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Jeremy Nelson
Works at Google
Attended University of Western Australia
Lives in Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Jeremy Nelson

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Its not much, but this is the ball screw mount for the Y Axis from design to completed milling. Onshape for CAD, MeshCam for CAM, a 10mm 2 flute endmill, a flymill for surfacing, 3.2mm drill bit for the holes, M4 threaded holes and a little bit of manual filing. Fits beautifully.

The chamfered edges in the design added a lot of milling time and noise- I should have manually filed them rather than considered milling them at all. It also took me a little while to work out the best way to place the zero offsets in Meshcam since I was using them for multiple purposes.  I got a few other bits wrong, but overall it worked just fine.
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Jeremy Nelson

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I did a 3D print yesterday which included M20 thread and I was blown away by how well it turned out. The part screws into a pump and adapts to 19mm flange for reticulation pipe- I'm going to use it for flood coolant on my mill.

(The model has been updated with some filleting and I made the wall thickness of the threaded section slightly to thin by accident so the layers separated when I screwed it in really hard, so I'm going to re-print the part- which should take about 30 minutes.)

The part was printed on Fine, the thread is 20mm outer diameter, the flange is 21mm outer diameter. I printed it as part of a larger print so I don't have timings off the top of my head.

Anyway- thread, you can totally 3D print it.
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Jeremy Nelson's profile photoMike Nelson's profile photoGill Nelson's profile photo
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I don't understand the conversation above but I understand what you have achieved...fantastic and I love the colours!
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Jeremy Nelson

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The world's cutest 4th axis! The head is 64mm. ENORMOUS!
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And I guess I look at all those wires and think to myself..."it's such a man's room!" I bet Kris never goes in there!
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Dishwasher magnets. We have Fisher and Paykel Dishdrawers, which work very well for us, but it does mean there are a combination of possible states the draws can be in. We have been using magnets that Kris and I 'knew' what they meant. These are... more explicit.

Colour laser printer, laminated and glued to some flexible flat fridge magnets we had kicking around with shoe goo glue to keep them flexible. So far they seem to work pretty well and I quite like how they look.
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Ha! We have a similar thing at home; just a single magnet with "Fill Me" and "Empty Me" that can be rotated to have the appropriate message at the top.
We started with "Clean" and "Dirty" but ran into the inevitable philosophical conundrum of which to chose when there was nothing in the dishwasher.

Yours, by the way, are much more stylish.
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Jeremy Nelson

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It's Alive! Actually milling things!

I had a restlessness night so I eventually got up and did some nice soothing CAM. Between CamBam for linux at 3am and a late start for work I spent some time cutting wood chips.

This is a wooden holder for Pixel Qi ( wireless inductive) charger electronics. The central circle is <1mm thick, the little "legs" on the turtle shape are for magnets to hold the phone and the tail is for the USB lead. This version of the design is designed to have a C shaped piece of work fit over the back, but I think a veneer would probably work better.

Overall, it worked very well. It took ages (43 minutes) but there are a lot of things I can do to make that faster- I'd guess I can get it down to 15 minutes with two simple changes and probably under 10 minutes. I have a list of things to tweak but it was a very plausible first attempt- and the mill worked perfectly.
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Nice to know that there are things that one can do on those restless nights.
Good to see the progress to the stage of actual production.
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Jeremy Nelson

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Z-Axis head mount part 2. In which Delrin is shaped and the head mount is completed.

After much cogitation I enlarged the Delrin nut recess and added M3 screws through the base which hold the nut tight. I had spent some time squaring out the nut recess (by manually filling out the corners) so that when I cut the nut I could make it square before realizing, and this will come as a shock to you, I have a CNC mill. So shaping a block with 10mm rounded corner is just code. GCode to be precise.

I started by squaring of the Delrin in my 80mm chuck- this is milling in reverse or lathe like operations on a mill. I now have some lathe tools so rather than holding a 3mm square hardened tool steel bit in a vice (pfff! so amatuer! so dangerous!) I am holding the a 10mm square tool in a vice. Lathing stuff is amazingly satisfying- the finish is beautiful and the there results are satisfyingly precise.

Cutting the 22mm section length of the rod was... harder. Another entry for the "professionals would shake their head in sadness". It mostly definitely didn't involve holding a hand saw against the spinning mass then once I had a decent groove sawing it by hand. It was probably something like using a cut off tool or something.

I'm getting much better at handcoding GCode. My first attempt was just about correct except for one minus sign. A GCode simulator is an absolute must- I've been using OpenSCAM which has been perfectly adequate. (It could do with a "reload gcode" action. Which I should probably just add because its open source, but I haven't got to doing that yet.)

After that I clamped the nut into the recess and tightened the screws, mounted the head on the table and drilled out the Delrin to 8.5mm then move the table to the side far enough that I could tap the 10mm thread. And finally the head was finished. Like so many projects the last 10% took about half the time.

Next- the column mount. 
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Jeremy Nelson

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We went to Vivid Sydney on Sunday night. Crazy crazy crowds. George St was closed off- and busy- Darling Harbour and Circular Quay were packed. Some fairly spectacular displays the best of which was the Museum of Contemporary Art.

And here is the family selfie...
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Jeremy Nelson

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I've had a very long term project to CNC my mill. Phase 1 was manually milling servo mounts using the existing leadscrews. Phase 2 is replacing the leadscrews with ball screws, this time with CNC'd mounting plates. I'm also aiming to have flood coolant, which means I need a way to evacuate the coolant from the bed. That adds to the complexity of the mounting plates.

Separately I've also been looking for a Linux compatible CAD+CAM combination. I've been using CamBam under Linux, but its a bit limited in terms of CAD. And many of the major CAD options are not available under Linux.

Onshape to the rescue: "Onshape is the first and only full-cloud 3D CAD system that lets everyone on a design team simultaneously work together using a web browser, phone or tablet." Its a constraint based CAD system, rather than the explicit modeling I'm used to, so its taken a while for me to get used to it. But I'm a convert now- I like constraint based modeling. I really like the web based application- I do most of the modeling at home, but I tweak it at work. I look at it every now and then on my laptop in bed. It just works.

And the real sign for me that its good is that I've caught problems with my designs during the CAD phase. One of the plates was 100mm wide, it was meant to be 120mm. I measured the bed length and ball screw wrong. I have gutter returns for the coolant which I was intending to mill but I've come to realize that I'd be better off 3D printing it. This is a sign that the CAD system is doing a good job- I'm catching mistakes before I cut metal or print plastic. Some shots of the assembled CAD imagery are attached.

I've also been trialing MeshCAM which looks like it will do a slightly better job of integrating with Onshape. MeshCAM also runs on wine in Linux.

All in all, very satisfying. Soon- cutting chips.
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I made a drag knife for my mill. Drag knives can be used to cut paper, carboard, vinyl- anything you'd cut out with a paper knife by hand. But this is CNC and capable of more intricate and precise cutting... The knife just needs to swivel smoothly in the head, and the cutting point needs to lag by a distance so it can be turned by moving the head in an arc.

It has a couple of 11mm bearings press fit into a 20mm diameter cylinder of alumnium. The knife is a milled down Aluminium pen knife. Its a nice simple design- see my one pager that design. However, I did a truly awful job.

Because of the lathing technique (or should that be 'technique') I was using the centering of the holes in the Aluminium block is terrible- so the pen knife is actually tilted. The bearings are not quite parallel so knife hitches as it rotates. The knife is was not lathed to the precise 5mm diameter shaft I intended- I was holding the lathe tool in a vice and the tool slipped, so instead it ramps from 6mm down to 3.5mm, so one end wobbles.

Its so awful I can't actually quite bring myself to try it. It'll probably work, at least roughly. I'll try remaking it at a later date since its a fairly quick process. But it was a learning experience and while the implementation was awful, the design was actually quite nice and spare. My original idea was complicated- the final design very simple. So, silver linings of a sort!
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cool
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One of the weekends efforts: a sign for my workshop-in-a-bathroom. This was produced from an image developed in Inkscape, rendered in CamBam using an image map that maps whiter pixels higher and darker pixels lower and then milled with a 3mm bit... for about 6 hours.

This was a test cut, which is just as well. The result looks amazing in the flesh, the letters in 'Workshop' are very fine (about 1mm thick) and about 10mm raised from the background. But late in the milling process portions of the wood gave way (see the middle of the W, the base of the R and several other letters). And Connor, who had been quite interested and asked lots of questions earlier in the day, came to investigate progress and carefully turned the light off as he left.

Which was actually the power point running everything.

So the cut didn't finish and it wasn't really worth trying to pick it up again. But it certainly proved that this could work. I intend to mill the sign in Aluminium, so collapsing shouldn't be a problem, although since the aluminium is larger its going to be an epic cut. The mill is, in truth, very slow. On the other hand I'm growing increasingly confident of setting it going and walking away so speed is less of an issue than it might otherwise seem.
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So far CamBam seems pretty easy to use, and it actually works on Linux- so ++! The interface also seems good- it makes a lot of sense to me. I was impressed enough to actually buy a license. On the other hand I own very little licensed software because I'd prefer to use OpenSource/Free and as it happens there's nothing I've found in OpenSource land that's even vaguely decent CAM.

However I can't get CamBam to do waterline paths, its CAM actually seems... a bit dumb (it will "recut" areas its already cut if you overly shapes- it doesn't union the shapes then cut the union). Its fairly easy to use but I don't think the CAM is very sophisticated. But its certainly good enough for my use and its at a hobbyist price point not the insane-SolidWorks-call-for-a-quote type price point.
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Jeremy Nelson

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A working Z-Axis!

It took most of the long weekend for lots of silly reasons, but the z-axis is finally in place and it works. I have a bit of squeal from the delrin- I don't have the lubrication right yet- but otherwise it seems to be working OK. I need to play a little bit more to get confidence that it will work reliably (I think I lose steps at higher speeds and the acceleration needs to be conservative), but during calibration it was pretty good.

There were a few things I got right- I made some good choices about the bearing recesses, the belt is at a good tension (which is lucky because its not designed to be adjustable) and the overall design works. Locating the column assembly on the column was fiddly and ultimately I got it wrong. I should have got the alignment right then drilled and tapped one hole, then confirmed that hole was good and drilled/tapped the next hole, then done the final holes. Doing all four at once... didn't work. And its a mistake I've made before. Another five or six times and I may well learn something from it.

Anyway, a little bit more calibration and tuning and I should, finally, be ready to CNC Mill something! Woot!
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The Z-Axis head mount. Hand coded G-code, didn't quite get it right on my trial mounts with wood. After fine tuning the G-Code I started cutting the final aluminium version out of 25mm thick aluminium. Sadly my Y-Min endstop was dodgy which meant re-registering after losing position was a semi-manual process (I eventually fixed the issues and could accurately re-register my position but there was much swearing involved in the meantime).

I stopped half way through to make a decision about whether I was going to pocket the material and use a delrin nut or simply thread the aluminium. (I'm using a steel M10 threaded rod for my z-axis and delrin has high lubricity which should free up more power for actually moving the head compared to a steel nut.) I eventually decided I'd make a delrin nut and pocketed the material before I had to take the block off the mill. Sadly I was over ambitious in my cutting process, lost registration and as a result the pocket isn't as neat as it should be. But its good enough for my purposes.

Final shots are setting up for the vertical drilling paths that go through the delrin nut pocket for the Z-Axis rod. I'm just taking my time rechecking the measurements since it would be annoying to have to redo everything because I bungled this particular hole...
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Education
  • University of Western Australia
    Physics
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Some good food and interesting places. Very convenient to where I live!
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Expensive and doesn't really go very far. Airconditioning is frequently broken. If you are a local there are occasionally "cheap" days where you can stock up a card with $2 rides which can make this a useful service for the occasional bad weather.
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Really good for my 4 year old. Good value if you get a year round pass. Expensive for a one-off visit.
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