Ãœberclocker Update 4: Epic Partfail Edition

Friday, July 4th, 2008 @ 4:58 | Bots, Project Build Reports, Überclocker

So I thought this weekend would be filled with progress on Ãœberclocker. After all, I didn’t spend 4 hours babysitting the waterjet for nothing, right?



I don’t know what force of nature the robot gods took hold over that machine, but 60% of the parts are a total loss and need to be recut. I have managed to track the problem down to a burp in file translation (from a DXF to machine instructions) *somewhere*, *somehow*. It doesn’t like my multi-part files.

That won’t buff out. Anyway, I found that a few of the parts had shifted holes. “Hmm, maybe the giant 12 x 28″ slab of .5″ thick aluminum somehow moved… a quarter inch”. However, a quick scan with calipers later found that all the parts had their internal holes shifted consistently about a quarter inch. In fact, the entire profile of the parts was shifted rightward. I didn’t notice this upon retrieving the parts from the tank because it was so consistent (and they were masked by a paper cover)

The machine had cut all the holes and internal cutouts, but then somehow started 1/4″ too soon on the contiguous outline, taking with it all the parts.

Some of the cutouts, such as the arm spacers and small parts attached to internal cutouts, are salvageable, since they don’t rely on the top surface for placement. The arm towers, main fr0ks, and side fr0ks are a writeoff. I would actually prefer to redo the entire thing because I still have time.

I suspected file error, but figured the machine occasionally burps anyway. All machines do – they’re never flawless. But when it happened again cutting Uberclocker’s top and bottom plates… In this case, it routed a path through half the holes, the top plate profile, the last half of the holes, then the bottom plate profile. Somewhere between the “top plate profile” and “bottom plate profile”, it shifted a quarter inch right again. The bottom plate on the right is beyond reasonable recovery, since I’d have to move almost all the holes. Fortunately, I took out the top plate after it was done cutting – otherwise it would have had a quarter inch trimmed off.

I’m going to stop running multi-part files for now, as a sort of damage control.  It’ll take a bit longer to run the jobs, but the machine shouldn’t be playing any trickery. Here’s hoping it’s a one-time thing.

tl;dr waterjet hates charles.

Here’s some more pics of epic partfail.

The mirrored part has an equal right-shift in the profile.

The small internal parts are fine because they were part of an inner loop. I’ll just manually mill the corner blocks on the right. The trussed spacers are salvageable.

These arm towers are a total loss.

Hmm, a hammer might solve that.

Someone truly determined can probably salvage the parts, but I’d rather mooch  aluminum off the ML guys and recut these (I actually did buy this mirrored aluminum myself last fall)

Anyways, with the waterjet mad at me, all I could do was start on the parts which didn’t require it.

. ..like two (of four) drive wheels!

These things took about an hour or so cumulative time. A short job, but interrupted by…

…a MITERS toolgasm!

One of the guys found a bucket of old tooling hanging around his room. The story is that it came from a gunsmith’s shop.

This meant *good* tooling. Taps of every imaginable thread (ever heard of a 5/16-30 or 1/4-24 thread?!) with two, three, four, and spiral flutes, cobalt steel lathe tool blanks, hand-ground tool bits, carbide tipped bits, a bunch of small endmills (including the coveted 1/8″ endmill), countersinks by the handful, and… keyway cutters! A few reamers joined the mix also.

It was like picking through Chex Mix, but with 9000% more iron!

I quickly dug up some organizer boxen and sorted the bits.

Work will continue on Uberclocker, but I’ll have to find more 1/2″ aluminum to remake the lost parts. I should have plenty of opportunities to bootleg the waterjet again as fab week at the Media Lab approaches



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