Derek Covill's blog for teaching and research

a collection of subject notes, guides and projects

Guide to using SolidCAM to generate 2D toolpaths (pocket+profile) with CNC router

This first video shows the following steps: creating a basic part by importing a .dxf file and extruding it 18mm deep creating a co-ordinate system in Solidworks that can be used by SolidCAM defining the settings for the SolidCAM operations (co-ordinate system, part, stock) defining the pocket steps (and copying them with updated geometry selection)…

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Guide to using Cut2D to generate toolpath from .dxf file to cut with CNC router

This first video shows how we’ve used the Cut2D software to load a .dxf file and generate the g-code using the following steps: Job setup including the location of the origin and material size Importing the vector files from file (.dxf), then joining the open vectors and move/scale/rotate Setup the material and rapid gaps Toolpath…

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Guide to using TensorFlow machine learning to identifying classifications from images

I’ve just come across TensorFlow, an open source machine learning platform. Here’s one of their first tutorials. It focuses on basic classification of images, identifying the difference between various types of fashion items (shoes, handbags, t-shirts etc). I wonder if this can be included into mods, so that the traces and outline can be cut…

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Guide to setting up the PID Eurotherm controller to create composite curing cycles

This video shows how to set up the PID controller to carry out a curing cycle using the eurotherm controller. In this particular example we are looking at the standard 120°C curing cycle over 9 hours. Firstly we set the ramping time units (in most cases we use minutes), then we set the dwell time…

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Guide to using SolidCAM to generate toolpaths for Imes-Icore M40 3-axis CNC router (in E28)

co-ordinate system setup operations post-processor syntax (replace vel for VEL)

Reverse engineering products

The exercise of reverse engineering products involves taking things apart. Shown here is a mounted disassembled bike (from Todd McLellan’s “Things come apart” image exhibition and now a book – see references). It’s amazing when you see the object in this form – there are so many parts, so many materials, so much design! Sometimes this…

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The Chris Hoy vs AA batteries challenge

The challenge How many AA batteries would it take to have more energy than Chris Hoy in a sprint burst? Let’s say we have a AA Duracel battery which is 1.5 V rated at 2500 mA.h (this is a good AA battery!). To understand how much energy it has stored in it, we multiply 2500 mAh…

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Energy efficiency of kettles

Energy can not be produced or destroyed: it must go somewhere (1st law of thermodynamics). Often when we build a machine to do work, some of the work is useful (e.g moving the car forward), but some of it is not useful (e.g. making grumbling noises or getting hot). When we talk about efficiency, we’re…

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Calculating energy usage

Human power and energy I like to start my analysis of power and energy with human power since it is something we can relate directly to. Let’s start with some definitions. Energy is the ability to carry out work. It is measured in Joules (SI units). Power is the rate of doing work. It is…

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