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A mill camera

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  • A mill camera

    This has always looked like a neat idea but after seeing the article in the latest Digital machinist I decided to make one this weekend. I picked up a cheap logitech webcam for under 30$ and dug out some scrap hunks of aluminum. Made a new housing with setscrew adjusters to dial it into the spindle centerline.
    Well it works pretty darn good. It can be used for measuring, inspection and edge and corner finding,punch mark location and bore location.
    If the surface edge is sharp I found it reliable to under .0005" finding both edges of a square corner. Within a .001" on a bore. The sharper the surface edge the more accurate it is. Bevels on the edges make it more difficult but you can still get very close. Probably can find a lot of uses for it. Punch marks look like craters.


  • #2
    these are 64th graduations. I was able to measure the graduation marks at .006" with the camera.

    This is a #80 drillbit. It is .0135" in diameter.

    Picking up a corner edge. This is Starret precision ground flat stock. Surface finish doesn't look all the great when magnified.


    • #3
      Thats trick , its a optical comparator now.

      very cool.


      • #4
        Nice job Steve. Which software are you using?

        The housing looks a bit like a Video Head Drum out of an old VCR.




        • #5
          Wow, that's awesome! I don't subscribe to DM so haven't seen the article....does the stock webcam focus that close or do you have to make your own macro lense? MORE DETAILS PLEASE!

          "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

          "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton


          • #6
            Mach3 has a video window for a camera and you can also use this software as a stand alone and as of right now it is free-

            Yes, the camera focuses that close on it's own. I am not using any other lens with it. It will focus to just about a 1/8" distance. This one has a manual focus ring. Just a cheap webcam from the local dept store.



            • #7
              hey Steve thats really neat! to .001? terrific. now you need to make an adapter to use it in the tailstock for 4jaw centrering!

              how did you align the camera with the spindle, and are cross hairs in the software?
              located in Toronto Ontario


              • #8
                IMHO, that Beats a laser all to hell.

                Well done.


                • #9
                  Some old links on the same subject from 2006.



                  These posts never got updated that after doing some work with Art Fenarty at Mach3 and Brain Barker a new OCX file was written to allow a better video window to be used in mach.

                  That's the one Steve is showing on his screen.

                  For anyone wanting to try this the demo version of Mach will run the videao window without registration.


                  Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


                  • #10
                    As John said the idea has been around for some time. The webcams seem to be getting better too. I tried this a while back with an old webcam and the video was just to fuzzy so I discarded the idea until I saw the pics in the Digital machinist mag which looked very clear. It's quite clear with this newer webcam.
                    The cross hairs are part of the software. Centrecam also lets you make circles. So you can locate in on any sized hole in your work.
                    To adjust the camera I just rotate the camera in the spindle while focusing on a cross mark on the table. Adjust the setscrews just as you would a 4 jaw chuck.
                    I have one of those lasers, yes this camera is a heck of a lot better and useful.
                    For critical work edge and bore finding I'll stick with conventional methods. But I can see this can have a lot of uses plus it is fun to see your work and tooling magnified.
                    I had a square edge on the table. I located a corner edge with the camera using the cross hairs. I removed the camera and installed a ground .375" pin in a collet. I moved the table exactly .1875" in each direction and the pin did not contact the part. However I could not fit a .0005" shim between the part and pin on either edge. That's pretty darn good edge finding IMHO without ever physically touching off the edges.
                    yeah I could see a few uses for this on a lathe as well!



                    • #11
                      I had seen these before, but S_J_H, your housing is so trick it's much cooler!



                      Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:


                      • #12
                        Very Nice.
                        Unless you go wireless though, you might want to make sure the spindle motor is locked out while using that.


                        • #13
                          Very cool. Gotta make one.
                          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                          • #14
                            Nah, gzig5, that's the quick disconnect function.

                            That's pretty cool Steve.
                            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                            • #15
                              Really cool Steve,definately come in hand for things not to easy to use traditional methods on.
                              I just need one more tool,just one!