Grizzly Lathe G4003 DRO installation

I purchased a Taishi 2 Axis Digital Read Out with precision linear scales for my Grizzly Lathe G4003. The DRO was $265 which seems like a good deal, especially when you compare the price to the Grizzly brand DROs that retail between $700 and $800!

The DRO unboxed

Taishi 2 Axis Precision Linear Scale DRO
Taishi 2 Axis precision linear scales for my Grizzly G4003
GC8900-2D DRO

DRO Scale Dimensions

After I ordered the DRO from amazon.com. I got a message from the vendor ( asking me for X axis and Y axis dimensions. For the Grizzly G4003 I sent them dimensions 6.76” x 30.75” (175 mm x 785mm). The DRO was shipped from Guangzhou, China and arrived on my doorstep remarkably in a little over a week. (If I did this over ever again I would add a quarter inch to the size of each scale to ensure the scale is never the limiting factor in axis travel.)

DRO X axis

The DRO came with a manual on how to operate the DRO screen, but there were no installation instructions. Buried in the Amazon reviews was a recommendation for watching a YouTube clip by DROPros which I did watch and found very instructive and useful.

The DRO pros video recommended using double sided tape to test drive the setup. I purchased the exact type (3M double sided outdoor tape) but I found the tape to not be strong enough to work in my case. Perhaps if I had wiped down the surfaces more or let the tape set longer it would have worked, regardless it didn’t work in my case and I abandoned the double sided tape fit up attempt.

The Scotch outdoor mounting tape didn’t work for me for the dry fitup of the DRO

3D Printed Shim

There was a 0.08 overhang where the fixed sensor head was going to be placed. I decided to quickly model shim to the exact dimensions required and printed it to take up the gap. Entire print time of this shim? 9 minutes! Sweet!

A 3d printed shim for my G4003 Grizzly Lathe DRO
A 3d printed shim to take up the gap on my Grizzly G4003 lathe cross slide

Time to drill and tap!

The DRO shipped with variou lengths of 4mm – 0.7 screws. I drilled the linear scale fastener hole closest to me with a 3.5mm drill bit first and then tapped this hole. This was also my first opportunity to use my drill and tap straight-alignment guide fixtures. (I bought these at Cabin Fever Expo 2020). I used a transfer punch to set the location in the middle of the slotted hole on the linear scale end.

The Big Gator Tools tap guide I purchased at the 2020 Cabin Fever Expo ensured my threading was straight and perpendicular. It exceeded my expectations.
Tapping the lathe cross slide for the X axis DRO
The DRO scale was installed the the cable routing solution was not ideal

I did each step very iteratively. After drilling and tapping the first hole I re fit up the scale and then punched the second hole. I drilled and tapped that and then after successfully mounting both of the holes for the scale I did each home for the sliding sensor one at a time as well. Take your time and iterate.

My DRO Dilemma- cable routing

After I mounted the X axis scale I discovered a new dilemma; the cable routing up and over the saddle was highly unsatisfactory to me. Searching for answers I stumbled across an internet post where someone was recommending you mill a small slot and route the cable straight through and under the slide itself. Initially I scoffed at this idea but later came to realize this was the only workable solution. This was going to require some serious disassembly on my Grizzly G4003 lathe!

Removing the Grizzly G4003 Saddle

WARNING: Getting the saddle off is a major pain on the rear! the rear ways weren’t too hard to get off but there were 2 fasteners on the front side that I simply could not reach with my wrench. Perhaps there is an alternate way to get these Seriously hard to access fasteners off is unknown to me, if I had to do this again I would write Grizzly for advice. Ultimately I had to loosen the upper saddle cap screws and then slip a hack saw into the slit between the upper and lower components to cut the 2 roll pins connecting it to the base so I could shift and slide the upper part of the saddle left or right to get to the final inner way fasteners. I was extremely displeased at the end of this because I accidentally nicked my cross slide wheel with the hacksaw when cutting the roll pins. My lathe is going to have some battle scars after the installation of the DRO

Milling my Grizzly lathe saddle in my Bridgeport milking machine

Milling a slot

Milling a slot in the saddle with a round nose endmill

The DRO cable can now route directly under the linear scale to the back of the lathe. Success!!!

DRO cable routed through a slot milled in the saddle

Y Axis

For the Y axis I mounted the scale directly to the bed. It should be noted the bed is a casting so it has a slight draft angle. I used a single washer as a spacer and a carpenter level for the initial layout. I milled a flat bracket 1/4” piece that could screw directly into the prexisting chip cover holes and put vertical slots in the bottom to fit up the sensor. I 3d printed a slotted block to take up the gap between the plate and the sensor. I put a matching angle in the slotted 3d block.

My understanding is the G4003 and G4003g are very similar in form, fit, and function. The G4003G is the gunsmith model and has a few more upscale features, but it is my assumption the concepts presented here should work on the G4003g model as well.

Even more 3D printing my way to organization

Socket Head wall organizer

Did I mention I hate pegboard? I hate it, flimsy and ugly! I’m on a mission to custom print every tool holder for my custom made tool wall that is finishing out nicely. After making a socket holder, I decided it was time to make some holders for my disorganized socket sets. I made one set of shallow holders for metric and one for SAE for my 3/8 drive socket wrench.

I’m trying to decide if I like having the letters in an engraved or embossed format.

Next up I’m going to design and print one for my deep socket set. after that is done I’ll make a set for my 1/4 and 1/2 socket sets.

My vice is a vise

My YouTube feed got bombarded with vise restoration videos last fall. I’ve been using a Harbor Freight vise in the interim that worked fine enough but I felt it just didn’t have that panache that an old school heavy duty vise would bring to the shop. I was on the lookout for a vise to make my own.

I happened to be chatting with my Dad on the phone while he was visiting the Jacktown Engine show in Bangor, Pa and on a whim I asked him to be on the lookout for a vise for me. No longer than two minutes later he called me back to say he stumbled upon 3 chunky vices for sale. We agreed to get the largest – A Charles Parker No. 974.

I selected the vice in the middle a Charles Parker 974 from the Jacktown Engine show.
Charles Parker 974 restoration
The Charles Parker Vise No. 974 disassembled

The vise was solid, but cosmetically it needed a lot work. It was mostly covered with hard caked grease, rust, and remnants of paint. I disassembled the entire vise which wasn’t too hard to accomplish. I was happy I didn’t have to mess with any caustic paint remover and I buffed off the majority of the surface scale with a wire wheel on my bench grinder. I moved in and hit the nooks and crevasses with a cup wire wheel on my angle grinder.

The first coating of primer

I used a spray paint rattle can of grey primer and put on a final coat of blue enamel spray paint and hit it with a final coat of clear coat.

I used a white paint pen to trace the raised letters. This part of the restoration is most pleasurable!

The refurbished Chas. Parker Vise No. 974
Charles Parker 974 refurbished

Final thoughts

Before the refurbishment, this chunk of metal was just a vise that I owned, after the final painting and assembly it became “my vise”. The entire process turned out to be much easier than I had expected and anyone with a wire wheel, patience, and some elbow grease can refurbish a rusty old vise into a shop gem. My only complaint is the Charles Parker vise jaws are a very unique design and don’t readily lend themselves to easy customization or replacement. I was fortunate the jaws on this model are ina satisfactory state. Other than that the Charles Parker vise is a majestic relic of the American industrial era.

I’d like to try my hand at refurbishing a Reed vise next.

Socket wrench tool holder

Socket wrench tool holder
3d printed socket head ratchet holder on Prusa i3Mk3s

Tonight I finally scratched a big itch of mine to design a quick lift and go tool holder for my drive ratchet set. I had a good idea in my head how I wanted it to work. It didn’t take too long to model it. I was very pleased with my first prototype. The color of the bright metallic blue of this ProtoPasta filament I’ve recently switched over to looks brilliant and is remarkably sturdy. I NEED to try some of the Neon yellow of this type of filament!!!

Make: Electronics

COVID-19 quarantine continues and the extended time at home has presented another opportunity to pursue another passion project – performing every experiment in the Make: Electronics book, cover to cover with my children.

Make: Electronics
Learning by Discovery by Charles Platt

I didn’t want to piecemeal acquire the parts and potentially have any delays when we got started. The quarantine has noticeably exacerbated shipping delays. When we got started I wanted to be able to stream roll through the book. The second edition has a checklist appendix of all the supplies required and I purchased them all on amazon.com piecemeal in one fell swoop. (I know there are kits out there for this book, but I wanted to get lots of spares so both children could work simultaneously under my tutelage. You can never have enough LEDs, am I right?

Make: Electronics – the components acquired piecemeal via amazon

Make: Electronics Chapter 1

Experiment 1: Taste The Power

The kids were amazed at the tingle on their tongues! We were off to a good start

Experiment 2: Let’s abuse a Battery

This was a good experiment to discuss the concept of short circuits and the engineering reason for having a fuse in a circuit as an electrical safety feature. I had a leftover spare 3 amp circuit in hand that we used for the experiment. The children again were amazed how hot the wires and batteries got for this experiment. It was exciting to see the fuse blow under real-time observation.

Experiment 3: Your First Circuit

We opened up my old resistors and they had become jumbled and to my dismay the packs were not labeled. This was the perfect opportunity to introduce the multimeter and take the time to measure and label the resistance of each pack. It took a while to execute but the children were pros at this activity at the end.

The children were tasked with measuring and labeling all of the resistance values.

After the values were all measured and the resistor packs were sorted by least ohms to largest ohms we made our first battery-resistor-led circuit. We started with the largest value resistor which produced no light and then decreased the value which demonstrated an increasingly brighter LED.

Experiment 4: Varying the Voltage

Experiment 4: Varying the Voltage

With the concept of resistors mastered from the previous experiment, it was relatively easy for the children to grasp the concept of a potentiometer varying resistance as evidenced by the dimming LED with the turn of the knob. I admit – in a 2020 digital world there is something so gratifying about the smooth velvety feel of the analog knob of the potentiometer. Velvety smooth!

Experiment 4: Varying the Voltage

Experiment 5: Let’s Make a Battery

We didn’t have much success with this experiment. We got some voltage out of our setup but not much and not enough to light an LED. I don’t think we had enough fresh lemons and we substituted what I believe were galvanized washers in place of the galvanized metal plates, so perhaps one of these elements was a contributing factor.

Conclusions

Make: Electronics Chapter 1 was complete! The children were able to use a multimeter, understand the concept of voltage, current, and resistance. They built their first circuits, made LEDs light up and dim, and explored the use of a potentiometer. We were off to a good start!

A Light Emitting Diode (LED)

Prusa I3 Mk3S Upgrades

Now that I have had my Prusa I3 MK3S 3d printer for 4 months I have had an educational time upgrading the unit with aftermarket add-ons promoted by the 3d printing community. Obviously, one of the neatest aspects of the unit is that it can print it’s own upgrades!

Modified Duct Fan

Prusa Delta P Duct Fan Upgrade

The stock shroud that comes with the base kit was flimsy and chunks were occasionally meting off and falling in my prints. I stumbled upon the Delta P duct fan upgrade in a Reddit post. You can download the info and plans here. At the start I printed it and installed this fan configuration because I thought it simply looked really cool, but I’ve come to the opinion that this configuration is superior to the base configuration that comes with the printer. I do believe the fan runs quieter, is more structurally stable, and that it does a more precise job of ducting the air to the nozzle base.

Silicone Sock

Aftermarket 3d Printer Hot End Silicone Sock

I read about these after fixing a clog in my E3D V6 hot end a few weeks ago. The aftermarket hot end Silicone Sock runs about $8 and is well worth a try. The silicone sock keeps your hot end insulated, keeps it clean, and prevents against stray filament curling around, sticking to the hot end and the associated risk of creating a filament blob. There is a small risk the silicone sock could come lose and fall into your print during operations, but to date mine is fastened snugly on the hot end without issue since installation. In my opinion the silicone sock has done a great job to keep the hot end clean and in general improves the quality and reliability of the print.

Silicone Sock

Filament Extrusion Visualizer

The last upgrade I’ve made is a filament extrusion visualizer. This add-on is more aesthetically fun than anything else, but does have some minor functionality by quickly enabling you to observer how the extruded is operating at any given time.

The Prusa Extruder Visualizer tutorial has mostly windmill and screw type designs, but I chose to go with a nostalgic wind up toy configuration, but there are many fun Options to choose from. I’ve seen YouTube videos where the windup knob appears to crank in time lapse videos which also adds a pleasing visual effect. (Tinkering with 3d printing time lapse is on my to do list)

The set up is simple. You print your extruder visualizer, and then take a tiny Neodymium magnet (8x3mm) and super glue it to the printer extrusion visualizer componen. The magnets make for interchange options.

3d printer extruder visualizer

COVID-19 Quarantine STEM: Elenco AmeriKit Learn to Solder Kit

Another weekend of COVID-19 quarantine lockdown means another weekend to dust off some of the STEM projects Santa Claus gave the kids this past Christmas that were sitting in the basement 😉

Elenco Amerikit Learn to Solder Kit

The kit impressed me. It comes with a decent soldering iron and a simplistic but effective stand for the soldering iron when not in use.

We divided work on the kit into two days . The first day they practiced soldering the pads on the circuit board and then soldering wire to the board.

My daughter is practicing her soldering skills

On the second day we assembled the kit. Along the way we got to discuss resistors, capacitors, transistors, and potentiometers.

Some of the electronics that came with the Elenco Amerikit learn to solder kit

After the kids had the basics of soldering down and were comfortable using the equipment we pivoted towards assembling the actual kit. I think it took us about 2 hours of relaxed zen-like soldering to complete the kit. It was very relaxing and enjoyable actually.

The kit is supposed to have flashing LEDs and a European siren when completed. We were able to get the LEDs to perform the alternating blinking pattern but alas, we could not get the siren to work on either child’s kit. We spent a good half hour troubleshooting, but in the end my hunch is that we may have applied too much heat to the 555 timer chips.

Final Thoughts:

We were somewhat disappointed we couldn’t get the siren to play after all of the components were soldered to the board, but I chalk that up to user error on our part. The real goal of having the children obtain a real world STEM skill of soldering was successfully accomplished. The kit was very effective at teaching this skill. Santa picked out a fun, practical, and educational gift for the kids to grow their soldering skills.

Hack the Pandemic – 3D printing COVID-19 Face Masks

I’ve been experimenting with printing face-masks to wear during the pandemic.

The .STL file was downloaded from Thingiverse .com and then printed on my Prusa I3 Mk3S 3D printer. I love the Prusa 3d printer. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

The parts for one COVID-19 mask take approximately 7 hours to 3D print.
This 3D print of 3D COVID-19 masks took 18 hours
Finished and assembled COVID-19 mask 3D printed on my Prusa I3 Mk3S

A HEPA filter from a HVAC unit or a vacuum cleaner bag can be cut to make the masks filter unit. I don’t have flexible filament on hand so the the mask is rigid. A rubber weather strip gasket can be used to line the interior for a gasket effect.