LED Word Clock Complete

It’s taken quite a while, but the LED Word Clock looks to be finished. This was a project started a few years ago by some students, and then was completely redone by a current Junior from our shop. This student has spent most of the semester putting the project together in a manner that looks professional, like a product off the shelf.

The design uses about 10 layers of lasercut wood to conceal the wiring and house the lettering and spacing pieces. The circuit board is custom made on our Bantam Tools PCB mill, and all the wood and acrylic were cut on our Epilog Fusion Pro. Just a few photos below of the finished product, hoping to have a more detailed writeup of the process from the student.

Tormach Resolved

I believe it was Tuesday when I reported having some issue with my Tormach. You can read about the initial symptoms here. Fortunately, Tormach has very good support, at least in my opinion. I had also let Tormach know the automatic draw bar was not functioning, the lock and release buttons were not doing anything despite having good air pressure, and other air pressure related functions working properly. This led them to believe that the draw bar control board may not be receiving power, which would then affect the ATC, as both are used together during tool changes.

I put a multimeter on the draw bar control board and was not reading any voltage. I traced the wires back to their source at the electrical cabinet and also received not voltage at that point, which suggested perhaps a fuse had blown. However, while looking at the fuse board in the electrical cabinet I did notice a few small chips of aluminum on the board, which might be shorting out the board and causing the issue. I brushed those chips away and retested the wires numbered 501 and 502. 11.92 V showing on the multimeter, problem solved.

Looks like some chips somehow made it into the electrical cabinet and shorted out the fuse board, specifically the 501 and 502 wires to the draw bar control board. It took a day or so to track down the issue, but luckily it was an easy and cheap fix. Some photos below.

EV Charging

Last week I contacted a colleague from my school who was an electrician about installing an outlet at my house to charge an electric vehicle. They were unable to do the job, but gave me a name of a former student who works in the electrical field that would be able to do a side job. When I first texted with that person they were under quarantine and needed a week before they would be able to come out and do the job. Unfortunately, today I found out they no longer have the availability to help me out, so I’m back looking for an electrician. I will most likely look into contacting the person who installed our new electrical panel when we first purchased our house. Will follow up on that in a later post.

Tormach Issues

Today I was going to perform some test taps on the Tormach mill to make sure I had my speeds and feeds correct. Unfortunately, when I turned on the machine this morning, the computer screen said No Signal and I could hear rapid beeping coming from the computer underneath the mill. I contacted Tormach and they suggested reseating the memory card in the computer. Seemed strange, but they had a pdf guide on how to do it, which suggested its not an uncommon problem. These machines do vibrate a lot, it is certainly a possibility. After reseating the memory card the computer started up without issue. Problem solved.

Unfortunately, when trying to use the ATC (Automatic Tool Changer), I received a communication error between the ATC and Draw Bar. They error message said to check the ATC to Drawbar cabling and fuses – but I am not really sure where to start for that. I’ve contacted Tormach again and awaiting their response. They have always been good about getting back to me for support issues, so hopefully we can resolve this quickly. I’ll post some photos of the errors I was receiving.

Pi Radio Hardware

Today I spent some time setting up the hardware for the Pi Radio. Unfortunately, I was unable to do a complete test because I did not have a speaker. Usually, I’ll have a few small speakers in my office for testing purposes, but I must have taken them to school for some reason. I will take the components to school tomorrow and try testing them there. Will hopefully have an update tomorrow. Below are some images of the hardware setup, the Arduino is not being used, just using the breadboard. Also, a photo of my safety officer.