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Posts from the ‘Electronics’ Category


NEMA23 Stepper Motor Cooling Fan Housing

My China heated webbing cutter uses a NEMA23 stepper to extruded and measure the webbing to cut. Early on I found out that the temp inside the machine was too high, because of the heat cutter head. So it would skip steps on the motor. The CPU would not now it skipped, so everything would turn out the wrong length.

So I strapped on some scrap aluminum CPU heat sinks. Worked fine for years. Then the drive belt broke. So I had to cut off the stainless steel wire holding on the aluminum. Instead of trying to attach it as i had it rigged before, I decided to search out a different system for cooling.

Not happy with the options I found on the web, I decided to make my own in Fusion 360!

The housing is held onto the motor with 2 zip-ties. They provide clamping to keep it on the motor. It is designed for a motor 75MM tall. And uses a 70MM 12v fan. The fan can be any thickness because it is held on with M4 screws.

Since this is in a high heat environment, I had it printed for me from PA12 Nylon, on a HP MJF printer.

You can download the STL from my Thingiverse account:


TVM802A Pick & Place Plastic Tape Support

I have a TVM802A China SMD Pick & Place machine. This thing works great for the price. It has a few draw backs compared to a higher end machine. One of which is the feeders. It uses a pin, via a coil, to advance the tape components. This seems to work fine for paper tape devices, but it DOES NOT work well for plastic tape devices! The pin fires and the tape defects, so it does not drag the tape to index the next part.

So I designed a solution in Sketchup that supports the plastic tape, at the holes, so it indexes every time! I have been testing this for 2 years-ish. And it still works, every time!

I designed 3 types for 8MM, 12MM and 16MM tape widths. (that is all this machine does) The device is attached to the feeder rail with a small piece of 3M tape to keep it in place. Then the machine works as normal. As the pin goes down to index the tape, the support keeps the tape from deflecting. They are made from PA12 Nylon, 3D printed on a HP MJF printer.

This is a great solution for thin ICs or small parts. But it does not work well for tall devices. Such as a coil inductor.

If you need some, I have a few for sale in My Store.


3D Systems Cube 3 Wiper Holster

I bought a second 3D systems Cube 3 printer, and it was missing the wiper holster (and wiper). I was able to make my own wipers, from silicone sheet, seen here. I did find some holsters on Thingiverse, but they had support built in. They said they were printable on the Cube 3…but they never turned out well.

So I took the STL and removed all the supports. Did some measurements on the OEM holster, and made a few small changes to the STL. The goal was to have it printed on a FormLabs 2 printer, but I ended up having some made on a HP 4200 MJF printer. It turned out great!

Since I had to buy a bunch to make it cost worthy, I will be selling the extras in my store.

Here is the link to my Thingiverse account if you want to download the holster STL:


PCB Delta 3D printer Effector

Since starting 3D printed many years ago, I always improve my equipment for the best possible prints I can. My first printer was a Delta style, and it is still my favorite. I own 4 printers now, 2 delta and 2 XY.

In an effort to make the best printes it was time to update my main Big Boy Delta. I wanted to go with a magnetic arm setup. The guy I got the arms from say they are precision made to within 50um (.05mm) of each other.

Now I needed an effector to connect the arms to. Also need to connect my linear slides to the arms as well. I looked for a solution. I can across some made for PCB material. I thought that would be killer. But my design was way different then theirs. So I would have to make my own.

Since the effector was a PCB, I decided to put LEDs on the bottom to help see the work. I use a BLTouch for bed leveling. My SmoothieBoard 5V regulator for not put our 100% 5V. So I added a 5V regulator to the effector too since I already have 12V running to it for the hotend fan.

Then I needed a holder for the E3D v6 hotend and a built in holder for the BLTouch. I designed one in Sketchup and printed it before installing the new effector.


DIY Beer Fermentation Automatic Temp Control (Chiller)

I recently got back into home beer brewing. But I noticed that I had a problem with fermentation temp control with the gear I had on hand. One of the keys to good beer it fermentation at 68-70° F.

A lot of the beer community seems to wrap the fermenter in a thermal blanket, and chill it with a cooler of ice water. Seems like a lot of steps to me. I then found a device that seems to use a Pelteir with an aluminum rod to regulate the temp of the beer….but it is $350! OUCH! Kind of pricey for “home brew”.

So I decided to make my own. I have played with Pelteirs in the past. Went to amazon and ordered a 12VDC Peltier and heat sink combo, along with a 12VDC digital temp controller. The found a aluminum rod on Ebay, even had a 5/16 tapped hole in the end! All for under $50. I designed a case for the thole thing in Fusion 360, then 3D printed it…13 HOUR PRINT. I also replaced the controllers screw terminals with removable screw terminals.

Once I got all my parts in, I had to modify the heat sink to work with aluminum rod. Then did some tests with the new set up in a 2Gal water cooler jug. Which will be my new fermenter! This should help keep the beer at a more steady rate. So no need to wrap a carboy in a thermal blanket! The tests keep the water within 1° F of the target, which was set to 67° F. While the beer is fermenting, it may have to work a little harder to maintain due to the heat generated by the yeast. That test yet to come.

I am planing on making my own PIC based controller with some features that the DIY  and commercially available one does not currently have.

Cheers! 🍻


FrisBeer Drinking Game

Someone introduced me to this game. And it is HELLA fun! FrisBeer also known as “Polish Horseshoes”. Basically 2 teams take turns throwing a frisbee at opposite teams beer bottle sitting on a pole. Has lots of fun rules, or you can make your own “house rules”. The guys who showed it to me had a 3d printed bottle, with a harbor freight flash light inside. We also used a lighted frisbee. But the bottles he made were not very bright…. so I made my own with a custom LED PCB.

I downloaded a 3D file for a beer bottle, made it 2 sections to house the LEDs and battery. Made the battery compartment for a 9v, with a working battery door and on/off switch! Printed out 2 complete sets with a translucent ABS. The 2 sections are a slip fit male and female. I used some hot glue to keep them together. The main part of the bottle was the absolute max my printer height could do.

I had the PCBs made by, using their CAD software. It was the fastest turn around I could get, I was going on a trip and wanted to take this with me. Since they do not offer routing with the bare boards level, I centered a .250″ hole and chucked it up in my mini lathe and cut them round with a carbide bit.

Quick trip to Lowes and made the stands out of PVC pipe. I did not glue them together, this way it could be adjusted is the ground is not level.

 Pace out a distance for the length between the two pole set-ups. Drink a beer. This distance must be inconsistent with any other distance you've previously used, because no one's ever decided on a distance and who the eff ever has a tape measure anyways?
Next, do whatever it takes to get the poles to stand up. Try pounding the stakes or bars into the ground and putting the PVC over them with a beer. Or pile rocks around your poles, I don't care.
Wrap some empty bottles in duct tape so they don't break. Balance them on the poles. Unlike horseshoes, you and your teammate stand on the same side. Drink a beer. Somebody goes first.
Offence: Try to hit the pole or the bottle. Call "fish out of the water" on somebody if they don't have a beer.
Defense: Without reaching in front of your pole, catch the bottle and frisbee before they hit the ground.
Low Shots: Low shots do not count. How low is low? Yes. Use some electrical tape, maybe. Or refer to gentleman's note below.
2 points - the bottle hits the ground
1 point - you're caught without a drinakble beer in at least one of your hands
1 point - the frisbee hits the ground (a catchable throw isn't caught)
·         Games are traditionally played to 12 or 21.
·         This "final" score, though decided before play, is typically negotiated higher throughout play, depending on many varibles (e.g. you are not winning).
·         You must win by 2 points.
·         You cannot win on a dropped frisbee.
Note: This is a gentlmans' sport; thus any disagreement regarding a play is to be ruled, and typically conceeded, by the team that stands to gain.

DIY DeWalt Flashlight LED Upgrade

My trusty 18V DeWalt DW919 gooseneck flash light is quite dated by today’s standards. It still has the OEM bulb.

I went to use it the other day and WOW…was it dim. The battery was fully charged, so I know it wasn’t that.

So off to the internet to find a way to make it LED, and bright! After searching for a while I couldn’t find anything good and low cost. So I dropped the idea.

While laying in bed one night, not being able to sleep, it came to me!!


The next day I dug through the shop and found a single LED pod. Took it apart and the flashlight…then BOOM!!! Hella bright LED Dewalt flashlight!

The LED board is aluminum, so I mounted it to a 1/4″ thick chunk of scrap I had. I drilled and tapped the aluminum to match the mounting holes in the LED board. This should be good enough for cooling. The LED pod works off voltage from 12v-24v. So the 18V DeWalt is perfect. Had to trim the corners of the reflector to fit inside the flashlight housing. The soldered the leads to the bulb contacts.

The whole thing took about 20 mins to put together.

I am going to cut some acrylic and use some LED collimators. to make a new lens, and make it even better!


Troubleshoot LEDs With Multimeter

We put up some Christmas lights on our house. These were some cheap LED icicle lights. That night I noticed some of them were not working. So I grabbed a few of the LEDs and notices that one was bad. As I jiggled it, others came on. I pulled out that LED, and it had a broken leg. I thought I would just solder a new leg on. But upon closer inspection of the bulb, it had NO cathode or anode marking. The only way to tell would have been that one leg would be longer then the other… but one was broken off. DOH! So, I was not sure what direction to put it back into the holder. I can up with a way to test almost any LED with a multimeter!

My Fluke multimeter has a “Continuity Test”. It makes a BEEP when the 2 probes are a dead short. Is this mode the probes have a small amount of voltage on them. So if you take the black probe and touch it to one leg of the LED and the red probe to the other leg, the LED will light up. If it does not, swap the probes. If the LED lights up, then you can see what leg is cathode or anode by the red (anode) or black (cathode). Since the voltage is very low on the probes, there is almost no likelihood of destroying the led with reversed probes.

This works great for small SMD LEDs too. I had a mixed up pile of re, blue, and white 1206 SMD LEDs. Using this method, I was able to sort them very quickly. Also works for testing LEDs in circuit.


3D Printed Yoda Bust

It seems in the 3D printing community that a good print on the Yoda bust is the “gold standard”. It has a good amount of detail and lots of over hangs. I have been putting off printing one for years, just never had the time. Always something more important to print.

Recently I wanted to give a Yoda bust to a friend of mine, as a gift. So it looks like it was time to test the limits of my printer!

This was printing on my homemade Kossel Legacy Delta printer with ABS. Using Cura 15 and a layer height of 0.05mm.

I have got to say it turned out fantastic!


I have a good friend of mine doing a custom paint job on it. I will post photos when it’s done.





OpenFeeder Now Live on GitHub!

My open source Pick and Place feeder is not live on GitHub! You can download the source files there.

Here is a quick overview:

Discussion about the feeder can be found at OpenPNP Google Group