Me at The Jump!
The weekend started off uneventfully. As is typical, Friday was spent debating the merits of inline 6 cylinder engines. Agreement was unanimous. A good time was had by all ... until the morning came! In the morning, we started off slow, as usual. In the second run, I captured the record by 2 tenths of a second. I was thrilled, until I discovered that Jason had gotten it by 5 tenths. Damn!
Unfortunately, not a lot of pictures here. I didn't take screen shots either, so we're a bit graphically challenged! At any rate, this covers testing of the USC board per the Pico Systems procedure through all configs I needed to get the machine to a level that is equal or superior to original BOSS controls. If you aren't interested in automatic spindle speed control or rigid tapping, there's no need to do any more configuration, but I suspect you'll be tempted (like me) to keep tweaking it. That's the beauty of LinuxCNC ... full configuration should you so desire. If not, then you're done!
The next step is what we've all been waiting for ... putting it back together! Read on for a blow by blow of my adventures. This section includes key information like what to connect where, etc. I'll draw up a wiring diagram and publish my configuration files at the end, but for now, this is most of what you need to get cracking.
It's time to get cracking! I received the bulk of my parts before I began the teardown, so that I could get a feel for how big they actually were. Compared to the original equipment, not very!
First off, let me explain my philosophy. I didn't feel like doing a lot of complicated modifications. It is ENTIRELY possible to remove either the control or power cabinet in its entirety, so long as you have a mains disconnect switch within view of the machine (per code, at least in the US). I chose to keep the PC outside of the machine, but it could also easily be situated inside the machine. Finally, I chose to power the entire machine, aside from the PC, from my single phase 240V circuit, rather than use multiple circuits. I recommend this approach due to the improved safety benefits. One disconnect removes ALL power to the entire machine so there is no chance of electrocuting yourself whenever the switch is off.
Waiting for the right moment ...
I made my first record setting run! I bested the previous record for Fall Jefferson, running the Counter Clockwise direction of the course in 60.868, a mere 0.019 seconds faster than the previous ITS class record, set in 2000! This was done amidst battery/alternator trouble and approaching rain. The battery died due to me forgetting to turn off the fan on Saturday. Strangely, the car would not run after being jumped. I determined that the alternator was not working and attempted to charge the battery off of the truck, via jumper cables. Struggling to get adequate charge in to run a second set of laps before the end of Saturday, I just managed to do it. I pushed the car into line and didn't start it until the last possible instant. If I turned on the fan, the battery might run too low to run the engine. If I shut it down, it probably wouldn't restart. Timing was everything! Under this pressure, I went out and turned my three hot laps, with the third one giving me the time I was looking for! Jason was behind, with about 2.4 seconds to gain in order to catch up.
Sunday was clear, but the remnants of hurricane Isaac were due to arrive at any time. I was able, thanks to a kind soul with a generator, to fully charge the battery overnight. It took an incredibly long time, but it did eventually come up to charge by morning. I got into line, but by the time I ran, it was sprinkling steadily. Despite that fact, I managed to turn a time within about a half second of my best. Not too shabby. Jason was able to gain a second, but still had over 1.3 to trim. By then it was lunch time and raining heavily. We both called it a weekend and I headed home early. Normally I'd stay for the last run, but the joy of success, along with the exhaustion of fighting to keep the car running, made me content to leave things as they stood. I'm looking forward to Fall Weatherly, where I expect to nail down yet another record. Assuming the weather is reasonably dry, I plan to improve on my time from the Spring. There, I was only 0.376 behind and with my new tires I'm sure that's easily achievable. The question remains: Will tires be enough to secure my lead or will Jason best me again?
Improved Parts is all about exploring interesting and practical manufacturing techniques, solving unique problems that crop up in our everyday life, and GOING RACING!