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Archive for February, 2010

Airforce Condor AR-15 Grip adapter.

by on Feb.28, 2010, under Air Guns, CNC & Metal Shop

Custom Trigger

I finally got to work on my custom trigger guard for my Airforce Condor.  This mount will allow me to attach any of the AR-15 pistol grips.  I bought a Hogue Mono Grip which is rubber and super comfortable.  I plan on replacing the stock pistol grip with this one.   This is not a new idea.  I got the idea off of the Talon Airgun site.  I appears that many people do this and I thought it would be cool to make my own version.

Hogue Monogrip

Condor with Custon Guard

You can see how it will fit in the picture above however I still have to drill the mounting holes and mill some slots for the trigger and safety.  I also plan on powder coating them flat black so they will match the gun.

Milling the pocket

Here are some pictures of the CNC cutting out the parts.   It’s pretty cool watching it go.    I will post pictures of the completed trigger guard installed on the gun later this week.  I am working a lot of hours this week so I may not have a lot of time to play in my basement like I usually do.

CNC cutting the trigger guard

Contouring out the thape

The CNC is taking 0.050 inch every time it goes around the contour shape.  Its about 0.500 thick so it has to take 10 passes.  I think it took 2hrs to cut one out at about 2 inch per min feed.  I can go faster but I did not want any surprises to why not go slow?

I’ll post more pictures later this week.

Mounted on the Condor

I finished the mount and bolted it to the gun.  It fits nice so far.  I had to buy some shorter cap screws  for clearance reasons.  I hope to powder coat it black this weekend.

Finished trigger guard after powder coat.

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Crosman 2400 Custom Carbine

by on Feb.20, 2010, under Air Guns

Yesterday the UPS truck delivered my custom ordered 2400 carbine from the online Crosman Custom Shop. I ordered the .22 Cal carbine with the black stock and 24 inch barrel.  It took about 3 weeks to get and cost about $100.  It arrived double boxed and inside was well packed in soft foam rubber.  There was a certificate inside that was personally signed verifying the guns authenticity.

2400 Carbine

I mounted a red dot 50MM scope made by BSA.  It cost about $39 and works well.   The carbine is about the same size as the 2260 and perhaps a bit longer with the compensator installed.

2400 Carbine & 2260 Rifle

Steel Compensator

The overall quality of the gun is excellent.  Everything is metal except for the stock and it looks well made.  I shot about 60 pellets through it and so far it is a tack driver under 20 yds.  I typically shoot 15 yds in my basement and have no trouble shooting dime sized groups.  The first CO2 cartridge was pushing my Premiere hollow point pellets around 630 fps.  This however leveled out to about 580 for the next several Co2 cartridges.  My explanation for this was there was probably oil in the barrel from the factory.  I noticed that the gun was particularly oily when I opened it up.  Once the first 25 pellets or so cleaned out the barrel, it shot at its normal 580 fps.

I can not wait for summer……I want to test the red dot scope out on some birds.   This is definatly going to be a fun gun to shoot.

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Crosman 2260

by on Feb.13, 2010, under Air Guns

Airguns are another one of my long time revived hobbies.  I used to shoot airguns as a kid all the time but I lost interest when I got older and started a family of my own.

Well anyways, I started collecting airguns again and  I recently purchased a Crosman 2260 which is a CO2 powered .22 cal rifle.  It’s pretty cheap at about $80.  I also  ordered the steel breech from Crosman’s website so I could mount a scope. The Crosman 2260 is highly customizable and there are unlimited aftermarket parts for this gun.

Crosman 2260

Crosman 2260 with steel breech.

This is my first CO2 powered rifle and I have to say it is a pretty good one for the money.  I can get about 25-30 shots per 12g CO2 cartridge.   This gun is a entry level gun and is perfect for a 1st CO2 powered rifle.

Crosman 2260

Range

15yd Range in my basement

It is winter here in Michigan so I can not use my outdoor range.  I built a nice setup in my basement and can shoot 15yds+ with ease.

Pellet Trap

Homemade Pellet Trap

My pellet trap is homemade out of scrap wood and it has thin steel plates in the back to stop the pellets.  It works perfect and will stop a 32 grain pellet out of my Airforce Condor @ 1150 fps.  I put sand in the bottom to catch the pellets.  I have not had one pellet bounce out of this trap yet.

Crosman Hollow Points (left) JSB Exact RS (right)

Pellets

So far the gun shoots exceptional.  The pellets on the left target are Crosman premier hollow points (14.3 grain) and the pellets on the right are JSB Exact Jumbo RS (13.4 grain).

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My Benchmaster CNC Mill

by on Feb.13, 2010, under CNC & Metal Shop

I currently have many tools in my shop.  My favorite one is the CNC mill I built from an old 1954 Benchmaster mill.  It’s heavy duty and very rigid.  It works excellent and I run it with Mach3.

Original mill before CNC conversion

The mill is old and uses worn out ACME lead screws.  This is not ideal for a CNC machine so I had to upgrade the lead screws to ball screws.  I bought a length of 5/8 ball screw rod and two Thomson ball screws from Mcmaster Carr.

Thomson Ball Screws

I had to make an aluminum adapter to attach the ball nut to the table.  So far it works fine and aluminum seems to hold up well.  The nuts did not fit well in this mill.  I had to modify the mill table by machining off about 0.250 inch from the underside to allow for clearance for the nut.

Ball Screw Adapter

Connecting the ball screws to my existing handles and using my existing table bushing was important so I machined an adapter that is identical to the fitting on the end of my ACME lead screw.  I used two set screws and clamped down on the ball screw.  This was my cheap alternative to buying the very expensive ball nut mounts.  So far I have had no problems with this setup and it has minimal backlash.  Some day if I ever wear out the bushings I will just CNC a bearing block.

Ball screw Installed

Steppers with a 2:1 gear reduction

Now that the ball screws are all installed I had to buy some stepper motors.  I bought 3 Keling stepper motors from Dan Mauch who owns  Camtronics.  He helped me pick the correct size steppers for my machine.  Dan was a great help and gave me a lot of advise on my setup.  The X & Y axis ended up with two 385 oz-in steppers with a 2:1 gear reduction and the Z axis has a 495 oz-in with a 2:1 gear reduction.  They are plenty strong enough and I can get 50in/min rapids with ease on the x-y and about 20in/min on the Z.  That’s fast enough for me.  I also extended the shaft so I could attach my original handles.  Now I can still use it as a manual mill just like before.

I had to make all the mounts and I bought the timing belt and pulleys from McMaster Carr.  I decided to go with belts and not direct drive because belts are very forgiving on the install.  Belts still work very well even if you make crooked mounts and your holes are not perfect.  It also allowed me to use smaller (hence cheaper) stepper motors.   There are lots of places online that sell motors.
Here are a couple pictures of the Z-Axis mount. There was no real place to drill hols so I made a clamp to clamp onto the Z-Axis shaft support. It works great.

Z Axis Mount

Z Axis Mount

Z Axis mount

Z Axis mount

Making the stepper standoff mounts

Mill Fully Converted to CNC

Now that the mill is fully converted.  I needed a way to control it.  I ended up buying a Gecko G540 controller complete with box & 36v power supply.

Back of Controller

Front of Controller (I added the labels)

The controller was complete with power supply, cooling fan, power switch, & motor disengage switch.  It works perfect and was worth every penny.

CNC Mill complete with Controller & PC running Mach3

I currently run a demo version of Mach3 to control the CNC.  It is a really nice piece of software.  I also tried EMC2 which runs on Linux and can be downloaded free at www.linuxcnc.org.  EMC2  also is nice and does not have the 500 line limit that demo version of Mach3 has.   I have not played with it too much but you can run it off a CD-ROM without installing Linux permanently.  I plan on using it more this year.

Here is a video of it engraving.

Finished tool with engraving.

Here is the finished engraving.

Here is the complete McMaster Carr  parts list:

14 Tooth Acetal Pulley  (3)         57105K14

28 Tooth Acetal Pulley  (3)         57105K24

Urethane Timing belt (3)             1679K21

5/8 Ball Nut  (2)                            5966K16

5/8 Ball Screw  (2 feet)                 5966K261

The motor mounts are all homemade out of 1/4″ Aluminum Plate.  I also did not use the expensive ball nut mounts.  I used the standard bushings that were in the mill table and the standard anti backlash nut.

Added pulley covers and a light.

Added pulley covers and a light.

Here is an updated picture of my mill. I added a light and I covered the belts since I was getting chips in between the belt and pulley.

I have been asked what my travel is so I measured it. I have 4.1 inches “Y” travel, 12 inches “X” travel and about 6″ “Z” travel. I could get another 1/2 inch on the “Y” if I removed my rubber cover that keeps chips out of the ways. So far I have not needed it.

 

Update 02-14-14:

I added thrust washers between the lash nuts and the table which was an awesome upgrade recommended from someone reading my page.   Thanks Blaine!  My backlash on the X & Y is now 0.001 inch max.    Make sure and pack them with some lithium grease or equivalent bearing grease.

McMaster part numbers:

5909K31

5909K44

5909K46

5909K33

These cover the X, Y, and Z axis.  I did not install them on my Z axis since I have a very tight Z and did not need them.

Thrust Washer

Thrust Washer

Installed Thrust Washer

Installed Thrust Washer

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Long Range WiFi (long range internet)

by on Feb.01, 2010, under Projects

Long range Wi-Fi is another one of my hobbies. I have successfully installed over 20 projects that range from 600ft to 5 miles. I thought I would post a little bit about how I do this. The 5+ mile links are by far the most fun and they are really quite amazing when they work correctly. I do this for fun and do not really have a business or anything (so far). The main purpose of this is to share a single internet connection between multiple houses however it is a full network that supports file & printer sharing or anything else you would like to do.

Here is a typical 12 dB omni directional antenna on one of my installations. The white box houses the access point. I will use these for the base station if multiple clients are used. This particular antenna links 9 houses that range from 2000ft to 1 mile in range. The antenna is mounted on a roof.

The diagram above shows how the system works. Its just like setting up a wireless router in your house except all the antennas go outside. One house will have the router and internet connection and the “other” houses will connect as clients just like a laptop connects to your home wireless router.Farm

Line of sight is very important. I live out in the country and can see for miles in every direction. A few trees will not interfere much but a forest or huge buildings will severely cripple the signal. The farm in the distance is 1 mile away and has WiFi. I have a perfect signal from where I am standing. Roof top height is more than ample for this technology as long as you have line of sight.

Houses that are clients get a panel antenna. It’s about 12dBi gain and is directional. I just aim it at the base station antenna and it works perfect. The AP mounts inside this particular panel antenna.

Inside the panel antenna is the Access Point (AP). Signal loss is huge in the antenna wire so you want to keep your antenna wire as short as possible. Mounting the AP inside the antenna is a great way to minimize signal loss. All I do now is run cheap Cat5e cable from the inside computer to the antenna on the roof. This antenna is a “Rootenna” and cost about $30. I have bought about 15 of these and they are excellent.

Here is another panel type antenna on a house. This one does not have an inside spot for the AP so I had to mount the AP in a separate box under the antenna. It still works perfect.

POE

Getting power to the AP is easy. What you need to buy is a Power Over Ethernet (POE) injector. The one on the right is $5 and works excellent. What this does is injects 12 volts from a power adaptor and sends it over the unused CAT5e pairs. The Access Point is “smart” and can be powered right from the CAT5e cable. This injector will sit under your desk by the PC and plug into a wall outlet.

AP

The access point is made by En Genius and is the most expensive part of the setup. They are roughly $130 but there are other options available today that are cheaper. I have bought about 20 of these and will gladly vouch for their quality. I have some that have been in service for 4 years outside without a single reset.

There is more to this than just the hardware setup. The networking, TCP/IP setup, and DHCP control is another subject on its own which will not get explained here. You will have to do some reading on that subject on your own.

UPDATE:

I no longer buy the $130 access points.  I have bought 3 of the Bullet2 Access points made by Ubiquiti for about $38 each.  They are 200mw power which is plenty for 5 mile links.   These are excellent and are small.  I simply connect them direct to the back of a panel antenna (shown above).  No need for the rootenna or external box.

Bullet2 Access point

I’ll post some pictures of the actual Bullet2 in a few days.  They really are great and cheap.

Homemade stuff:

There was a time when I had no money but still liked to play with wireless stuff. You can make your own equipment fairly easy if you want to. I made many antennas and they all worked well.

omni

Here is a very simple 1/4 wave omni antenna called a “spider” and is made from a female N type connector. It has one vertical radial and 4 ground radials. This antenna works very well for what it is and is very small. It works very well for war driving.

This antenna has no gain.

Biquad

This is my favorite homemade antenna. It is called a bi quad and is directional. I use this exclusively for war driving to identify where the signal is coming from. You can also use these to feed an old dish network dish for increased range.

I have connected up to a mile with this antenna and the PCMCIA card below.

It has 11dBi gain and can have 24dB if used to feed a old dish network or direct TV dish.

pcmciaHere is my old laptop PCMCIA card and homemade pigtail. I use this for war driving and site surveys for new clients. It’s a 200mW card and I have connected miles away with this card.

More to come……page under construction.

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Kantronics KPC-3 (non plus)

by on Feb.01, 2010, under Projects

Quick guide to Upgrade your KPC-3 (non plus) and other obsolete Kantronics TNC’s

KPC-3

Well if you found this by searching the internet you are probably wanting to know how to upgrade your old KPC-3 (non plus) TNC to the latest 8.2 firmware. Well Kantronics no longer supports this great TNC. That is rather irritating to me so I went on a mission to solve this problem. Well fret not……You can buy an inexpensive EPROM chip and a programmer and fix your own TNC. Once upgraded the TNC works great on APRS.

IMPORTANT – Write down all your TNC settings. The following process will erase all your TNC settings such as your call sign, settings, and any mail you have saved in your mailbox. Save it, write it down, do something.

Take the little screws out that hold the top cover on the TNC. Once the cover is off, one of the bigger chips inside the TNC will have a white sticker on it that states the “KPC-3″ and the firmware version. This is the chip you will replace so make sure you put the new one in the same way the old one is. You will see a little notch on one end of the chip (see below). Make a mental note on the chips orientation.

Above is a KPC-3 (non plus) with a v5.1 firmware chip.

Above is a KPC-3 (non plus) with a v6.0 firmware chip.

I took my version 5.0 firmware chip out of my TNC and pulled the sticker off. It’s a very common M27C512 EPROM chip. They cost about $5 and you can buy one from many online stores such as:

www.mouser.com

www.digikey.com

www.jameco.com

The chips come in many speeds but my original chip is a 200ns.  You can buy anything faster than 200ns and it should work fine (example 150ns, 120ns, 100ns, etc.)  Avoid the slower chips like 250ns.  They might not work.

You do not have to pull your sticker off just leave it on. I removed mine to identify the chip.

Here are two chips I purchased online. They are the same and you only need one. It is possible to erase your original chip by exposing it under strong UV light however I discourage this. I would keep your old firmware chip in a safe place in case you mess up.

Now you need an EPROM programmer. I bought a cheap Willem EPROM programmer off Ebay for about $30. There are many cheap programmers that will work just make sure it supports the 27C512 series EPROM chips. Do a search on google or ebay to find one.

Programmer

The programmers come with easy to use software and support USB or the printer parallel port. Mine even came with a cable.

All you have to do it plug the new M27C512 chip into the programmer as per your instruction manual, run the software that came with the programmer, and finally load the 8.2 Firmware file. Press the “Write” button and wait a few minutes while the new firmware chips is being written. Its just like burning a CD on your computer.

When its done, you can reinstall the new firmware chip into the TNC and turn it on. All your original TNC settings will be erased and you will have to reprogram your call sign and settings back into your TNC.

Thats it.

Download the Firmware below:

KPC-3 (non plus)  5.0 Firmware

KPC-3 (non plus) 5.1 Firmware

KPC-3 (non plus) 6.0 Firmware

KPC-3 (non plus)  8.2 Firmware

Manuals:

KPC-3 (non plus) Manual

KPC-3 v8.2 Rom Manual Addendum

Good luck.

 

Firmware for other Kantronics TNC’s:

KPC-9612 (non plus)  v6.0 Firmware

KPC-9612 (non plus) v7.0 Firmware

KPC-9612 (non plus) v8.2 Firmware

KAM v5.0 Firmware

KAM v6.1 Firmware

KAM+ v8.0 Firmware

KAM+ v8.2 Firmware

KAM+ All Firmware, Schematic,  & Parts List

KPC-2 v5.02 Firmware ,  Schematic,  & Parts List

KPC-4 v5.01 Firmware,  Schematic, & Parts List

Excellent old packet TNC software PaKet v6.2

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