CNC Machining Oneshop Redding (router problems)

Today, when I got to Oneshop the router for the CNC machine, wouldn't turn on, the light would come on indicating that it has power, just the tool wouldn't spin. Was looking around thinking maybe a cord came loose or something of the sort, but nothing was loose. I asked Tyler (oneshop owner) about it and he said the brushes on the motor top may have worn down sufficiently to need to be replaced. Thankfully he had a couple of extra which I installed and that got it working again without a hitch.

After starting up another cut of Kevin (small circular paperweight) it started without issue and ran through about 80% of its path before it suddenly stopped moving. This was a bit annoying and I had noticed it doing the same with another cut. After posting this on Instagram, my brother mentioned having the same issue and that the solution was to lower the tolerance from its default 0.004in to something rougher and just create a new toolpath to clean it up afterward to get a cleaner finish. The reason it does that is the computer has to calculate each layer and multiplies over and over to the point where it overloads and crashes. I believe this is just an issue with this specific machine though I haven't tried it on the larger one they have.

CNC Machining Oneshop Redding

Unfortunately, today didn't start off on a very good foot. Number one, I forgot to save my files from what I did before so I had to start from scratch, which I didn't think would be an issue. Second, I forgot a few of the steps to getting started. My first problem arose when I tried setting the tool for the router and it wouldn't accept a 1/8" drill bit when I put in all the info. I tried other bits and those worked without issue. I called my brother up @jehtradedollar and asked him why this would be. I feel pretty dumb because this was specifically mentioned in the tutorial I watched nearly a dozen times, and that is, drill bits can't be used to mill out a stock, they can only be used for up and down, so drilling a hole straight down would be an example. He said that if its some cheap bit that doesn't have specifications on the packaging then just to set it as either a flat tip or ball. In this case, I chose a ball head tip even though the actual bit is something different. One of the other issues I kept running into was the router would dive into the wood. How it should work is a slow spiral down descending at about .5mm per layer until it touched the wood at which point it would slow down even more and continue on its toolpath. This would prevent it from starting too early if you were to set the y-axis too high, or measured something wrong in the program. The issue I was having is where the machine would stall as its rising then crash down skipping a gear and the machine would think it's still high above the wood and would cut more than it could eat. The problem, like the other one, was pretty obvious, the wood I was using was 1 5/16" and the router was set too low so when it was raised it would get raised to the maximum height at which point it would stall, then plummet. The solution for this was simple and had a couple of different options. The one I went with was to swap the wood out with something shorter. This was a simple fix which may not be a solution for larger parts. Another fix would be to set the router higher, this would allow the maximum height to be set higher and so wouldn't stall going over 1.5". Another solution would be to set the raised height at which the router descends from to start its spiral to be lower over the wood. For this I set it to be about 1/2" above the wood at which point it would start its descent. 

Airsoft Tracer Unit Project

I started a project a couple of weeks ago to build a tracer unit for my airsoft rifle. 

What is a tracer unit you might ask?

Without going deep into it, a tracer unit is a small unit that attaches to the end of your barrel that lights up whenever a bb passes through it. These bb's are not any bbs but glow in the dark ones. Glowing in the dark bb's is mostly useful for dark rooms and helps to see what you are firing at without using a flashlight that would give away your position.

The issue with buying them was, plain and simple, the price. For a half-decent tracer unit, it will run you upwards of $75. I was not about to pay that for such a small improvement.

That's where I started to think up a design for my tracer unit. I began by acquiring a pack of ultraviolet LEDs from amazon and used that as a base to start 3D modeling. I was initially going to have it 5" long, and seven sets of LEDs, two per set. After modeling a quick prototype, I printed it and tested by tossing a bb through. It lit up as it passed through, and stayed lit for 3-5 seconds.

Then, looking to improve and give it an overall smaller profile, I lowered the sets of LEDs to 3 instead of the 7. Using 6 LEDs, I dropped a glow-in-the-dark bb, and it lit for several seconds after it passed through.

Next, I had to figure out how to wire everything and keep it all small and concise. I at first looked into fitting a AAA battery inside of it somehow but abandoned that as it would require 3.4v to give it the proper illumination, and AAA's only gave 1.5v. Then I started looking into wiring it to the gun itself. I wouldn't need to take it off very often, and I have a mock peq box on the front of my rifle that I could use to house the battery. From there, I designed two holes in which I could feed the + and - wires through. From there I would have them each run down a side of the tracer unit, and each of the LED wires would be soldered to their corresponding side.

After figuring the wiring setup, I went back to the battery. I had an issue; I wanted to use AAA batteries as they were small enough to fit inside the peq box and could hold enough charge to last a while. After doing a bit of researching, I found that if you put connect batteries, you can increase the voltage, essentially adding 1.5v every cell I attached. From there I soldered three batteries end to end, positive to negative as a pack using metal plates I manufactured out of some scrap conductive metal. After spending an hour or two trying to figure out why it wasn't giving the proper voltage (1.5v with three batteries instead of 4.5), I figured out that I wired it wrong. I had soldered the plates properly, just connected the wires to the wrong sides. I fixed that, and it gave the propper voltage output (around 4.2v).

I decided against going through the headache of trying to figure out how to use light sensors to detect when a bb passes through the tracer unit. It seemed like a lot of work for not a lot of gain, maybe a for a future project. I had also bought a pack of on-off switches, I wired the battery up to it, and everything worked like it should and lit up properly.

Then I put it on my gun... and well, it didn't work as it should. The bbs barely held any of its charges and died very shortly after firing. Maybe half a second after it left the barrel it died. It was very disappointing; the LEDs illumination was at its max output. Anyway long story short, those LED's weren't going to work. And this is where the project halted; I could order new, larger LEDs, which I would imagine would fix the issue. Until then, this is a failed project.

Fusion360 - Airsoft CZ-P09 Carbine Kit Project

What is a carbine kit, and why is it useful?

In airsoft, and with real guns, there is a thing called a carbine kit which pretty much converts a handgun/pistol into a full carbine. The primary purpose of this is to have more stability and the option of optics as a secondary. Here is a photo of a Glock Carbine Kit designed for a 9mm handgun. 

Was there an existing product, and is it worth buying?

There have been carbine kits made for quite a few different model handguns, except the ASG CZ-P09. This particular gun is ubiquitous in the airsoft world and performs exceptionally well for its price. There have been several individuals that have made their P09 carbine kit but none on the market. Carbine kits, in general, are not very popular. The reason being is that if you want a full carbine, you will buy one. And if you want a handgun, you'd just run with the gun, which means that demand, in general, is not very high.

Design Inspiration

After asking around on a few different sites to see if people would be interested in purchasing a carbine conversion kit for the CZ P09, it looks like there is a small market for them.

I started by looking at different existing carbine kits via google and looking at how other carbine kits had been designed and standard features. Initially, I was not going to add an extra mag holder as it seemed like a lot of work for something that wouldn't be very useful, but after watching reviews of them, I found that it would be worth modeling.

After a bit of digging, I found a design I liked, the SRU Carbine Conversion Kit for the Glock17 and like models. I loved this particular carbine kit for its small body and compact look about it. The carbine kit would attach to the underside of the rail on the P09. There would be an inverted rail as apart of the carbine kit body and once the gun is in you would screw a nut upwards to fasten the P09 to the carbine kit securely. The folding stock idea came from an old Airsoft AK47. It had a folding stock that locks into place using a spring and ledge to keep it from folding to the side when in use.

First product

I started the design process by importing a 3D model of the P09 to use as a base and design around. In addition to the 3D model of the P09, I was able to get my hands on one as well to get more precise measurements. I knew from the outset that I wanted a mag holder and folding stock to set it aside from your typical carbine kit. I also knew that I wanted to have a two-tone one to make it stand out, and it would help with breaking the design up for ease of printing.

After a few hours of modeling and finding all the constraints, I fell upon a design I liked and printed a piece of it to test the size on the gun. It 3D printed beautifully and attached correctly to the underside of the rail on the P09 itself. I only printed the front rail portion that attaches to the gun rather than 3D Printing the entire model.

Before getting my hands on the actual P09 gun, I used the model I found online as a base and just modified it afterward to get more precise measurements. Starting without the P09 in hand gave me issues down the line, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of wiggle room in case the P09 3D model was off. It was a mistake to design this way because it meant that everything was more substantial than what was strictly necessary and would require a lot more work to prevent the final product from having a lot of bulk to it. The folding stock turned out very well for a first attempt and needed hardly any modifications to bring it up to excellent working order.

Below is a video of the folding stock, prototype:

Fusion360 - Designing Wall Mounts for my Monitors

My desk is almost always messy and cluttered, no matter how many times I clean it, it always seems to get back to its former state. I used a wooden box to raise my monitors so I wouldn't have to look down and strain my neck over time.

Was there an existing product, and is it easier or cheaper to buy that?: I have looked into purchasing wall mounts in the past; however, they were $30 each. Buying wall mounts might not seem like a lot for a one-time thing, but if I ever needed more, then that would add up fast. Currently, I have two monitors, and that alone would mean $60 just for wall mounts. I don't think so. Designing and making one would be cheaper. Maybe not in labor spent, but it would also increase my knowledge of how to use Fusion360 (an engineering software) and give me something to add to my future portfolio.
Starting the plan, I had first to figure out if it was even possible to mount them without going through a lot of trouble. I took my monitors off their current stand and looked at how they were attached. There was a plate that slides in under the monitor and holds it up from the center base of the monitor. Finding this out, I then started designing a piece that would match the one on the stand to hold it upright. 

I was initially thinking of designing it as a solid one-piece mount not able to be moved or rotated. I quickly realized I could have the rotational ability from a GoPro design. How it works is the GoPro has two arms that have a hole going through them, and they would slide in the middle of 3 other divisions, and a screw would go through those, and when you tighten the pin, you will tighten the hold which would then decrease movability. 
I was kind of afraid that the PLS plastic would not be strong enough to hold the monitors up before looking to see how they attached to the stands. But since the holder sits inside of the monitor, all the weight would be pushed down which would, in turn, forced onto the supports which would make the weight of the monitor's relay onto the studs in the wall.

First Product:
After designing a replica of the mount from the stand; I implemented the rotation as mentioned earlier design and added three arms to be held by the central wall mount. After printing this, I started work on the second piece; the holder for it, that would attach to the wall. The second part was much simpler to design as I didn't have to be nearly as precise as when creating the first part that slides into the monitor. Something I realized later was to angle the bottom of the second piece to face inwards for both monitors, so I have a bit better of a flow of the two monitors together.
First piece:
Note: The two arms at the top left face up into the monitor, and the plate on the right supports it from falling forward.
Second piece:

Fails and attempts:
After 3D printing both parts, I had to do some sanding to get them to fit. After getting everything all snug, I slid the screw through and tightened it at the other end with a wingnut. Then tested to see if it would fit in the monitor no problem; it worked beautifully. I then attached a piece of wood from an old pallet and screwed that into the wall studs for support. I then attached the wall mount adapter to the wood and rested the monitor on top. Everything held, on the first try!  

I then started the next print for the other monitor and left it overnight to print. Well, here's where I made my first mistake. 3D printing prints in layers upward, well I printed both of them flat, the reason this was a mistake is because of the layer lines, this makes a weakness, and it doesn't take a lot of stress for it to snap along a single layer. And because everything was printed from the bottom up, that meant that the part that attaches the two had vertical layer lines when on the wall. These horizontal layers suggest that if you applied enough pressure, it would break. 

I didn't find this out until after I installed the other monitor and was trying to get the wires to go to the side that it all came crashing down. Thankfully I was there to catch it, so neither monitor got damaged. I was wracking my brain, trying to figure out a solution. I could print it on its side, and it would be much more stable; yes, it would be more sturdy overall. However, this wouldn't fix the overall problem of having such a small point where the pressure of the monitors would be pressing on all day long where any slight movement of the monitor would make it slightly weaker. And, over time, this would break.

I had to think up a whole new design and way of attaching it to the wall. I wouldn't be able to use my previous model as that would not hold. I then took apart the monitor stands that I had initially and realized I could take them all the way down to the adapter that sits inside of the mounts, which means that all I had to do was design a piece that would house the adapter and attach it the same way that the stand had. This new model took me 30 minutes to create and then an hour to print. 

Final Outcome:
After screwing in the monitor adapter onto my new wall mount, I tested to make sure everything snapped in when attached to the monitor. Everything worked perfectly without any issues whatsoever. I mounted my monitors and was able to rotate them up and down to get the perfect viewing angle. Because of the wall attached monitors, it cleared up quite a bit of space on my table for new projects and overall cleanliness.

Here is a photo of my new and improved workspace:

What I would have done differently knowing what I know now.
I didn't think of angeling the wall mounts slightly to make screen viewing easier on the eyes, which is why one of my monitors is vertical with the wall while the other is at an angle.
I would've added a bit more support to the new design by increasing the height of them, for the longevity of wall adapters.