Friday, February 16, 2018

Space Patrol Pistol Project Part 2

This week's post brings with it some very nice progress on my Space Patrol pistol project with all of the parts having been 3D printed.  (All 34 hours worth.) Or at least all of the parts that needed to be 3D printed along with the laser cut Plexiglass parts and various bits of hardware, decals, etc.

With the work that I completed earlier this morning small changes needed to be made to my design of the pistol.  In the photo above there is a small vent just above the power control panel on the left side of the model that needed to be changed.  Originally I had planned on a small row of columns to make up the inner portion of the vent.  This did not work out so well on my 3D printer being as this part was very small and it was hard to get the look that I was going for.  So it was modified to what you see in the image above.  Much easier to create and still a nice look for the pistol.

To create the body of the pistol I needed to split this portion of the design in half as it would have been near impossible to 3D print it in one piece.  This as you will see actually added a little more work to the project and will still look the same once I have it completed.  I really like the little extruded spaceship image on the right side of the body along with the control panel for the power display that will be on the left side of the pistol.

The top photo shows the circular indent in the body of the pistol where the vent assembly will be mounted.  Also in that photo as well as the lower image you can see the mounting holes on each piece of the body that will hold the body cap in place to the body once final assembly takes place. These parts were sanded smooth at this point to prep them for assembly to each other.

To align both halves of the body to each other I designed the parts to be able to hold a short section of threaded rod in them as alignment pins.  The only reason I used threaded rod was that it was spare parts that I had in storage in the shop and were handy at the time.  The rods are 1/4-20 threaded rod cut to 3/4 inch in length and epoxied into place.  Aluminum rod would have worked too but this served the purpose just as well. 

Once I had the pins installed on one half of the pistol body I then laid a layer of micro-balloons and epoxy putty mixture on the joint where the two halves would meet and rubber banded the two halve together to hold everything in place to create a good joint with proper alignment.  

Once the epoxy had cured overnight on the body I was able to sand the joint smooth to start getting the body ready for paint.   Pictured above is the body along with the body cap.  The cap slides into the large opening of the body and is held in place with two 1/4-20 button head bolts and nuts.  The cap holds all of the components that make up the front of the pistol that you will see further along in this post.

The photo above shows most of the components that make up the front of the pistol.  Starting at the left side is the mounting ball.  Inside of this spherical shape is a permanently mounted 1/4" nut that is needed to hold the 1/4" threaded rod shown at the bottom of the photo that holds everything together.  The next three white pieces make up the stem of the pistol and placed between these pieces are the color Plexiglass disks. 

The thread rod runs through the entire assembly and is mounted to the body cap when the remaining pistol components are added to this part of the assembly.

Here is the final components that will be mounted to the stem assembly and the body cap as well as additional parts that will be added to the body of the pistol.  At the upper left is the dish and next to it is the body cone. On the bottom row is the vent shield and ring that will be mounted on to the body of the pistol.  The last part is the trigger for the pistol grip. 

Here are a couple of good shots of the pistol grip.  The larger pieces will be joined together and then painted gloss black.  Once this has been completed the textured inserts will be painted red and then also joined to the pistol grip as shown above. 

 With the Plexiglass disks in place on the stem of the pistol along with the dish you get a much better idea of how the design will look once it has been completed.  The pistol grip inserts into a slot on the bottom of the body of the pistol and will be Super Glued into place once the painting has been completed. This will also be the case for the trigger, vent enclosure, and power setting knob as shown in the first photo of this post. 

The seam on the spherical ball on the end of the pistol stem will be filled in, then smoothed and then painted gloss black.  Along with all of the other components that need to be prepped for paint I will have to track down the button head bolts that hold the body cap to the body and the project will be ready for final display.  I will also have to figure out a mount for this pistol similar to the one that I made for my first pistol named the Skrooch gun so that I can easily put it on display. (See December 7th, 2017 post)  As you can see I still have my work cut out for me over the next week or so.  Not difficult but as usual time consuming and still fun just the same. 

The finished pistol will be 13" long and 9" tall.  It's impressive already and I don't even have it painted yet.  (I'm impressed anyway.) I'll let you know when I get all the painting done and the little details added to this project. Then I can let the dust settle once again in the workshop and set the pistol up to display.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A New Velomobile Poster To Brighten Up My Garage!

As most of you already know I am a big velomobile enthusiast and have built my own design that has been posted about here a lot over the past few years.  This morning I completed a project that has been on my mind for quite some time.  To give you a little background on the idea for this project I have to point you to the following site.

On this site is a link to a book that was put out a number of years ago.  The book is a documentary of a group of fifty-five velomobile drivers who crossed the United States in 28 days with their velomobiles.  From Portland Oregon to Washington DC.....over 3200 miles. On the site is the following image that has stuck in my head for all of this time and led me to the creation of the project that I completed today.

This image has stuck in my head for years and I always thought that it would make a great poster.  Sadly none was ever produced.  I could not even find out who had created the artwork and so the project never got off the ground until I decided to try and duplicate the image myself and make my own poster.  I wanted the poster to be large enough to hang in my garage. 

I measured the Indian motorcycle poster that I have in my workshop which is six feet wide and 30 inches tall.  This was the size I had in mind for this project. So the velomobile poster project was born.

In order to create the large poster I used the same company that had made my Indian motorcycle poster....Vistaprint.  That was the easy part.  But I knew that I could not use the original Roll Over America image as it simply was not large enough to get a perfectly clear image once the poster had been created.  Being a smaller format to blow it up bigger would create a blurry poster. So I needed to duplicate the poster from scratch.  You can see the start of my poster above along with the original image below it.  

Here is my final poster that I created using the original as a guide.  It is not a perfect copy by any means but it is a good knock-off so it works for me.  The lettering was the easy part of creating my copy but making all of the velomobiles took me several long days to get the colors and lighting the way I wanted them.  Again the best I can say is that it's a pretty good knock-off.  Once I had my version of the poster completed I sent it off to Vistaprint to get it made.

The original frame for the Indian motorcycle poster had a rectangular frame similar to the one that I have pictured above.  The original computer files were lost some time back so I had to try and make the framework again from scratch in Fusion 360.  This would have worked out fine but I decided to change this a bit with this new poster.

Rather than make the square frame over again I came up with this new design that used fewer parts and ended up being lighter in the process. All of the components except the tubing for the new frame were then 3D printed for the assembly.

Here are the three main types of fittings that I 3D printed for the new frame.  Each took some time to 3D print as I suspected but they turned out better than I had hoped.  Nice clean prints and very strong for this project.

To get the tubing drilled correctly for the new framework I 3D printed a drill guide for the ends of the tubes.  The drill guide is flat on the bottom to keep the drill hole lined up perpendicular to the PVC tubing and create a perfectly centered hole. 

An additional drill guide is slid on to the opposite end of the tubing to keep it parallel with the table and easier to hold the setup while I was drilling the tubing. 

The hole in the drill guide makes alignment of the drill bit to make the hole very easy and as you can see it makes a perfectly centered hole exactly where I need it to mount all of the parts for the assembly. Each hole was exactly 3/4" from the end of the tubing on both ends  for all parts. 

After I had the assembly for the frame put together I laid it on top of the back side of the poster to check the alignment of the grommet holes with the mounting frame.  All of the mounts lined up perfectly and the framework slide together easily. 

A cylindrical spacer was 3D printed for all of the arms that keeps the framework separated from the poster.

On the upper mounts I attached metal tabs that would hold the small chains that were used to mount the poster framework to the wall.

To mount the poster to the wall all I needed to do was install three "I" bolts and add the small chains with hooks on both ends.  It brightens up my garage in a big way.  I thought the poster looked big in my house but once I had it mounted in the garage it looks much smaller.  Either way I think it looks great with my velomobile parked under it.  Also the framework to hang the poster is almost completely hidden behind the poster which gives it a nice clean look. Vistaprint did a great job of making the velomobile poster out of quality heavy vinyl so hats off to them once again as well.

Another good day in the workshop and another project I can scratch off my bucket list.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A New 50's Space Gun..... The Space Patrol Pistol

I have been working on a new 50's style toy space gun this past week and I am getting close to starting construction on it.  With the help of Fusion 360 CAD software I was able to dial in 95 percent of the design.  With my second design I borrowed from an image that I found online to start the work and then went from there.

The image above I pulled up from Shutterstock online. I liked the design and then produced the larger image that you see pictured above.  The larger image I used to lay out the actual CAD parts in Fusion 360.  It was a good place to start and gave me some direction.

It took me a while to figure out a design that I could actually assemble.  All of the parts for the new pistol will be 3D printed except for the clear disks on the front of the gun and metal hardware and decals and will take some time to complete as there will be quite a few parts that will need to be sanded smooth and then painted to match the image that you see above. 

Here is an early image that I created using Fusion 360 as the pistol's grip had not been completed yet as you can see here.  I like the decal that is on the right side of the pistol but I was not sure that I could create it.  This happens from time to time when designing something.  So I will had to come up with something else for that side of the pistol. 

With some tricky design work in Fusion 360 I was able to create this new design that will serve the purpose very well.  It is an embossed image of the spaceship that will 3D print equally as well. When I set up the part to 3D print it the perimeter of the power panel will be face down on the print bed.  This will make the spaceship image to be on the top of the part and should print out perfectly.  That is the plan anyway.  I think I have a good shot at it anyway. Once I have the body of the pistol painted yellow I will hand paint the embossed spaceship black.  The interior of the design for the spaceship could also be painted but for now the outer edges of the spaceship looks good at this point. 

A lot with any of my designs I find that the little details mean a lot.  I changed the red dish at the front of the pistol to include lightening holes, have mulita-colored disks and a black ball. I also had to work out the power panel and control knob so that I could 3D print it into the body of the pistol.  The real challenge in the assembly was how to hold everything all together. The yellow body of the pistol to the very tip of the pistol needed to be sorted out.  This will have a threaded rod running through the front portion of the body to the very tip.  Then in order to hold this assembly of eleven different parts it will be bolted into the body using two button head bolts on either side of the body with nuts inserted into the assembly.

Here's a good side view of the new toy space pistol.  I had changed the grip for this pistol from my first design that I completed in early December (The Scrooch Gun) and made the grip longer and not as tipped forward so it will fit my hand a bit better.  The pistol roughly is 9" tall, 13.5" long, and 4.25" wide when I have it competed.

A good top view of the pistol.  I should be able to get the real pistol put together very close to what you see here as long as I take my time with smoothing out the parts and taking care to paint them like what you see here.

Front and back views of the pistol. 

And finally here is a bottom view of the pistol.  This will be a interesting toy to put together.  I plan on making one more design after this one so that I can mount three pistols together to put on display in my workroom.  I'll keep you updated as I start making parts for this pistol and the work that is involved in making what you see here come to life. Stay tuned for more posts about this interesting toy design.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Becca's Bathtub....Make That Becca's Enclosure Pt 2

More projects are back on track once again this week with work progressing nicely with my friend Becca Kacanda who has been continuing working on a fiberglass project that she started last November.  Like me she was side tracked because of the holidays and so she is moving forward on this project once again and I am helping her to learn this new way of making things with fiberglass mold-less composite construction.

Here's Becca with the latest progress that she has made on the project a few days ago.  She had finished putting on the foam strips on the enclosure which will be one of five that she has planned in the coming months. I think I was just as excited as she was about the progress that she had made on this portion of the build.  The outer lip of the enclosure was shaped using additional foam Styrofoam strips to lay down the shape that Becca wanted and then a filler layer of fiberglass resin and a micro-balloon mixture to make the white filler you see in the photo above.  The resin putty mixture was laid down to smooth out the stepped layers of Styrofoam.  In the process she learned how to add these strips along with mixing large batches of resin/putty and lay it all down smoothly.  She did a great job first time out.  She'll be able to teach my fiberglassing class no problem when she finishes this project.

  In the next couple of days I will help Becca with more prep work to get the enclosure ready to be fiber-glassed.  Once the fiberglass has been added to the structure and cured then Becca will do her thing which is more artistic in nature and I will have to learn from her at that point.  She works with collage materials.... glass, paper, photos, pennys, bits and pieces is the best way I can describe it.  I will just have to see what she comes up with once she gets that far along with this project.  I will stay in touch with her along the way and keep you updated on her progress.  
  At this point it looks like a little boat instead of something that will be artistically pleasing that will end up in a art gallery.  Just like half of the projects I build they can take several forms before the project has been completed. Either way it should be interesting to see how it all turns out.  I also told Becca with most of my projects it has to get ugly before it gets pretty. This applies to this project as well but so far both of us like what we are seeing. I will keep you up to date on Becca's enclosure project as she moves forward.   Have a good one!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

My New Creality CR-10 S4 3D Printer And New Keenovo Heating Element

I thought I'd better get this post out before half of my readers start to think I have disappeared off of the face of the earth.  At least that's what I feel like when I haven't posted anything for at least a week or more.  Writer's withdrawal..... or something like that.  Better than writer's cramps or writer's block I guess.  Anyway today I wanted to get you caught up on what I have been working on over the past couple of weeks.

As most of you already know I am big into 3D printing.  My trusty Makerbot Original Replicator 3D printer is starting to show it's age and the fact that I can no longer get parts to repair it if it breaks down has led me to tracking down a replacement printer.  After a lot of research I broke down over the Christmas holidays and purchased a new Creality CR-10 S4 3D printer.

This is a BIG printer.  Or at least a lot bigger than my Makerbot Replicator.  The Replicator has a build area of 6" x 9" x 6".  I thought this was large six years ago.  My new S4 has a build area that is 16" x 16" x 16".  I am talking days to print something that will fill that area.  The largest thing I printed on the Makerbot took 10 hours to make.  It did a fine job but I thought 10 hours was an awful long time.  Now I am thinking of things that I can build that will make that look like a quick job. 

With my research on the Creality printer I read, saw, and heard a lot of great things about this printer. This is what I was hoping for.  Fast and easy assembly, wide variety of build materials, and honest reviews from real people.  But one thing I did not imagine was the cost!  My Makerbot six years ago cost me $2000.  The Creality CR-10 S4 cost me a little over 1/3 that cost......$700 and free shipping! I was sold.  I ordered it the day after Christmas and three days later it was in my hands.  

Since that time I have assembled it and corrected a couple of minor problems with it to get it up and running.  Assembly was quick and easy.... almost.  The print head moves from side to side on the X-Axis.  This needed to be tightened up in the assembly to make it move and track smoothly.  The problem I had with it was that I could not get this adjustment to work.  Luckily a friend of mine has the exact same machine.  I called him and between us we figured out what was going on.  He told me to tear the print head down to examine the assembly closer to hopefully figure out what was going on. His printer did not have this issue.  Sure enough after I took the simple assembly apart I could see plain as day that the mounting plate for the head was bent slightly.  After flattening it in about 10 seconds I put the assembly back together again and then I could make the final adjustment to make the assembly work perfectly.  I printed a test part after connecting everything else to the printers control box and I was up and running with a beautifully created test part.  

As with all of my other 3D printer projects I plan and build I use ABS filament.  I want to do the same with this printer but found out that the factory installed heating element for the heated bed is far from adequate for the job. So on to the next adjustment.
This will be the next addition to the new printer.  It is the Keenovo heating element for the Creality S4 printer.  Again with my research I have been in direct contact with real users that have made this upgrade.  Instead of waiting 30-40 minutes to heat the print bed up this unit does it in less than 10 minutes and will get the temperature up to the 110 centigrade that is needed for printing ABS filament.  With any luck I will have this new addition in my hands this coming week. 

As before with my research I needed more information to have this all work with the new printer.  With the control box for the printer it tells the original heating element for the bed when to warm up. What happens when you replace it with the Keenovo?  The old heating element is now gone and the printer is controlled by an outside heating element that has it's own control box. Then what?

Again more research was in order.   Lots of emails and searching gave me the answer.  The process to actually make something with any 3D printer is to first design your project or part in a good design software.  I use Fusion 360 software because it far exceeds my needs and is free.  Once I have the part designed it needs to be put into slicing software.  The software that the Creality uses is called Cura.  Cura takes the computer file and slices the part into layers and works out the next file so the printer will understand what to print on each layer.  I am not a programmer so to me it's still quite amazing that anyone could figure out how to make this part of the process actually work. 

Once the parts has been changed into the file that the printer needs it then can be printed.  Not a difficult task to get to this point unless you no nothing at all about designing your part in the first place.  This is where Fusion 360 is good as it has a lot of users like me that have a lot of  videos online on how to design what you want to make. So that a help for sure. 

But how do you solve the problem of not using the original heating element in the new printer?  This turned out to be simpler than I had imagined.  In the Cura software is where the changes need to be made.  

I started with this screen in Cura.  I could not see where to change anything on the right side of the screen so a closer look was in order. 

At the top of the screen is the settings pick to show the menu as seen above where I selected "Configure setting visibility..."

From this menu I selected "Printers" and then "Creality CR-10 S4"

Then I selected "Machine Settings" which gave me the menu I was looking for where the check box for "Heated Bed" was. I unchecked this box and now am set up so the printer control box will not try to fire up something that no longer exists.  Yeah!  

It only took me two weeks to figure this out with the help of a lot of nice people who took the time to answer all of my emails and questions that I passed out to them.  I could breathe again.....whew!

The last steps that I am still working on is the enclosure that is needed to be built for the 3D printer.  When you print with ABS filament you get much better parts using an enclosure to retain the heat in the printer build area.  That will be the subject of my next post as this one has already gotten to be plenty long.  But with this post I hope any of you who want to make heated build plate upgrade like I am doing will get the answers they are look for also. 
Have a good a good day with your latest project!