Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Raygun XIV.V

Not the final post, not yet. Raygun "ships" today. I might be able to sneak in a Wednesday night delivery if I really have to but the client is packing that night for an early Thursday departure to the land of Tiki.

Deep in to agile micro-fabrication. Went in to the shop yesterday with one hour before I started machining -- and I didn't even have a CAD file. Designed, drafted the thing in plenty of time, but the CAM software was being weird; the computers upstairs were all in use or out of service (I wasted a perfectly good ten minutes trying to find missing keyboards and restore any of them), and the computers in the lab weren't remembering tool settings.

And, yeah. I went in really needing one part. I couldn't get the CAM software to play nice and generate G-code for it. But I could get the software to generate G-code for a part that was a luxury, thought-of-it-at-the-last-minute and if-I-have-time-I'll-make-it. So of course I spent three hours at the CNC mill making that. And barely had the energy left to jump over to the manual mill and do the part I really needed that way instead.

Yeah. So much for the joys of computer-aided manufacturing. The lasers were all booked solid through the next several days (up until Burning Man, basically). So my "this is simpler" is actually more complicated; thirty minutes of CAD drafting and ten minutes of cutting is going to turn into three hours of hand-cutting plastics if I still chose to go down that route.

I lathed the nozzle on Sunday, which was a delight. The acrylic flexed a lot even when I re-ground my custom lathe tool (bought a blank of high speed steel at Grainger and ground it to the profiles recommended on a couple sources for acrylic). And the compound slide was jamming; I couldn't line it up at the five degree angle I needed to cut the taper.

So I pulled out a bastard file and profiled my piece by hand. Applied 220 and 400-grit by hand, with the lathe still turning...and it looked good just like that so I kept it. Wanted to give myself some options so I chucked in the clear acrylic I'd bought but that piece shattered when I tried to lathe it down. Next time, I'll figure out how to make the pieces work with standard stock dimensions!

I would have made more progress with the holster on Sunday but I was a buck short. By at least an hour. Monday morn, I continued working to finish the vacuum form buck, and that was the last thing I did before crawling back to BART. And fortunately I got two clean pulls in PETG.

This morning's first exercise was to see what of the glues I had on hand would actually grip PETG. Loctite Plastic Bonder seems to grip decently (Zap-Gap failed immediately and Weld-On #16 doesn't feel strong). So now I just have to figure out how the various fabric pieces are going to work, then stitch up a belt and finish building a buckle if I have time. And I'm still tempted to make a run down to the fabric store to add some silver edge trim.

Oh...and I have yet to put the last couple screws in the gun. Or glue the flashes on the side. Or upload the new "power up" code I just wrote for it. Or take some pictures before it goes out the door.

No pressure!

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