1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Scratch Build – In Progress Project: Turn a chunk of aluminium into a case

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by One Works, 21 Oct 2020.

  1. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    1,199
    You don't scrap that. You frame it and put it on the wall next to Grandma's portrait.
    I couldn't use that on a computer because I'd be dragging a guitar pic across it all the time. :lol:
     
  2. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    It's a lot stronger than I expected. But yeah, can certainly get bent out of shape by accident. I'm still thinking about adding in some supports for the fins to make it a bit more sturdy.

    :hehe: I'll keep it around in my pile of "stuff that looks cool, but wasn't quite good enough to go to the customer". Now I need to find a guitar pick to see if it makes a cool noise.
     
  3. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    So, I've finally managed to get a break from the real work, aka the work that pays the bills. Time for an update then.

    Slap it in the vise upside down to take off the bottom.
    [​IMG]

    After removing the bulk of the material, I realised I was right, there was no longer enough material to support the part when doing a finishing pass. So I used the superglue and tape method to attach an offcut of 20mm plate to the inside.
    [​IMG]

    Back in the machine and finishing pass complete.
    [​IMG]

    First step for the rear is to drill and counterbore the case as well as tap the top panel. This allows me to put a couple of cap screws in to give the back of the case a bit more support from the top panel while machining the rear I/O.
    [​IMG]

    Rear I/O all cut out. Couldn't blow the coolant off for the photo as there was a pool of it inside that was going to go everywhere (But mainly all over me) if I tried.
    [​IMG]

    Another shot of the rear after machining.
    [​IMG]

    Tried to tape up the inside and plug one of the threaded holes before bead blasting. Mainly to try and preserve the machined inside finish. Gave up a bit and had some over spray. But you can still tell it's a machined part which is what I was going for.
    [​IMG]

    Last but not least, I got the DSLR to take a couple of nicer shots of it after bead blasting. Images are a bit noisy, the Canon 500D is showing it's age vs the new gear, looks a lot better on Instagram :hehe:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, now that the machining on this is done, it's time to test fit hardware to make sure all the critical dimensions are right. Then onto designing V2.
     
    Jean R built likes this.
  4. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    I've had suggestions on other forums to allow for an internal PSU. Looks like I'd need to add 25mm to the height of the case to fit the HD Plex 200w AC/DC unit in. That will be good in some cases as it allows a higher CPU cooler as well. I'm working on the design now to allow me to make it out of a 200mm square extrusion. The plan is to have a common top and bottom panel as well as fan filter element, then 2 versions of the extrusion, 1 for an external power brick and one to house the HD Plex 200w unit internally. Also working on ideas for other cases which could utilise the 200mm extrusion to make it worthwhile getting a die cut if I get to that stage.

    This is the design for REV B of the external PSU version. Hopefully I'll get started on machining it shortly. Will get on with the paying work for the next couple of days while I think about any other possible tweaks I need to do to the design before I rip into another bit of billet.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Karrek and Cheapskate like this.
  5. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    Started machining the 2nd prototype over the weekend. This time I decided to be less wasteful and try keep the core of the billet. It was an interesting exercise in creating toolpaths and fixtures to do so, but at the end of the day, the extra time was not worth the value of material saved :hehe:

    Billet was rough machined closer to size using multiple facing operations. Much easier to remove material this way than side cutting.
    [​IMG]

    Part way through OP1, outer walls finished and a heap of 10mm holes drilled through the billet. Again, drilling is a much more effective way of removing material than milling at that depth. Though, a thru spindle coolant carbide drill would have been a much better tool for the job than the standard HSS drill I used.
    [​IMG]

    OP1 all done
    [​IMG]

    Bottom of the part after OP1
    [​IMG]

    Next I machined a solid top panel. This is used to support what will become a square hollow section in the vises while machining and prevent it from being crushed. It also has holes to allow me to attach the core of the billet to it so it's secure when I cut through and free it from the outer section.
    [​IMG]

    Top panel in place and fixed to the core of the billet.
    [​IMG]

    Everything ready to go for OP2. As there is no reference to pick up on here, the first step was to machine to rough height and take material off around the perimeter to allow the probe to touch off on the side walls machined in OP1.
    [​IMG]

    After OP2.
    [​IMG]

    Finally, the almost finished part, and the core of the billet saved for a future project. About 4.5kg of usable aluminium left. Which is somewhere around $60NZD worth of material. There is a witness line from where I machined from either side, largely present in the middle and not at the corners. The Material must have moved due to internal stress once it was parted off from the core. No stress for a prototype though.
    [​IMG]

    I forgot to save this photo to my phone when I uploaded it to my instagram story. Saves me writing a caption for it.
    [​IMG]

    This is the internal corner that was finished with the end mill above. Not too bad considering the length to diameter of the tool. Will clean up nicely with bead blasting.
    [​IMG]

    All in all the whole thing would have been a lot easier if I had extrusion available at this point. Or access to a wire EDM machine. But I make do with the tools I have. Something I find myself saying often, and laughing about when I say it. I started my business with a CNC router I built in the garage at home. Now, the machine alone is worth somewhere in the region of $150k NZD and I still call it making do :lol:
     
    Cheapskate and Jean R built like this.
  6. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    1,199
    :lol: The rest of us: Drill 4 corners and torture yourself with a hack saw.
     
  7. Jean R built

    Jean R built Active Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2020
    Posts:
    133
    Likes Received:
    154
    And today I had to craft one of my contraptions to speed up the crafting process, with scrap materials to avoid spending too much :hehe:.

    Different point of views, I like the new part :thumb:
     
    Last edited: 20 Nov 2020 at 12:39
  8. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

    Joined:
    23 Oct 2001
    Posts:
    34,252
    Likes Received:
    1,679
    No matter how super-duper your tools, you'll always be "making do". Metalwork is 20% making stuff, and 80% upgrading your tools or making new tools to make stuff. :hehe:

    Much prefer this case design --less waste of aluminium (I know the swarf gets recycled, but still....).
     
  9. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    :hehe: I'd be curious how long it'd actually take to do by hand with a hack saw. Maybe one day when I get to hiring staff and one of them annoys me I'll find out :p:


    Yeah, I definitely feel like a spoiled brat at times. Your work is incredible mate, shows you don't need to spend a heap of money to come up with cool stuff if you have imagination, skill and patience.

    :hehe: So true. When I got the machine, friends in the industry told me, you'll spend at least half as much as the machine on workholding and tooling. I didn't believe them, I quickly realised how right they were. For sure, the design that can be made from extrusion is more practical, and when it's sitting on the desk, you'd barely be able to tell them apart from the front. It's just slightly higher to accommodate the fixings at the back. I have ideas in mind for a number of variations that use the same 200mm box section as no one over here has a box section that size as a stock item so I'd need to get a die cut if I wanted to make more than a few.
     
    Jean R built likes this.
  10. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

    Joined:
    23 Oct 2001
    Posts:
    34,252
    Likes Received:
    1,679
    Same here: so far my 7x16 mini-lathe has had:
    - bigger chuck
    - brass gibs
    - nylon gears replaced for metal ones
    - phenolic plastic wheels replaced with aluminium ones (the plastic ones kept losing their handles).
    - knurled aluminium handle on tailstock lock
    - quick change tool post
    - magnetic work light.
    Next is changing the bearings for tapered rollers, saddle stop and changing the saddle gibs (again) for a special tapered gibs arrangement. And this is not counting the number of cutting tools, boring tools, knurling tools, tap and die holder, live centre, steady.

    The mill has had:
    - blade spring to gas piston upgrade
    - working lights clamps
    - reverse switch
    - plastic handles on quill feed replaces with knurled aluminium ones
    Next is changing the bearings for tapered rollers again, table stops and a DRO setup. Of course it, too, has an arrangement of chucks, ER32 collets, end mills, face mill, work holding equipment (some self-made), parallels, V-blocks, rotary table.

    And that is just for a small hobbyist setup...
     
  11. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    1,199
    @Nexxo - :lol: This is why we can't get an update out of you. You are the OCDest of us all.
     

Share This Page