My batch of small rocks is being transferred to the third stage of tumbling.

My batch of medium rocks just finished the first stage of tumbling. What I decided to do for the medium rocks is do stage 1 for more rocks (reusing the grit).

Here you can see some medium rocks that are not tumbled and some that have been through onc.

WordPress Workshop at Artengine Packed!

I did a workshop on WordPress for Artengines workshop series. It took place last night in the SAW Lab at 2 Daly.

We packed the place and everybody gave great feedback. There was also a silly penguin.

The structure of the presentation was as follows.


-Why WordPress? It’s fun and easy!

-Three ways to set up your WordPress site: Extremely easy, very easy and easy.

-The main features of a WordPress site: Pages, Posts, Categories, Tags

-The admin panel: Pages, Posts, Categories, Tags, Pictures, Youtube videos

-Other topics included, a few Search Engine Optimization (SEO) concepts, resizing graphic images with GIMP.

If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me. On request, I’ll post a summary of the material from the presentation for those who don’t take notes.

It’s so awesome to have a small CNC machine!

emergency parts

I needed some emergency parts to support my Squirrel model plane project.

On the weekend I was able to design and cut the parts out without too much sweat.

I’m barely through the learning curve but I’m able to make things as needed now. This not only saves time but I can make parts that you can’t buy.

Frugal Fun Ottawa


Frugal Fun is an great Web site showing affordable activities for families in Ottawa.

It also features a blog.

Highly recommended.

They so happen to be featuring a contest where contestants can win Squirrel model airplanes for their whole classroom.

I’m looking forward to finding out who the winner is!

Ottawa WordPress Lab 000 000 000 000 000 000 001


WordPress meetup is almost over!

We have 4 people!

We went over the general concept of a blog, posts, pages, categories, tags, the admin panel, creating a blog at, adding a picture and a few other things.

Of the 4 people, we managed to get one blog created.

1h later: We’re still here. Punk rock band starting. Holly crap. It’s loud. Cool music though.

When I grow up, I want to be like them.

CNC router/mill Testing

Okay, my CNC has arrived and I am in the process of configuring it. The manual shows how to configure with Mach III but I want to use EMC2.

I went through each setting in the manual for Mach III and then went to the corresponding place in EMC2 and changed the setting. cnc manual.

The spindle works great but when I operate the steppers they are rough in one direction. Actually the Z axis only works in one direction. I’m pretty sure it’s the settings in EMC2. The defaults are probably different than the Mach III defaults and the machine prefers the Mach III defaults.

Also, when I received the machine the spindle shaft was bent. I was able to correct this by slapping it with a hammer. I suspect that this was caused during shipping. I have opened an investigation with the courier company. They said they will come and inspect it and also the packaging to see if they are at fault or not.

January 1st, 2011 update:

I found a better manual. CNC 6040 Router Engraver System Installation Manual

This manual is for a similar machine. It has EMC2 directions in it as well.

I followed the directions in this manual and here’s the outcome:

X) Moves both ways. Very rough in one direction.

Y) Moves both ways. Rough in one direction as well.

Z) Moves in one direction smoothly.

My controller is a little different than the one in the manual. Mine doesn’t seem to have limit/home switches.

I don’t think there is a problem with the bearings or anything mechanical. All the axis move very freely and smoothly. Also, if I move plug the Z motor into the X axis it works exactly like the X axis motor.

Still a little stumped.

Janyary 1st, 2001 Second Update:

I don’t believe there are any mechanical issues. The screws are really easy to turn in both directions. I am keeping one of the motors disengaged from the mechanical of the machine as to make sure I’m sure. Earlier when I had the motors running with EMC2, when I changed the motors around from axis to axis, any problems stayed with the axis (rather than moving around with the motor).

I grabbed one of backup computers that has Windows and installed Mach III. I then used the manual that came with the router (cnc manual) since it talks about Mack III.

I went through all the step and now I can’t move any motors at all.

I know the parallel port is working since I am able to press the panic button and that comes up in the Mach III software when I press it.

I try to press the “RESET” button and also make sure the manual jog is enabled. I then press the cursor keys and PgUp and PgDn keys. The X, Y and Z numbers on the screen change but the motors just sit there.

So I’m guessing that I still have something missing from the Mach III configuration since I can no longer move the steppers.

January 2nd (just after midnight of the 1st)

I received this message from cncZone user Lanthan:

Re: 6040 from China
Hi Darcy,

I use my 6040 (from the pics in your site I can confirm it is identical to the one you got) exclusively with EMC2/Axis, and it works perfectly.
Just get your hands on the configuration manual prepared by DIYCNC, launch stepconf and copy the settings.
Just in case, here is a link to my copy of that manual. CNC 6040 Router Engraver System Installation Manual-ebay

This manual looks just like one of the ones I already have (the software configuration portion that is).

I think I already tried all those settings since they look the same as one of the other manuals I have.

January 3rd update

Okay, after spending a lot of time fooling around with software (assuming the machine was manufactured okay) I finally started to look at the electrical. I knew the mechanical was sound.

I phoned Micheal Grant and he suggested changing the motors around a bit and the pin configuration and we were able to isolate the issue to one of the three stepper controllers. I then took a multimeter to start to verify the connections going from the breakout board to the controller and found a bad wire. Jackpot!