Monday, January 9, 2012

Retractable Pen



Retractable pen mechanism for the router, for numbering parts. It uses skate bearings on a central hollow tube, the pen fixed in one end of the tube, and a plastic zip tie fixed to the other end, connected to a wheel on a servo. In the down position, the pen is free to ride over irregularities on the surface, since there's some springiness in the zip tie that pushes the pen tube down.

It's got 2 inches of vertical travel. When the pen is down and writing, the router bit is about 0.5 inches above the material surface. When the pen is up, and the router is cutting, the pen is about an inch above the surface.

Auto numbering with this mechanism was supposed to save time, but it ends up taking longer than doing it by hand. It's worth it for the neat numbers, and the ability to make any other kind of mark on the surface and cut during the same run. This makes router production a bit more like laser production.

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