30 Nov 2019

It’s that time of year when Lulu, Midlana’s printer, starts its annual discount season, and right now, it’s 25% off at checkout. Discounts vary day to day so it’s smart to keep an eye on them (they don’t inform authors). The sale typically extends into the first couple of weeks into December, so now’s the time to hint what you want for Christmas.

On the lathe front, I received the interface board and everything is up and running. The first attempt at threading lead to some head scratching before figuring out that the software was unaware of my 4:1 gear reduction, plus, I had the servo driver box configured wrong, go figure. Got that sorted out and, dang, it works. Only thing left is to come up with a cover over the controller assembly to keep chips out of it.

On my drive home, I go through this stop sign everyday, and everyday I puzzled over this and finally decided to share. Typically, a car doing a burn out goes straight or slews left or right, but not back and forth. Once moving, some cars with independent rear suspension will slew back and forth (“fishtailing”), but not at the start. Given where the burnout starts, maybe it’s a FWD car and the driver’s just turning the steering wheel back and forth… Shows what I know, having never owned a FWD car, hah.

3 Nov 2019

I get into work early, about the same time as the developer of the electronic lead screw posts his weekly videos. I knew he was really close to putting the boards up for sale, and I’d even checked his website the night before. Unfortunately, I had some real, actual work that had to get done and completely forget about it for a couple of hours. When I remembered (“crap!”), I went to his site, he had them in stock, so I tried to order. Unfortunately, there was something wrong with his site, his connection to Paypal, Paypal itself, or the version of IE I was using. After that failed, I tried Ebay. Got there, “two left”, so I tried ordering two. Pressed Buy, and it said “sorry, one left”, AHHHH! Quickly changed my order to one, pressed Buy and it said “sorry, zero left.” Aaaaahhh!

My saving grace is that a kind reader on my build forum bought two and offered to send me one. The plan is to finish up the rest of it first, and if a second batch isn’t available by then, I’ll take him up on his offer. Using plywood for the baseplate was a matter of convenience, we’ll see how it holds up. A metal cover will ensure no chips get into the unit, especially the processor with its 0.020″ pin spacing.

In car news, my brother and I are considering possible trackday events.

30 Oct 2019

The big deal last week was my baby sister getting married. Since dad had passed away, I took on the role of both giving away the bride and making one of the speeches. Everything was going fine, right up until I went to get her, walked down the hallway, turned the corner, and saw someone right out of… what, a wedding magazine? A dream? With the lighting, the dress, and, well, her, it literally took my breath away. Time seemed to compress; it was like two ends of a string had come full circle and touched. One end was when I saw her when she was one day old… and the other end was her there in the dress. All those years flashed by in the blink of an eye, and there we were. It was oddly difficult for us to make our way to the front of the event.

So… back to guy stuff, later that weekend I made a bit of progress on the electronic lead screw, routing the cables several times before settling on running them to the back corner where the hinges are. The plan is to mount all the electronics to the outside of the end cover (not the inside for fear of dust and grit. The idea is that about the time that’s done, the developer of the project will be selling his interface boards. While it runs fine without it—using individual boards—it saves so much clutter I want to go that way. We’ll see.