First Chips

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While I had messed around with the lathe while setting it up and getting the hang of using it, this was my first “real” bit of turning.

I wanted a simple first project so I was looking around the garage for some inspiration, I spotted an old fire extinguisher my brother found a while back and an idea popped into my head. We had planned to turn it into a portable compressed air tank but the fitting in the top of it had too many holes to plug and no room for a new thread. “Perfect!” I thought, “I’ll make an adapter to fit the thread on the tank, and drill a hole in the middle to tap a thread to match air compressor fittings!”

My first attempt was was done with a bit of aluminium I had been messing around with and was already a bit small. I got a bit gung-ho while threading and it ended up undersized. It threaded OK but had a bit too much play in the thread. The second one is nearly perfect, I even cut a small notch in it to fit the O-ring from the original tank fitting.

If you look carefully, you can spot my dodgy setup for running the motor while I was sourcing a new power supply. While removing some of the annoying safety guards and replacing the emergency stop I managed to blow up the motor controller. A 40v-0v-40v toroidal transformer, bridge rectifier and a filter cap running into the direction switch on the front panel is how I was using it while making these parts. This was replaced with a real motor controller that I installed shortly after.

To change speed I had to swap between taps on the toroidal transformer between series and parallel. Not the best solution, but it worked surprisingly well. I had the ammeter hooked up to keep an eye on current to make sure I wasn’t going to damage the motor or cook the bridge rectifier/wiring.

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