Category Archives: CNC

Roland Toe Clamps

Design files for this project can be found here

One of the major drawbacks with a fixturing table is that it is difficult to mount a piece of stock in such a way that you have access to the entire top of the stock. With my fixturing table and top-down clamps, a flat piece of stock can be easily secured, but the top-down clamps limit the machinable area. Most CNC machines get around this via a vise mounted to the table, but due to the limited work area of the Roland this was not a feasible approach. Instead, I designed and machined out custom toe clamps to securely and accurately hold parts down from the sides.

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Feather Shavette Handle

Design files for this project can be found here

In my search for a closer shave, I recently dove into the world of shaving with a straight razor with the Feather DX shavette. Naturally, one of the first thing I did was to replace the plastic handle with one of my own design. The replacement handles themselves were milled out of Padauk and IPE on an Roland MDX-540 and finished with two coats of 100% pure tung oil for deeper colors, long term durability, and increased water resistance.

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Nixie Tube Clock

Design files for this project can be found here and here.

For the longest time now, I’ve wanted to build myself a Nixie tube clock completely from scratch. Building one isn’t easy though given the various barriers to entry: the high cost of Nixie tubes ($10-$50 each), high voltages for driving the tubes (~170V+), designing the PCB, the desire for an nice enclosure that isn’t made out of laser cut acrylic, etc. All together, it meant that I didn’t have the time and resources to put towards this project until now.

In order to increase the probability that this project reaches completion, the feature list was kept as low as possible while still aiming for a working clock that I can build upon in future iterations. As such, the Nixie tubes themselves must be easy to source, which rules out expensive and/or rare tubes that are difficult to come by. The goal of this project is to create a basic clock, so only four digits are needed along with a digit separator. The power supply must be efficient, and should be powered off of USB-C if possible. Being a clock, RTC functionality along with the ability to keep time even when disconnected from power will naturally be required. Finally, the enclosure must be well designed, heavy, and preferably machined out of stainless steel, copper, or brass.

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Roland Collet Fans

Design files for this project can be found here

The Roland MDX-540 that I’ve been working with gives great results when working with woods or plastics but less so when milling aluminum. While the Roland does have (barely) enough horsepower to cut through aluminum, the lack of chip clearing ends up being the limiting factor for the feed rate. While I normally use the Tormach P770 when working with metals, the Tormach lacks the nice fixturing table for mounting stock. Luckily for me, Roland provides a fan design for the NDC7S tool holder that I easily modified for a more secure fit on the collet nuts.

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