Purchased a Charter Oak Automation Milling Machine a few months ago and wished to install an inexpensive DRO (Digital Readout) Option.
Found some AccuRemote brand Digital Readouts online that measure to an accuracy of 0.001" over 24" which is certainly good enough for my projects.
It was kind of the Chicken before the Egg ... or maybe the Egg before the Chicken ... because the DRO units would be helpful when machining their own mounts out of aluminum.
Decided I would make some quick hand-made DRO mounts and then later machine the final versions out of Aluminum using the Milling Machines accurate XYZ axis DRO units.
Made the first DRO mount by hand out of Steel and then decided to use the 3D-Printer to make the other 2 mounts out of 3D-Printed ABS plastic.
Used a Chrome Shaft off of an old Copying Machine to make the inner Z-Axis DRO slider.
The design of the 3D-Printed mounts and how they bolt onto metal makes them very strong and stable.
So far they have been holding to the accuracy promised by AccuRemote
Can still use the original inch markings on front of the Milling Machine because the bottom of the DRO rests on the Zero inch marking.
The main reason I chose to use these individual DRO units is because during the hot Las Vegas summer temperatures I can easily unplug and bring the DRO Readouts into the house.
Probably not the best Digital Readout system but certainly works for my Milling Machine projects.
If you would like me to draw and 3D-Print something up for you please let me know. Of course, gratis. Something that is a real part and useful... like these DRO mounts ... most people just print silly stuff like toys, etc... I am interested in making actual parts.
Many fabricated items will be made in the future using 3D-Printing & Additives manufacturing. I like to say that every generation's 'Old School' techniques were the previous generations 'high-tech' ... Therefore I try to design all my items with the plan that they will use 3D-Printed parts in 3 to 5 years. Materials are getting stronger and the printing process is getting faster.
Interestingly, my AFINIA ABS Plastic 3D-Printer has in less than a year changed how I design & fabricate prototypes. The accuracy was much better than expected and I now will 3D-Print items first and test the fit and function without stresses on the parts ... then if they pass these first fitup and function tests then I will machine the parts out of metal.
The best part is it seems like 2 hours to print a DRO mount sounds like a lot of time... but it is hands-off and brain-off time...
Once you press the "Print" button there is NOTHING you have to do until it is done. I will start a Print and go to bed and wake up in the morning and the part is done... Or I will start a print and go work on a milling machine project in the workshop and come in at lunch and the part is done. There is no smell and I have mine sitting on a dresser in the guest bedroom and use a 5 year old laptop to run it.
It is an AMAZING way to get test parts without taking away from your normal work time ... in fact, I feel it gives me more time because instead of machining test parts one 3D-Prints them and you use that time to work on other items... or sleep. *grin*
Wonderful for creating ABS bushings and bearings for items that don't have a lot of stress on them like these DRO mounts!
I contacted Keith Rucker from YouTube and offered to make some Brass casting Sand Mold Patterns for him using SolidWorks and the 3D-Printer... and at first he didn't really know if it would work, but then contacted me back and had some items he wanted to test out. Here are the links to the Videos of the Success of making 3D-Printed Sand Mold Patterns.
(As you know, patterns have to be scaled up by 1.5% or 2% to account for molten metal cooling shrinkage)
3D-Printing Sand Mold Patterns for Metal Forge Casting
Brass Pour Video Using 3D-Printed Sand Mold Patterns:
Time Lapse Video of 3D-Printing bearing holding Stand:
Great thing about 3D-Printed molds is I just draw the part pattern real size and then add the different Scale percentage for whatever metal is needed) Also with a Wood pattern if there is a change you might have to start over, or if it is shrinking too much or not enough you have to start over... with SolidWorks and 3D-Printing I just click a few buttons and press 'PRINT' and a few hours later I have a new updated Sand Mold Pattern.
Anyway... Normal limit for my machine is 4" x 4" x 4" but most parts are much smaller ... so if you want to see if you can come up with an idea I will take your hand scratched out drawings and draw them into SolidWorks and make you a 3D-Printed ABS plastic part for you for the fun of it. Best if they are little parts then I can print you a few items to put together like the DRO mounts. Might be a good way to decide if you wish to purchase a 3D-Printer. *smile*
@MetalDesigner -- CTM Projects | Current & Future Projects
Nice work. It's been really cool to see 3D printing early adopters post their creations. TBH I wasn't familiar with the Afinia unit until I saw your other post about it. I remember balking at the MakerBot price tag; maybe I'll finally take the plunge with the Afinia.
Desktop CNC is another area that's seeing significant growth. When Liquidhandwash posted his Desktop CNC Mill the other day, I went back through my links to Kickstarter campaigns for similar machines. They've all blown through their fundraising goals.
Anyway, we'll get this build (and your pipe scribe guide) added first thing Monday.
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