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Ongoing projects and ideas

1. Welded rather than machined canisters; I am investigating both plastic welding for the delrin and acetal parts and TIG welding stainless and aluminium parts. Its a good few years since I did any TIG welding and the last aluminium welding I did was gas welding cast ally parts which were horrible to work with but luckily technology has moved on and I am considering investing in a decent AC/DC TIG welding setup with foot pedal etc

2. Coatings; as mentioned above I really need an anodising setup to protect the aluminium parts. I have polished and clear lacquered parts but for proper protection they really need to be anodised and sealed and adding the ability to dye parts as part of that process will add a lot to our capabilities

3. CAD and eventually CAD/CAM; I’m happy with 3D CAD and our milling capabilities but am thinking that some basic CAD/CAM would be useful even if only to have 2D cutting capability - its work in progress as this could be an area that could cost a lot and it may be cheaper to just use someone else's investment in technology and pay for parts water jet cut or similar as required

4. DRO’s - I’m seriously investigating adding another 2 dimensions to our mills digital read outs, again more money to invest and we get by nicely now but would be a real time saver, just need a few more jobs first

5. Electronics; we have some prototype electronics projects based around Arduino and Arduino clone boards;

The HUD prototype controller

The board at the bottom is a multiplexing setup to drive three multicolour LEDs which are attached to fibre optic cables by the highly uncomplicated method of using heat shrink tubing over the LED shrunk down onto the fibre optic cable. In the final version this would be done by using a short length fibre optic cable to the bottom section of a cable gland, a polished piece of clear acrylic, and the fibre optic cables to drive the HUD just being connected by being held in the the top section of the cable gland

This allow you to control three multicolour LEDs, which are common cathode plus four pins which would mean 12 outputs needed to control them, by using just 5 pins