Fiddly Bit Fixtures

No great invention here, just applying some Engineering to the problem of holding small, round pins so that holes can be drilled and threaded radially.

The problem is illustrated in a YouTube video by John Saunders of NYC CNC where several, nominally identical parts are loaded into a fixture that is clamped using a single clamping tool; a vise.

In reality, parts are never exactly identical, not in length nor in diameter. A compliant fixture is required that has some give so that the clamping force is distributed more evenly over all the little parts in the fixture, holding each more successfully. Continue reading

Doubling Distributor Hall Resolution

A stranger going by the handle of Red1600i was working on putting sequential fuel injection into his VW Beetle using a standard distributor with Hall sensor and an upgraded vane wheel to get accurate engine position and timing.

A+ for effort. (Both the photos are his.)

Turns out that his first attempt was by far too ambitious, with nearly 40 “teeth” machined into the vane wheel which is just 46  in diameter. Had he read a data sheet for a typical sensor and noted that the release distance between sensor and vane is just over 3 millimetres, he’d have ensured that the slots are at least 6 mm wide. Continue reading

3D Virtual Viewer

A device with an optical display device which can determine its position in space while being moved, can change its optical output characteristic as defined by image data.

One simple implementation consists of an LCD display attached to a multi-axis inertial sensor and a storage device holding image data. As the operator moves the display device through space, the display changes so that a small viewport, corresponding to a part of the full view is visible to an observer.

Application areas for  such a device exist outside of  entertainment and amusement.

Image data that are virtual can be 3-dimensional schematics and/or digital scanned images not visible to the naked eye.  The virtual viewer is then useful tool for e.g. identifying equipment during physical maintenance by following a schematic in 3 dimensions simply by directing and moving the viewer through the space in which the equipment has been installed.