Step 8: Do It Again & Post-Process-Evaluation

If you experience complete failure like I did with my very porting machine prototype before this one, you'll going back to the drawing board to revise or completely redesign.  Try not to be too disheartened as this from my experience an extremely typical part of creating unique machines.

The important post process step to take after creating a new manufacturing machine is to run it through some quality control paces and to take some measurements.  This will help you determine if the new machine is beneficial to deploy in your process.  Typically it's quite obvious whether you should or not.  But for the sake of being thorough and quantifying your success, it will help to know some general numbers. Below you will find my post process evaluation.

Post Process Analysis:
Old Porting Time:      1-2 minutes per stove
New Porting Time:   12 seconds

Old Blank Holder Mounting / Removal Time:        3 seconds
New Blank Holder Mounting / Removal Time:   6 seconds

Old Tops Produced Per Hour Average:        17
New Tops Produced Per Hour Average:   47
Assessment: It's obvious that the speed of the new machine easily justifies it.  The quality has increased with the new machine providing even more consistent port placement and diameter. The old method required very skilled manual labor to manipulate the hand punch and template so that it would produce quality results.  I was the only one who could port the stoves without training someone.  Plus my wife (co-owner) couldn't perform the old task because the punch required too much force. The porting machine needs no special training to operate.  It's clear after the analysis that the porting machine is superior in every way except that it does require slightly more time to mount the blank holder on the blank holder post, where as before that was not a requirement with the old method.  

One other minor note: Although the new machine has increased the speed of the porting operation by 500% on average the overall output of stove tops is now much more limited by the other operations unrelated to porting thus yielding a rate increase of only 276%. 

In closing if you have a problem, there is most likely a great solution if you are willing to be persistent in your designs and revisions. One of the nice things about doing any project is that regardless of the success of your design adhering to your design intention you will learn how to do it even better next time.  I already have all sorts of up grades planned for the current porting machine despite it's major success for us.

Future upgrades will include automatic shut off after one revolution, and a built in lamp for quality control confirmation.  If light shines through the holes in the blank, it's a quick way to determine if their are any abnormalities in the holes. 

Thanks for reading!
That stove looks a lot like a coke can penny stove. Alcohol?
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very good posting - a comment I'd like to add (I'm an equipment/tooling/machine designer btw) is in the repurposing of equipment as well. Takes a bit of thinking outside the box so to speak at times but can be solution to things.<br><br>for example if you had one of these http://www.busybeetools.com/products/SPIN-INDEX-5-C.html kicking about or spending the 60$ was no big deal then there would be your indexing requirement taken care of I've used little guys like these mounted in different orientations for angle indexing in both custom one of machines as well as manual lathes &amp; mills.<br><br>Now everyone has a different set of resources laying about of course. My solution to this would be using an air powered expanding collet that has a foot switch mounted to the indexer that I mounted to an angle plate mounted to a drill press fitted with the appropriately size end mill. I happen to already own all the equipment. <br><br>So operation would be after set up &amp; test runs to &quot;dial things in&quot; then press foot switch to collapse the collet, put a body on the collet, release foot switch to grip the body, then with press running mill 1st hole, spin handle to next index, repeat until desired number of ports finish, collapse the collet remove/replace the body repeat.<br><br>Same as yourself tieing up my mill to run something like this through would be inefficient.<br><br>Often for solving puzzles like this I leave my computer &amp; go sit in the shop and spin around on my stool seeing what can inspire me :)
Yeah, I looked at using an indexer initially and would have probably done that except I wanted the process to be automated, at least automated for each blank so I would just have to put a blank on the holder, turn it on, and it would finish itself off. I still have yet to implement the auto off feature. But it will be similar to a two way switch system with one push button switch to turn it on, and another switch attached to the indexing wheel of the blank holder so that when it completes a full rotation it will turn the machine off.<br><br> I too like the idea of an expanding air collet, but I was unaware they existed. Or at least existed at a price I could afford. And I know what you mean about going into the shop and just sort of look at things and mess around to get ideas flowing. One of my favorite places to think is to just lay down on the bed and go into design la la land. Plus I often get a chance to rest.<br><br>Thanks for opening my ideas to the expanding air collet, and the decently inexpensive indexer. I took a look at it, the only issue was that it didn't look like it would index 24 holes? I am assuming they have all sorts of shapes and sizes.<br><br>Thanks again.
a simple light sensor and reset button will do the trick
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that particular indexer doesn't have the 15&ordm; indexing (24 holes) but it's not the only indexer out there of course - I machined a new plate for mine with 24 holes it's a pain to take the indexer a apart to switch plates for smaller jobs one day I'll break down &amp; spend the $60 for a 2nd one then leave it set up.<br><br>in regards to the air collet like I said it all depends what you have around the shop - admittedly if I didn't already own 1 I wouldn't go spend the $600 plus to buy 1 for this kind of job either :-)<br><br>You got a very slick little self contained design going there. I'd be interested in how long the wood gears/parts hold up &amp; keep sufficient accuracy. A future upgrade to Delrin or Nylon for the gears/parts that don't hold up long enough maybe.
gear teeth was made out of wood for many years for some larger machinery, they had a metal body/carrier, but the gear teeth was wood and easy to replace when they wore out, plus they also were very easy to make since all you had to do was make one really wide tooth then just cut off to exact width. This was done to save two resources, time and money and it is simple for semi skilled worker to make.
I am also interested in how many I can put through before the gears wear out. I think the wood gears will probably outlive the need for the machine. They can lose a lot of tooth before there are any problems. There are two areas of importance for complications due to lack of precision from wearing parts; the aluminum cam that pushes the steel punch, and the plastic ratchet gear and arm. Fortunately both parts are incredibly easy to fabricate. I have the file for the plastic ratchet gear and arm saved, and takes about 20 minutes to cut out a new one on the CNC router, and the aluminum cam can easily be machined in 30 minutes. <br><br>So as long as I can put a few hundred stoves through each set of gear, and I am guessing I can put a couple thousand through, I don't mind changing those parts out often. Although it would be nice to not be doing it as often. However, I suppose there is something to be said for designing parts for planned failure. At least I know, probably, maybe:) what parts will fail.
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A Geneva motion drive could have also been used to get the indexing. I quickly drew up an example ( not to exactly to scale )<br> <br> <br>
It is amazing that this manufacturing machine is made from wood and it works very well, and replacement parts will be easy to produce and it is powered by a hand drill. Very nice work and very impressive use of the KISS principle of engineering .
Thanks. Wood is amazing stuff. When you don't have lots of capitol to invest it encourages you to think a bit different about your problems. In this case I think a much better solution was devised as opposed to traditional tooling techniques.
Hey.. well done.. I have a few Q.. for yourself, I going to build a CNC milling machine using servo motors/ steppers/ etc, and use Mach3. Now i come from 16 years welding fab and operating or designing using Cad is all new to me, from what i been reading, can Cad design be used to put commands into CNC Mach3?<br><br>What i looking is an easy way to tell mach3 what i want it to do. <br><br>I have to say again well done on your business, i come from the UK and its manufacturing is near died, so died in fact 5 years ago i had a small workshop were i would build gates/railings/trailers/ and general welding fab work, China at the time were building Shenzhen and bought a lot of steel up, so the price of steel in the UK went up by 3 times the price over night, then the property crash happened and it all went pear shape.<br><br>Last year i reg.. a new company within the UK { supply } and i took of into China, everything is near made here, or at least you can get a copy of it. lol<br>The supply company not doing to good because i am taking a cut and acting as a middle man between people. also China is about to reach its Global export market, which means unless they build a complete new country it cant grow anymore. This will have a knock on with a lot of company,s. <br><br>Which takes me back to start manufacturing again, only this time i will be doing it in China, so many company,s have come here from the west due to cheaper labour cost and import tax is lower than manufacturing cost, or it is in the UK anyway. I looked into plastic injection machines and wanted to start making my own plastic moulds for pc tablets and other after market kits like Apple cover,s etc. Which lead me to a big problem... to get a company to make a metal mould for the injection machine is costing anywhere from $5.000 to $50.000 depending on how complex the mould is. So looking at making my own metal moulds brought me to looking at CNC machines here in China, and to be honest at a cost of over one hundred thousand USD thats a no go.. lol I went and looked at one of these machines and the driver,s and motors are not even a brand name from the west. After looking on youtube i found guys that were building these out of wood and some cases aluminium, which is all fine for milling wood/plastic but not when it comes to + / - 00.5 milling metal.<br><br>So now you have a clear idea what i up to, can you shed some light on CAD and running Mach3, i am very good at operating programs and working with pc,s linux manly, which i might add is by far better than windows. I am half way though completing my own web site using an old pc with linux, if i had have tried this using windows there would be no end of problems raging from port forwarding to keeping none static ip address up to date.<br><br>Anyway, once again, well done and i hope your business all the best.<br><br>
Any decent CAD program (Autocad, Solidworks, Turbocad, etc...) should be able to save files into the appropriate format for your CAM software. Although those programs are not necessarily my recommendations just ones I know about. I am sure there are plenty of other options, probably even some open source ones as well. I believe Mach 3 is a controller software, but it does not have any CAD or CAM functions.<br> <div style="margin-left: 40.0px;"> <br> <strong>General Design Workflow for CNC Machines:</strong></div> <ol> <li style="margin-left: 40.0px;"> Design part, product, etc... in CAD (Computer Aided Design) program. <li style="margin-left: 40.0px;"> Export file into your CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing)&nbsp;program and create tool paths for CNC. <li style="margin-left: 40.0px;"> Save tool path file for use with your CNC&nbsp;controller software (Mach 3, etc.) <li style="margin-left: 40.0px;"> Using CNC controller software execute tool path file and let your CNC machine go to work. </ol> <div style="margin-left: 40.0px;"> Of course there are some software packages that combine the rolls of the CAD, CAM, and Controller software into one program. Although I have only seen that for consumer use cnc products like vinyl cutters, etc... However there are a few CAD/CAM combination programs out there.</div> <div> <br> As far as building your own cnc I have seen some people do some nice conversions of mini mills and mini lathes for an extremely affordable price of around $2,000 - $3,000. &nbsp;I know LittleMachineShop.com sells a prebuilt CNC mill for $6,000 or $7,000. &nbsp;<br> <br> There are also online services like emachineshop.com that will take your design and machine it for you. &nbsp;Although those service are very pricey. &nbsp;But could provide you a way to get up and running with your production and earn some more cash to buy your own CNC set up if capitol is a challenge for you.<br> &nbsp;<br> Anyhow best of luck with your endeavor and I hope that was helpful.</div>
Permit me to answer that, you could go indeed the way of Mach3 and fork out cash or you might take a peek at a linux-version centered around CNC called EMC-linux which is an UBUNTU with enhanced features.<br>You will probably interject and say &quot;But I want support! &quot; but then would give the riposte and tell you that support comes in form of forums peopled with persons who used this distribution before and who give their advice for free.<br>Several other GPL-cad programs have a G-code generator.<br>And also have a look for DIYLILCNC , this looks a very promising project , one of its creators has a youtube-tut on how to convert a bitmap-drawing into G-code.
Very nice work and great explanation of process etc...It is always nice to see how other people think their projects. I do some laser cutting myself and find the process of laying all the parts flat a real pain. There is still huge opportunity in the improvement of these workflows for the future.<br>Thanks for sharing.
Thanks. What software do you use for the CAD work?
That's great - I love the machine you've built.<br><br>Best of luck &amp; success with your business.
Your right about Blender not being suited for CAD , it is a visualisation package (CGI), but there is an alternative to AutoCAD called FreeCAD.<br> On the sourceforge site it is available as Win/Mac/ Linux program.<br> <a href="http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/free-cad/index.php?title=Main_Page" rel="nofollow">http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/free-cad/index.php?title=Main_Page </a><br> Although it is continuous development ( as most linux based products are),<br> it has ripened enough to be used for small design projects.<br> it uses an Inventor approach for designing and has multiple other uses<br> ( even a robotics workbench).<br> As I am partial to the linux ,my version is continuously updated via the package manager.
Thanks for the heads-up. I may have to download a copy and try it out.
I think there is a few scripts that one can run with GIMP that is used to convert the formats. I knew of a friend long a go that done something like this. I do not know if it was his homegrown script or if he got it from a freely available resource. he was a good code hacker he might of chopped it out of other software.
Nice instructable,<br>I think maybe you missed a point in your design ethos and that is sometimes designers go with a particular design just because they like it and knowing it may not be the best or the easiest. I guess this may be the case here where even if you'd thought of a much easier way of doing it, once the idea of cogs and timing devices entered your head it was a must do. After all, that mind set is how we progress things. <br>As for this design it's pretty good and interesting on all angles but maybe not the best fit for your product. You have a weak point which you had the most difficulty in setting up and that was the accuracy of the indexing. This indexing maybe the thing that will drift over time and wear but could be designed out. I think you mentioned you had tried a punch and die set up but gave it up due to the holes having to be at an angle. This is fairly easy to get around by using a multi stage punch with the hole punchers penetrating then retracting. The advantages of the punch are, little change due to wear and greater reliability due to no timing components. The punch could push the work piece off itself on the up stroke (or use compressed air) and you could have a magazine of stoves to feed in to it and thus get the production time down to maybe 2 or 3 seconds. The other nice to have function of a punch and die is you could stamp a nice logo on to the stove at the same time. Please don&rsquo;t take my comments as a criticism as that&rsquo;s not what I intended I&rsquo;m just offering discussion points. The down side of the punch of course would be a nowhere near as interesting instructable.<br>
That is correct that i have tried the punch and die set, and the main problem is that the punches for the holes need to be angled in. After 24 angles in points, 360 degrees the blank became trapped. So than It was going to include 24 spring loaded punches that would retract in order to release the blank. That was the main challenge I ran up with that solution. <br><br>Of course it could be done, but my resource pool was not a good fit for that type of machining, and build. The other issue I had with using 24 punches with a central die was that I had to machine 24 punches with a high degree of precision for my little machine shop. While not impossible very time consuming for the tools I have access to. For my available resources it's very easy for me to replace the ratchet gears and other items related to indexing to restore accuracy, because I can simply cut out a new ratchet gear and ratchet arm on my CNC router in 20 minutes or less including setup.<br><br>But I definitely agree that often we get stuck on a particular solution, and have a hard time seeing past it because of the emotional appeal inspiration carries with it. Even when it's not really the right solution. In fact in the first version of the porting machine ( which was quite a bit different in indexing design) I think that was my main problem. But like you said sometimes that's how we make progress.<br><br>Thanks for taking the time to bring up these points. I love the discussion.
I often get grandiose in my thinking. My saying is I end up trying to build a jumbo jet when I really wanted a paper aeroplane :)
Bravo! An elegant solution and presentation of your innovation and principles. I think you have what it takes to be a great teacher that can inspire young, hungry minds. More power to you!<br><br>Now for my 2 cents:<br>When working with plywood gears, I have found that the life if the gears is extended by impregnating them with epoxy resin and polishing the mating surfaces.<br><br>I saw the drill's handle bobbing up &amp; down with the cam lobe; you may want to support the drill/driver so as not to over-stress the chuck-driven connection. if it is equipped with a 1/4&quot; x 20 attachment point on either side for a removable handle, that is where I would attach the brace.
Thanks, and I will remember the epoxy resin for future gear replacements. I used oil on them this time. Although I suspect an extremely long life out of the gears because they are except for the ratchet gear merely power transfer vehicles. <br><br>Also extremely good idea to use the threaded holes for the removable handle for the attachment point on the drill to stabilize it. The drill I used was one I had handy lying around, but I will need to get a new one to replace it so I can have my corded drill back. I will use your suggestion when I get the new drill to support the new gear. <br><br>I really like all the great upgrades and improvement ideas everyone is giving.
Hi, I am not trying to put your Instructable down but, you should check this out http://www.dhgate.com/mini-3-quot-picnic-stove-camping-stove-gas/p-ff80808131dded210131e330e3cf6ddd.html
Don't take it as a put down as all. I love when people show me other products they really like.
The solution to incorporating the cnc machine is to build a new cnc machine! One stepper for the rotation of the workpiece, one stepper for the punch. I doubt, however that the steppers would match the speed of your solution. It seems to be a perfectly acceptable contraption! And it makes a lot of really cool noise :)
I agree. But like you say cool noise, and plywood with a drill is cheaper than stepper motors and a controller.
You can use Blender for your CAD drawings (and animations!) Here is an example:<br> <br> <a href="http://www.nextwavemultimedia.com/html/3dworksamples.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.nextwavemultimedia.com/html/3dworksamples.html</a><br> <br> You can find many more looking for &quot;blender cad&quot; in Google<br> <br> Blender is open source so you pay nothing. <a href="http://www.blender.org/" rel="nofollow">http://www.blender.org/</a>
From what I heard Blender is lacking in the appropriate precision for engineering design.
The captions for the pictures in step 1 made me laugh so hard. They're too true.
Good, I wondered if anyone would actually read those captions. I though people may just think I was a narcissist or random, both, or something even worse.
just wondering, why dont you put a batch of 25 cans or so on a jig on your CNC router and poke the holes by putting a punch in the z axis?
Really excellent point. There are a few reasons why that's not ideal in this particular case. In order for the stove to have the airflow necessary for peak efficiency in the burn the holes need to be punched at an angle. So I would still have to create a jig that rotates the cans, since once at an angle I can only punch one hole at a time. We tried a series of straight punched stoves and they just didn't work very well. Also I would be tying up machine time with my CNC that I need to keep available as much as I can for prototyping and other operations. <br><br>So while we could do a big redesign on the stoves to try and take advantage of a straight punched holes, and we might; those are the main reasons why we can't right now.<br><br>We had the stove design done long before we had access a CNC machine. So honestly your idea really is a great idea if we didn't need to punch at an angle. And regardless of those issues I wish I would have thought of that solution myself at least for the sake of being thorough. I think this is an excellent example of opportunities for improvement and redesign. Your idea is a really good one. Thanks for sharing!

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Bio: I'm a product designer, who believes in working backwards. Instead of taking technology and seeing what problems I can solve with it, I take ... More »
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