I recently picked up a used CNC Router

It's a big machine for the hobby side of things. I think they call it a 60150. It will hold a 2 foot by 4 foot piece. 220v water cooled spindle. It's a solid machine.

It had been suffering from disuse – not neglect, just simple not getting used enough. Rust pitting on the important bits and some rusting on the threaded rods. A couple of years in an unheated garage without being used to re-coat all the parts in oil will do this.

Not too much work to clean it up. It took a couple of evenings over a couple of weeks. Last night I got the electrical stuff all sorted and got it to move!

So I dug up a bucket, and connected water and electricity to the same spot on the machine. This is generally a bad idea in my experience.

It cuts! A little bit of tweaking, and it cuts correctly!

About an hour into running it, it gave an error and shut down. Not really sure why, but I think it's because the controller got hot. There was a reading of 75c on the screen when I was pushing buttons. I think I found why the controller box was open.

Next project is to improve the airflow in the controller box. I have a plan for this. I will install rubber grommets around the holes the wires poke through too.

I also need to learn about "Speeds and Feeds". CNC Routers have an ideal window where they work well for a given material. The 3D printing methodology of slowing down, sorting things out, then speeding back up does NOT apply to CNC Routing it appears.

Lots of photos in the album. Each one is captioned.

CNC Router Refurb
27 new photos · Album by Mike Creuzer

I tried making a water block for water cooling my MakerGear hot end this weekend…

I tried making a water block for water cooling my MakerGear hot end this weekend.

I failed.

A bit of background as to WHY I would want to do such a project can be found at http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/01/watercooling-my-makergear-prusa-reprap.html I wanted to improve over the coil of copper being that I am about to re-install my 1.75mm hot end for a few lbs of plastic. Going to try ABS for the first time at this size. Not sure if I am going to have problems with that or not.

My fail is I was too lazy to go out into the cold to drill a hole on the drill press. I managed to salvage my stupid hole with a bit of tubing. Hopefully it doesn't cost me too much in efficiency.

I really have no idea what I am doing when it comes to using a lathe. Learning from YouTube is difficult as many of the videos posted are by people with as much experience as me (about 3 hours at this point).

Well, the next iteration should be better, right? I enjoyed making this enough I wouldn't mind making it again. But with a drill press. I think I will drill that hole first so I know it's right.

In album Machining a water block FAIL

Using my UNiMAT lathe to fix my lousy hack saw cut and bring the aluminum block down to the right dimensions.

I turned down the black insulator a bit as I don’t have metric drill bits. The bigger tube is to couple airline tubing together on the OUTSIDE so I don’t get even more restrictions of water flow.

THERE I FIXED IT. I ran a bit of aquarium air hose through the buggered up hole. I am going to lose a lot of heat removal capability, but it lets me temporarily salvage this part. The water going through is in it’s mid 60s, so there is going to be a big difference, so it should pull heat well.

Until I make a new one.

I cut a piece of aluminium in half with a hack saw. The tray did a decent job of collecting the aluminum dust. Terrible surface finish on the cut. I did not do a good job of making the cut straight.

I tried drilling the hole using a hand drill because it’s COLD out in the garage where my drill press is.

I FAILED. I totally didn’t get things where they wanted to go. I’ve a hole on the inside, and a double hole on one end.

I can JUST snap the wooden clip in place with the water block installed. It’s going to be a royal pain to un-clip it.

The water block is small and light. It should work well I hope.

I have 2 problems that drive my wife nuts

1) I collect junk to make projects. I will collect junk for YEARS with a project in mind. I have totes and boxes (and a basement and a garage) full of junk for projects that are missing 1 or two bits yet before I can work on the project. I develop skills and collect junk for projects I don't intend to start for 10 years.

2) I dream up stuff. Literally dream about problems, projects, and whatnot. I am a very firm believer of 'sleeping on a problem' as I quite often will solve it in my sleep. This is part of the reason I shower in the morning right out of bed. Those solutions come to me and I am just awake enough to hold on to them for the day.

What all of this TMI boils down to, is that last night I dreamed I built a roomba vacuum cleaner out of an RC car. I've dreamed on this often since the roombas first came out. My 3d printer is actually a 'part acquisition' towards this goal.

What was different this time, is that I realized in the shower that I had all the parts to do it.

11 years of collecting junk. It took me 2 months AFTER the last piece was acquired before I realized I'd collected everything.

I can build my SAROV! A Semi-autonomous Remotely Operated Vehicle. 

I can finally build the RC car I've been dreaming up for so long. One that is controlled by an regular RC controller, but has built in 'smarts'. Things like, you can't drive it into a wall. You can't drive it off a set of stairs, but you can jump it off the stairs. You can drive it around a track, and it will drive itself around the 2nd time. I can build some pretty neat steering and traction control modes. And the most interesting one, it can sweep my floor while I am driving it around.

Oh crud, I just realized my oscilloscope leads have been misplaced over the last 10 years… I hope I don't need them or I am sunk!

In album I’ve collected all the bits for my SAROV Semi-autonomous Remotely Operated Vehicle.

The last piece I need for a 15 year dream! I’d bought it at Radio Shack on clearance in September and didn’t realize that it was the last piece.

I have some old dusty batteries that are ‘junk’. This means they probably have a single bad cell in them. Time to cut them apart and make a bigger battery pack with the good cells.

My RC car collection. Well, of the non-toy variety.  There are 2 cars and 2 trucks in this box. I’ve only got 1 good speed controller and 2 radio sets between the 4 at this point. 

The speed controller is a racing unit, so it’s forward only. A bit frustrating for confined spaces.

The motor shield will be awesome as I just got reverse! It will be low-speed as it’s not NEAR big enough for the monster motors in these vehicles, but for the small space I have, that’s fine.

I am convinced I can place an arduino in between the receiver and the speed controller and run this car via remote control or by code on the arduino.

Basically a bare chassis. I don’t have enough Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC) to go around, so the motor shield would be useful here.  Receiver to arduino, and have the motor shield provide the power to the motor.

This is my main truck. I spent a LOT of time painting it up.  I just love this thing!

Yeah, I am a dork. I glued an old CPU to the truck body. Now I can make good on the premise and have a computer control the vehicle after all these years!

I have an old cordless vacuum that I’ve been saving to make a roomba type thing out of. Excited that I can do it now!

Something useful out of all of this…

Delta RepRap using both belts and Spectra fishing line

I have this new RepRap 3D printer that I am putting together. It is based on the Rostock style printer. It came to me half assembled, sans electronics. It had been running, but got pirated for parts to make another Prusa.

It has this awesome, expanding, laser cut acrylic case. But the case was set up to only go ‘normal’ Rostock height based on the length of the belts. There is a lot more room on the smooth rods for it to get taller. I just need to make a belt stretcher (I am too cheap to buy longer belts).

I just so happen to have just the thing. I have some fishing line I picked up on clearance a few years ago – $6. It just so happens to be the 65lb Spectra line that people are using to string up their Kossels.

So I decided to do both. Belts for the drive and line for the ‘idler’ side. I also wanted to include the zip-tie tensioner concept I’d seen.

tools and parts to make copper bushings
Making some little copper rings so the line doesn’t cut my belts. I just nipped off a bit of tube left over from my water-cooling experiment and deburred them.
rostock reprap carrage wtih both belts and Spectra fishing line
Here you can see my belt to carriage connection and also the belt to line connection.
rostock reprap with the carriage to the top of the tower.
The fishing line goes over the top pully. I looped mine a couple of times, giving me a total of 4 strands. 260lbs tensile should reduce the stretch and bouncing other people are seeing with just a single line. The Z endstop provides enough gap to allow for the connection.

It turns out, that doing this, you need a belt as long as your smooth rods. Conversely  you can make your smooth rods as long as your belt.

rostock carriage all the way down.
I can drop the carriage right to the ‘floor’ and still not interfere with the coupling.
Rostock Reprap with both belts and Spectra fishing line drive mechanism.
Two of the three towers belted or strung. I’ve not done the back tower. Each one is getting done slightly different, so I can see which I like the best.
reprap rostock zip tie belt tensioner
This shows the zip tie being used to tension the belts. Just take another click on the zip tie, and it’s tighter. I am wondering how long these things will last before they break and what kind of damage that will incur. I may try bailing wire on the next iteration.



This begs the question. Is this a Rostock or a Kossel? (Looking at the drive, not the smooth rods vs extrusion frame). Rossel? Kostock?

I know I am naming this machine the Solar Scribbler. It will live in my garage workshop for a few reasons.

ABS stinks when printing. I don’t want print ABS in the house again…

The upright rods means that sawdust and crud won’t settle on them near as much. Also the chassis helps keep airborne crud out.

But the garage is getting a few solar panels and some deep cycle batteries installed. So the printer will run on solar power! I figure the deep cycle batteries should be able to power the heated bed to ABS temps without a problem.

My garage also sports a solar hot air panel to heat it fall through spring. The printer will get fitted to the panel to have a solar heated chamber.

So many big plans for this little printer…

Solar Panel Slideshow

Some heat generation numbers for a day that’s  ~10 degrees F outside, 25 degrees in my uninsulated garage:

  • Full overcast but bright – 40 degree air coming out of the panel (+15)
  • Partial sun, enough for shadows – 60 degree air coming out of the panel (+35)
  • Full sun, 90+ degree air coming out of the panel (+70)


Here is a full slide show. The previous posts seem to have cut them off after so many photos.