It’s a learning curve but I’m getting there. Here is the basic storefront and one side of the dollar saver general store. Mr Big checks out the sign. I still have resin casts and a couple of molds to complete, the ones shown are obviously not up to par. I’ve been through about 12 sheets of 18×18 inch 1/8 ply to get here but I must say, this is the BEST machine I have ever bought. I just got a set of 1/32 inch carbide bits, they work GREAT and give a super smooth finish, the letters were all cut with that bit.

Super PID speed controller online and tested. Works GREAT! I built a custom enclosure out of styrene and did some surgery on the router to get the sensor positioned and the innards rewired. Way worth the effort.

I am almost ready to do some cutting, just need to get the vacuum system online and finalize my tool paths. Awesome.

Installing the Super PID into my router. Once I have this hooked up and running, I’ll be able to dial in any cutting speed within a couple of rpm. Sweet. That, coupled with the right bit should let me cut, carve and engrave wood, plastic and acrylic materials. Quite a learning curve here but it’s way fun.

Note: This page gets hit a lot and I’m sorry I don’t have more specific instructions on doing this mod but it’s all together now and works really well so I don’t want to take it apart to do a tutorial. I do remember this being rather easy, its basically as simple as bypassing the speed controller. I think I made one wire cut, drilled the hole and used one piece of shrink tubing. I followed the generic instructions on the Super PID page. Everything works very well, the LEDs still light up the work area and the PID lets you dial in the RPMs to within about 10 or so. It holds that RPM even chomping on some hard pine although I generally use mine to cut sheet styrene.

Another item: BE CAREFUL mounting the sensor, it must be VERY secure. Mine came loose after about 9 months or so and crept into the router. It didn’t hurt the router but it did grind the sensor down to a nub and destroyed it. Turns out it’s more or less easy to fix, a sensor can be had from electronics the part number is 512-QRE1113. However it will bring you to a complete stop as far as cutting out parts so beware. (2/22/2016) I’ll try to post up more pictures of my mods when I fix this.

Everything is now together, refurbished LinuxCNC PC, all the motors hooked up and working. Now I’m figuring out all the settings and things like accelerations and feed rates and all that. I can now see the benefits of limit switches, particularly as new as I am at this whole thing. But it’s coming together nicely, I’m quite pleased with it. It will be a while before I can actually try to cut something out but so far so good.


I wish I had a ‘before’ picture of this, you would not believe the disaster that was my shed!

Tons and tons of junk piled all over the place. Nasty. Nevertheless, after much physical activity and throwing away of ancient artifacts, here is my new floor and nice solid bench work. Talk about a strenuous weekend, I strained muscles I didn’t know I had. Ouch.

But it was worth it. I finally got started assembling my Probotix X90 3D Router.

Along the way I also lucked into a bunch of surplus windows boxes and flat screens so I promptly wiped em and installed Ubuntu. Sweet. They all have printer ports on them too, perfect for the X90 control box and Linux CNC. You can see one in the corner there.

I still have a ways to go, I’ve ordered a Super PID so I can dial in a router speed and cut plastic, in particular, styrene sheets.

A 3D printer at some point would also be nice but one thing at a time, eh? ha.

Finally got my control system tested out in the woods. Very happy with the range. The Xbee will do 300ft and I can’t even see the RS3 if I go that far away. This is my design. All the wireless communications are handled by the Xbee. I can send any sort of data to or from anything with this system in real time. Those are 16 byte data packets that are controlling the throttle and coupler servos.

The RS3 has the throttle, front and rear couplers and single channel sound all hooked up and working. All of it is powered by a 5000mah hour LiPoly battery driving a Pololu 18v7 motor controller. The control widget drives the servos directly. There is also an RFID reader under the fuel tank which works quite well too.


Building a turnout. Something different.

Thanks to a post on the largescalecentral forum by Bob Hyman, I found this site:

You can download scale pdfs of various turnouts, crossings and other track stuff. By sizing that up by 280%, you get G scale turnout plans! Very cool.

Here is how I have gotten it to work. First, you need to download a free drawing program called InkScape. You can find it HERE

You will also need another program to chop up the finished file into letter page sized printable ‘parts’. It’s called ‘posterrazor’ and you can get it HERE.

Once you have these installed, open inkscape and choose ‘import’ from the file menu. Find your pdf (that you downloaded from and select that to import. Takes a bit, InkScape isn’t a speed demon.

Once it’s imported, go to Object->Transform. It should look like this:


Click on the ‘scale’ tab at the top of the window to the right and then click ‘scale proportionally’. Change the width and height to 280 percent (It should be 300 strictly speaking but I’ve found that’s off just a bit so I use 280 instead). Click ‘Apply’ and the image will be resized. At this point, click the little selection on the right that has a percent in it (%) and change it to px so you know the dimensions of the image.

Now go to the file menu again and this time choose ‘export bitmap’. In the ‘Bitmap size’ area, enter the sizes from the step above. Choose an appropriate destination and file name and click ‘export’. I always use the ‘png’ format although I assume bmp would work as well.

Now open up the other program ‘posterrazor’. Load the png you exported in the above step into posterrazor. It should look like this:


Click next and select ‘letter’ for the paper size and ‘landscape’ for the orientation. Click ‘next’ and just take the defaults presented there. Click ‘next’ again and select ‘size in percent’ and make sure that is set to 100% This should show you an image of how the large image will be broken up into several (many!) sheets of standard printer paper. Click next again and then click the little button under ‘save the poster’ This will create a new PDF sectioned off into the pages you need to print and then tape together to get a complete, full sized plan.

Note that for some of the pdfs on the handlaidtrack site, they are broken up into sheets already. You will have to load each of these sheets into inkscape and process each one like this to get a complete plan.

Also, I just print ONE page to test to make sure that the guage is correct before I print out the whole thing.