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2.72 Lathe (2012)


This group project was the central component of the MIT class 2.72 that I took along with 5 group members in the spring of 2012 at MIT. The challenge was to design a small desktop lathe, using some pre-designed and some custom designed components. In addition to building the lathe we learned how to perform analysis and measure many different aspects of the lathe in order to make sure the design was sound. Some of the important concepts we went over included proper constraint of the moving parts of the lathe, preloading of rotational bearings, how to systematically calculate the stiffness of a complex assembly of parts held together by many different types of joining methods, and power analysis of the actual cutting.

The following are a few images of the project. For a different perspective check out the website of my group-mate Marcel Marcel's Website or visit the class website here

This is a photograph of our finished lathe - after lots of hours of work and hacking at things with files and dremal tools (just kidding) we started turning things.

This photo shows all of the parts of the lathe scientifically and precisely places on a table before being assembled one last time.

This shows the final rendering of the solidworks model of our lathe

This is an exaggerated image showing the finite element analysis of the cross slide component for the lathe. One of the unique aspects of this class is that the slide that provides radial motion for the turning operation is flexure based instead of relying on sliding or rolling element bearings. While this approach is interesting and has benefits including very high stiffness the big limitation is that it does not have a very large range of motion.


Video of our Lathe performing a turning operation on a 0.5" piece of aluminum stock.

Video showing a face cut operation of our lathe - with the annoying squealing sounds taken out and replaced by music.

Lathe 3d pdf