December 23, 2012

Would this mechanism work or not?

Filed under: To blow your mind — VIP @ 06:13

Sometimes there is a situation when a theoretical mechanism cannot be proven to be able to work unless it is built out of rigid and durable materials.

Here is a mechanism that I invented, although I am not sure if I am the first person to think about this design:

A planetary gear set that can allow the center to be moved against the outer ring. This device can also function as an adjustable variable displacement pump.

However I am not sure if the planet gear pairs can really tilt, causing the distance from the sun gear to the ring gear to change.

Theoretically that distance can change as much as a planet gear diameter minus the teeth height if this mechanism would not mechanically interfere and would be able to function at all.

It may be that the inner and the outer gear in a pair (or a greater number) of planet gears will have to be different diameters to compensate for a different gear tooth number of the ring and the sun. This will ensure that they twist against the sun and the ring, giving the sun two degrees of freedom.

If it is mathematically impossible to make a one-step gear set to accommodate for that difference, than a multi-step gear reduction may be utilized.

This mechanism would be too expensive to be built anyways so it will probably remain as a thought experiment.

What can be changed to make it work:

  • Different diameters of the planet gear pairs. (Green)
  • Different number of planet gear groups. (Green)
  • Different arrangement of planet gear linkages. (Brown, Beige)
  • Different planet gear configurations. (Green)
  • Different number of planet gears in each group. (Green)
  • Different diameters of individual planet gears in a group to compensate for different gear ratio between the sun and the ring.(Green)



Variable displacement pump


Idea and article by Vladimir Tolskiy


December 7, 2012

Hobby Computer Numerical Control Milling Machine – control module and important aspect of mechanism design

Filed under: To blow your mind — VIP @ 07:42

Main board:

This is the board that I used to control my machine after I failed to come up with a budget solution to control my machine with a USB signal. I bought it off Ebay, from some undefined Chinese supplier.

An image of my masterpiece. All control module parts are screwed to the main plywood frame while plastic beads were used to raise the boards above the plywood surface. Few components are bolted.

Limit switches are connected to the board

Main interface board: Left connector is to control the mill motor, or in my case a relay that powers the mill motor. Right connector is for the limit switch inputs and other programmable inputs into the board that are sent to the computer through LPT port.
Stepper motor connector for each of three axes.

This connector is for the stepper motor outputs.

Right to left A-, A+, B-, B+. If you reverse the connections, the stepper motor will run in the opposite direction. This can be adjusted in the software.

Various motor regimes.

Switches to change different operation regimes of the stepper motors.
Connectors on the control module

Left to right: AC power connector that is commonly found in computers, ‘my’ DB-25 connector that connects to the electrical components of the CNC mill, a connector that is used for a wired remote control to move the machine components manually, the LPT port that is used to interface the computer.
Control board.

Seen from left to right: software emergency stop button that sends a signal to the computer via LPT port, PWM mill speed control knob that is pressed on the shaft of a variable resistor,

AC power switch for the whole board.

Additional relay to control the mill motor

Relay that toggles that opens and closes the circuit of the DC motor that drives the spindle.
PWM smooth speed adjustment for the mill motor

A smooth PWM DC current control module that is used to change the mill rotation speed. Three wires that are seen on the left lead to the variable resistor that is mounted on the control board.
Power supplies

Two power supplies for outdoor lighting systems: Left power supply outputs 12VDC for the control board, the stepper motors and the warning light, the right power supply outputs 24VDC for the spindle motor.
Power supply breakout

This is how the terminals of the power supply look like.

The ground symbol marks the AC ground, not the DC 0V rail.

Power supply rating

One of the power supplies outputs 24V, 6.5A and another power supply outputs 12V, 13A.
Limit switches

This is how my typical limit switch looks like on the CNC mill. For economic reasons and for the reasons of convenience I used switches that are normally open. Appropriate software adjustments had to be made.
Limit switch override

This is the switch that is Normally Closed. All limit switches in the CNC machine are Normally Open. If I manage to get my machine to move onto a limit switch and cause it to stay closed, causing the software to shut the machine controls off, I can hold this switch and disable the limit switches temporarily to let me move the machine ‘off’ the limit switch so it will open, in order for the proper function of the machine.
DB-25 connector

To quickly connect my CNC mill to the control board, I used the DB-25 LPT connector. I had used it only as a connector so never plug computer equipment into the male or female connector that is used to carry power for the machine operation. This connector is rated for 2A of current for each pin.
Plastic bead standoffs

My traditional way of connecting parallel planes when I build my prototypes. I use a machine screw with standard beads that can be found in craft stores as spacers.
Stepper motor, helical coupling, lead screw

Right to left: stepper motor, helical coupling and a lead screw. The lead screw thread is M6, I believe. Shaft diameter of the motor was 5mm.
Mill motor

Mill motor with a bit chuck and a clamp that holds it against the CNC mill frame.
Mill motor with a coiled power cable

Another view of the mill motor.
Limit switch above the mill motor.

Lead screw and lead nut

This is how the lead nut is attached to the frame components in and relationship to the lead screw.

Notice the white fluoroplast inserts between the moving parts, which are pressed in place by the set screws.

December 5, 2012

Please Donate

Filed under: ., To blow your mind — VIP @ 05:08

I am trying to undertake a rather complicated project in my home environment.

The goal is to use the single wire electricity as a continuous source of DC power.

This project calls for expensive parts that I cannot afford on my own.

Thank you.

December 3, 2012

Another possible application for the ‘single wire’ electricity – Scanning Electronic Microscopes and Scanning Tunneling Microscopes

Filed under: To blow your mind — VIP @ 02:40

I thought of quite another way to implicate this interesting phenomenon of single wire electricity after having a conversation with my friend, who is currently a physics student. This is probably not an application, but more of a suggestion for a field of research.

Scanning Electron Microscopes or Scanning Tunneling Microscopes may indeed be improved by using a variable frequency high voltage pulse in addition to the conventional cathode ray. This may allow scientists to not just view the sample but try to influence it and observe the electrodynamic interactions within the sample. A electronic nano-component may be examined in terms of how it reacts to the inflow and outflow of electrons.

This technology may be very beneficial to the development of the solar panels of the future.

If Single Wire Electricity is going to be used with microscopes, it has to be properly compensated for in the output signal that the device will produce.

Currently I conducted an experiment that allowed me to derive a mathematical formula that may be useful for dealing with the single-wire electricity.

I have no facilities available to me to research the possibility of using single wire electricity for SEM and STM applications. I am a hobbyist, after all.

Vladimir Tolskiy

November 12, 2012

High Voltage exploration – Going back to the roots

Filed under: To blow your mind — VIP @ 05:02

At this point I am not sure what determines the rate at which the capacitor charges. I suspect that diodes may leak in reverse and cause energy to be lost. So I decided to go back to the roots and make a circuit that consists of many diodes that are connected in series and see if this circuit could power a load directly, without a capacitor or with enough current to keep the capacitor charged.

I can only judge by the time it takes to charge a capacitor so the light will blink when I close the switch.

I was very surprised to find that the circuit performs about as well as a circuit with only two diodes in the Avramenko Fork.

I also recently realized that I drew the Avramenko Fork diodes backwards in relationship to the rest of the circuit in my previous post!!! I will correct that soon. Thanks.

Powering a low voltage DC load from a single-pole High Voltage power supply

Filed under: To blow your mind — VIP @ 01:33

Warning! High Voltage experiments possess a potential danger of electrocution and fire. Please be cautious when performing those experiments. Children should be supervised by an adult when experimenting with high voltage. High voltage can cause undesired electromagnetic interference. This interference can cause pacemakers and other medical devices to malfunction.

As a conclusion to the line of experiments single line power transition I want to showcase a device that caused a small electric DC motor to rotate by utilizing energy that was obtained through a single power line. The Avramenko Fork cannot generate enough power to run the motor constantly from the supply that I have.

Therefore I employed a crowbar circuit it that discharges a electrolytic capacitor and powers the motor only when the voltage in an electrolytic capacitor is above 5V. The motor runs for about five seconds and then the circuit recharges for about a minute; than the same thing happens again.

Some very nice people helped me design a thyristor crowbar circuit that would discharge a capacitor through a motor when enough voltage had accumulated in a capacitor. So the overall circuit looks like this:

  1. D2 is some Zener Diode that I happened to have that is rated to discharge at 5.1V.
  2. D1 is a NTE5455 Thyristor
  3. D3 and D4 are simple ‘1n something’ radio-frequency rectifier diodes. No high voltage diodes are required because this circuit opens at voltage that is higher than 5.1 volts.
  4. R1 is 100 Ohms
  5. R2 is 100 Kilo ohms
  6. R3 (The Load) is a 9VDC electric motor that was used to move the drawer of a CD-ROM.
  7. C1 is probably 100pf, but the circuit works well without it.
  8. C2 is a Rubycon 6.3 Volt 5600 Micro Farad Electrolytic capacitor.

    The frequency of this circuit switching a motor load on depends on C2, but there is no linear relationship between capacitance and the time it takes to charge.

    I think that some other qualities, such as internal leakage and lead resistance may contribute to that.

  9. I also connected another diode across the load since it is an inductive load and can produce voltage spikes of its own. I had used the same diode as in D3 and D4 for that purpose. (Not on the circuit diagram.) Make sure that you connect the diode so it does not conduct when the load is energized.

At this point the circuit is probably not safe for powering loads that have ICs in them since high voltage is pulsing throughout the DC circuit and can probably destroy fine electronic components. The motor can shock you if you touch it.

I hypothesized that introducing Q-loops into the circuit can prevent this voltage from conducting through a circuit and making it safer to use.

Q-loops may need to be placed before or after the electrolytic capacitor. I will need to measure the frequency of the high voltage power supply to choose the right values for the induction and capacitance in the Q-loops.

This is how the hypothetic circuit may look like.

The Avramenko Fork

This picture shows the way I had placed diodes in my circuit, but I may be wrong.

Electrolytic capacitors seem to leak and prevent high voltage from building up inside them, even the voltage they are rated for. I would try to build a circuit that involves high capacitance ceramic capacitors in the future and see how they perform.

I had connected the circuit with a motor to the single-pole power supply through a ceramic capacitor within the single wire ‘circuit’ and noticed that it happens to pulse the motor about as often as when the circuit was connected to a single pole supply with a solid wire.

Vladimir Tolskiy.

October 31, 2012

High Voltage experiments using an unrectified 14 KHz transformer with a 16,000 volt output.

Filed under: To blow your mind — VIP @ 19:14

Warning! High Voltage experiments possess a potential danger of electrocution and fire. Please be cautious when performing those experiments. Children should be supervised by an adult when experimenting with high voltage. High voltage can cause undesired electromagnetic interference. This interference can cause pacemakers and other medical devices to malfunction.

I happened to conduct a line of experiments with a device that I built over a Christmas Break last year, when I was still in college. This device uses an ordinary 60Hz transformer to convert 120 VAC to 12VAC. 12VAC is converted to 12VDC using a simple rectifier bridge and an electrolytic capacitor. This 12VDC powers a circuit that drives a high frequency transformer, similar to TV fly-back transformers, only a dedicated one. This circuit has some sort of undercurrent and overcurrent protection so if this transformer is shorted to the ground or is not driving any load, no harm is supposed to be done.

There are few other components in the enclosure. There is a shunt resistor that the current (at 12VDC) goes through to power the high-frequency driver. The shunt is made from iron chimney wire and there is a microamperemeter wired in parallel to the shunt to show how current consumption fluctuates. It does fluctuate. I will come back to WHY it fluctuates.

There is also an LED that glows when the high voltage circuit is energized. But it is connected to the high voltage output of the transformer with one of its leads and is not connected to anything with another lead. How so? I will try to answer this question later; again, however I can only draw a hypothesis explaining this phenomenon.

(The power switch has to be closed for the indicator LED to glow.)

As you can see, there is a 120VAC power chord going into the enclosure and there is a stud with a pseudo-hemispherical knob on top of it. There is no ground for the high voltage. None of the experiments required there to be a ground…

First of all, an unrectified high voltage transformer will spark to conductive objects that are brought near it even if they are not connected to ground. Maybe because they resemble a capacitor plate, while another capacitor plate is the ground, concrete and wires inside the walls. Maybe because all conductors have an internal capacitance, inductance and resistance that delay the alternating current until the source switches polarity thus consuming energy to overcome a previously acquired charge. I could not find a clear answer to that, but I tend to think that the latter contributes more to the sparks that we see.

It seems like some materials can trap the charge better than others, causing longer sparks and showing the increase of the total device current consumption on the microammeter. Pencil lead is one. Pencil lead is made by baking conductive graphite, a conductor with ceramic, an insulator. This gives pencil lead a lot of internal capacitance and resistance. Thus it can draw a relatively long spark, compared to a steel rod of a similar size.

One of the most interesting experiment that I conducted was intended to further understand the nature of single-pole electricity. I took a strip of cardboard and glued sewing pins to it, making sure that the gaps between them are equal. All pins were facing in one direction. A sharp point of one pin would face a hemispherical end of another pin. Since sharp conical or pyramidal points tend to discharge with more ease than spherical objects, I hypothesized that the current is going to move in one direction across this strand of pins, with more ease than in the other direction. (Notice that I am avoiding the word “resistance”.) The strand of diodes was connected to the pole of the high voltage circuit with the middle pin in the row of pins, while I held the “tip” end of the strand to the pole. There was a large spark. After that I held the “ball” end. There was a smaller spark. I tried various circuits with pins and I will illustrate them to make this experiment easier to understand.

Pretty much, I built a very inefficient diode with high reverse current leakage and a lot of resistance in both directions.

Nikola Tesla (who else would it be) pioneered the concept of single pole electricity, but his archives were lost after he died and his scientific achievements in this field had to be rediscovered by many other scientists in different countries, many years later. (Many scientific records of Nikola Tesla were lost either at the fire that happened in his laboratory or taken by the US intelligences or his records vanished in the hands of a capitalist that sponsored his research. This creates a lot of room for speculation and fables which are beyond the scope of this article.)

One of the researchers who attempted to transfer energy using single pole electricity was Stanislaw Avramenko. Among many other discoveries, he came up with a circuit that could rectify single pole electricity and charge a capacitor. This circuit is named after its inventor, the Avramenko Fork. I played with this circuit until I ended up unbending two wire spark gap leads too far and causing the diodes to fail from the charge that had built up in the capacitor.

I hypothesized that LEDs glow when brought near the high voltage single-pole power supply for the reasons similar to those that cause the diodes in the Avramenko Fork to charge the capacitor.

I also noticed that single-pole power supply can cause Fluorescent lights to glow very brightly. I used a CFL that had a broken internal circuitry to for my experiments

This observation inspired Stanislaw Avramenko to start his research of single-pole electricity.

CFLs start to glow when there is a presence of static electricity and make a dim flash if brought to near the automotive distributor cables. So I made a CFL into a convenient HV detector by using a conventional bulb socket and encapsulating everything in the polycarbonate mayonese jar.

The most spectacular experiment that I conducted was based on my old pin observations. This experiment made me think that of an ignition system that can light the fuel and oxidant mixture in several places within the combustion chamber, at once. I can easily see how this can be applies in gas furnaces and jet engines and to safely detonate explosives. I was too greedy to sacrifice PCB to etch a design like this, so I used same old pencil lead. I think that a kiln-fired mixture of ceramics and metal shavings can be used to make an igniter surface that would not catch on fire or ware out too quickly.

Yes, there were sparks and even some smoke this time…

Eventually, the areas where sparks were jumping started to smolder. As holes got bugger, sparks stopped jumping, but some spark gaps caused the paper to catch on fire. I repeated this experiment several times.

With all those interesting things done I never used this circuit for the intent that I built it for. I intended to repeat the experiment that was conducted in the Russian Academy of Science.

My last experiment speaks for itself. A miniature incandescent light bulb is used. I tried detecting direct current with a coil of wire and compass and it does fluctuate but there is no way I can show this in a photograph. Wait for my next post to see something more spectacular.

Vladimir Tolskiy.

January 16, 2012

Making an SMD circuit board without specialized equipment (This is a developing story.)

Filed under: To blow your mind — VIP @ 02:58

When you think of soldering an SMD – mounted component on to the circuit board, you are probably thinking of the reflow oven and some other expensive equipment. Not in my case.

But you have to remember that any DIY technology involves some risk taking and some estimation of the economic benefits/losses. I began searching the internet and looking for a cheap solution to make DIY circuit boards at home, and I didn’t find an instruction that would match my goal from the beginning to the end.

What I learned:

  • That this exponential growth but to but with exponential decay function of temperature over time can be obtained by making a control module for the toaster oven with an alarm that will warn you when to open the door. I am still looking for the website I read it at. (Remember the Newton’s Law of Cooling?)
  • There is a way to solder SMDs on the frying pen. I bought a frying pan with low edges for making a French toast.
  • After I tried to solder an SMD onto the breakout board and had the board bend and turn brown from uneven heating, I took some silicone grease that can hold 400˚F (204˚C) and used that to evenly transfer heat. I also tried using sand, but the grease works better.
  • Only if the board is pre-tinned, you can solder the component right on to the board.
  • I bought a laser thermometer. It is not very precise but it is fairly precise when it comes to change in temperatures. (How else would you measure the temperature of the molten solder?)
  • 60/40 solder contains sixty percent tin and forty percent tin. The melting temperature of the solder is 183–190 °C (361–374 °F). Although Tin and Lead have fairly high boiling points, the solder can boil below 300°C and that’s what you don’t want to happen by any means unless you are trying to get lead poisoning.
  • I bought a portable range so I could experiment with solder boiling outdoors.
  • Lead is a known toxic metal but more expensive ROHS-compliant solder has a number of other neurotoxic heavy metals to replace lead. Antimony is one of them.

Fluxes are the trickiest part: there are too many options on the market to try in a lifetime.

  • Plumbing paste is not recommended because it is acidic and will corrode the solder spot after the assembly is finished, because the moisture in the atmosphere will make the remains of the solder into electrolyte. (Can it be washed away with alkali? Not sure yet. Experiment is on the way.)
  • Old-school chunks of brown rosin can be dissolved in rubbing alcohol to make a very good flux for precision soldering. Store it in the bottle and use a linen brush to apply the flux onto the solder joint. The rosin can hold your SMD component.
  • Modern organic solvent rosins are more expensive, but superior to rosin flux. They have a limited shelf life. Some of them can glue the component on to the spot the way rosin solution can.
  • A rare and a more expensive industrial product – the solder paste has a mixture of both, flux and powdered metals. As the heat is applied, the paste melts, burns out the flux and forms a strong solder joint. Similar to brazing.
An example of a successfully soldered SMD negative voltage generator. This silicone grease makes an ideal medium to transfer heat from the frying pan to the circuit board.

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