Monthly Archives: July 2012

iPod Video failed capacitor

My brother recently got an iPod Video off eBay which refuses to keep a charge for longer than 30 minutes. I suspected it was an old battery, and thought it could be fixed by swapping in another one. Once I got the case open, I discovered a burn mark on the back on the hard drive foam, pointing out that there was a blown out component on the main board. Lovely. Read more »

Mill mount improvements

I found it a little annoying whenever I wanted to swap the motor mount off my Zen Toolworks CNC mill, the washers and nuts would be difficult to work with and regularly fall into the machine. I already super glued most of the washers to the mill, but to improve swapping accessories, I cut these little jigs out of 4mm acrylic to hold the bolts from turning. The photo below shows the jigs with the nuts not inserted yet. Once the mill is reassembled, I only need to deal with the accessory I am attaching, and the four bolts used to hold it down. Much easier! Read more »

Cracking the lock box

A few days ago we were driving through Ukiah, and wanted to check out the local pawn shop. They had a digital lock box which was missing it’s keys and had an unknown code. I shook it and, it didn’t seem to have anything heavy inside, but it did sound like there were keys inside. I haggled with the salesman and bought it for $12 plus tax. Read more »

CNC cutting vinyl stickers

I bought a Roland blade holder on eBay, which is mean to be placed in a pen plotter. People have had good results in using it in their CNC mills. I found a number of photos of other setups, but they were either attached with no spring pressure, or far too over engineered. Since I want to play with laser cutting later, I made the assembly hold both laser and blade cutter. The assembly created in Google SketchUp, exported into CamBam, then was cut out of ~4mm thick cast acrylic using the CNC mill. The assembly replaces the motor mount on the CNC.

To properly cut, the blade has to have some spring loaded pressure into the rear of the blade holder. This allows the blade to float across the work surface with a constant amount of pressure. There were a lot of ideas on how to do this on the internet, but I came up with a cheap quick solution by reusing parts from two ball point pens. So far, the results have been great! I zero the Z axis with the blade just touching the vinyl, then cut at -0.3mm.

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Quieting CNC stepper motors

The Zen Toolworks 7×7 is my first CNC mill, and while jogging around the mill, I felt the stepper motors could run a bit quieter. If you were to operate one while it was unscrewed from the machine, you would notice it is significantly quieter. I read that you could purchase cork gadgets to sandwich between the motor and the frame. I found them on eBay, but I felt it wouldn’t differ much from cheap craft foam.
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