Plastic Injection Molder – Part 4

I’ve been swamped at work with a couple of pretty big projects, but I got a bit more work done on the injection molder frame and controller. First the controller:

Wired up, and powered on.
Wired up, and powered on.

 

Yup, all wired up and working. I’ve got it heating the chamber and have had it all the way up to 400 degrees. I’ve got a good part of the frame built, as well, but I still have the welding to do. I also have to figure out how I’m going to mount the heating chamber to the frame:

The frame, so far
The frame, so far

 

I’m getting there, if a bit slowly.

Plastic Injection Molder – Part 3

I am finally getting back to work on the plastic injection molder. We recently moved offices at work and there was a fair bit of stuff headed to the trash. I grabbed a busted old VGA repeater/extender and gutted it. After a bit of cutting and drilling, and a quick shot with my trusty can of Rustoleum, I’ve got a sweet little control box for the molder:

Injection molder controller box
Injection molder controller box

Pretty sweet, right? I still need to reconnect everything and find a power supply connector, but that’s all of 30 minutes work. Next post will be the dang thing wired up and working.

A special note to Michael: I changed my theme again… just for you!

30 Days of Creativity, Day 6: Ring Clamp

image

image

image

image

image

I’m posting this from the train to Chicago, from Milwaukee. I’m also posting it from my phone, so we’ll see how this goes.

First, a disclaimer: if you don’t have a desire to make a ring clamp, but need one, just buy one. It took me three hours of messing around to get this one together. That works out to around $0.07 per hour for my labor, once materials are subtracted. That said it was pretty neat to do, and in fairness, I spent some of that time trying to get my busted old band saw working.

I still have to make the wedge, and the leather pads, but I’m happy with it so far. When I do this again, ther are a few things I’ll do differently. First, the hinge should incorporate a sleeve around the middle of the bolt. This should open the jaws up a bit and allow for slightly larger materials to be held. Second, I’ll hook up the shop vac to the belt sander… holy crap that thing puts out a lot of dust! Third, the hinge should be centered, instead of shifted to one side. As it is, one side opens about 50% wider than the other. I think I’ll spend a bit more time shaping the body of the next one, and give it a nice protective finish.

Like I said, I’m pretty happy with the result, and I’ll probabaly do it again. There is something excellent about making your own tools… even when it’s cheaper to buy them.

The “shop”

Draft created: 12/17/2010

One of the things I struggle with in my home shop (calling it that is a bit of a stretch, I suppose) is organization. The place always seems to be a mess, and while I can usually lay my hands on the specific tools or parts I need, it takes a lot more digging through boxes and crates than I’d like. The challenges, as I see them, are as follows:

Space
In short, there’s not enough. Our garage is under our house, taking up 1/2 of the basement. My bench and workspace take up about 1/4 of the garage. In this space I need work surfaces, including ones that will allow me to leave work to dry, ferment, grow, or dissolve. I also need storage for tools and materials. “Materials,” in this case refer not only to nice clean 8′ x 4′ sheet goods, and perfectly true 2x4s, but also the cast-off bits of the last hundred projects, broken devices that contain some useful bit inside, and all of the household stuff we accumulate. This last includes 1/2 roll of rope caulking, a pipe snake, 1 gazillion o-rings (non of which actually fit anything), and the burner from a natural gas space heater.
Variety
The second issue is that there is a lot of variety among the “stuff.” I’ve tried a number of different way to catalog and organize everything: by project (what about raw materials and things that might be part of multiple projects?), by material type ( works for materials, but not for parts; I wouldn’t put the extra motocycle handlebars in with the steel pipe), by season (this doesn’t even make sense, but i thought about it), by recency (i.e. newest stuff on the top of the pile). In addition to the variety “now,” the relative composition is apt to change at any time (like the day I suddenly found that I had 10 sealed 6v batteries, or the day I used up half of my scrap wood on a project).
Access
The third challenge is access. I could just put it all in nicely labelled boxes and stack them somewhere, but then it becomes a PITA to actually get at them. It also makes it far less likely that I will put things back in an orderly fashion. If I have to open 6 different boxes from 6 different areas, it’ll mean that much more time to put it all back at the end of the day. I know myself well enough to know that those 6 boxes will sit on my bench until the end of forever, despite the stern lecture I gave Dillon about keeping a tidy work space.

I’ve thought it through, and I think I have a solution…

[You’ll just have to wait, as that’s as far as I got with this post.]

New old bench grinder

Over the holidays my father gave me an old bench grinder he had in the basement. The thing was not in great shape, but it’s a tool I certainly needed. My dad is one of those guys that always seems to have an extra [whatever you are looking for]. I’ve got a battery charger that came to me the same way.

Here’s what the bench grinder looked like when I got it:

Bench grinder: Before
Bench grinder: Before

It’s a Wen Model 1030 with a 1/3 horse power motor. You may no know it, but Wen is a real American company. They’ve been making tools since 1951 and are still around (located in Elgin, IL). This specific model, the cost $60 back in 1974 (you could drop an additional $10 to get the model with an included work light). Looks like you can still get into a 6″ grinder with work lights for $70. I think the old ones look better:

Bench grinder: After
Bench grinder: After

I swapped one wheel for a buffer. The one I have, though, is too small, and sits too close to the housing so I’ll be adding in some spacers and a larger wheel when I get a chance. I’m pretty pleased with the result, though. Here’s one more set of before/after:

Bench grinder: Before
Bench grinder: Before
Bench grinder: After
Bench grinder: After

Could be better (work light, painted, etc.), but it’s great for now.

Update:

I just went to the Wen site and registered the grinder… we’ll see if I get a response.