Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Invention for Washing Bottles

As with any New Invention the first order of business is a design, which is easiest done at the drafting table using paper. Being lazy as I am, I tried to design using existing patterns that I had already made for other machines. It worked out pretty good. All I had to make new was a pillow block bearing support and modify the lettering on the sign.
Next step in the process was melting some metal to pour in the molds. That was on Memorial day and is was raining. Not a good day to be out in it.
Normally I move out on the driveway for melting, but water and melted metal does not get along very well so I opened the garage door, but stayed under the eves to keep dry.
Did not take long till the castings were done, with a moose thrown in for good measure. Don't know how he got in there except there was a little extra room in one flask.
Work proceeded a little bit each day until yesterday when the last part was completed. It is now ready for business. However it might be a hundred years too late. They don't wash bottles much any more. Dang, that is the story of my life.
Actually the real reason for building the thing was that I seen a picture of the crank motion that intrigued me. As you can see in the video it is a smooth running machine, but as with all scale models they seem to run too fast, and so you cannot fully appreciate the combined rotation and reciprocating of the brush.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jewel of a vice

On Saturday May 7th I hosted a gathering of Home Shop Hobby Machinists, and along with the "Show and Tell" of their projects, they were invited to bring items for swapping. George brought an old milling vise. It was in good shape but rather small, and had a rather large awkward base. No one seemed interested, so George just left it in trade for a box of Micarta that I had set out. At first I thought of adding it to the antique display, but after thinking a little more about it, I decided it could be converted into a vice for the shaper. I have been trying to find a better one than the old homemade one anyway.
The first order of business was to take the base and mount it on a face plate and machine a Tee shape groove.
Then the big mounting lugs were sawed off, and the bottom of what was left machined off smooth and level. The big screw that held it together was discarded and two smaller screws with Tee nuts now take it's place.
The end result was "Jewel" of a vise for the shaper. It fits and works just like it was made for the job. It closely resembles an original Atlas shaper vise. It even has the patina to look the part. I'm really pleased with it.
Presently I'm working on a new invention that I call a bottle washer engine, but you will have to wait, because I'm not ready to disclose much information on it.

Refinements to the Mini Lathe

Acquisition of the mini lathe happened at a slack time, and after building the first engine with it and getting acquainted, being spoiled as I am, I thought it needed some more refining. The square tool post that comes with the lathe is sturdy enough, but awkward to use because there is no height adjustment and no good way of changing tool bits back and forth to the exact position when changing between operations. Also the tail stock lock was by tightening a nut with a wrench. Because of such close quarters, it was difficult. I concluded it needed a quick change tool post and a cam lock on the tail stock. These things are available on the market place for money, but I was looking for something to make anyway, So I took the quick change off the big lathe and dissembled it to see how they work. Then a trip to the drafting table to sketch up a mini version.

The cam lock was built first. It was a pretty simple project, and really smoothed out the unlocking moving and re locking of the tail stock. It is almost a one move operation now.

Next came the quick change tool post. It was a little more effort, but turned out nice.
To start with 4 tool holders were made. That is about the minimum, that a person would want to get by with. I have 19 for the bigger Jet lathe. But besides tool bits, there are all sorts of attachments on them. Once the post is made, holders can be added as needed.

The mini has not been used a lot, but enough to know that the new refinements are are a worthwhile addition. Whats more I built them myself.