It is hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one of these machines - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Along with the CNC router I discovered the wonderful material called Precision Board and the glues, primers and other companion products they offer. Since then we have gone through many tons of the material using it in most signs and projects we tackle. This journal will chronicle our many adventures both past, present and future. I'll talk from the perspective of someone who pushes these products to the creative limit on a daily basis. I'll be adding to the stories two or three times each week. -dan

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Full throttle story telling

A simple electrical on-off switch would have done the job of turning my MARVELOUS MACHINE on and off. But a simple switch wouldn't have told the story I needed to tell.

My MARVELOUS MACHINE is 'driven' by steam. To properly control suck a divide we needed a mechanical throttle, much like what one would find in an old steam train engine. I had built a similar throttle for our train steam engine last year. I had considered using the same file but I didn't need a reverse on this machine.

To build the throttle I first needed a segment of a cogged wheel. I built the teeth which I would use to cut out the sprocket. I then used the jigsaw tool to create this vector.

I then drew up some lines using the drawing tools. This would form the outline of the base of the unit. I positioned this over the partial sprocket I had previously created. By adding the various circles and sections and using the jigsaw tool I created the final shape.

I built up various shapes using the drawing tools and then combined them to create the long handle, pull lever and various other bots and pieces.

I was originally going to use a tapered base but opted for a box design because of space considerations. In the screen shot below the shapes for the pieces are created. A few last pieces still need to be merged together.

This shot has all of the final vectors. The five boxes on the left were plasma cut from 1/8" thick plate steel. The pieces on the right side were all cut from 3/16" plate steel.

I cut the box pieces first on our MultiCam plasma cutter simply because the machine was already set up for 1/8" thick material. As fast as the pieces came off the machine I ground up the edges and tacked them together. I then welded the corners up and used a sanding disk to smooth the welds.

The throttle lever was assembled with a combination of bolts and welding. It too went together in a hurry. There is a bolt on access panel in the bottom box to facilitate mounting an electric micro switch inside which will be actuated by the lever.