I was looking at the C-Beam machine, and thought it really needed some kind of cover over the Y-axis so that it doesn't just collect chips and sawdust. While we're at it, the X-axis would probably need a little love too, although less so than the Y-axis.
So I started thinking about how to make a bellows. First, I grabbed the nearest scrap paper and started experimenting with how to fold it to get a fan-fold that would fold around the axis covering 3 sides. Ok, so its not too tough to do.
There's some problems here though:
1) paper is flammable, and metal chips from a mill are hot. Its been suggested that I treat the paper with boric acid to address that.
2) paper is either somewhat thick and heavy, or will wear pretty fast. Assuming that I find a solution to (1), I'm going to try using ripstop nylon instead of paper.
Making the folds:
1) fanfold the paper.
2) unfold the paper and refold it in the opposite direction. This creases the paper so that its rather easy to fold up or down on the fan-folds.
3) With the paper fan-folded, fold about 1.5 inches of the ends of the paper down 90 degrees on either side.
4) Flip the paper and fold the ends down again. Once again, this is to get a good crease.
5) Here's the hard part. Its going to feel like you need 4 hands with extra fingers. And its a little frustrating. But it gets easier once you get going. You need to fold the outside sections of the first pleat down, while folding the middle second up. The paper is going to want to curl and let go, but you must fight it. Next, at the next pleat, fold down where you folded up before, and vice versa. The little folds that are at an angle have to be popped up and down and that can be very tough to do.
Once you've got the folds all done, well, you're kinda done. My piece of paper gives me a bellows that is 2mm thick when fully compressed, and can expand out to about 150mm. The Y-axis on the C-Beam has 280mm of travel, and you need a bellows on either side, so you'll need to make 4 of these if you use 8.5by11 paper. You'll lose 4mm of travel on either side, plus you need to attach the bellows somehow (still working on that...), and that will probably eat at least 8mm more. So in total, you'll lose 16mm on the Y-axis, or you'll need to extend your C-beam by that much.
The story is much the same on the X-axis. Standard, it has 350mm of travel, so the bellows will knock that down to 342mm.
Next up: Tests of how to anchor the bellows; tests of boric acid; tests of reinforced paper using packing tape, duck tape, and any other tape I can think of; tests of heavily starched cloth; a template for folding; maybe a folding jig for the origami impaired.
Making a bellows to cover a C-beam to prevent swarf from gumming up the works.
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Inspired byC-Beam Machine