Sunday, 14 April 2019

Bifold gate

In preparation for Shelley opening her garden for the National Open Garden Scheme, we have been doing a lot of tidying.

To create a temporary back stage area, I have made a bifold gate out of some doors I had in storage in the shed.

At the moment the gates are latched back against the rear of the stables. When we have arranged some fence panels to hide the pallets of haylage, the gates will come in to action.


Sunday, 7 April 2019


I've made a couple of box style shelves.

One for the kitchen, to put the wifi and Sonos on.

The other is in the study, to house the speakers used with the Xbox.


Friday, 5 April 2019

Fender enhancements

We've carried out a couple of jobs, over the last week, on Fender.

I've added the letters back to the front, with a slight but significant change.

Dean made a very nice set of hoop sticks for the back including a leaf motif.


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

2020 T-slot GX16 enclosure

I have a small CNC engraving machine which I am going to use as part of the proof of concept for my project to convert a Shapecut oxy gas cutter to CNC.

I am deliberately using a more powerful CNC control box than is necessary for such a small engraving machine. As a way to keep the larger cables tidy I have made a small enclosure to mount on to the 2020 T-slot aluminium extrusions. The enclosure fits three GX16 aviation style connectors, which are used for the X, Y and Z axes, and a GX20-4 connector, used for the spindle of the CNC machine.
Initially I made a box that fitted only the three GX16 connectors which I then expanded to fit the GX20.

The 4 pin GX16 sockets are sized for use with NEMA23 stepper motors and are suitable for up to 5 Amps. They are far larger than needed for the tiny engraving machine that I am currently connecting them to.

I've selected a GX20-4 pin connector for the spindle, not because it needs 4 pins but because the individual pins are only rated at 10 Amp each. I can double up the pins to allow for the 20 Amps that might be necessary on a larger router spindle.

The enclosure can be bolted to a aluminium extrusion using either M4 or M5 drop in T-slot nuts. Typically the M4 size fits the 2020 profile extrusion.

The bolts hold the lid closed as well as holding the box to the rail. There is a small tongue and groove detail along the top edge to ensure that side of the lid stays in place.

I 3D printed them, on their backs, without any supports.


Shapecut Series:
Part 1 - Magic Eye to CNC
Part 2 - CNC proof of concept design


STEP, Fusion 360 and STL files (Zip)
Licence attribution - small business exception

My designs in the Fusion 360 Gallery.
My models in the GrabCAD library.
My designs on


Sunday, 24 March 2019

Shed racking

I'm sure many workshops end up the same way. I had loads of boxes of bits littering the floor and getting in the way.

It's spring, traditionally a time for a clean up, so before starting on too many projects, I cleared out three old filing cabinets and replaced them with some, more useful, racking.

It's still a busy space but I can now move round it more easily.

I also got round to putting up the drill charging rack that had been taking up space, still in it's box.


Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Fender is back and he's black

Fender has been away for a while with KTR Automotive to have a respray.

As you can see, Shelley is very pleased with the result.

Tom at KTR Automotive has done an excellent job to change the worn green and white in to a lovely satin black.


Sunday, 3 March 2019

CNC proof of concept design - Shapecut part 2

Continuing with my conversion of the ancient Shapecut Oxy Gas cutting machine, I have started to assemble a tiny CNC engraving machine to use to test the control electronics.

I purchased a low cost CNC machine from Amazon. There are many similar machines that use Arduino's to control them. I am only using the mechanical assembly and the stepper motors for my proof of concept.

It was a bit of a challenge finding the assembly instructions from the download link provided with the CNC machine. I eventually selected the compressed, .rar, file I found in one of the folders. The written instructions were OK but have a few mistakes.

In some photo's the moving bed is shown the wrong way round, it is also attached the wrong way round so the vertical frame cannot mount far enough back on the horizontal frame. I still need to swap mine round. I didn't notice the video instructions until after I had finished. The video shows a different way to assemble it.

For what I need it for this machine will be fine.

The plan is to use an Ethernet motion controller to connect, via a breakout board, to stepper drivers. For the purposes of the proof of concept I am using low cost, £8, stepper motor drivers. The final machine would need much more powerful drivers and stepper motors.

Common-Anode circuit

I've drawn up a circuit schematic to ensure I understand what parts and connections I need.

In the process I have found out that there are various wire colours for different types of stepper motors. I found the following handy reference article:

My test set up will use a 24V power supply for the tiny NEMA 17 steppers supplied with the engraving machine. The final solution is likely to be NEMA 34 stepper motors each requiring up to 6Amps and I'd run those at 60V. For that installation, I'd use one power supply for the X axis and a another one to power the Y and Z axes.

The next job is to put the electronics together.


Shapecut Series:
Part 1 - Magic Eye to CNC
Part 2 - CNC proof of concept design