James Slade Log

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James "Bunny" Slade

Saturday Sept 7, 2013

Much left to do and not enough time to do it all.

CEB 2 is done and moved to the shed. Had a few issues, ranging from a stuttering cylinder to the drawer being welded in wrong. Videos here:

Stuttering cylinder This Issue was resolved by adding in a bypass hose for the shaker solenoid.

Watching the system work

The drawer not retracting far enough

Final walk through for this trip

Also updated the code a bit and got it working perfectly for CEB 2 and 3.

I'll continue working on this project, just having to get back to my normal life for a little while. o/

Friday Sept 6, 2013

I leave here on Sunday and there's so much left to do. These controllers take me about 2 days to do from parts to full assembly. I am currently working on the button panel and will have it done today. Will then head to the shop and test the controllers on CEB 2. Should have CEB 2 done and moved by tonight. That leaves tomorrow to build CEB 3...

Thursday Sept 5, 2013

Spent today making some corrections to the controller doc I linked yesterday and made some changes to the button panel. Moved some colored wires around to make it easier to understand the document's pictures. Worked on CEB 3's controller the rest of the day. Still a little bit more to do on the button panel.

Wednesday Sept 4, 2013

Went to Sweiger today to get some materials for the CEB's. A new 2 3/4" DOM for the press foot on CEB 3. Then used previously was a little big and let the foot move around too much. Finished up the controller for CEB 2 today. Marcin and I documented its assemble as seen here:

CEB Controller assembly

Tuesday Sept 3, 2013

Spent today working on the controllers and a little bit of shop time. Nothing to major to report other than that.

Friday Aug 30, 2013 thru Monday Sept 2, 2013

Apologies, but this weekend was sort of a blur. Lots happened. From moving the CEB to the field, setting up up and running it. We pressed blocks and made some changes to the CEB drawer assembly. The drawer was able to shift and tore out the bearing. So we added in constraints to keep it centered. Video: [ http://youtu.be/VXkzoED9-rw CEB 3] This seems to be working quite well.

CEB 2 now has its drawer working. Marcin and I spent most of Sunday working on it and seems like we have a good solution. The bearing mounts weren't done correctly but they still work. Will be adding in addition cylinder supports, like CEB 3.

Also currently working on the controllers for the remaining CEB's and documenting their assembly.

Thursday Aug 29, 2013

The LifeTrac 4 hauling off CEB 3 to the field.

Knocked out quite a bit of the punch list from yesterday. CEB 2 is close to done. Adding in the cam rollers tomorrow, manifold and the hopper assembly. Will test it and go from there.

Wednesday Aug 28, 2013

Have a punch list of things to get done:

  • Add auxiliary spool to LifeTrac 4 to handle the 2nd power cube to drive the pulverizer.
  • weld splines on pulverizer, repair 2 broken splines.
  • Add motor plate to second pulverizer and hoses to get it operational.
  • Update and test code on CEB 3
  • relocate CEB 3 to the dirt mound for block press testing

CEB 2:

  • Drill holes for cams and weld cam assembly together
  • add cam assembly to machine and test drawer
  • Center support arms and drill new holes or find other solution
  • Test main cylinder
  • check over all function with both cylinders active
  • attach hopper and shaker, test shaker
  • attach hydraulic manifold and verify they are assembled correctly
  • run permanent hydraulic lines

CEB 1:

  • Drill pin hole in main cylinder
  • drill bolt holes in press foot
  • remove welds from press foot
  • Drill hole in press foot DOM to match main cylinder
  • weld DOM to lower press foot
  • bolts upper and lower press foot together and then attach to main cylinder via pin
  • add welds to frame, lots needed
  • reassemble frame and square it
  • check over all support arms and frame
  • attach cylinder to drawer
  • assemble cams
  • attach cams for drawer and test
  • test main cylinder
  • check over all function with both cylinders active
  • attach hopper. Shy one shaker assembly. Can grab of CEB 2 to test.
  • attach hydraulic manifold and verify they are assembled correctly
  • run permanent hydraulic lines


  • verify proper assembly of solenoids to manifold
  • install quick attaches
  • install bypass assembly
  • install pressure sensor
  • install wiring
  • make mounting plate


  • fab and assemble remaining controllers- 2 days to do this
  • build out button boxes with power and battery connections.
  • upload code and test
  • Attach to machines and test

Tuesday Aug 27, 2013

Zach updated the controller code to add in the shaker again, address the main cylinder bottoming out due to different stroke (8" versus 12") and switched the over extend from timed to percent. Going from default 100 to .05.

New code is here: https://github.com/OSE/ceb-controller/

  • Added another power cube to the LifeTrac 4.
  • Got 2 more power cubes working.
  • Cleaned up the shop a bit.
  • Worked on CEB 2, removed the hopper plate and tried adjusting the support arms in.
  • Made some adjustments to CEB 3 pertaining to the PSI, adjusted it from 2000 to 2500.
  • Had a meeting with Marcin and Katie. I'll be staying another week to keep going on the CEB machines.
  • Discussed everything needed to run the brick presses by this weekend.

Monday Aug 26, 2013

Finally some celebrating today. It works.

Got new code to handle the additional knob for the drawer. Had some issues with the main cylinder running backwards, out of sync. Corrected that with a simple rewire of the solenoid. Got the pressure sensor adjusted to 2000 PSI and the bypass valve set to slightly higher. Had collisions with the drawer and main cylinder, which I expected. Was able to adjust that out with the code. Currently CEB 3 has the line of code "overextend_delay = 100" set to 210. This backed the main cylinder off enough for the drawer to slide through. The shaker still doesn't fire off as the code appears disabled for it. Zach said he'd have that correct tonight or tomorrow. I need to adjust some of the retract distance out of the main cylinder as its trying to pull down too far. Should be able to do this with the main cylinder knob. The CEB 3 is ready to handle some dirt now, so we can see how it compresses and ejects a real block.

Video of the CEB3 now

Still have 2 machines to get done, but am currently focusing on getting a pulverizer running before this weekend. That will most likely be the focus of work this evening.

Sunday Aug 25, 2013

Things can't happen fast enough at this point...

Today I got the new power converter hooked up, new code verified, controller hooked up and fired the system up. Nothing worked again. After some serious reworking of the hydraulic manifold, turns out whomever assembled it originally had the shaker solenoid on backwards, which blocked all the flow through the manifold. This had caused many issues with the powercube I was using, some of the lines etc. So much wasted time due to that. Finally got that system properly setup, hooked up the controller again and this time, I got some action. However, the action I got was everything trying to work all at the same time. I shot a video of what was going on here:

Controller issues

Currently waiting on a response from Zach to get his opinion of what may be happening.

Saturday Aug 24, 2013

First thing that happened today when hooking up the controller was that nothing worked. After a bit of testing it was obvious I was missing something. Upon further inspection and talking with Zach it came to light I was missing several connections. The 5v from the Arduino to the relay board, all the ground connections from the relay board and was on the wrong pins of the relay board. Go all this corrected, some new code to handle the extra pot knob and went back to the shop. After getting it all hooked back up, nothing happened again. This time it turns out the 12v to 5v converter was no longer working. Got a new one setup for trials again tomorrow.

Friday Aug 23, 2013

I have everything setup to run on CEB 3. Right now I'm going to upload the code to the controller and see how it works before hooking it back up to the CEB.


File:CEB code.rar

Video of the CEB setup with controller

Thursday Aug 22, 2013

Today I made major headway on the controller box. It took longer than I thought, but I have a working box.

Here's the controller laid in the box

I will be attaching this to a machine tomorrow and testing it.

Wednesday Aug 21, 2013

CEB 3 is going to visit the mill to have a hole bored through the main piston. Then I'll be adding in the press foot properly. Haven't done it yet, and instead focused on the electronics today.

The controller box

Focused heavy on placement and had two scaffolds built on the 3d printer to hold the parts up. Have to go on a fastener run in the morning so I can attach everything. Will be getting parts enough for 3 controllers.

[ http://youtu.be/8idmx0u-2pQ Today's coverage of CEB 2]

Outside of that I took Gary to the airport today.

Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Made a bit more progression on the CEB's. Managed to put parts from a couple non working mag drills together and make one work. Was able to drill most of the holes needed on CEB 2 with it and now have the frame standing up. The holes that were all torched previously don't line up with the attaching components. As an example, the support rails have pre drilled holes, but the holes on the frame were torched, and they don't line up at all. Basically all the torched holes were done on the frame and done very badly. Since they don't line up, I have to make all new holes once I get the machine square. Which wasn't done previously. Since so much material was torched out that leaves structural issues with drilling new holes. At this point I don't have that much faith that CEB 2 will function very well. It has a gap at the drawer level, which can lead to blocks with mushroom tops as the material can squeeze out when compressed. The blocks may not be totally square. We'll just have to see what comes out. I'll try and get some video of the specific issues for my next log update.

Spent most of my day on the above issue.

[ http://youtu.be/L5yD-t7GbeI Status update today]

Monday Aug 19, 2013

Trying to get a new mag drill, at a stand still on CEB 2 without. Going to focus on making every other part that I can today and get CEB 3 fully assembled.

John and Jonathan came to the shop today to learn welding and cutting. Both did very well so I put them to work a bit. :) Between the two they made 2 feet for one of the CEB's that was missing a pair. Also, tearing down 4 rail guides that had the wrong size holes drilled for the bearings.Drilling new holes and welding them back again. Finally they helped make some holes in one of the shaker units so it'll fit on multiple CEB's.

Monday Update showing CEB 3 together and parts being reworked.

Cutting holes

Sunday Aug 18, 2013

Didn't get much done in the shop, need a mag drill as all the ones here no longer work. Critical piece needs to be drilled out on CEB 2. Not something that can be placed on a drill press or just bored out. I imaging it could be just drilled or torched, but I like precision and don't want room for the frame to be able to shift under pressure.

Did work on the electronics layout a bit. Still in discussion with Zach Dwiel on the components needed as the press feet on these machine sits higher than the deck and the code doesn't account for that. He's going to write up some test code to see if we can get around it reworking the frame of the machine.

Saturday Aug 17, 2013

Updating spreadsheets, financial logs and getting the build plans for the CEB's from last November. The holes for the drawer rollers are too big at 3/4" they should be only 1/2" so will rework those. The top of one CEB so far has the removable crossbeams welded to the inner chamber which also has to be corrected. The drawers on all three are firmly stuck in the machines, so will be hooking up a power cube today to try and move the hydraulics to free these things up.

Today's videos thus far:

CEB 1 press foot coming up too high

CEB 1 press foot has broke welds

CEB 1 The bottom pin sits too high and is also barely attached for the weight it has to withstand

CEB 2 the press foot is coming up really shy. Bad assembly

CEB 2 cut away of the action. You can see its just built incorrectly

CEB 2 press foot solution

Printing a scaffold for the controller box

CEB 3 status

Friday Aug 16, 2013

Bought a box from the local hardware to use as a switch house for the CEB control toggles. Doesn't look like its going to work very well, will know after some further inspection and layout. Also got some rubberized spray to coat the plugs with for weather protection.

Will continue with the CEB move today and get the remaining parts in the shop and start setting the machines up. Will then inspect them.

CEB initial inspection

Got all the CEB's moved into the shop, setup most of one and ran into an issue with some bad welds. Will correct those and continue the assembly tomorrow.

Thursday Aug 15, 2013

Taking an inventory of electronics for the controls, calculating current expenses, look at the CEB's and determine a work area.

Laying out controller box. Using a Pelican 1060 box with a clear lid so we can see the LED's on the boards. This isn't a finished design, merely for observation while tweaking the over all design. Will also see if we can have a 3D printed scaffold of sorts for the components to screw into as space is very limited and I must suspend the components.

Moved the majority of the CEB's from the shed into the shop. Setup work space.

Wednesday Aug 14, 2013

Drove from Austin to Factor e Farm, 12+ hour journey.

Tuesday Aug 13, 2013

Went to Fry's Electronics in Austin to acquire parts for the controller. Picked up a crimp tool for the Molex connectors, some 2, and 6 pin Molex connectors, 3-1k ohm linear potentiometers, a rubber boot for a toggle switch and some extra screw down terminals.

Friday Aug 10, 2013

Ordering parts and finding alternative sites. Working with Katie on this.

Thu Aug 8, 2013

Work log at bottom of page.

Finalizing parts needed for initial controller build.


Wed August 7 2013

  • Conference call with Zach.
  • worked out a BOM for the controller
  • have a schematic drawn for the circuit
  • will compile the BOM tomorrow to get parts ordered.

Tue Aug 6 2013


PCB Design

Design Rationale for Zach's CEB Controller -

  • Switch from automatic to manual mode - toggle
  • For drawer - you calibrate it and move it a certain percentage.
  • For drawer - end positions via pressure sensor
  • Replace pause with auto/manual switch

PCB of Board - [12]

Sunday August 4 2013

PCB designs

Sitting down and looking into PCB design for the CEB's. These will be professionally made to save time and also designed to be robust enough for outdoor, all weather use.

2 hours

Saturday August 3 2013

Log Start

  • Evaluate current requests from FeF and determine cost, time, and workflow
  • Setup Log

Had a late day getting started as there were unexpected issues here in moving my truck from Creation Flame to a shop in town. This will become 1983 Chevy Blazer 6.2 diesel mobile 4x4 power cube with a turbo. :)

Time Log

Time Sheet