Machine Shop Classes

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This page is for the machine shop classes for the space. Currently basic lathe classes are being taught, but this may expand to include other classes/tools as they become available. (This page is a work in progress, please contribute!)


Further Reading

Lathe Instruction Manual

MIT Lathe Instruction Videos

Material Sources

HacDC Wiki Page: Suppliers


American Science and Surplus $20 Digital Calipers

Lessons Learned

List of tips gleaned from our own mistakes experiences. Please contribute (with attribution / date).

  • The speed settings from the classes are suggestions only. When in doubt, sacrifice a small test piece to fiddle with speeds (both motor speed and hand speed) and find the optimal settings. (Tom C. 10/13/10)
  • When boring and turning, it's much easier to stand at the END of the machine (so you're looking down the axis of the part) than to stand "in front" where you'd normally think to. (Tom C. 10/13/10)
  • Don't be afraid to use both hands on the dials. They're small, but two hands will give better control and smoother finishes. (Tom C. 10/13/10)


Suggested additions to our tool selection, classes, projects, etc.

Operations to Learn

  • Knurling
  • Tapered cutting

Tools to Buy

  • Knurling Tool

See also Wiki Procurement Page

Class Projects

  • DIY Flashlight (VERY advanced, we may need to work up to this)
  • Control Knobs (Possibly pair with an electronics class?)
  • Aesthetics and Finishes (mini-class) - we make a handful of decorative rings with different tools, they make great gifts!
    • Knurling
    • Straight and angled grooving
    • Polishing
  • Threading (may take some time, I (Tom) will need to teach myself first)

Successful Parts!

Feel free to post up proof of your awesome part-making skills here. Stories and photos encouraged.

I lathed up some couplers for my reprap Z axis rods. Somewhat crude in that I used rectangular stock, but it is a vast improvement over the plastic part that had failed. Piece is aluminium, and was drilled through at 5mm and then drilled half way through at 8mm. I followed up by cross drilling at 3mm and tapping for 4mm screws to secure the shafts in the coupler. -John Lathed motor to threaded rod connector

I hobbed a bolt for use in a reprap Wade's extruder. The bolt was a 5/16 x 2.5" hex head bolt that was to be used in the extruder. The bolt was notched, then an m3 tap was put in the headstock and the bolt was hobbed to have teeth to move the filament. A hobbing jig is in the reprap bin for future use in case anyone else needs to create this part. The whole procedure took less than 10 minutes. -John