Machining Without Machines

It’s a luxury to be able to access a modern machine shop, complete with its array of lathes, mills, and presses. These tools are expensive though, and take up a lot of space, so if you want to be able to machine hard or thick metals without an incredible amount of overhead you’ll need a different solution. Luckily you can bypass the machines in some situations and use electricity to do the machining directly.

This project makes use of a process known as electrochemical machining and works on the principle that electricity passed through an electrolyte solution will erode the metal that it comes in contact with. With a well-designed setup, this can be used to precisely machine metal in various ways. For [bob]’s use this was pretty straightforward, since he needed to enlarge an existing hole in a piece of plate steel, so he forced electrolyte through this hole while applying around half an amp of current in order to make this precise “cut” in the metal, avoiding the use of an expensive drill press.

There are some downsides to the use of this process as [bob] notes in his build, namely that any piece of the working material that comes in contact with the electrolyte will be eroded to some extent. This can be mitigated with good design but can easily become impractical. It’s still a good way to avoid the expense of some expensive machining equipment, though, and similar processes can be used for other types of machine work as well.

In-dash Motorcycle Display

[Muth] added an auxiliary display to his motorcycle instrument panel. He started out prototyping with a PIC 16F877A which he used to access information through the ECM diagnostic connection. Once he had that working he found this tiny display which fits perfectly between the speedometer and tachometer. There’s a short demo after the break where you can see a past-30-minute history of the Adaptive Fuel Value and the engine temperature as well as a secondary information screen.

This is another nice addition to our collection of vehicle displays, scooter controllers, gear indicators, and motorcycle computers.

Continue reading “In-dash Motorcycle Display”