Thursday, 7 March 2019

Making a Hobby Horse - episode 230

This video follows on from the last weeks Episode 229 where I modelled a 3D horses head from a colouring book picture. Vectric has made a case study of this project and it will feature on their website.
This is a project I have wanted to do for a long time. I made three Hobbyhorse's about 5 years ago and thought that it would be a great video project but since I was using a purchased model I couldn't really do it. 
Enter Vectric and their offer to upgrade my version of VCarve Pro to Aspire. Aspire comes with a 3d model of a horses head that I could probably have used it but there was a problem. It is an realistic model if I want to do  a remake of the God Father but a realistic horses head on a stick isn't really going to suit a children's toy. I'm a big fan of cartoon models for several reasons. The biggest of which is you can get away with virtually anything as a cartoon. Try adding Polka dots to a realistic horse and see how far you get.
I made a few changes to the original design which gave better balance, the ability to easily disassemble it for when you want to transport it out to the country and by using a square stick instead of a round on it cuts down on cost as well. All up I'm pleased with the finished project and if anyone makes one I would love to see finished result. 
Email me a photo to and If you like I can post the photo in the stable on this page. We might get a whole herd of them

I will post the Link to the Vectric Case Study becomes available here so check back soon.   Vectric will be hosting the files for this project as part of the case study.

Click to watch

Email me a photo of your finished horse and I will Post on this page.
Email your horse to  

 Hobby Horse Stable

Peter Passuello

Friday, 1 March 2019

Creating my First 3D Model - episode 229

For years I have avoided trying to make 3D models, even very simple ones because no matter how much I tried they just didn't come out right. The only successful model I managed to make was the back of a dinner plate for a project and that took me more time to draw than I like to think about. Fortunately Vectric added modelling toolpaths to VCarve Pro which now allows me to make designs such as a dinner plate and other basic 3D shapes very quickly but the Holy Grail of 3D modelling still alluded me. So a few months ago Vectric contacted me and asked would I be interested in upgrading my VCarve Pro to Aspire. I accepted the offer and finally had decent tools to create 3D models. I watched the tutorial videos and the process looked relatively easy to follow so I gave it a try and would love to say it worked first time but that would be a lie. The second attempt wasn't much better nor was the third but I could see little improvements with each successive try. I went back and watched the tutorials againg and things started to make sense. I needed better 2D Vectors to start with and I also needed stop trying to make it look perfect as I added the various components. The better stratagy for me was to get all the components on the page first and then look at the over all picture and tweak things from there. Adjust each piece as needed and any other piece that is affected by the change until it looks right. I needed to have some sense of proportion and while I may  not be able to see what is right it is obvious when something is wrong. Once the model as looking right the fun really began. The Sculpting was the part of the process I enjoyed the most. I found the sculpting tools easy to use and it was surprising what could be achieved.

 Click to Watch

Even for someone as artistically challenged as myself  I found the modelling tools in Aspire easy to use and with a bit of practise will provide good results. For my project I wanted a cartoon horses head and I'm very pleased with the final result. In the great scheme of things this is a very simple project and I'm a long way from being invited to add a new face to Mount Rushmore but it's a start. There are still plenty of tools in Aspires model making arsenal that I haven't even looked at yet as this was all done with the create shape and sculpting tools.

I have tried many free 3D modelling and a couple of paid ones in the past and haven't managed to make anything worth machining with the exception of the back of a dinner plate. Sure it took me a few tries for things to start falling into place but with a little persistance the results started coming. Now I'm sure that there are little improvements that could be made to the model here and there. I'm also sure that someone with an artistic eye could create a thing of beauty, that would put my model to shame, but for me this is perfect the way it is. 
Please don't think I am saying nice things about Aspire because of the upgrade. I have used Vectric products since 2006 with PhotoVCarve, Cut3D and VCarvePro and I use the software because I like it and I find it easy to use. 

This model is just the start of the project. In the next episode I will be machining the horses head and its true purpose will be revealed.

I would like to thanks Vectric for making this project possible and if anyone would like to visit their website and view their software follow the link below. why not download their trial software and have a play.

Until next time

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Install XHC-HB04 Pendant on UCCNC - episode 231

Just before Christmas I entered the Dave Gatton Christmas Challenge 2018 and was luck enough to be placed 5th in the competition. The prize was a Mach3 XHC-HB04 Pendant. It is designed to be used with Mach3 but since I made the move to UCCNC last year it was going to be a bit of a worry as to whether I could use it or not. The worry was wasted because a little bit of research revealed that it will work and as it turns out it was childishly easy. This video takes you on a tour of the pendant, showing how to install and setup, not that there is really anything to do in all honesty. I found the defaults were right for me and I just added a few keys fo convenience.

Click to watch video

Below is a close up of the Pendant and the keys.

Key functions
Reset                   Estop machine and reset
Stop                     Stop running Gcode 
Silver Button        On / Off switch
Home                   Home the machine and set Machine coordinates to X0,Y0,Z0
Start / Pause        Start Gcode file and feedhold
Rewind                 reset Gcode file back to the start
Probe -Z               Run Auto Zero routine. If you have a custom one it will run this.
Spindle                 Turn on and off spindle
=1/2                      Divide coordinate by 2 selected by the axis knob
=0                         Set selected axis to 0
Safe -Z                 Raise Z axis to safe height
goto Zero              Move all axis to the origin point    X0,Y0,Z0
Macro -1               User defined function
Macro -2               User defined function
Macro -3               User defined function 
Step ++                 Cycle through step increments 1,10,100,1000
MPG Mode            allow MPG jogging

Selector switch      Select X,Y,Z,A, Spindle speed and Feedrate 

MPG                      Manual Pulse Generator moves the selected axis in a manner                                             dependant on direction of rotation and speed. 

LCD Display          Shows Working and Machine coordinates and other info depending on                                   where the selector switch is positioned.


despite the fact that this Pendant is made for Mach3 and is the only controller mentioned in the manual after 2 days I still can't get Mach3 on my machine to recognise it let alone configure it. It could be that i am using Windows XP or maybe I am not using the right plugin. By contrast it took 10 minutes to install on UCCNC without any instructions. Something is not right here. I will continue to try and see if I can get it working even just for interest sake.

This Pendant feels well made and very solid. The USB cable could be a bit of a nuisance but only time will tell. Would benefit from a loop to hang the pendant up but making one from some cable ties will solve the issue. The LCD screen is very handy and it is very easy to use. The MPG is quite intuitive when it comes to turning. I thought I would have trouble remembering which way to turn to move an axis in the direction I wanted but oddly enough the best way to get it right is to not think about it.

Is it better than my old pendant?
I honestly don't know. I have been using it for so long it is sent nature. I like that I can ut it one handed unlike the new one which requires both hands. I will need to use the new one a bit longer before i can make a decision as to which I prefer. The one thing I will say for sure is I would not go out and buy the HB04 to replace the current pendant I have. There is nothing I can do on the new one that I can't do on the old with the exception of see my coordinates but to be honest I never look at them anyway when using a pendant.

Until next Time

Monday, 21 January 2019

Create Custom Stock for Vectric Software - episode 228

Inspired by the last episode a viewer asked a question. Is is possible to create your own Wood stocks in Vectric software as the the options available don't really match the wood he was using. Not only is it possible but it is easy as well.
The process couldn't be simpler. Just photograph the material you want to use and then drop the photo into the Vectric software directory containing the Stock images.
Depending on the photograph you took you might need to edit it in photo software. This may include color correcting, framing the image to remove anything that you don't want or anything else you might want to do to it. Save the image as a JPG image and you are ready to add it to your vectric software.

Click to watch

Sizing requirements
there doesn't arrear to be any as all images I have uploaded have worked fine.

Which software can you do this on?
From my testing it looks like you can do it on all Vectric software though the option to visit the application folder from within the software was only added recently to VCarve Pro and Aspire. Before this you had to locate the textures folder manually to add the photo's.

In Cut 3D I found my materials Under 
C:\Program files (x86)\Cut3D\Textures\Materials

C:\Program files (x86)\PhotoVCarve\Textures\
This then offered a list of material folders like wood, metals,Stone and Misc so put your photo into the appropiate folder.

Special application
If you were to take a photo of the entire piece of material you were going to machine and orentated it correctly I think you would get an exact replica of the finished item down to the grain. This might be handy if you want to show someone what to expect. Just enter the job dimensions to match the stock size and it should work.
I haven't tried it myself but I see no reason why it won't.

 I hope you found this interesting and will have a go at creating some stock for your version of Vectric software. Very handy for the native woods you ave in your own country.

Until next time.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

DIY Bedside Lamp - episode 227

Sometimes it good to have a small bedside lamp beside your bed that only puts out a little light. I personally don't see the need for a small portable sun when you wake up in the middle of the night and want a light. In fact a bright light is the last thing you want and in my experience it is worse than no light at all. Your eyes clamp shut while your pupils try and adjust. I'm sure an infomercial would have the subject stumble out of bed, tahe a wrong turn and plummet out a third story window.
That's why I decided to look for a small rechargeable LED light that has a warm color and easily adjustible. I hunted around and after eliminating the ones that didn't have batteries, gave out multi colored light like a night club I finally found one that suited my requirements.
I have to say that while it isn't very bright as such it really up a room enough to see and because these days I read from a phone or Tablet I don't really need a bedside reading lamp. 
The only problem with my light is that it is a really light, light. Stretch out your hand and you are just as likely to push it aside as you are to turn it on. It really needs a heavier base and it needs to look a lot less cheap. Adding the wooden base fixes both problems.

Click to Watch

Where did I get the light?
I found it on AliExpress and it is the only light that I could find that matched my requirements. At least the only one that I was confident from the description would do the job. The link below will take you too it but I don't know how long it will be available for.

So far I've had the light do a month and other than charging it when it arrived I haven't had to charge it since. The battery is meant to last 2.5 hours of contineous use at full brightness and it will be interesting to see when it next needs to be charged.

Want to make one?
For those who want to make one you can download the drawings using the links below.
Drawings are provided in Aspire, VCarve Pro  and DXF formats

I hope you enjoyed this episode and I will see you next time.