Cheap and extremely effective! A DIY Oven for DIY powder coating, wood drying, acrylics and plastic and any other idea that needs heating or baking in future.
You did what? Hacked a filing cabinet to make a home DIY workshop oven?!
Yes, perhaps we are crazy, but this DIY oven really IS made from a standard office filing cabinet and it works like a dream!
It is great for curing electrostatic powder coating on CNC milled metal parts; melting plastics; bending acrylics; scorching wood, sealing natural bamboo wood wax and any number of other DIY projects where oven heating is required.
See more about how we made this DIY oven from a filing cabinet here.
Industrial, or even DIY hobby ovens are extremely useful in a home DIY workshop. Unfortunately, they are also usually unjustifiably costly for most small projects.
Cheap toaster ovens can be used for small scale applications as a ‘make-do’ alternative, but are often not physically large enough to fit many DIY projects. They also usually offer very poor thermal efficiency. A big downside when working over longer periods as the units tend to get hot inside as well as out.
We recently cut some large aluminium parts and components using our home built CNC machine. We wanted to coat the metal parts using an electrostatic powder coating system to give them a lasting professional finish. Powder coat curing however, requires parts to be heated to high temperatures for extended periods. (And strangely, the cooking department said the kitchen oven was considered off limits well before we mentioned curing powder coat paint or the carcinogenic gases they produce….)
We needed a large, cheap DIY solution. A robust, purpose built DIY oven capable of maintaining high, evenly dispersed temperatures for lengthy periods.
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There comes a sad time when all great and trusty tools in the workshop begin to die from overuse.
Murphy’s Law states that this must occur at the most inopportune time. In the case of our ever faithful hand held Dremel® MultiPro rotary drill, this breakdown just happened to be in the middle of an important PCB shaping, drilling and cutting project. Our rotary drilling tool was mounted as a router on top of a mini CNC machine at the time.
Dremel® Hand Rotary Drilling Tool – Exploded Parts
(Click to see our step-by-step hand held rotary drill strip down guide.)
When the problem started, the tool motor suddenly became erratic and there were problems with the variable speed control (VSC) switch. Then, the sliding switch no longer provided any motor speed control what-so-ever. It only provided power ON at full speed – a heat blasting 35,000rpm …. and a silent OFF. This wasn’t at all ideal for our CNC cutting project where cutter heat control was important.
So what was our obvious DIY reaction to this? Find the cause and fix the tool ourselves of course!
You can find photos showing how the internals of our Dremel® MultiPro tool looked here. We have also provided a step-by-step dialogue on how the tool was taken apart; how the faulty part was found and replaced AND importantly, how the hand held drill was successfully put back together again!
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Electronics hobbyists who have never ventured into the realms of making their own circuit boards, are missing out on half the fun. Here, we present a quick step-by-step guide to the UV light transfer and Ferric Chloride etching method for making your own printed circuit boards.
Home DIY electronics projects can be a lot of fun for discovery and learning. They can also be extremely useful for those extra buttons and remote devices in your home.
What is even better, is being able sit the project components on a printed circuit board (PCB) that you also made yourself.
It is extremely satisfying seeing a finished DIY electronics project which looks so professional it could have just as easily come from the nearest electronics store. Learning the skill of etching your own PCBs will help you obtain that same satisfaction in your home electronics projects too.
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Here’s something just for interest’s sakes. Photos of a modern, but humble lead acid car battery and its internal electrode plate arrangements for those who may not have seen similar before.
Common lead acid batteries in cars and trucks work by developing and storing electric potential between sets of positive and negative electrode plates. The electrodes are commonly made of Lead (Pb) and Lead Dioxide (PbO2) mesh and paste, separated by a non-conductive porous material to stop them touching and short circuiting. The battery cells are submerged in approximately 35% Sulphuric Acid (H2SO4(aq)) which acts as an electrolyte and allows electrons to flow between the plates and to deliver current when the battery terminals are connected to a circuit.
The basic energy storage and delivery concept of lead acid batteries was invented over a century and a half ago by French physicist Gaston Planté. Since that time, this kind of battery chemistry has been developed to become a standard and efficient workhorse in everyday life for us all.
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A few relatively simple modifications made a huge difference to how my stepper motors run and how the overall CNC machine performs. (All details and illustrations for the total fix of the Chinese made TB6560 Stepper Motor Controller Board are here.)
I am happy to share my approach with anyone else who may benefit from my project information and the photos I took.
I initially experienced missing steps, poor calibrations and intermittent axis travel problems. The changes to the CNC driver board resulted in:
- No more missed CNC motor steps (due to the Chinese TB6560 controller board itself)
- Quieter axis travel and CNC motor operation
- Calibrations that were accurate and stayed set
- Noticeably more torque on each axis.
- Stepper motors were no longer screaming when holding.
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“I didn’t open the case. It was found like this! DIY dead I tell ya!”
Notice the curve on the circuit board as it was “stretched” by the puffing lithium battery.
Hardly a DIY project of my desire or making, but my iPhone definitely DIY destroy itself!
The battery of this iPhone 3 puffed up so much that it cracked open the phone case all by itself and bent, broke and destroyed the circuit board and connecting contacts inside. The total movement caused by the puffing Lithium battery was approximately 3cm (ie: a bit over an inch). Should I think myself lucky that there wasn’t a Lithium fire too?
This iPhone 3 was used in the workshop for listening to music. It was used regularly and the battery was kept well charged most of the time. It was approximately 2 years old.
This damage occurred over about a week when the phone was left in the cold. Some mornings dropped to around minus -5C and it appears the Lithium battery discharged beyond it’s limits. The Lithium battery was puffing like a blowfish!
Unfortunately, the battery had destroyed many internal connections. The hold down screws in the corners of the PCB circuit board had snapped off. Repair was simply not a feasible option.
Knowing I had a payload of lost data on my hands unless involving exorbitant costs, I did pull the phone apart completely to see if there were any parts to salvage. I also wanted to remove and dispose of the ailing battery properly.
The lesson in this is, be warned! Check any phones or appliances that use Lithium batteries often. Even more often in Winter. Your ever trusty devices do have the potential to destroy themselves when left alone.
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Today, we have made available for download, the first design in a series of three CNC designs.
Following our earlier cat design series, we decided to give things more of a Japanese touch. This series is of Japanese Ibis birds with the first design being of this magnificent bird soaring high in the sky.
We chose to produce a CNC design series of the Japanese Ibis not only because the bird is an absolute icon of Japan, but because it is a bird which is commonly sighted in the rural areas from around where we produce this website. The adult Japanese Ibis birds can often be seen nesting in treetops on river banks, or wading in green rice paddies while feeding on frogs, fish and insects during the Summer months.
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SkyChart (Cartes du Ciel) – Free Astronomy and Telescope Automation Software under GNU General Public License
Ever since writing about making DIY serial communication cables for Meade telescopes (DS-114 / DS-115), I have received bundles of questions from budding astronomers wanting to know more about the free telescope automation software shown in the post.
Amateur astronomy really comes alive when telescopes are combined with quality star and planet tracking software.
After calibration of your telescope, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, or how much you know about astronomy. Telescope tracking software makes it easy to just click on a virtual celestial object of interest (on your computer screen) and your telescope motors are off to automatically find and motion track the real thing in the night sky. Life for an amateur astronomer suddenly becomes far more interesting and all too simple when you have full reference to unlimited viewing options in front of you!
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Natural pest control – Four and a half grubs and I ain’t stoppin’ there!
So just how many green grubs fit inside a standard Japanese Tree Frog anyway?
Well, judging by what we saw in the garden recently, the answer to that question is; at least four. Or four and a half if we count to the brim!
An impressive effort for something only slightly larger than a thumbnail!
Meet Hyla japonica, the cute little frog which is endemic to Japan and hugely abundant at this time of year. They are known locally as “ama gaeru” (lit: rain frog) due to the males’ loud and constant mating choruses before and after rain. Individuals are only 12-35mm in length, but they are certainly not shy in announcing their presence if there is a mate to be found.
Despite reports of diminishing frog populations across the world, these guys report to rice paddies and home gardens in cavalries during warmer months. They eat only live prey diets consisting of mainly insects, small fish, spiders and … grubs!
Being free roaming frogs, they do not require water close-by for survival. That said, they are very common on the edges of lakes and rivers, as well as around flooded rice paddies in rural areas. They also live in trees and bamboo stands; or amongst grasses, or in the soil. They can survive extended periods without water, even during very cool, dry periods in late Winter.
At various times during the year, it is common to see 10 to 20 individuals within only a few steps in our garden. A stroll along grassed rice paddy banks will also reveal the leaping hoards who usually sit patiently waiting for food to pass by.
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