Tic Tack Toe anyone?


I wanted to try something for kicks so I made an X&O game. It turned out okay. I broke my new 1/16th endmill by striking a clamp. Boo hoo. I had to restart the job with an 1/8th end mill (I regenerated the g-code).

It came out okay.

It turns out that the little pieces fit into the groves I made to define the board. Next one I make there will be some little groves to keep the pieces in for each player.

So I made another one that had some trays for the players’ pieces. The machine cut out the pieces very neatly but I didn’t notice that I chose a piece of plastic that was a bit thicker. So the pieces don’t fit in the trays. Talk about a major fail. 🙂


Here’s what it looks like. The picture is really bad. I need to set up something in my lab for taking better pictures.

It just dawned on me that I can use the pieces from the first made one.  I’ll switch the pieces. Then only one of the two games is a fail. 🙂

I will try it again later when I have more material. I want to keep the stuff I have for making parts for my machines. I guess I’m due to hit Canus Plastics again. Perhaps tomorrow.

Here’s the source file: xo

Makerbot (Thing-o-matic)


I want a Makerbot Cupcake or a RepRap. Now that I have a CNC mill, I think it would be easier to just add a plastic extruder to it.

Andrew Plumb suggested (a couple of months ago) that I get one of these.

I also need to work out the software chain for this stuff. Any feedback there? My mill is on Mach III at the moment. I intend to convert it to EMC2. Are there any projects that use this stuff?

Jan 21, 2011 update: I have purchased the extruder that Andrew suggested. I also got some 3mm filament to to with it.

Controller: I guess I need to get some sort of controller for this stepper so that I can connect it to a parallel pin on the controller computer.

Heater: What to get for the heater in the extruder? Does that get controlled by a controller or is there a manual setting on a typical cupcake machine? Do I need to know the temperature? Do I need something to display that?

Software: I’ve been using Sketchup and a few other tools to run the CNC mill. How to control the extruder? Is this the A axis? What does this mean when generating the g-code? What is the required chain of programs to get this done?

How to make a plastic propeller

I’ve started to think about how to make plastic propellers for rubber band airplanes. This would allow me to have a custom propeller for the Squirrel model airplane project as well as other projects. The current offerings are actually pretty good. I’d like to go for something a little lighter. Perhaps 2-2.5g. The current offerings are between 5 and 6″ so I’d like to make something around 6 or 6.25 inches.

There are three parts. The propeller itself, a shaft and the nose-piece which allows you to easily mount the propeller at the front of a stick plane.

I found this interesting molding machine.

If the the mold could make 10 propellers at a time, I bet this could be made to be computer controlled.

Of course, construction of the hub might be a different process.

Another idea is to use a reprap or a makerbot-cupcake machine. As is, they are much too slow.

I’ve been talking with Micheal Grant and we’ve been talking about a custom plastic extruder in order to lay the plastic out (rather than molding it). If the extruder had a large nozzle (perhaps even slot shaped), it would be faster and perhaps could be done in one layer. Perhaps an A-axis would allow the prop to be poured out without running the plastic. I’m assuming with a larger nozzle that the plastic will take longer to set. Heres a picture of a possible A-Axis that Michael sent me.

The female mold incorporates a hub. I think this sort of thing could be poured directly. This might simplify manufacturing drastically as well as provide a quality part. It’s easy to imagine adding the shaft to the hub area of the mold during pouring. The propeller would not overrun but it would simplify the construction process.

A lot of people make propellers by hand out of a pop bottle. Here are a few examples: Plastic Propellers. There is a good example over at http://www.sciencetoymaker.org/plane/propeller.htm as well (Can you recognize the plane in that article? It’s a Squirrel.  Also, the example he posted from India is an interesting plane). Also if you look around the Squirrel Plane site there are a few more examples of people making propellers.

There may be a way of making the blade in multiple parts. Perhaps the hub can be made using one process and then blade paddles can be made using another process.

Food for thought.

There is a contest hosted by Make Magazine: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Bring-Out-Your-Best-Innovative-DIY-Creation-for-the-MAKE-Green-Project-Contest-1365514.htm