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Interface Installation Notes

Created by hww3. Last updated by hww3, 2 years ago. Version #17.

As promised, here are a a few notes about installation that didn't make it into the instructions:

I haven't produced an enclosure or standard mounting mechanism for the interface as there's been wide disagreement about the best way to do this. Similarly there are some pneumatic components you'll need to acquire, as everyone's shop is set up differently. I can provide some simple suggestions that you may wish to consider:

  1. Mounting the pneumatics
The assumption is that the pneumatic manifold will be placed in position above the caster. I've found that appropriately sized cup hooks or other screw hooks work well for this. If your ceiling is high, you can use this approach coupled with some "strap" material. That is, a thin strip of material (metal or plastic, though I prefer plastic) with holes at regular intervals.

2. Mounting the interface board

There are a variety of workable approaches, but the one I like the best consists of a piece of 1x wood and wooden spacers across the narrow ends of the interface, forming a shallow u-shaped trough large enough that the interface board will fit inside. A piece of plexiglass is placed across the top. The board itself is held off the back of the board with nylon spacers screwed in place through the mounting holes in the interface board. The resulting enclosure will be open across the top and bottom so that the various electrical connections can be made. You may mount this however you like, such as on the wall behind the caster. I can supply a set of extension cables for the valve manifold upon request… just let me know the length they'll need to be (I recommend they be just long enough).

3. Power

A provision is made for an external power switch for the interface board. The "computer" side of the board is powered from the USB connection, and the two sides are optically isolated for safety. As shipped, a wire jumper keeps the valve side of the board energized whenever connected to it s power adapter. You may remove this jumper using a soldering iron and wire a single pole, single throw (SPST) switch in its place. The switch should be rated for 75w, and you may use wires to connect the switch in a convenient place. Whether you choose to add a switch or not (I think I'm the only one who has), I don't recommend that you leave the board powered on when not in use. I think the most popular solution has been to just use a power strip with a switch.

4. Connecting the pneumatics

Experience has revealed that the interface requires air pressure slightly higher than that used by a standard monotype installation. Usually around 20psi vs 15, though the exact setting will depend on the machine and climate, etc. I highly recommend that "shop pressure" air be supplied as close to the interface as possible. This allows a reservoir of air to rapidly expand when the air valves turn on, promoting smart activation of the air pins and mechanisms. I have had good luck placing a "mini regulator" directly to the air manifold and then supplying this air regulator with 30+ psi (shop pressure). I recommend using a reputable brand of regulator rather than "amazon" brand or the like, as they tend to have poor regulation capability. I like the ARO brand, which are reliable and only about $40 with an included pressure gauge. Parker and Milton are also good options. These usually take a 1/4" npt connection, so a 1/4 to 1/8 NPT adapter will be required. I can provide advise as to what fittings you'll need if you have any question.

5. Clamps

Over the years, I've found that there are a number of minor differences in the alignment of the various parts of the paper tower. You may find that the clamps to not fit properly and bind or are blocked by the sides of the paper tower. The clamps can be easily bent; simply mark the location that bends will be required and use a vice to hold the clamp tightly. Use a small ball peen hammer or similar to gently bend angles into the clamp so that it fits properly. From the side this might look like (exaggerated for explanatory purposes):




| | | | | | | | | | |



| | | <--bend | <--bend | | | | |

6. Alignment Pins

This is a very minor point but the part of the paper tower over which the punched paper normally passes is relatively soft material. When using the alignment pins to hold the air bar adapter in place, I recommend taking care not to apply "leverage" to the pins. Too much force (rocking) up and down can cause the pins to "mushroom" the holes. It's not proven a problem in practice, but it's always best to avoid damaging the machine whenever possible.

7. Cycle sensor "wheel"

Installing the sensor wheel typically involves removing the hand wheel and tapping a whole onto which the wheel is mounted. Most machines will give up their hand wheel easily, but if this is not an option, you might try adhering a pre-drilled block onto the shaft where this whole will normally be installed. This works pretty well if you have lined the hole on the center of the shaft and use a decent adhesive (E6000 might be a good choice here). If you do drill and tap the shaft, take care not to break the tap in the hole. If you experience resistance to turning the tap, immediately back off and clear the tap (and make sure the tap isn't bottoming in the hole). If the tap breaks, you'll be forced to resort to "gluing" a block onto the shaft instead.

8. I do recommend testing the interface when connected to air but before the air bar adapter is connected to the caster. Using the “Manual Pin Control” feature of the caster control program, you can test each signal to make sure the valve is working properly and that no foreign debris is lodged in the air passages of the adapter bar. A 1/16” (or closely sized) drill bit held in the hand or a pin vise can be used to clear any filings or adhesive that may have become lodged in the passageways.

9. I don’t recommend leaving the interface powered on for extended periods when it’s not in use. You could simply unplug it, or use a power strip with a switch. For a more elaborate installation, the interface board has provision for a remote power switch. There is currently a jumper wire in place, but you can clip and/or desolder the jumper and install a wire to a single pole, single throw switch mounted in a convenient location. Again, this is not strictly necessary, but is an option for you.

10. The quick disconnect fittings used to connect the pneumatic valves to the interface are securely crimped, however it is possible to pull the wires out, so I recommend that you not pull or tug on the wires themselves. The connectors can be quite stubborn, should you need to remove them. I recommend using needle nose pliers to gently work the connectors off, rather than grabbing them by hand. I can provide exact replacements, should any be accidentally pulled out; A temporary workaround is to wrap the bare wire through the hole in the terminal and fold it over. The tension on the wire is usually enough to make reliable contact. Should you wish to source your own replacements, it’s important to use insulated connectors, in order to prevent short circuiting.

    1. The process for installing the cycle sensor specifies drilling and tapping a hole on the end of the upper right hand jackshaft. That involves removing the hand wheel and a slight risk that the tap will snap if you’re not careful. An alternative approach would be to take a 24-36pt en space and drill and tap that, then using an adhesive like E6000 to affix that space with the tapped hole centered on the shaft. The sensor wheel exerts almost no force and so this alternate approach can save the hassle involved with tapping the shaft directly. You may need to source an alternate (shorter) standoff and machine screw from your local hardware supplier. You can also use a stack of washers if nylon or aluminum spacers are difficult to locate.
12. I’ve included some adhesive backed cable management hoops that can be used to keep the cycle sensor cable out of the way of moving parts. The adhesive works well if you degrease the chosen spots and then use something like window cleaner to remove any remaining residue.

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