The little lathe

To complement my mill I’ve also got a Precision Matthews PM-1030, which is in the middle of a conversion to CNC control. It’s definitely a small machine with limited horsepower, but it gets a fair amount done, and I’m hoping the addition of CNC broadens its capabilities a bit. I’ve run up to 1/2″ drills in aluminum with it, but it struggles there. I’m not sure it has the rigidity to go up much from the 1HP motor that’s in there now.

Watch making

The original reason I bought my mill was for watchmaking. I never got around to putting the fixturing together or starting the project, in part because I figured I’d have to make up a sheet metal die to manufacture the faces. This week I stumbled on photochemical machining for a totally different project, and I realized it would be a great cost effective way to make complex watch faces. So there will be a part 2 to this down the road somewhere.Watch - 3

The Mill

This is a Precision Matthews PM-940CNC. Basically a modified Rong Fu 45 design, it weighs about 1,100 pounds total. Right now it’s running the stock 1.5HP motor, and it got it’s first major upgrade a few weeks ago: a full enclosure. This is great because I no longer have to spray chips everywhere, and I can now add flood coolant to the system.

I’ve already planned out adding a coolant system, a 5HP motor (which is really chosen to ensure it can output 3HP when run at 120Hz), a power drawbar, and an automatic tool changer to it, but the design and manufacturing of those will be separate posts later on.

Plans and instructions for building the enclosure will be up for sale on my site ( soon.

Threaded goggle clip for Frogglez Gogglez

The inventor of Frogglez Gogglez hired me through Upwork to design a threaded flexible google clip that could be injection molded. He had a general idea of what the product would be but needed someone who could reduce it to practice (a.k.a. build something that works).

We started with some of the dimensions of the clip this would replace, so that the new clip will attach to the goggles. From there, we discussed the adjustability requirements. I custom-designed a thread form which should minimize binding while allowing both sides of the clip to flex without breaking.

We’re currently prototyping this with 3D printing, and the customer has a vendor in China who is waiting for a final part in order to make a mold.

Beer cavitation reactor

Another random Reddit find, maybe weirder than the last one. This was a guy who wanted to use a venturi to create cavitation in order to process the malt for beer production without creating as much gluten. This is process also has potential to use less energy because apparently the cavitation heats the malt enough for complete processing without any additional heat.

The idea has been tested by a lab at the Istituto di Biometeorologia in Florence, Italy headed by Lorenzo Albanese, with a few published papers that are available for free (e-mail if you can’t find them, I think they’re mostly on researchgate).

I dove in and learned quite a bit about standards for manufacturing food and beverage processing equipment, as well as stainless steel welding. It was a bummer I never got to fabricate anything, but the design phase was pretty fun too.

Really neat idea, I’d be interested in pursuing it further with someone who’s more dedicated to brewing than me.

KZ440 single carb manifold

Some guy on Reddit was looking for one of these, then he fell off the face of the earth so I never made it.

This product is a great example of why something ‘simple’ can be fairly expensive to produce in quantities of one. Even though it’s a fairly simple manifold (and most of the parts can be bought off the shelf), it requires a fixture to get the cylinder end flanges at the correct angles. This adds a bunch of cost to it that spread over 5-10 units wouldn’t matter, but for a lot of little jobs like this the customer is pretty price sensitive.

So hopefully this comes in handy to someone with a KZ440.

Crossman cylinder reverse engineering

This is one of the many paintball projects I tend to pick up. It’s a cylinder for a paintball revolver that was made in the ’80s (Crossman 3357) which like many markers of that era has a small cult following now.

The problem with these cylinders is that they’re plastic but they’re located with a metal pin. So the plastic teeth get worn out and the whole part needs to be replaced.

I priced out a bunch of different options for the customer, ranging from what we did (FFF printed PLA) up to SLS stainless steel. I modified the original design to use individual o-rings to hold the round in each chamber, so that the customer can use the smaller paint that tends to be available now. Waiting to see how it performs when he has it installed.