Guerilla guide to CNC machining

[Ian] wrote in to tell us about the Guerilla Guide to CNC Machining and Resin Casting. He came across it in the reference links to another project and says he wish he knew about it a long time ago. We took a look and there’s a mountain of useful information in the guide, which is written by [Michal Zalewski]. We won’t pretend that we’ve read the whole thing, there’s days worth of information here. But we will. The range of topics includes types of milling machines, milling materials, software options and use, safety, and the list goes on. Bookmark this (don’t forget the second volume), it might be just the thing to get you through the holiday with your family.

Machining an SLR camera from scratch

It took us a while to stop drooling long enough to write about this amazing machining project. [Denis MO] made a single-lens reflex camera from scratch. The banner image above is not the finished product, but just one step in the production chain. [Denis] has been thinking about doing this project for 25 years and finally took the plunge. From the start, the only parts he planned on NOT making himself were the screws, ball bearings, shutter, curtain fabric, and interchangeable lenses. Everything else is his own creation based off of his own design. Spend some time looking over his project. There’s plenty of information and images of both the machining process, and the drawings he mocked up in the design process. We’ve also included a pic of the finished camera and the contact sheet from his test roll of film after the break.

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Devote your life to replicating a lightsaber

Life-sized Star Wars replica props, it’s one way to keep the ladies away. But if you’re going to make them, you should do it right. [Bradley W. Lewis] spent some serious time getting this [Obi-Wan Kenobi] lightsaber right. The seven-page build log provides plenty of eye-candy. We especially enjoyed the machine and coloring of he grenade-fin portion. The LED ladder that lights the blade is also quite interesting. For the icing on the cake he incorporated a high-performance speaker connected to the sound board from a Hasbro Force FX which provides that classic swashbuckling sound from a galaxy far, far away.

Precision grinder is a thing of beauty

This beautifully crafted grinder would make any machining enthusiast salivate.It features a fixture for holding your work at any angle or orientation to the grinding wheel but the slotted bed also allows for other attachments to be used. Two of the examples shown in this highly detailed (machine porn) writeup include sharpening bits and light surface grinding. There’s not much more to say because the pictures speak for themselves.

[Thanks Bud]

DIYLILCNC: do-it-yourself CNC mill

DIYLILCNC

The DIY LIL CNC project is the newest member of the homebrew fabrication scene. This is a three-axis CNC mill that can be built by anyone with basic shop skills and about $700 in their pocket. Many of the materials can be acquired from the likes of Home Depot: the basic framework is assembled from Masonite, while other cost-cutting measures include the use of skate bearings and a common Dremel tool for powering the cutting bit. About half of the cost is for the HobbyCNC driver and stepper motor package that runs the show.

The instructions for the DIY LIL CNC are distributed under a Creative Commons license, allowing for modification and distribution with few restrictions. They’re well-written and quite thorough, including all patterns and a complete bill of materials with suppliers, part numbers and costs. As documented, the ’bot can produce parts up to 12 x 14 x 2 inches, but the project’s creators offer some suggestions on adapting the design for larger work. It’s not self-replicating like the RepRap aims for; you’ll need access to a laser cutter for some of the parts. If you can clear that hurdle, this looks like a great introduction to CNC production.

Machining Gets Wet and Wild

Electromachining

[Tyler] has had his electrochemical machining hack up for a while now. His final version uses a pump to move electrolyte out through the etching head and onto the workpiece. This keeps fresh electrolyte in the etching region and clears out the insoluble material. We see how this could be attached to a CNC system and used to etch PCBs without the use of a special inkjet printer, toner transfer, or laser etching machine.

[thanks Ian]

Defocusing LED Clock

[Dennis] has created a well-documented and very beautiful clock in his latest project. This clock stands out from the other clock projects we have covered with its unique display. The seven segment LED displays mounted on a sled that moves them back and forth behind an array of fiber optic lenses, effectively taking the display out of focus at certain points. Currently, a Dorkboard controls the sled, moving it at random intervals. The case is machined and polished aluminium, the top buttons are ball bearings.