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Baby Julius, a Small Multi-Axis Hot Glass Squeezer

The triangular hot glass squeezer that I made for Marcel was a success!
No, it's not perfect, but he made a lot of cool stuff with it
Most boro glassworkers don't make really big stuff
I suspect that a smaller, multi-axis squeezer will be useful


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The CAD model

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Starting to make parts

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..and more parts

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Starting to come together

The squeezer is designed to have 2, 3, 4 and 6 exes of motion. Here it is with 6 dies installed

First ever use of the mini squeezer with hot glass

Iris Concept

3 Sided Iris

4 Sided Iris

4 Sided Iris with Graphite Dies

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The first prototype used bicycle cables. It worked well enough to validate the concept, but they slip and stretch, requiring constant adjustment. It really sucks when I have a piece of hot glass ready for squeezing, and the squeezer is stuck because of a slight misalignment caused by the inaccuracy of the cables. I'm re-designing the mechanism, based on roller chain

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I searched for hours, but couldn't find a thin idler for #25 roller chain. Good thing I have a CNC machine shop. I can make the parts I need. These are the pieces that will support the shaft that the custom idler will ride on

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Progress continues. Here are the sliders in progress

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The sliders are finished. They required many steps..
Drill and counterbore top on Tormach
Mill bottom, step 1 on Tormach
Change fixturing, mill bottom, step 2 on Tormach
Drill pilot hole halfway on Bridgeport (the part is longer than the drill)
Flip and drill pilot hole the remaining half on Bridgeport
Drill 9/16 hole halfway on Bridgeport
Flip and drill 9/16 hole the remaining half on Bridgeport
Drill #8 clearance holes on Bridgeport
Drill the counterbore, clearance and tap holes on the Tormach
Hand tap and deburr
People who don't work with CNC tools think it's easy. They imagine that the machine does all the work, all the operator needs to do is push the button
There are many, many more steps

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The chain is attached to the adjuster in the recess of the slider block

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This is #25 chain. It's very small (1/4" pitch). In order to avoid rebuilding the entire squeezer, I'm making the new parts compatible with the old parts. This results in some tight fits. These are custom made brass idler sprockets. I looked at all of the sources I could find, none had a hubless idler this small. Good thing I have a CNC machine shop

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Here's a test fit of the Arm, Linear Bearing, Slider, Chain Adjuster, Idler Sprocket, Idler Bracket and Chain. All parts fit correctly and move smoothly

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Arms, Linear Bearings, Idler Brackets and Idlers are installed. So far, everything fits. I should have the project finished tomorrow. The brass idlers are lubricated with high temperature grease. They ride on precision ground steel dowel pins. There is no room for a ball bearing, but given the duty cycle and rotation speed, greased brass to steel plain bearings are probably OK

Firat test of chain drive