Fabulous Flaming Flanges of Desire

As you may recall from my previous column on this topic (see Holy Flaming Flanges, Batman), I'm on a quest to create some fabulous flanges that will hold strips of Adafruit's NeoPixels around the necks of the giant vacuum tubes sitting on top of my Inamorata Prognostication Engine (phew — try saying that sentence ten times quickly!).

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Quite a few folks commented on my previous column offering suggestions. Based on these, my chum Steve Manley whipped up the following 3D drawing and suggested I try using 3D printing techniques.

(Click Here to see a larger image)

As fate would have it, I recently had a lot of success with 3D printing regarding the base-plate and face-plate for my clock (see Latest & Greatest in the Cunning Chronograph Competition), so the idea of 3D printing my flanges and then painting them to look metallic was definitely a contender.

On the other hand, I was recently introduced to something called Draw2CNC, which is an online CNC prototyping service that can fabricate my fabulous flanges out of aluminum (see Draw2CNC: An affordable online CNC prototyping service).

So I contacted Bill Parodi, the founder of Draw2CNC and explained what I was trying to do. One of the issues from my end is that some of my vacuum tubes have glass/metal protuberances sticking out the bottom of their necks, so my flanges have to come in two parts — a bit like a donut cut vertically into two halves.

Meanwhile, the fact that the 3D Draw2CNC drawing package is intimately linked to the fabrication process — thereby ensuring you can’t draw something you can’t fabricate — does impose its own limitations. This resulted in the fact that we had to create my flanges as two rings — a bit like a donut cut horizontally into two slices.

I'm confusing myself now. Let's take a look at some Draw2CNC drawings, and then at the finished proto-flange. (If you wish, you can download the Draw2CNC software for free from Draw2CNC.com, and then click here to download a compressed ZIP file containing the drawings used to create my proto-flange).

The two halves of the main ring
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The four connectors
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Two “slices” and associated connectors for one half of the ring disassembled (left) and the two “slices” and associated connectors for the other half of the ring assembled (right)
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The fully assembled proto-flange
(Click Here to see a larger image)

What can I say? The fully-assembled proto-flange shown above is much like yours truly: bright and shiny, as light as a feather, and awesomely good looking. The other guys in my office were effusive in their praise when they saw this little beauty attached to its tube as shown below.

(Click Here to see a larger image)

(Click Here to see a larger image)

This really does look stupendous in the flesh — and the style really fits in with the rest of the Inamorata Prognostication Engine. Unfortunately, there's currently a 1/8″ gap between the two halves of the flange, but that's why they call it a prototype. And I want to go on the record right here and now stating that this was nothing to do with the fact that we had an idiot measuring the diameter of the tube necks (I resemble that remark).

So, that's where things stand at the moment. The next step is to tweak the design and produce fabulous flaming flanges of desire for all five tubes. Watch this space for further developments…

1 thought on “Fabulous Flaming Flanges of Desire

  1. “When I first read the title of this post, I read it as “Fabulous Flaming Flamingos.” Max missed his chance to tile it “Fabulous Flaming Flamingos of Death.”nnIn any case, I've done a bit of mechanical work with TinkerCAD – an online 3D CAD system. I

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