Monday, July 29, 2013

Sherline CNC - Mach3 - ShuttleXpress HMI add on

This a completely un-sponsored un-solicited opinion.

Possibly the most significant addition to my CNC work station is the ShuttleXpress. Marketed under several different names and widely varying prices this little guy is awesome.

Set up is quick and easy I won't go thru that.

I like to place it anywhere on my desk that is most comfortable that day or time. I set the X, Y, & Z across the top three buttons. The rubbery wheel is set with the negative spindle direction (counter-clockwise) and positive direction (clockwise.) I no longer use the inner most dial with the finger dent in it, maybe I'll revisit it sometime to see if I like it better.

I can't express how much easier and more friendly using my CNC mill has become now that I am an "expert" at using the ShuttleXpress for set up. when its time to set 0,0,0 you click whatever axis you need to start with (and get a little audio note from the computer,) then drive slow, then fast, then slow to your position. With Mach3 I hit the "Off Line" button on the screen, drive the numbers with the ShuttleXpress to the desired actual position, hit "Off Line" again and you are ready to start the NC program.

All of this can be done with the "Tab" initiated window on Mach3 but running that window from your mouse is terribly cumbersome, I don't even open that window anymore.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sherline Lathe - Allignment

Alignment is critical so I wanted a way to mechanically align the head and the tail stock. 

 I purchased a 1/4" tail stock extension from LatheCity and fit a .251 gage pin in the end. With both the tail stock and the spindle head slightly loose and the gage pin secured into a .250 collet I then slowly tightened each until secure.

The test to see if all was good was to move the extension all the way off of the gage pin and back onto it noticing for any hang up when encountering the gage pin again.

So for the indicator readings prove-out I put the old Last-Word on it.

 With the .251 pin in the collet I got a reading at the spindle end of 3 tenths TIR. And driving the full length of the pin I found no readable deviation; as my friend Tom Vickers always says: "good enough for who its for."