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MachinistBlog.com

Plans, projects and how-to's for home machinists

Bracket for towing a lawn roller

This is the bracket I made last weekend so I can tow my ancient hand-pulled lawn roller behind my riding lawn mower.  I usually don’t roll my lawn because the soil has so much clay it strongly resembles concrete when it dries out in July, but parts of it really needed it.  I know it’s not a very interesting project but I had fun making it, it gave me a chance to practice welding and I also got some more CAD/CAM experience out of it even though it never got near my CNC mill.

D’oh!

I wanted to cut out the bracket with my CNC mini-mill.  So I drew it using a CAD program.  Then I took the time to learn how to use some very useful new features (tabs, pocketing and ramping) that were just added to my CAM program, D2NC.  (Feb 2017 – I’ve long since switched to Vectric’s Cut2D and I may soon start using Autodesk Fusion 360’s built-in CAM)

Then I simulated running the G-code D2NC created on my office copy of Mach3, the software that controls my mill.  That’s when I had my Homer moment and realized the part was too big for the mini-mill’s Y-axis.  It was also a little too big to cut properly with my 4×6 bandsaw.  But by tipping the metal in the vise I was able to cut all but a few inches, which I finished with a hacksaw.

Useful safety guard for an angle grinder

The metal came from a very over-sized piece of ¼-inch thick steel that was under a support post in my basement.  I’d cut a piece off it the night before to make room along a wall for a heavy-duty shelving unit that’s going to be part of my new “winter” workshop.

That task was made much easier and safer by the $8 Harbor Freight Safety Guard (#61680) that I purchased because I thought it might come in handy someday.  It fits on a 4 or 4-1/2-inch angle grinder to protect you while using a cut-off disc or diamond saw.  It kind of turns your angle grinder into a small circular saw.

It’s not a great design but it did allow me to make a nice straight cut by pushing the grinder along a heavy steel bar I used as a straight edge.  It also allows you to control the depth of the cut.  Which is more useful with a diamond saw than with a cut-off disc that is constantly getting smaller as it wears down.

By the way, I used an inexpensive Harbor Freight welding blanket to help protect my house from catching fire from the sparks.  Yes it’s true.  I spend a lot of time in my local Harbor Freight store.

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