So ... I've been concentrating on building a custom case for the computer that will be controlling the milling machine.
I decided that I'd use an old tower computer case that was slated for the dump and I'd embed the LCD monitor in the side of the case.
I have a Samsung 15" LCD monitor and bought a touch-screen conversion kit off ebay. The touch-screen kit consists of a thin glass overlay with touch-sensitive material and a USB interface, allowing me to convert this standard LCD monitor. The Mach3 software that controls the milling machine was designed to work as a touch-screen application, so the end results should be quite professional.
On another note, I got my hands on a plasma cutter. Wow! While they're spendy, they sure are nice to have!
This is a straight test cut in some 22 gage sheet metal I had lying around.
I've removed the guts of the Samsung monitor and over-layed the touch-screen kit and am testing it with my laptop.
This is the side cover of the computer case that I'll be using to embed the monitor in.
A few minutes later with the plasma cutter ...
I've constructed a metal frame out of 1" x 1/8" flat steel that the monitor will mount to. This will also serve to minimize flex in the side of the computer case; I'll be spot-welding the computer case to the metal frame.
So this is what I've been working for: the ability to make complex items out of metal while exercising the grey muscle at the same time.
I've got an '87 Ford pickup truck that has dual tanks. Ford, in their infinite wisdom, decided to design a device that lets the drive select which tank, front or rear, to use while driving.
This device uses pressure from an in-tank fuel pump to direct flow to the primary high-pressure fuel pump that provides the engine with fuel. Unfortunately, this device is mechanical in nature using a rubber diaphragm that is prone to failure. In my case, it's failed, but not catastrophically. The truck will drive fine then randomly seem to run out of gas. My only solution is to get under the truck and smack the tank selector with an object until it works again; not an ideal solution. I've already replaced the tank selector once, but as Ford no longer makes this part, my only option is to get a used one from a wrecker. The second one failed as well.
Now that I've got all the equipment, and some of the skills, I'm designing and building a mechanically-actuated tank selector.
My first task this weekend was to machine, out of brass, the specific connectors that Ford uses in their fuel system.
From design to a couple fittings (I need 6, 3 of one diameter, 3 of another). The first fitting took me 2 hours to make.
All six fittings. At the end, I was able to make one in about 25 minutes.