Wow, looks like its been almost 2 years since I participated with this group. I've been checking up on the articles and browsing the diary entries during that time, but I havn't been working on any of my own projects.
I started looking through my robot stuff about two months ago and started getting the itch to work on it again. I quickly recalled that I was stuck tring to come up with a design for the shaft encoders. Using encoders that had been salvaged from printers or tring to incorportate something off the shelf just wasn't working out. A friend of mine owns his own machine shop and a trip to visit him opened my eyes to a whole new set of options. His equipment is the type you use to fabricate very, very large parts, but I was able to learn the basics of lathe and mill work.
Anyway to make a long story short I purchased a mini- mill and mini-lathe last month and have been working on fabricating new axels and shaft encoders. The mill and lathe are made by a company in China called Sieg. I have been very pleased with the equipment so far. Sieg sells their equipement wholesale and it is branded and resold by several different companies including Harbor Frieght, Grizzley and Micro-Mark.
I purchased mine from Micro-Mark. Ask me what I think of Micro-Mark's customer service (hint: it won't be a positive review). There are numerous other sources for the equipment and accessories. www.littlemachineshop.com seems to have a wide selection and great customer service. They also have alot of educational material on using the equipment.
My website is in need of being updated. When I get some new stuff out there I'll let everyone know.