Week 50, 2015 – Quick Update… Quick like a Laser!

A blog post, on time?! Is it an illusion, or am I one miracle closer to sainthood?! (Is there an evil equivalent of a saint?)

I still haven’t posted the November Acquisitions– which ought to be a hell of a post considering I spent $2,500+! –nor the December Acquisitions… (Blame Fallout 4; 130 hours in and I haven’t touched the main storyline. great game!) So just bear with me for a moment!

Yesterday I finally got the stupid exhaust duct out of the laser cutter, having long since removed the original bed.  This required that I completely remove the XY table assembly.  I wasn’t too keen on doing this, but it turned out that it couldn’t really go back any way but how it was because of the tight tolerances. One interesting thing of note; the holes in the enclosure’s mounting flanges were properly made as part of its construction…but the ones in the XY assembly were very roughly drilled in the steel U-beams with no cleanup, I really don’t get it.  It’s like the whole XY assembly was handmade and put into an off-the-shelf machine enclosure. The cut-out in the rear beam for the exhaust was rough-hewn with some manner of saw, too. (And not even deburred!) In a perfect world, I would have taken the XY assembly completely out of the machine and cleaned those up, deburred the edges, and so on…but life’s imperfect.

Anyway, now I have to align the mirrors… I needed to do it anyway because I hadn’t after receiving the unit, but now that I’ve taken the whole bloody carriage out and put it back in, I definitely have to do it.  There are some helpful 3D-printable tools for this, which I will link to down below.

After that’s taken care of, I can find the focal point of my laser and that will help me determine how to mount my new honeycomb bed.  I ripped out the shitty old bed which was utterly useless, and now with it and the exhaust duct gone, I can cut/engrave basically the entire space within the XY table area… That’s like 12×14 inches, certainly a fair sight better than the 9×12 the machine is supposed to do*, and it sure makes the 12×12 sheets of birch plywood I picked up more useful.  (*And the work-holding clamp in the stock bed had a capacity of like 2.5×6 inches or something absurd like that, and you only got the 9×12 if you laid something on TOP of that.)

Though, after everything is back to normal, I’m going to want to install my new air-assist head and high-quality 18mm Zinc-Selenium lens… The air assist will aid in cutting by blowing smoke out of the way of the beam, as well as helping to keep stuff from getting deposited on the lens and mirrors. (And blowing out small flare-ups.) The lens is purported to give a 15-20% increase in power over the regular lenses they were selling, and I’m sure those are already a little better than the stock lens.

Doing that will of course require me to readjust the bed height to account for the new lens height and focal length…but such is life.  I don’t want to do all my upgrades at once and then try to figure out why everything’s gone to hell.

Links!

Here’s some helpful links for laser cutter users.

Week 38, 2013 – A Different Kind of Patent Trolling

One of my many hobbies is collecting airsoft guns.  Given that I am exceedingly poor, I have taken great interest in making airsoft guns and accessories.  Electric guns are easy, everyone knows how they work.  Gas guns are…not so easy.  I mean, the general how is fairly easy to understand, but the mechanical details and the way valves and stuff go together…  So I did a lot of digging for information, and that’s when I stumbled upon a patent, as well as the whole ‘Google Patents’ sub-site.

Once I figured out how to search right, my brain’s knack for retaining seemingly pointless trivia whether I want it to or not came in very handy.  For instance, a lot of Taiwanese and Hong Kong airsoft company names are seldom given as anything other than acronyms… But the full names— which over the years I have occasionally come across —are what’s on the patent applications.

Examples: ICS = I Chih Shivan Enterprise Co., Ltd. and HFC =  Ho Feng Industry Co., Ltd.

And of course the Japanese companies like Western Arms have all sorts of patents.  And all these applications have mechanical drawings.  Not dimensioned or anything, but I get the idea of what’s going on.

Here’s some interesting patents:
In-Magazine Pressure Reduction Valve (For 12g CO2 cartridges)
12g CO2 Cartridge Gas Gun Magazine (HFC’s patent)
ICS’s design for 40mm BB shower grenades (Not as nice as Madbull’s!)
The Firing and Rotary Magazine Assembly for ICS’s Rotary Launcher

AmazonSupply

[Reposted from a May 2nd 2012 post from my old blog.  I plan to do a formal review in the future!]

Last week, I heard about a new site Amazon was launching called AmazonSupply.  Having just gotten an Amazon Prime membership, I jumped at the chance to see if it carried over to the new site. (It does! Gift card balances don’t though.)

Normally, I buy my raw materials and fasteners from McMaster-Carr, but the one downside is that I know I’m always facing a $10~30 shipping fee and I won’t even know what it is until days later when they actually bill me!  Because of that, I don’t order from them unless I have a comfortable surplus of cash.  It also means I try to consolidate my orders, to make the shipping worth it.

AmazonSupply doesn’t beat McMaster’s prices on most things, and they have nowhere near the selection…however, the items that are cheaper, I can afford to pick and choose, because my Amazon Prime membership gives me free 2-day shipping, and $3.99/item overnight!  It also means I can impulse buy materials, or grab things I need ASAP and have them in 1-2 days, guaranteed.  This is evidenced by the fact that in the week since I heard about the site, I’ve made 4 orders. (Mostly for stainless steel round stock.)

So, while they don’t replace McMaster– not by a long shot –they’re definitely on my list of regular suppliers now!

–Update!–

You CAN use Amazon.com giftcard balances on AmazonSupply, but there’s a catch; you have to find the item on AmazonSupply and then paste the ASIN into the Amazon.com searchbar, and you’ll be able to buy it through Amazon.com and use your giftcard balance.  How do accounts and Amazon Prime carry over, but not giftcard balances?

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