"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Proxxon TBM 115 Micro Drill Press

DSC06356I ordered in a Proxxon TBM 115 for personal testing because a visitor asked my advise on small or micro size drilling.  Not ultra small drilling but in the number drill range, about 1/64 and larger. I immediately thought of the TBM but never used one.

My Proxxon dealer status is still viable so I ordered one in for my evaluation and perhaps passing it on to my new friend. The truth is I may keep this one for myself.

I have published a full, first look review in The Hobbyist Machine Shop. I was a bit undecided whether to publish it there or in Ramblin’ Dan’s Workshop. THMS got the post as I have another one there about the Proxxon MBS/E Micro Bandsaw. They belong together.

I think the TBM will be very useful in the A3 project as well as my silver work. I am always drilling small holes.

SmoothStepper Installed

I received the Warp9TD SmoothStepper board about a week ago. I just had a chance to install it in one of my CNC controllers. I mentioned I ordered it a few posts back.

The picture there did not give a good impression of the actual size of this diminutive surface mount technology (SMT) circuit board. It is small but mighty.

I published a complete photo series of how I installed the SomoothStepper over in The Hobbyist Machine Shop web site under the “Projects” tab. Here is a short cut to the article.

There is an added bonus with a bunch of pictures of the Proxxon PD400 in action. I used it to make standoffs for mounting the SmoothStepper.

Proxxon Returns

Last November (2011) I shut down the Proxxon line from The Hobbyist Machine Store. This was probably poor timing being just before Christmas. However, the constant inquiry about the PD400 lathe for almost a year with zero sales was not something that was productive.

I have decided to list Proxxon products again at the store but not the PD400 lathe. Nothing at all wrong with Proxxon products. I like them and use them myself. I have some small inventory but I have decided not to stock the large items. I’ll let the wholesaler do that.

I am offering free shipping on Proxxon until June 1, 2012.  After that I will see if I can continue the offer.

Proxxon Removed From THMStore

I shut down the Proxxon product line in my eCommerce site, The Hobbyist Machine Store, (THMS). It is just the best business decision I can make under the circumstances

Nothing wrong with the product. The PD400 lathe and all the other Proxxon products are just wonderful machines. The biggest problem is it is what I call a “Me Too” product line. I am not the only store offering the product. The only thing I have to offer is a reduced price from MSRP and actually try to meet or beat the “street price” of other vendors.It’s a premium product and perhaps the economy has stopped the sales.

Any marketing I would do is a benefit to all my competitors who may offer a slightly lower price. That is how the Internet works. Decide what you want and search for the lowest price. All marketing effort and cost must therefore be carried by the distributor. There is not enough profit for a small dealer after discounting the price, to contribute to any dealer funded marketing plan or budget on his own.

This is no surprise to me and I don’t feel badly about how the business works. I knew this going in and even talk about not wanting to offer “Me Too” products in the store site. So this never was a sound business decision. Since the THMS doesn’t (yet) put groceries on the table, I wanted to see if the US hobby market was ready for a quality lathe – the PD400, and see if I could make sufficient profit selling them. The other Proxxon products came in just because they are good products.

I haven’t completed a PD400 order since early in the year but have quoted more than half a dozen. Either the purchase was not made… Continue reading

Weighty Subject

A fellow ham radio operator Dennis (KI4DW) was in need  of replacement weights for his Brown Brothers “bug” keyer. The weights are the easy part. I thought he needed the thumb screws duplicated too. Turns out he has the screws.

The weights I turned from a 3/4 in leaded steel bar on the PD400. The slots are cut with a 3/32 end mill on the X3. The digital readout was a real big help in free handing the slots. (CNC automation spoils me.) In the picture, the slots still need a bit of internal filing to square the inside corners.

The 8-32 thumb screws would be a lot more work to make exact copies. I was afraid of the time (and cost) I would spend on two of them. I have since discovered a good source for these at McMaster-Carr.

If I make any more weights, about a half hour in BobCAD should make the slot cutting easy work starting from dead center. Heck, the G-code would be easy to write from scratch.

Just a few hours work on developing these parts. CNCing the slot would make it much faster to produce more.

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