Black is the new Black

Black is the new Black

Thursday 29 March

So I couldn't resist. I ordered some anodised-black aluminium sheet, made the small adjustments to the screw offsets, and told the machine to have at it. Here's the start and end pictures of the milling.

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I did have some issues milling this out, I was trying to conserve the anodised black sheet, and I chose the best orientation for that, but unfortunately this orientation wasn't ideal for keeping the Al sheet clamped tightly down on the waste-board. Because I'm using an up-cut bit (see the aside above) there's a constant up-force on the sheet, and since I'm cutting out a large amount of the sheet, there's less structural integrity left anyway.

The upshot is that at the end of the carve (when it's doing the outside cut to shape the panel from the blank, I was getting a lot of vibration, and the bit started to try to chew through too much aluminium at once. That resulted in an E-stop, and the placement of the painters-tape along the offending edge (where there aren't any clamp-holes to hold the part down - I might rectify that). You can see the effects if you look closely at the horizontal section of the back-panel, but I can live with it for now

Anyway, fortunately I was present when this presented, so I could fix it and carry on. Once the carve was complete, and after separating it, filing off the tabs (which only takes seconds - aluminium is a soft metal), I started to put the rivet-nuts into the top. Four of them went in fine, the fifth was a bit dodgy, and the rivet-nut tool failed on the 6th rivet. Using the tool, you screw on the nut, then put it into place, squeeze the handles and the nut is deformed in place to make a rivet - then you just unscrew the tool. This "heavy duty" tool managed a total of 12 rivets before the screw-thread was stripped, rendering the tool useless. I'm feeling a negative Amazon review coming on...
Anyway, here's what it looks like - I'll have to do the two left-most rivets when I get a replacement tool, but the system looks a lot nicer in black aluminium than silver...

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This is with the internal support-plates in-place as well - you can just about see them if you zoom-up the close-up picture, but otherwise the back-panel covers everything nicely. I was slightly concerned that filing the edges of the pre-anodised sheet would leave the edges outlined in silver, but in fact filing vertically downwards prevents that effect.