This was my day.
I had the day off from school today. I walked up the hill and said my thank-yous to the local veterans at dawn; and I did a bit of ‘ceremonial magic’ in the morning. And then… I did Maker magic all through the day.
By the end of the day, I’d gone from having a sub-gantry assembly badly assembled, to having the sub-gantry correctly assembled, and the full framework of my Shapeoko2 CNC milling machine assembled. I still have to attach the motor belts, and hook up the electronics, and bolt on the Arduino to the frame. But, I tested those things back at the beginning. I know that they work.
My next steps are to true/square the machine, and fine-tune the arrangement of belts. I also have to dispose of the garbage, and I need one M5x20mm round-head bolt, and two M5 nylon washers (which are somewhere underneath the radiator pipes, I’m afraid).
When I tell people I’m building this machine, they’re usually surprised, and then intrigued, and then puzzled. Because in part, I bought this machine to figure out how to repair a broken 3D printer (which melts plastic through a tiny tube while a bunch of motors extrude the ribbon according to a precise digitally-generated path). And now? I know how to fix that machine.
But I still think this machine has much greater potential for the kinds of things that I do in school, and at home. I feel newly empowered. With a couple more days, maybe a week of tinkering, this project will be complete — and it will immediately give me some new powers in the world that I have never had the chance to explore before. I’m looking forward to it.