Machining CNC parts for the telegraph

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Today, we worked on the wireless telegraph project. We decided to mount the electronics on brass and copper plates, so we designed the parts on the CAD system and then machined the parts on our home made CNC mill (one of our many projects over the last year). Using the CNC to make project parts was a really cool use of what has become our favorite tool. Here are some pics of the CNC.

Here is our CNC mill just after machining the copper telegraph base plate. Top left: the computer and electronics box we built. Top center: Cooling tower for the water-cooled spindle. Top right: The 3-phase Variable Frequency Drive (VFD), which powers the 24,000 rpm spindle, is mounted on the wall. Mounted on the wall just below the computer box: an LCD panel for the CNC user interface. Right hand side: The stepper-motor-driven CNC machinery, which is made out of steel and aluminum. You can see the copper part on the blue riser (which is machinable wax).  Front center: the system’s keyboard, the emergency stop button box we built, and the jog box (for moving the CNC manually).


A close up of the copper base plate just after it has been machine by the CNC.


Camille showing off her new copper base plate, fresh out of the CNC

We needed two of the base plates (one for each side of the telegraph system), so we machined the second one out of brass instead of copper (using the same CNC file).

Here Camille assembles the telegraph electronics onto the baseplate

Here are the electronics for the telegraph system mounted on the copper plate. The electronics shown here include an Arduino Nano in a screw terminal board, a 7.4v Lithium Polymer Battery, an Xbee Radio, a potentiometer (for tuning the voltage to the Telegraph Sounder), and a small speaker). This copper plate will be mounted inside the base of the telegraph system.




Comments (2)

  1. Spock
    March 18th, 2014

    Awesome work with these young girls. Please reinforce the need for personal protective equipment – – especially safety glasses, glaringly absent in your photos.

  2. Camille
    March 18th, 2014

    Spock: Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure which photos you’re referring to on this page, but we are indeed very serious about safety in our shop. We always use safety glasses when machining, drilling, cutting, using the CNC, large scale soldering and desoldering (where splattering is possible), and so on—anytime we think there is a chance that something could get in our eye. However, we don’t wear safety glasses when we are doing small-scale wiring and hook up, mechanical assembly, etc. because there doesn’t appear to be any risk of eye injury. Here is a typical page that shows us working in our shop, including safety glasses and goggles when machining…

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