Upgrading tools…

With all of the use that my students and I have been getting out of our ShopBot Desktop, I’ve begun to notice that our spindle flats are really starting to get mangled by the combination of the “loose fit” of the Park Tool 20mm bicycle cone wrench that was supplied in the toolkit and by the “soft” material of the spindle itself.

Damaged Spindle

Park Tools are nice…they are used by professional bicycle mechanics…but the 20mm cone wrench just doesn’t grip well enough for this application and I don’t want to continue damaging the spindle.

Park Tool1 (2)

Because of the looseness of the wrench, I thought it would be a good idea to measure the distance across the spindle flats to make sure that it was actually 20mm and not less.  I have a pair of really worn out calipers that can be off by at least +/- 0.005″, and measured 0.792″ between the spindle flats (20.1mm) which seemed to be about right.

Checking SpindleSpindle Measurement

As a replacement, I found this tool available at a local automotive discount chain store for $10…it was nicely polished and is long enough to provide good leverage.

New wrench

Unfortunately, the wrench head was too thick to fit the spindle flats so I ended up attacking one side of it with a grinding wheel…I didn’t have too take off too much material in order to make it fit.

New wrench face1Ground wrench face1

After my modifications, I found that the new wrench fit much more securely on the spindle than the original bicycle cone wrench…

New wrench on spindle

We’ll have to remove the vacuum/brush attachment every time we do a tool change…or just leave it off… but it’s much less hassle (and less expensive) than having to replace a high speed spindle!  I’ll be sure that our other safety shields are in place to avoid any problems.

The original Park Tool wrench that came with the ShopBot Desktop has been reassigned to a bicycle tool kit…

Park Tool2

What kind of tools or modifications have you developed for your ShopBot?



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