Automatic Tool Changer

This is an automatic tool changer I designed for my PM-940CNC. It should be fairly easy to modify for almost any machine, and I’ve designed three sizes (6, 10 and 18 station) which should cover the range of hobbyist machines. Run by a stepper driver with a simple homing switch, and actuated pneumatically to reach the spindle.

I’m hoping to get the first one built (for my machine) this winter, and start offering them for sale in the spring. At that point I’ll probably be looking for 3-5 beta testers who I would give a price break to.

More paintball repairs

This time I was reverse engineering a feedneck for a Smart Parts SP8 marker. These markers are notorious for cracking the body around the feedneck mount, as well as the feedneck itself. This is partially due to the poor force path provided by the original designers, who tilted the feedneck off-center without adding additional support. The customer initially requested an all-metal feedneck, however because of the complex geometry that was a very expensive option. We ultimately settled on two designs, one entirely 3D printed, and the other partially 3D printed with a metal extension epoxied in. These fit up great into the marker, and were a really good example of how powerful 3D printing can be for hard to produce geometries.

Power drawbar

Mechanical design for a pneumatic power drawbar to allow Tormach TTS to be used on my PM-940. This project has to wait until the mill motor upgrade is complete, at which point I can purchase the TTS tooling and mount and install this. Not a very complex part, it’s basically a floating steel plate attached to a 4-stage pneumatic cylinder, with a separate Belleville assembly added onto the drawbar. The cylinder should produce upwards of 2,500 pounds of force, which should allow for a very strong Belleville stack to retain the TTS tooling. Since I’m hoping to run up to 3HP through the spindle, I’m kinda entering unknown territory compared to the Tormach machines, so there’s a good opportunity to do some experimentation and figure out the correct setup.

PTP Micrococker bolt, pin and sled

Another case of an old, worn marker. The customer needed a new sled, and wanted a different pin orientation than the original, which required a new bolt and pin. The sled was particularly tricky because there’s a threaded hole with very little meat around it on the front face (left as shown in the above picture), which I ended up making at the end of everything. If I did it again, I would change the workholding so that was done first, then the exterior dimensions were milled. Picture below shows it mounted on the marker before anodizing.micrococker

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.