Kamloops Makerspace Aluminium Keychain



  • I went and hang out with @Bishop at his metal workshop yesterday. He has a really impressive setup and is very good at using all the tools in his workshop. If you are interested in doing any work with metal, you should keep an eye on this guy ;)

    I was there for a couple of hours and while he was showing me all the tools, he also fired up the CNC mill and we decided to make a little key chain. First I show you what it looks like now:

    final.jpg

    Now to the interesting part which is how we (a.k.a @Bishop ) made it.

    shawn_bandsaw.JPG
    First we start with a stock of aluminium and cut out about an inch off of it on the band saw. Metal band saw is one of my new favourite tools already, I think it will be very useful at the space.

    shawn_lathe.JPG
    Next we made the surface flat on the lathe.

    cnc1.JPG
    Then we put the piece in the vice in the CNC mill here. After this, Shawn used an special tool to find the width and centre of the piece so that the CNC software (Mach3) can start executing the G-Code at the right place.

    cnc2.JPG
    After several minutes this is what we found under all the aluminium shreds. Starting to see the shape.

    mach3.JPG
    Not my favourite piece of software, but it is very popular and seems to get the job done. Anyone knows of a more reliable and intuitive alternative to Mach3? (asking for myself).

    After a bit of polishing, Shawn cut a small disk at the end off, and we end up with the picture you saw on top.

    Of course the result is not perfect, as it was a quick test to go through the process of creating a key chain. I am sure if we repeat a few times we can get a much nicer shape and finish.

    I have very little experience working with metal, but for me the whole process was a lot of fun. I got to use a metal lathe for the first time, and watch the CNC milling machine do its thing … pretty mesmerizing :eyes:



  • It was a lot of fun having someone in the shop who had a genuine interest in the tools, I usually get a polite smile and a nod when showing someone my shop😊 I’ll replace the font, clean up the Gcode and make up a proper keychain for you. Or better yet, you can make it. We’ll powder coat the next one.



  • Or better yet, you can make it. We’ll powder coat the next one

    @Bishop oh I will take you up on that offer! :smile:


  • Linux

    @Bishop I suspect many of us here have that genuine interest. I know I do! :)

    Learning and working on learning more!

    1


  • I was actually thinking of you when I wrote that, maybe next time Aras comes over you can come as well? Having Aras in the shop really showed me how cramped the space is but 3 shouldn’t be too bad😁


  • Linux

    Just need a time and location! :)

    Learning and working on learning more!

    0


  • Aras isn’t available for a bit but let me check my schedule and I’m always open to people coming for a visit. Do certain nights work better for you?

    Shawn


  • Linux

    I teach Thursday evenings from 4:45-8:15, and am in town on Tuesday evenings for a class from 6-7, so if it’s a night when I’m in anyway, that’s easy for me. Wednesday we have the chain mail thing, are you attending?

    Learning and working on learning more!

    0


  • I am going to try and go to the chain mail class but it’s still not for certain that I can make it. I’ll talk to Aras and we can figure out a good night that works.



  • @Aras - On my list of SW to try is LinuxCNC.

    I also recently discovered a project called ChiliPeppr http://chilipeppr.com/ which can act as a front end for some types of controller boards. Initially they were only supporting TinyG, but I see now that they’re supporting GRBL devices (Arduino based G-code interpreter).

    I think that devices like the Shapeko http://www.shapeoko.com/ will start to garner attention, and then you’ll see front-ends that were initially only for 3D printers all of sudden supporting lasers and cnc mills.

    Fundamentally, they’re all really all very similar - some gcode that drives steppers and some auxilliary controls like heaters and fans, lasers, spindles.



  • @dhylands what a great coincidence, I actually was planning to try LinuxCNC next week. I also am planning to start a group CNC project here soon. It would be much easier when we have the space to work on it, but I trying to figure out all the different pieces. The current state of software is not pretty, there is definitely much room to improve. I will have to pick your about it soon.


  • Linux

    @arasbm what CNC project are you thinking of starting? I’ve been wondering about making a laser cutter as that seems to be a step up from building a 3d printer … sadly I cannot say I have gone much further than some initial investigation.


  • Linux

    Just came across this … Hackaday just reviewed an integrated board (called a smoothie board … http://smoothieware.org/smoothieboard) intended for small CNC machines. If it is well supported it looks like a good deal price-wise as it integrates the functionality of an Arduino board, a RAMPS board and the pololu drivers … just not obvious to me how well supported it is.



  • what CNC project are you thinking of starting

    @Chris I’d like to start with a minimum 4’x4’ CNC router project. There are a lot of documented builds available and it does not need a full enclosure and ventilation to operate. It also does not need to be as precise as laser. I think it would be a great project to start with, definitely would give us the confidence we need to attack a more complex and expensive CNC project like the laser cutter. I will start a separate thread for us to discuss the details.

    Smoothieboard seems pretty interesting. If it has active community and good support, I think it would be a good choice.



  • @arasbm said:

    what CNC project are you thinking of starting

    @Chris I’d like to start with a minimum 4’x4’ CNC router project. There are a lot of documented builds available and it does not need a full enclosure and ventilation to operate. It also does not need to be as precise as laser. I think it would be a great project to start with, definitely would give us the confidence we need to attack a more complex and expensive CNC project like the laser cutter. I will start a separate thread for us to discuss the details.

    Smoothieboard seems pretty interesting. If it has active community and good support, I think it would be a good choice.

    I am really interested in all this cnc stuff but sadly have not experience in it. If I can help in some way when it gets rolling, let me know. As a side note and I know I am posting this in the wrong spot (me bad) I found the old style welding helmet I mentioned I would be happy to donate, it’s old but hey, it’ll beat back the welders flash and give one other person a chance to see things in action.

    Michael


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