because yesterday… This happened.

Excuse the certain earthy potato-like flavor of these pics, I used a Samsung Galaxy S3 to snap them, because I’m sick of not getting these sorts of liveblagging images when I can’t be bothered to set up a bunch of lights and a tripod.  I need a point-and-shoot that can do RAW. :<

A FREAKIN’ LASER! From China, with cheapness.


In its new (at least temporary) home between the 3D printer and the NEO-GEO cabinet.


The inside. I’m going to need a power bed upgrade and an air assist… And I’d like to get rid of that stupid exhaust duct.


A 40 Watt, water-cooled, CO2 laser tube.


The second test, after using the laser to engrave the word ‘TEST’… I wonder what it is?


It seems Vault Boy approves of my use of ‘Science!’ Guess I can go back to Fallout 4 now.

I’ll do a more in-depth look at the laser soon, as well as the November acquisitions post.

Week 41, 2013 – Digital Readout

A couple years ago I bought a bunch of cheap Chinese digital calipers with the notion of using them to build my own DRO (Digital Readout) for a mill or lathe, or getting one from ShumaTech which now seems quite defunct.  A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon a newer project using an Android device as a DRO, with a simple Arduino hardware interface to some magnetic scales.  The developer has since added support for the Texas Instruments MSP430 Launchpad board, and is in the process of adding support for the cheap Chinese scales and calipers.  I’ll do a full write-up when I build the system.  (I’ll be installing it on the lathe, since the mill will be converted to CNC in the near future.)

He was supposed to release an updated version of the firmware that supports the Chinese calipers the weekend this was originally posted, but it’s been two weeks now, and nothing.  So I think I’m going to have to get back to writing my firmware now that I have my sample voltage shifter chips from TI.

Week 40, 2013 – Shars Tools

I fell a bit behind; I had these posts partially prepared but never posted.  I’m going to try and add at least a couple links and pictures later.

So I made an order from Shars Tools.  Shars is where I’ve gotten the majority of the tooling and instruments for my machine shop.  It’s basically the Made-in-China-dot-com of the machine tool world, and judging from the AOL and gmail mail addresses, I swear it’s run out of somebody’s house, and they don’t actually have any inventory, it just comes direct from China and they send it off to customers…it really wouldn’t surprise me in the least. But their prices are hard to beat, they’ve got one of the best selections, and their customer service is good and very responsive, especially considering it really does seem to be run by like ONE PERSON.

This time I picked up some handy bits and bobs, for instance, a set of telescoping gages, and a direct-reading ‘mechanical digital’ micrometer accurate to 0.0001″.  Very good tools for inspection.

I picked up some new inserts for the indexable tools for my lathe; since I can’t run it fast enough to reach the optimal cutting speeds for carbide inserts on aluminium I’d been meaning to get some aluminium-specific inserts…which are sort of hard to find for some reason.  I also picked up a matching indexable boring bar.  I wanted to get a pair of internal and external indexable threading tools with special thread-forming inserts, but they were like $30 each.  Need to do that though if I’m going to really do any serious fabrication on the lathe.  I also had my eye on this great grooving and profiling tool.  Profiling will be a big deal if I ever convert the lathe for CNC.

Also picked up an indexable dovetail mill for the milling machine.  I figured it didn’t cost that much more than the non-indexable version, so screw it. This way, any time it gets dull, I can just replace the cutting edges instead of buying a new cutter. Inserts are relatively cheap.

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