Educational videos

CNC machining, programming, and electronics
mostly to make small tools and machines.

Kent A. Vander Velden, PhD
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Kvv Creates
6165 NW 86th St
Johnston, IA 50131

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Map of YouTube Subscriber's Countries (as of 2017-05-12)

Recent Kvv Creates videos

2018-12-12Solid tool post mount for SB1001 CNC lathe conversion
2018-11-29PM25 BLDC spindle drive replacement from Anaheim Automation
2018-11-19Rigid tapping and thread milling on a PM25 LinuxCNC mill
2018-09-20IMTS 2018 Chicago (International Manufacturing Technology Show)
2018-09-17XY positioning stage for a camera
2018-08-29Improving toolpaths of spindle lock
2018-05-01Spindle lock for PM25 CNC milling machine (improved)
2018-04-17Full Extension Drawer Slides Installation Onto Aluminum Extrusion
2018-02-12Evolution Rage2 vs DeWalt DW872 for cutting aluminum
2018-01-28Manual Pulse Generator Control Panel for CNC Lathe
2018-01-07Make a Bulkhead Main Power Connector IEC C13 C14
2017-12-17Improve milling performance of magnetic door catch sensor bracket
2017-12-10CNC Milling Tools, Spindle Load, and Performance
2017-12-04Panel PC Installation - Logic Supply Cincoze P2002
2017-11-18BDTools South Bend SB1001 Lathe CNC Conversion and LinuxCNC Configuration
2017-10-23Chronos high-speed camera, YouTube compression, and AC/DC lighting discussion
2017-10-22Shop chat #1
2017-09-26Chronos high-speed camera, YouTube compression, and AC/DC lighting discussion
2017-09-20Closed-loop stepper motor following-error monitoring
2017-09-10KronTech Chronos 1.4 high-speed camera unboxing
2017-07-17Optimize Keyword Phrases, Playlists, and Subscriptions with YouTube API
2017-06-29Import Misumi Parts Into Autodesk Fusion 360
2017-05-22Simplify3D and Fusion360 control 3D print material placement
2017-05-14Updates - Channel, Business, Life
2017-05-13Perfect Misumi Cover Plate Holes
2017-03-05Abrasive Blasting With Small Air Compressor
2017-02-12Make a Heatsink for Stepper-Servo Motor Drives
2017-01-30Motorized Camera Track Dolly Slider
2017-01-18Machining Socket for Ball Screw Retainer
2017-01-042016 CNC Machining Outtakes
2016-12-09Drilling Surface Plate for TTS Tool Length Measurement
2016-12-03DeWalt DW872 Cold Saw Lubrication
2016-11-26Mysteriously Faulting Stepper Motor, Closed-loop
2016-11-24FloLight BladeLight aluminum extrusion mounts
2016-11-22R8 Drawbar Upgrade For PM25 Mill
2016-11-16DeWalt DW872 metal cutting saw review and demo
2016-10-30Spindle lock for PM25 milling machine
2016-10-23Kvv Creates channel introduction
2016-10-14Magnetic door catch - machining, theory, and assembly
2016-10-11FogBuster to NOGA Adaptor, how to make and use
2016-10-07Python control of LinuxCNC for prototyping machines and scientific instruments
2016-08-21PM25MV Mill CNC Conversion Testing
2016-08-11CNC Machining NEMA 17 Stepper Motor Mounts
2016-08-07LinuxCNC pendants - VistaCNC, ShuttleXpress, Keypad
2016-07-25Fusion360 - How to create stock from simulation and STL files
2016-07-05Linux support for the Mastech MS6701 sound level meter
2016-06-30LinuxCNC, G61 vs G64 and part collisions, Exact Path vs. Path Blending
2016-07-01Spindle load meter for a CNC milling machine
2016-07-06PM25MV milling machine spindle sound level
2016-07-08A quiet air compressor? CAT-10020C vs. DeWalt D55155
2016-07-08How to fix leaky CAT-10020C Ultra Quiet air compressor
2016-07-09FFmpeg video compression - decrease size, maintain quality
2016-07-14CNC Lathe, 3D Printed Parts, Arduino Controlled, South Bend SB1001 8k 8x18
2016-07-20CNC spindle and stepper power load meter

Recent Beauty in Nature videos

2016-05-31Saylorville Dam - Slices of turbulence

Solid tool post mount for SB1001 CNC lathe conversion

A solid tool post mount is made to replace the compound on a SouthBend SB1001 lathe CNC conversion. This done to improve rigidity and range of tool sizes available on an Aloris AXA quick change tool post. Since converting the lathe to CNC, the compound is rarely used and it's lack of rigidity has created problems.

Solid tool post mounts of others who provided inspiration:
Robin Renzetti's design that inspired everyone.
Rivers Company's (Vik Rivers) 3d printed integrated tool post and cross slide design.
Stefan Gotteswinter's design.

Next project: Pullies for a friend

#SB1001, #CNC, #KvvCreates

PM25 BLDC spindle drive replacement from Anaheim Automation

A BLDC drive from Anaheim Automation is tested as a replacement to stock spindle drive of the PM25 mill. The stock drive is not documented, lacks a fault signal, and responses slowly to direction and speed changes limiting rigid tapping. The Anaheim Automation MDC300-120151 drive has advantages but with the stock PM25 spindle motor, there are some gotchas including poor torque at low speeds, poor speed regulation, and a few others. I'm still looking for a suitable replacement for general use.

Next project: solid tool post for the SB1001 CNC lathe conversion

#PM25MV, #CNC, #KvvCreates

Rigid tapping and thread milling on a PM25 LinuxCNC mill

Rigid tapping and threading milling are attempted on a Precision Matthews PM25 LinuxCNC CNC conversion. To allow rigid tapping, a spindle encoder is added by attaching a rotary encoder to the top of the drawbar. The differential signals from the encoder are converted to single-ended and then passed to the fourth axis encoder input of a Pico Systems Universal Stepper Controller. LinuxCNC is the CNC controller. With a 2500P/rev encoder, rigid tapping works well at 400 RPM, but the required sampling rate is too high to support 800 RPM. At 400RPM, the stock PM25 spindle motor does not have sufficient torque in the low end with the high speed belt speed to reliably form tap 1/4"-20tpi but cut threads are reliable.

Next project: new spindle motor.

#CNC, #KvvCreates, #PM25MV

IMTS 2018 Chicago (International Manufacturing Technology Show)

IMTS 2018 Chicago, the International Manufacturing Technology Show, is an amazing biannual manufacturing show in Chicago, IL, USA. Nearly 130,000 attendees and 32 acres of exhibits. Dad and I had three days in Chicago, attended the show half of that, and could easily have filled twice that time. Thank you to Misumi for the tickets and to our wonderful Airbnb hosts.

This was my third time to IMTS and each has been special for different reasons. This was the first one with my Dad. Compared to the last show, the exhibits seemed smaller, but the vendors said they were surprised with the best opening Monday ever and that manufacturing in the US was up. It was great to see the large number of students attending. The nice Airbnb we stayed at was 1/5 of staying downtown, and we discovered an amazing nearby conservatory. Public transportation and Lift made traveling easy. Travel to Chicago was by Amtrak and home by United. If you are near, and interested in manufacturing, treat yourself and attend in 2020.

IMTS Website

#IMTS #IMTS2018 #KvvCreates

XY positioning stage for a camera

An XY CNC positioning stage is designed, machined, assembled and tested. A CNC positioning stage is simply a machine for moving an object under computer control accurately. This stage moves a camera along two axes and is part of a larger plant imaging system. Researchers use information collected from this machine to rank treatments that improve food production including yield and stress tolerance.

#Phenotyping, #PlantScience, #KvvCreates, #CNC, #Machining

Improving toolpaths of spindle lock

CNC toolpaths of spindle lock for the Precision Matthews PM25MV milling machine are improved in Fusion 360, reducing milling time while making a few copies for others.

This is an update to this video.

#CNC, #KvvCreates, #SpindleLock, #PM25MV

Spindle lock for PM25 CNC milling machine (improved)

An improved spindle lock is added to the Precision Matthews PM25MV milling machine to safely and quickly change the tool. The improvements include a switch to tell LinuxCNC when the spindle is locked, preventing attempts at motion while locked, and a change that hastens operation. The spindle lock is installed inside of the head to avoid changing the belt drive or the belt guard. Faster tools changes greatly improves the productivity of the CNC conversion.

This is an update to this video.

I considered adding a switch several times but was not happy with the options. Generally, they were too large. Then AutomationDirect started selling the BP060A-L, a micro plunger switch (the smallest?) from Metrol.

Here is the exact Automation Direct item.

The spindle lock was designed in SolidWorks and CAM was developed in Fusion360.

The concept may be applicable to other mills including the Grizzly G0704 and Titan TM25.

#CNC, #KvvCreates, #SpindleLock, #PM25MV

Full Extension Drawer Slides Installation Onto Aluminum Extrusion

Full extension drawer slides are installed onto aluminum extrusion framing at a right angle to create a sliding tray. Full extension slides or telescoping drawer slides improve the access and ergonomics of lifting from the tray. The drawer slides and extrusions are from Misumi (similar to 80/20.) Aluminum extrusion brackets are used to attach the slides to an extrusion at a right angle.

The machine used as an example is a plant imaging or plant phenotyping instrument, where operators will lift several hundred heavy trays into position each day. Researchers use information collected from this machine to measure treatments to improve food production including yield and stress tolerance.

#KvvCreates, #CNC, #Machining, #Phenotyping

Evolution Rage2 vs DeWalt DW872 for cutting aluminum

The Evolution Rage2 and DeWalt DW872 MultiCutter cold cut saws are compared. The DeWalt easily wins the aluminum cutting competition. An aluminum specific replacement blade is available for the Rage2 saw, but given the cost of the blade, one is better off starting with a saw that will work out of the box. For my needs, cutting almost entirely aluminum, the DeWalt DW872 works well, and the Evolution Rage2 does not. By spec sheet alone, the Evolution EvoSaw380 seems to solves the shortcomings of both saws, so the EvoSaw380 would worth a look when shopping for a cold cut saw.

Amazon Affiliate links:
DeWalt DW872 saw
Evolution Rage2 saw
Evolution EvoSaw380
Evolution blade for aluminum

Review of these saws on YouTube:
Rage 2 review
Evo380 review
Lubrication with the DW872
NYC CNC's DeWalt DW872 review
My original DeWalt DW872 review

#KvvCreates, #DeWalt, #DW872, #DeWaltDW872, #EvolutionPowerTools

Manual Pulse Generator Control Panel for CNC Lathe

A control panel is added to a CNC lathe to retain the feel of a manual lathe for the times when you just want to quickly get a simple part done without programming. Two MPG wheels, e-stop, and run, stop, feed-pause buttons are also added to a DIY CNC conversion of a SouthBend lathe controlled by LinuxCNC. Using the hand wheels, LinuxCNC acts as a sophisticated DRO, and it's easy to switch back to full CNC control.

External resources:
Bill Dirks' BD-Tools (lathe conversion kits)
MPG wheel affiliate link
Github repository for LinuxCNC configuration files

#KvvCreates, #CNC, #CNCLathe, #Lathe, #SouthBend, #SB1001, #LinuxCNC

Make a Bulkhead Main Power Connector IEC C13 C14

A bulkhead connector is made, to deliver main power safer, without exposed terminals. Starting with a Tripp Lite extension, the IEC C13 C14 connectors are scanned and parts designed for CNC machining. The bulkhead connector is installed into Misumi steel clad foam panels and installed in Confluence R&D's plant imaging and phenotyping machine. Power cables with IEC C13 and C14 connectors are commonly used electronics. DIY CNC equipment being used to create a part where no commercial alternative could be found. For that satisfaction, we put in the hours doing the conversions.

Amazon Affiliate links:
Tripp Lite IEC13 to IEC14 cable (this is the important one for this project)
Tripp Lite IEC13 to NEMA 5-15P cable
Ethernet CAT6 RJ45 bulkhead connector
USB bulkhead connector
3M 21210 Super 77 spray adhesive

#KvvCreates, #CNC, #Machining

Improve milling performance of magnetic door catch sensor bracket

Using improved milling parameters from the last video, a magnetic door catch is machining and required time is compared to previous work. Performance is improved and required time drops from 60 to 9.5 minutes. The magnetic door catch is from Misumi and has a sensor which attaches to an AutomationDirect CLIK PLC, which will disable motors when the door is open. Less time milling, less time breathing coolant.

Milling performance video
Previous door catch and sensor theory video

#KvvCreates, #CNC, #Machining, #PM25MV

CNC Milling Tools, Spindle Load, and Performance

Various tools are tested on a CNC mill to create the same part using similar operations. Machine performance is monitored for each tool to begin building a catalog of tool parameters for Autodesk Fusion 360 to control a converted PM25MV milling machine.

#KvvCreates, #PM25, #CNC, #DIYCNC

Panel PC Installation - Logic Supply Cincoze P2002

A panel PC is an industrial computer that is installed into a cover panel, often is fanless, and typically has a number of useful I/O interfaces. Here I install a Cincoze P2002 panel PC from Logic Supply into a new plant phenotyping machine. The machine will help researchers measure plant performance and predict which plants will to produce more food. I had hoped to avoid the need for a PLC by using GPIO pins on the panel PC, but they don't work well with Linux currently. The PoE ports will eliminate the need for a separate power injector. The panel PC is installed into a Misumi cover panel to create a clean and professional look. Industrial switches (from Automation Direct) are also discussed and installed.

Other resources
Logic Supply's P2002

#KvvCreates, #Plant, #Phenotyping, #PlantPhenotyping

BDTools South Bend SB1001 Lathe CNC Conversion and LinuxCNC Configuration

A South Bend SB1001 (8k) 8x18 lathe is converted to CNC using a CNC conversion kit from Billy Dirks of BDTools. Electronics are added, LinuxCNC is installed and configured to use a parallel port, and test cuts with the CNC lathe are made.

Other resources
South Bend SB1001 lathe
Billy Dirks' BDTools website
Billy Dirks' BDTools on YouTube
Billy Dirks' BDTools eBay shop
My original 3d printed conversion

The lathe model (and 3D printed parts) files

#KvvCreates, #CNC, #CNCLathe, #Lathe, #SouthBend, #SB1001, #LinuxCNC

Spectrometer Introduction, Tear-down, and Data Analysis for Plant Phenotyping

Spectrometers decompose light into a rainbow of colors and then measure each color accurately. In this video I tear-down a spectrometer, describe the theory, and use of a spectrometer. A recent leaf clip spectrometer is used to for a plant phenotyping application to predict tree lead species.

Finally, I demo software that I've written for storing, organizing, analyzing (using PLS-DA), and reporting spectra. If you need help with a plant phenotyping project, let me know, I may be able to help your project.

The geranium drought experiment is not fully described due to time. There's additional background information that's needed for understand water absorption spectra. The device used in the video is not ideal for a drought application and so the results are not clear. Let me know if you would more details.

The spectrometer that is tore-down is from Ocean Optics. The leaf spectrometer is from CID Bioscience. A Microsoft Surface tablet is used to power the spectrometer and collect data.

CID CI-710 Leaf Spectrometer: here
Ocean Optics USB4000: here
PLS-DA paper ("So you think you can PLS-DA," Ruiz-Perez and Narasimhan): here
Other PLS resources:
Properties of Partial Least Squares (PLS) Regression, and differences between Algorithms: here
A survey of Partial Least Squares (PLS) Methods, with Emphasis on the Two-Block Case: here

#KvvCreates, #Science, #Spectroscopy

Shop chat #1

Delirious from lack of sleep, I talk about potential next videos. These include: 1) Reverse engineering the serial diagnostics protocol of Leadshine Easy Servo closed loop stepper motors; 2) Discussion of the Anaheim Automation BLDC for the PM25 mill to increase spindle speed; 3) Evolution Rage2 saw review; 4) Installation of the SouthBend CNC lathe conversion kit from BDTools; and 5) Binary reverse engineering tool similar to Cantor.Dust.

Chronos high-speed camera, YouTube compression, and AC/DC lighting discussion

The best our eyes sample the action in the world is roughly 30 frames per second. In contrast, a new camera from Kron Technology samples up to nearly 39,000 FPS. This video is a discussion of discoveries since the unboxing such as the difference between the color and greyscale cameras including explanation of of Bayer filters, the effects of YouTube compression, AC vs DC lighting, and how to attach Canon lenses.

Other resources:
Canon EF to C-mount adaptors:
* without an iris
* with an iris
Raw video, not compressed by YouTube
Video analysis scripts on GitHub
Previous Chronos video

Closed-loop stepper motor following-error monitoring

A program is presented for extracting and plotting following-error of Leadshine Easy Servo closed-loop stepper motors. This building-block will help us explore if integrating machine status into LinuxCNC might help performance of a CNC milling machine. This is video is part of a series.

Other resources:
Leadshine following-error plotting software

KronTech Chronos 1.4 high-speed camera unboxing

The best our eyes sample the action in the world is roughly 30 frames per second. In contrast, a new camera from Kron Technology samples up to 38,500 FPS. In this video we unbox one of the cameras from the successful Kickstarter campaign and make a few slow motion videos. The Kron Technology Chronos 1.4 high-speed camera is a fantastic piece of equipment.

Other resources:
KronTech website
Tesla500 on YouTube
Chronos datasheet

Optimize Keyword Phrases, Playlists, and Subscriptions with YouTube API

Three YouTube tools are presented to help YouTube viewers organize large subscription lists, and to help YouTube creators optimize keyword phrases and playlists to improve their discovery and extend watch time. The creator tools may complement TubeBuddy to help creators trigger the YouTube algorithm. These tools are examples of the data only available from the YouTube API.

Other resources:
YouTube Data API and Analytics API
Deep Neural Networks for YouTube Recommendations: paper and video

Import Misumi Parts Into Autodesk Fusion 360

Learn how to import Misumi parts into Fusion 360, assign joints, and performing scripting. Misumi is a worldwide provider of part for industrial automation, with millions of configurable parts. Misumi's downloadable CAD models and Fusion 360 with as-built joints help an engineer to quickly design new machines.

Kvv Creates Github

Simplify3D and Fusion360 control 3D print material placement

Controlling the placement and use of material is important for optimizing 3D prints for rapid prototyping and structural rigidity. Using Simplify3D and Autodesk Fusion360 we explore ways to specify areas of greater infill to improve strength of 3D printed parts in areas requiring mechanical strength while minimizing material in other areas that are mainly cosmetic or to reduce weight.

Multiple processes in Simplify3D HowTo

Updates - Channel, Business, Life

Updates on the channel, business, and life. Where is this amazing ride leading?

Perfect Misumi Cover Plate Holes

Steel clad foam panels from Misumi are great for machine covers, but the options for holes are limited. In this video we explore cutting holes into the panels for grommets and cables.

Abrasive Blasting With Small Air Compressor

Abrasive blasting with a small air compressor is practical with the right equipment and patience to improve the equipment and to finish at a slower rate. As a follow-up to a previous review of a 5CFM quiet air compressor, we look at the Cyclone Manufacturing bench-top blast cabinet, make improvements, test its performance, and then make suggestions for future improvements.

Make a Heatsink for Stepper-Servo Motor Drives

While organizing the electronics for a CNC conversion, plates are made to hold functional units that can be moved along DIN rails. One of these is a plate to hold all the drives for the stepper-servo motors (Leadshine ES-D508 Easy Servo drives). A plate that also serves as a heatsink is designed, machined, and tested. Lessons learned are discussed and testing is done using thermography.

Additional references for heatsink and thermography.
FLIR reference
Heatsink design ref. 1
Heatsink design ref. 2

Motorized Camera Track Dolly Slider

To accurately position a Canon 70D DSLR camera under computer control, a motorized camera track dolly slider (or CNC linear camera stage), is built from machined parts and parts from Misumi, Schneider Electric, and Canon. The linear motion portion is built using a ball screw and linear rail. In this first video, the design is presented in SolidWorks, and then Fusion360 is used to program a CNC mill to make the custom parts. The parts are then machined along with a discussion of the machining decisions. In second video, the linear stage is assembled and tested. There are also a couple related videos, one on machining a socket to torque the ball screw retaining nut and another on machining the NEMA 17 motor mounts. Below is a playlist containing all these videos.

Machining Socket for Ball Screw Retainer

A custom socket is designed in Fusion360 and machined on a manual lathe and CNC mill from 1215 steel. The socket is used to tighten the retaining nut of a Misumi ball screw support block. The socket enabled torquing to the recommended specifications. I did not find an available tool that does this same function.

2016 CNC Machining Outtakes

Mistakes are some of the best teachers despite a common desire to forget them quickly. This video is a collection of machining outtakes recorded during 2016 and what I learned. Mostly CNC milling and 3d printing. Thank you to everyone for there support in 2016 and continuing support into 2017. I've greatly enjoyed all the conversations we've had.

Drilling Surface Plate for TTS Tool Length Measurement

Measuring tool length offset for CNC operations requires a convenient and accurate method. Here we drill a granite surface plate to help measure Tormach TTS tool holders with a height gauge. This replaces a small specialized surface plate from Tormach with a larger and more useful surface plate. We also look at how to perform tool length measurement, enter the offsets into LinuxCNC, and make use of tool length compensation in LinuxCNC. As an example, we measure the tool length of a Tormach facemill, and then test the facemill.

More information on drilling granite.

The core drill I used was called "20mm (3/4" inch) THK Diamond PRO sintered segment hole saw core drills drill bit" on eBay and sold by "THK Diamond Tools"

Be safe and keep on creating!

DeWalt DW872 Cold Saw Lubrication

The DeWalt DW872 Metal Cutting Saw cuts steel, aluminum, and a variety of other materials. Following the advice of a viewer, we test what effect using lubrication and air to clear the chips has on the surface finish of cuts in aluminum. Using lubricant improves the surface finish and cutting time.

This video is an update to a previous review video.

DeWalt DW872 on Amazon

Be safe and keep on creating!

Mysteriously Faulting Stepper Motor, Closed-loop

The cause of an occasionally faulting closed-loop stepper motor is identified and repaired. I hope this short video will help others to avoid the same problem. The problem was inconsistent but after a Haimer problem was crushed, had to be solved. (All Haimer probes are doing well today.)

#CNC, #KvvCreates, #StepperMotor, #PM25MV

The stepper motor is a Leadshine ES-M32320.

The ending piano ditty is Cm/G Ab Eb/G Bb/F.

FloLight BladeLight aluminum extrusion mounts

The FloLight BladeLight is a linear LED light that provides great illumination. In this video we replace the standard multi-axis pivot with one that allows easy mounting to extruded aluminum. There are two CNC machined parts and one standard shaft per BladeLight.

Great fastening guide from Stanley
The FloLight BladeLight
More information on socket head cap screws

The beautiful music is Chopin's Piano Prelude Op. 28 No. 15, Raindrop. The performance was released under a Creative Commons License and into the Public Domain. You can find it and many more lovely songs at

R8 Drawbar Upgrade For PM25 Mill

The drawbar on the Precision Matthews PM25 mill is difficult to torque properly with its unusual 8mm square head. In this video we replace the standard drawbar with a new one with a 3/4" hex head, similar to those used on Bridgeport mills. This work was done to ensure proper torquing of the Tormach TTS collet and thus ensure tool retention while performing heavy machining.

Cutting speeds reference guide (Little Machine shop)

DeWalt DW872 metal cutting saw review and demo

The DeWalt DW872 Metal Cutting Saw cuts steel, aluminum, and a variety of other materials. Unlike an abrasive chop-saw, the cuts are relatively cool helping you to move on to the next machining step and avoid hardening of the material. While just as loud as an abrasive saw, the DW872 produces essentially no sparks when cutting steel.

In this video we review the DeWalt DW872 14-inch Multi-Cutter Saw, point out some important safety procedures to be aware of, and look at a variety of cuts.

This saw is one of my most used and favorite tools the work shop.

DeWalt DW872 on Amazon

Be safe and keep on creating!

Spindle lock for PM25 milling machine

The PM-25 is a great mill, but the one that I received lacks flats on the spindle. All the methods I could think of to perform tool changes, essentially require three hands and then generally one hand gets cut. What is greatly missing is a way to lock the spindle to free the operator hands to insert and tighten the tool.

I looked at commercial spindle locks, but they are expensive and don't fit the PM-25, so I made one. I wanted to preserve the belt drive and belt guard, so much of the spindle lock was installed inside of the mill head. The spindle lock was a big improvement to the Precision Matthews PM25MV milling machine to safely and quickly change the tool.

I made a video describing the spindle lock, have a look if you are interested. Use of the spindle lock is compared to other methods of changing the tool. Faster tools changes greatly improves the productivity of the CNC conversion.

The spindle lock was designed in SolidWorks and CAM was developed in Fusion360.

The spindle lock is one of the most useful changes I've made to my PM-25 mill. It ranks along side the CNC modifications. I wish it would be a standard feature on an otherwise great mill.

Kvv Creates channel introduction

If you are also fascinated by CNC conversions, turning, milling, 3D printing, programming, scientific instruments, SolidWorks, Fusion360, machine design, tool reviews, reverse engineering, and Arduino for education, join the conversation and subscribe.

I left a full-time programming job to pursue learning machining and electronics, and I'm not looking back. I'm not an expert but I am passionate about learning. I love interacting with viewers so please leave a comment.

New videos weekly on machining, software, gadget teardowns, and electronics.

Magnetic door catch - machining, theory, and assembly

Aluminum extrusion material is a great and fast way to construct enclosures and doors. To hold a door closed a magnetic door catch is useful, but how to mount them? In this video we'll look at how does a magnetic door catch work, how to support them, and how to install them on extruded aluminum material. We'll machine a support for a magnetic door catch, do a teardown to understand how the sensor works, including looking at the reed relay under a microscope, and finalize the installation.

The support is designed in SolidWorks and G-Code is generated in Fusion360. The part is milled on a CNC retrofitted PM-25 mill driven by LinuxCNC. For milling, Tormach's modular non-center cutting end mill is used. All the t-slot aluminum extrusion and the actual magnetic door catch come from Misumi.

FogBuster to NOGA Adaptor, how to make and use

Coolant improves tool life and work finish, but what to do if flood coolant is not an option (expense, mess, etc.), mist coolant is worth considering. The air forces chips out, so they are not recut, and a small stream of coolant quickly evaporates carrying heat away from the tool and work piece. The FogBuster is a great mist coolant delivery system, but the standard mechanism for holding the FogBuster makes it difficult to stay in one place and difficult to adjust for the best coolant application. Here we address those problems by adapting the FogBuster to a NOGA arm and attaching the NOGA arm to the head of a PM25 CNC mill.

The FogBuster came from Tormach and comes pre-installed with a 120V solenoid.
The KoolMist and NOGA arm came from Enco (now MSC Direct)

Python control of LinuxCNC for prototyping machines and scientific instruments

Often with with new devices and scientific instruments there is some need to move items, take measurements, and possibly react to those measurements. If the measurements are fed back into the control software a control system is created. This requires programming and mechanics and for a prototype instrument can slow the idea generation down. Better would be quickly get some initial feedback on the design before investing engineering time.

LinuxCNC is a sophisticated controller for CNC machines, and the programmers have been very clever in creating interfaces that allow alternative GUIs to be created and external programs to interact with LinuxCNC. In this video we use LiunxCNC, controlled by Python, to prototype a scientific instrument that systematically moves precise amounts and takes measurements.

Controlling LinuxCNC with Python can be used to prototype new machines and instruments. Data can be integrated from external sensors, analyzed, and used to direct LinuxCNC. In addition to describing the theory, we look a real example to view magnet fields. Instead of building a motorized stage for to scan magnetic fields with a fluxgate magnetometer, we use Python to coordinate LinuxCNC motion and measurements using LXI and VXI-11 from a networked multimeter.

The probe is a AIM-TTI I-Prober 520 and is normally used to measure the current flowing through traces in circuit boards, but also has wire and field settings. The multimeter is a Keysight (Agilent) 34461A multimeter.

Example program
LinuxCNC Python module documentation
LXI VXI-11 Python module
AIM-TTI I-Prober 520 probe information
AIM-TTI I-Prober 520 probe on Amazon
Keysight (Agilent) 34461A multimeter on Amazon

PM25MV Mill CNC Conversion Testing

CNC mills may seem more intimidating than 3D printers, but the two will co-exist for a long time. The accuracy possible and the materials that can be machined by a CNC mill are currently inaccessible to all but the highest end 3D printers. Instead of purchasing a bulky industrial CNC mill, many hobbyist choose to purchase and retrofit a manual mill with a CNC kit. This is a great learning experience and huge confidence booster.

In this video, we test the Precision Matthews PM25MV mill with the CNC conversion kit from ArizonaVideo99. The stepper motors are Leadshine closed loop 283, smaller than what are commonly used, but with plenty of power. The mill acceleration is 30in/s^2. LinuxCNC is the controller and the Pico Systems Universal Stepper Controller is the pulse generator. We test the backlash and feedrates, and to demonstrate available power, track the following error from the servo loop while loading the head with additional weight. The PM25MV is similar to the Grizzly G0704 and the Titan TM25V mills, so this video may have wider interest.

ArizonaVideo99's channel.

CNC Machining NEMA 17 Stepper Motor Mounts

Inexpensive stepper motors are a staple of the Maker community. With boards like Arduino easily able to control small stepper motors, the difficulty of programming and electronics are reduced. This leaves the mechanics to be considered. While readily and inexpensively available, instead of purchasing three NEMA 17 stepper motor mounts, let's make our own.

Fusion360 and a modified PM25MV CNC mill are used make three NEMA 17 stepper motor mounts. The machining of all three parts are shown simultaneously, synced on key events. Playback of the machining is at 4x speed. The mounts worked well in use. Each mount was machined in series, with small improvements in the process with each new mount. Watching the machine of all three, syncing key steps, helps to emphasize these tweaks, and is otherwise fun to watch.

Facing of the stock was done off camera. The endmills are from Lakeshore Carbide. The drills are Precision Twist Drill.

The amazing music is Ludwig van Beethoven's 32 Variations in Cm and the recording is in the public domain. Please see for this and other music.

LinuxCNC pendants - VistaCNC, ShuttleXpress, Keypad

An intuitive interface is important for safe and efficient operator-machine interaction. Hand wheels on milling machines and lathes give the operator control and feedback from the machine. It's possible to "feel" the cut through the hand wheels. CNC controllers remove much of the that control, and as smart as they are, controllers do exactly what they are told, without sensing, sometimes to the dismay of the operator. A keyboard is a poor replacement of the hand wheel controls, or for the operator standing in front of the machine. And programming can't replace the intuition of an operator.

Pendants allow the operator to be near the action of the machine, with control of the important actions in their hands. Advanced industrial CNC machines may even have feedback in the pendant. Home CNC machines are more basic, and often people use numeric keypads for CNC control, but there are much better options. For people gifted in electronics, they may take a commercial pendant from an industrial machine and rewire it for their CNC machines. For the rest of us, there are USB pendant such as the ShuttleXpress and products from VistaCNC.

In this video, we considered three pendants for LinuxCNC, the VistaCNC P4-SE, ShuttleXpress, and a numeric keypad. Features of each are examined and each are used to zero on a part. The VistaCNC pendant is preferred because of the enhanced EStop button, which is integrated into the main EStop circuit. The display of the machine position on the VistaCNC pendant make the pendant like a DRO. Other buttons provide several other options, providing variety of machine operation. It's become one of my favorite tools.

Product links:
VistaCNC P4-S
VistaCNC P4-SE homepage
ShuttleXpress Machinekit configuration
Numeric keypad

Fusion360 - How to create stock from simulation and STL files

Autodesk Fusion360 is an amazing program, with CAD, Simulation, and CAM built into one program. The power of the modeling environment allows parts to be created that are tricky to machine without multiple setups. A setup could correspond to re-positioning the part in a vise. A common example is machining one side of a part, and then flipping the part to machine the second side.

For simulation to be most accurate and machining operations to be most efficiently generated, the stock of a setup must reflect the previous operations. Without doing this, and leaving the stock as a relative size box, collision detection is not as accurate and machining operations may be generated cutting material that no long exists.

In this video we learn how to export the results of a CAM simulation as an STL file. That STL file is then loaded as a mash and converted to a Brep solid model, superimposed on the part. The new solid model forms the stock of the subsequent setup. Of course, this method could also be used to import any STL file for other modeling purposes.

Linux support for the Mastech MS6701 sound level meter

The Mastech MS6701 Sound Level Meter comes with software, but only for Windows (v2.1 works on Windows 10). The meter is attached to the computer via an RS232 cable although a USB-to-serial adapter worked well. The serial communication can be intercepted and decoded on an Agilent MSO-X 2024A oscilloscope. The observations are used to create a Python program, in Linux, that receives packets from the meter and also works around some bugs that the meter and Windows software have.

The first video introduces the meter and how to decode the packets. This is the basis for the second video which is a commentary of the three hour coding session to develop the Python software in Linux.

While the program was developed on Linux, it's likely to work with a Windows Python interrupter with minimal changes.

An introduction to decoding the protocol used by the Mastech MS6701 sound level meter.

The Linux Python code: Python code on GitHub
Amazon Affiliate link: Mastech MS6701 (Thank you)

The introduction video.
The coding session.

LinuxCNC, G61 vs G64 and part collisions, Exact Path vs. Path Blending

LinuxCNC is a great CNC controller, but I've encountered a few gotchas that I didn't with Mach3. While the behavior is well documented by LinuxCNC, there is a lot of material to go through, I'm sure that I would not have understand what I was reading without first encountering some of the gotchas.

One of these gotchas is that LinuxCNC, by default, attempts to maintain velocity of the tool. If the acceleration values are set too low or the tool is moving fast, LinuxCNC may have to round a sharp corner. This is called Path Blending and is controlled by G64. There is another mode, Exact Path Mode, controlled by G61, which requires that LinuxCNC visit each point exactly, even if the tool has to temporarily stop.

G61 was a great quick fix, but the LinuxCNC folks know what they are doing and if they set G64 as the default they had a reason. Also, requiring the hard edges of G61 is probably optimistic, and the smooth motion of G64 makes a lot of sense. As a compromise, I'm using G64 0.001 0.001. This allows for some corner rounding but very little.

The LinuxCNC documentation recommends explicitly adding your G61 or G64 configuration to the preamble of NC files. I don't know how to do this in Fusion360 yet. The post processor script is pretty intimidating. So, for now, I have an file that I run on start-up of LinuxCNC to configure preferred settings and return the mill to known state.

My mill is a PM25MV and is similar in size to the G0704. I used fairly small motors for the CNC conversion, but it can run faster than I can think, so I tend to try to keep feed rate down. Also, with fast acceleration rates, the entire mill shakes. Until I have more experience to experiment with alternatives (different G64 parameters and faster accelerations), I'll use the G64 with tight settings. I tried increasing the acceleration but started to have "joint follow" errors with the Pico Systems Universal Stepper Controller card. It's far more annoying to have a NC program randomly and without reason fault in the middle of a run than to have the program take a little longer to run.

Additional references:
LinuxCNC g-code descriptions
LinuxCNC trajectory control

Spindle load meter for a CNC milling machine

A load meter is a great accessory for machinery to get a sense of how near capacity a task is bringing the machine. Here a load meter is built for a CNC milling machine using a ammeter and a voltmeter. This approach measures apparent power instead of actual power so there is some error. While not perfect, it provides the feedback necessary to know if the machine is being overtaxed and if the machine has some reserve left in it.

The video describes the theory of the meter, using Fusion360 to design the panel, and the meters construction and use.

Reference material: Determining Electric Motor Load and Efficiency

An updated version uses power meters.

PM25MV milling machine spindle sound level

Machinery can be loud and a milling machine is no exception. Even worse is a CNC milling machine where an operator may need to stand nearby for hours. If the constant sound can be tiring and ultimately damaging. In this video, the sound level of the Precision Matthews PM25MV milling machine (similar to the Grizzly G0704) is collected in dBA, as the spindle speed is adjusted, at the distance of a CNC operator. These measurements may also serve as a baseline for subsequent measurement to estimate bearing condition.

A quiet air compressor? CAT-10020C vs. DeWalt D55155

Air compressors are noisy and in a home workshop, air compressors can be the loudest second only to some air tools. Air-less air compressors are typically the louder than the air-filled alternatives. However, the California Air Tools Ultra Quiet CAT-10020C (oil-less) is amazingly quiet compared to the DeWalt D55155 (oil-filled) that is being replaced. The CAT air compressor will make life around my small shop more comfortable. Measured at the same distance, the CAT-10020C was roughly 75 dBA while the DeWalt D55155 is 85 dBA. The CAT-10020C is 1/10 as loud as the DeWalt.

Fixing leaky CAT-10020C: CAT-10020C repair video
CAT-10020C manufacturer's page: CAT-10020C homepage
CAT-10020C Amazon Affiliate link: CAT-10020C Amazon link (Thank you)

How to fix leaky CAT-10020C Ultra Quiet air compressor

Airline quick disconnects are made by several manufacturers and it's not always clear if they are compatible. The ones that come installed on the California Air Tools CAT-10020C air compressor have an outer ring design that's different from perhaps more standard Milton quick disconnects. The CAT quick disconnects may be more susceptible to damage. This video is of replacing a damaged quick disconnect. The leak was actually louder than the compressor while running.

Even with the replaced quick disconnect, the slightly pressure on the side of a connected air line causes a leak. This may be because Milton plugs are not completely compatible. It's worth considering replacing both disconnects on the CAT air compressor with ones of the preferred manufacturer. Then there would be no doubt of compatibility.

The video quality is lower than normal because I had to crop a lot from the recording.

Comparing sound levels of CAT10020C and DeWalt D55155: Compressor sound levels
CAT-10020C manufacturer's page: CAT-10020C homepage
CAT-10020C Amazon Affiliate link: CAT-10020C (Thank you)

FFmpeg video compression - decrease size, maintain quality

To decrease video upload time, re-encode videos with FFmpeg, trying lower quality settings until no longer acceptable. Here a 20 GB file was compressed to 500 MB with minimal loss of quality. To give the best information possible to FFmpeg, first export from your video rendering software at high quality. I use Sony Vegas 13 and suspect the large improvement of compression is because FFmpeg has continued to develop while Sony Vegas 13 is a couple years old.

FFmpeg page: FFmpeg homepage
FFmpeg h.264 page: FFmpeg h.264 homepage
Coding session video (CRF=28): Coding session video

CNC Lathe, 3D Printed Parts, Arduino Controlled, South Bend SB1001 8k 8x18

The South Bend SB1001 8x18 (8k) lathe is a quality bench top lathe. It would seem a great lathe as a base for a CNC lathe conversion. Reasons include minimal parts to discard following the conversion, a nice camlock spindle, and a variable speed DC motor. The conversion is difficult because the small crossfeed channel makes installing a ballscrew difficult.

First a 3D model of the lathe was made in SolidWorks by taking lots of measurements and hours of modeling. A CNC conversion is made using 3D printed parts, an Arduino, and closed-loop stepper motors. A video describes the process and demonstrates the results.

Make your own. The lathe model (and 3D printed parts) files are available for download!

South Bend SB1001 lathe: SB1001 homepage
Arduino Mega 2560: Arduino Mega homepage
Oriental Motor AR46AA-3, AlphaStep Closed Loop Stepper Motor and Driver: AR46AA-3 homepage

CNC spindle and stepper power load meter

A load meter is a great accessory for machinery to get a sense of how near capacity a task is bringing the machine. In a previous post, a load meter was built for a CNC milling machine using a ammeter and a voltmeter. This approach is not ideal because apparent power is being measured instead of actual power. Because the power factor changes with different motor loads, measuring power with a ammeter and voltmeter is not ideal.

Specialized meters are required for measuring Watts, or actual power. Murata has a power meter product that uses a microprocessor to correctly time the sampling of current and voltage waveforms. The current is inductively sensed from a load wire passed through a current transformer. The voltage is sensed via a fused connection to the mains.

The power measurements while drilling a 1/2" hole into aluminum are compared to computed estimates of horsepower requirements. The two are surprisingly close. The disadvantage of the Murata power meters is their slow update of roughly 1 Hz, making them unsuitable for quick response. However, the power meters are likely the best method for measuring the load on the machine during steady-state operations.

Saylorville Dam - Slices of turbulence (Beauty in Nature)

The water outlet of the Saylorville Dam (Saylorville Iowa) looks like a big tube. The water leaving it is moving fast and with a lot of force. The distance between the outlet and where the water has the normal smooth flow of a river is short. However, capturing and cropping regions emphasis the beauty of the water's turbulence and how the turbulence has different forms.

This is a series of video clips taken at the Saylorville Dam showing water flow from the outlet. The videos clips emphasis how the turbulence changes near the outlet (smooth and fast), into a region of high turbulence (apparent chaos), and finally to the river banks (relaxing). The various regions, even if they look chaotic, seem to have patterns.


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