Sunday 11 July 2021

Moose head - The Brown Stuff!!!

Brown Stuff????

Yes, working on The Brown Stuff in the workshop is against my religion. It's downright wrong to be soiling metalworking machines with the stuff. When I have to deal with it, it's usually under duress and related to updating or repairing the house and this distasteful activity happens where it's needed.


We used to have a fun 3D moosehead that we acquired when we lived in Canada. It was made of laser cut MDF and slotted together before being hung on the wall as a hunting trophy.

Unfortunately one of the dogs ate some or all of some of the pieces before we reassembled and remounted the thing here in our UK house. 

Luckily I photographed the pieces when I packed it for shipping, so have a record of what the missing bits look like.

The time has come to do something about that. You'd think this would be well within the capability of The Shiz, so why not have a go?

Recreating the pieces:

The approved method of recreating organic shapes like this in Fusion 360 is to import the photos and then convert into some form of vector outline. Once this is done, you can create a simple toolpath and off you go.

The recommended method seems to be to use Inkscape to convert a photograph (bitmap eg JPG) into an SVG which you can then import into Fusion. An SVG file is in a vector format, so that conversion is the key step. Stinkscape is free and open source (AFAIK), so I had a good at doing this. However, I struggled with some aspects:

  • You need to use the contrast and pixel size settings to create a clean contour without causing loss of resolution of features and closing up of slots etc. I struggled with this and ended up creating an SVG with lots of unwanted artefacts (mainly pixel-like holes everywhere). 
  • If you don't start with a clean, simple SVG in Fusion, it struggles to process the sheer number of elements present. I found that having imported the file, Fusion would freeze up for 5-10 seconds if I so much as farted. I tried to clean up the SVG by deleting some of the noise but this was a hiding to nothing.
  • Stinkscape itself would refuse to update the preview after making any changes to the contrast and pixel settings. This was a royal PITA, especially for a new user. So this was the final nail in its coffin.
So next, I simply used the photo directly in Fusion:
  • Import the photo directly as a "canvas" onto a sketch plane. 
  • Then trace the outline of the desired feature using the "spline" tool. 
  • Don't forget to scale the imported object either by "calibrating" it to a known dimension or scaling the sketch using a scale factor calculated from a physical measurement (on the actual part) and a measurement in Fusion of the object being defined.
  • For features such as the slots, a 3-point rectangle ensures good parallelism of the sides both with themselves and other slots.
Making the parts:
Finally, go into Fusion Manufacturing and create a 2D Contour toolpath:
  • I have 2.4mm router bits galore, so use these at max spindle speed (7000rpm) and a modest feedrate. I found 0.025mm per tooth worked well.
  • Add tabs at strategic positions to support the workpiece as it is cut out. I struggled to manually place these on curved toolpaths but the "auto place" feature didn't have that problem.
  • Sand off any burring with fine paper afterwards. Sounds like a bodge but in fact the burring was a lot cleaner than it looked and took very little elbow grease.

Setting up an MDF table

Toolpath ready to go:


Actually a lot better than it looked

Part #2:


Nazca lines? Picasso?


But are they a decent reproduction?

A couple of small parts still to do but looking good so far.

Ring light for The Shiz?

No smutty innuendos required here, thanks. I've been meaning to get round to this on my large mill and was thinking it would need to be one of those "angel eye" ring things sold to boy racers. However, thanks to a post by Andrew Mawson on the Madmodder forum, I managed to find a 10" version of this "influencer" light on Amazon at £7.09 including free next day delivery. Bargain buckets. This left me with no option. 

This thing did indeed come next day and included a Xmas cracker "tripod", a flexible gooseneck thing and a remote control shutter thing for smart phones. Those can hit the bin obvs.

I played with mine, took it apart and fiddled around with the scope to see what I had here. There are 2 rows (rings) of LEDs - cold white and yellow. 

The controller switches between one, the other or both of them. However, when you switch between the light colour settings, the current consumption stays the same, so clearly the current in the LEDs is PWM modulated by the SO-8 IC to keep the current within the USB limit. Clearly this means only some of the LEDs are ever fully utilised. And judging by how cool they run, they are barely being challenged. Hmm.

So I removed the controller from the equation and hard wired both rings in parallel. I'd have put them in series but the tracking on the IMS board (aka aluminium single-sided PCB) wouldn't allow that. Playing with the PSU, I can see that a 0.47R metal clad resistor in series with them would give a convenient 2 - 2.5A in the light if supplied with 5V. After running thus for 30 mins, the peak temperature on the LEDs is around  40C and the resistor is around 45C. Heat is the killer of LEDs, so this is the bottom line here. 

The Shizuoka doesn't have a convenient hole anywhere where it's needed but I'm not averse to drilling holes in it, so that's what happened.

I will need to wire it into a PSU at some point but initially I'll see how I get on with it.

Final assembly and test of the spindle nose adaptor - RESULT!!

After the recent distraction caused by the 3D scanner, resurrecting the 3D printer and buggering about with the throttle bodies for my Honda...