I seem to post a CNC-related video every week, and this week is no exception. My friend Mike sent me this video because he was intrigued by the clamping setup this machine uses for holding work pieces in place.

I agree that the clamping system is impressive, but that isn’t what caught my eye. There are knobs, handles, and guides all over this CNC, and the operator is controlling the machine manually!

The video is in Japanese, so I can only take educated guesses at what he’s doing. There are moments where he is milling the top surface of his material flat. I assume he’s setting the Z-axis in place on the touch screen and locking it in place. Then he manually moves the mill back and forth to accomplish the work that I would let my machine do for me!

I think this is a fascinating combination of old-school manual milling with modern CNC hardware!

I learned about one-way bearings earlier this year. My friends and I all use the same tiny ratcheting tool to remove and replace the prop nuts on our FPV miniquads. The tool doesn’t use a ratcheting mechanism. It uses a one-way bearing!

When I saw that Maker’s Muse was working on a one-way bearing that prints in place, I just had to check it out. Exactly how do our prop tools work? They feel much smoother than a ratchet. It was fun to get a peek inside this sort of mechanism!

Machine Thinking designed and machined a beautiful brass timing clutch for Wintergatan’s fantastic Marble Machine X. Wintergatan’s music machine relies on gravity. If he plays songs with a different tempo, he has to turn his crank at a different pace. This throws the timing off, because the marbles always fall at the same rate. I guess gravity can sometimes be problematic!

Machine Thinking’s timing clutch allows Wintergatan to quickly and easily offset the timing of the dropping marbles.

The clutch is a beautiful design, and watching how he manually machines the entire thing out of brass is an enjoyable experience.