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pballdan
12-19-2006, 07:45 PM
I'm a senior in college and have been working in the machine shop there for the past 3 years. Since it's my last year, and probably will be a long time before I have my own equipment or access to another shop, I wanted to make something memorable. I'd consider myself at a medium skill but can't seem to find to many interesting projects out there that I think I could complete in less than 6 months time. What do you all think?

Evan
12-19-2006, 07:56 PM
Six months is enough time to make a small CNC lathe. I would post a picture of some that were made by engineering students at Harvey Mudd College but the telco here is having problems from the extreme weather recently and my server is cut off. Maybe later.

nheng
12-19-2006, 08:04 PM
How about a low temperature differential Stirling engine? Some will run on your hand heat, over a cup of coffee or something similar. Good gadget to show friends. Small steam (or compressed air) engines can be quite simple and quick. This one took my son and I about 6 hours or so:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=18724

About a year ago we toured Dartmouth's engineering school and shops and the students had small Stirling engines lined up. I think they ran on a small alcohol lamp.

Lots of projects are within specific areas of interest like robotics (tons of work, both manual and cnc), astronomy (telescope optical mounts, gadgets, accessories), automotive (custom work, racing work, welding, machining, painting, etc.).

If you're into CNC, how about a stainless steel and brass (with gold plating) chess set ;)

Lots of fun stuff out there besides the old hammer or screwdriver project. Do a Google or Google images on machine projects.

Den

Evan
12-19-2006, 08:23 PM
Here is the pic of the lathes built at HMC. It may or may not show up, my server has been off much of the day because the Telus routers are hooped.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics/minilathe.jpg

Frank Ford
12-19-2006, 08:45 PM
One memorable and fun project I did a while ago was the Tinker tool & cutter grinding fixture:

http://www.frets.com/ForumPix/tinker2.jpg

It might just come in handy once you have your own shop set up, too.

Guy Lautard has the plans and castings available:

http://www.lautard.com/

nheng
12-20-2006, 12:07 AM
Evan, It looks like HMC pulled those project pictures. Too bad because it is a good recruiting tool for kids whose old men are HSM'ers or otherwise into mechanical engineering and machine tools. I pulled copies of the high res movies a while ago just in case. Should have done the other images as well. Den

Evan
12-20-2006, 12:13 AM
Yeah, they did pull the lathe project. I have the pics and the full set of drawings in PDF and Solidworks format.

barts
12-20-2006, 02:59 AM
When I was at the university I had to take a machine shop lab course
as part of my major (mechanical engineering); since I'd taken shop in
high school I finished the assigned projects in a few weeks. I then built
a small oscillating steam engine designed mostly to sit on my desk...

This engine has started countless discussions, and has been fiddled
with by many, many people.

So: built something interesting and build it of of something that will
cope with lots of handling....

- Bart

SGW
12-20-2006, 10:11 AM
Jerry Howell's "Miser" engine is interesting to build. See http://www.jerry-howell.com/
Even if you can't get it to run from the heat of your hand, you ought to be able to get it to run on a cup of hot coffee.

skeeter
12-20-2006, 12:10 PM
I think of a couple that you might try.

The first is a Knurling tool.

http://www.metalwebnews.com/howto/knurl/knurl.html

The second would be a tool to turn round knobs.

You will have to use Google on this one.

Hey you may have time to build both.

Congratulations on your finishing up your class.

:D :D

Magic9r
12-21-2006, 06:32 PM
Build a Quorn T&C grinder, from scratch rather than using a casting kit.
That should keep you busy!
Nick ;)

dan s
12-21-2006, 07:43 PM
Build a Quorn T&C grinder, from scratch rather than using a casting kit.
That should keep you busy!
Nick ;)

I second this idea.

gundog
12-22-2006, 08:21 PM
I saw a CNC bender that an engineering student built for a project that would be neat to build and like the CNC lathes Evan showed would give you a usefull tool when done. I think if you do a search on this site and on the practical machinist site you will find the bender. I will look and if I find it I will post a link.
GD

DirtDobber
12-22-2006, 10:26 PM
This is the link to the hydraulic bender project that gundog spoke of:

http://www.offroadfabnet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=218

gundog
12-23-2006, 01:10 AM
That is the one thanks DirtDobber I could not find it. I am going to save the link someday if I get real motivated I may try and build one.
GD

pballdan
12-25-2006, 02:50 AM
Thanks for all your replies, I really like the tool bit grinder, but I do think I've come up with something that I can make which will be very usefull as well. A while ago I built a keg-o-rator, and although it's great to have draught beer whenever I want at home, when I go to a friends place I have to buy a case. So a friend sugested that I build a small pressurized thermos with a spout on it which I could fill from the keg and bring werever. I did some thinking and I think I can use those 12 gram CO2 cartridges they use in BB guns and a build a small regulator. I think the actual pitcher part will be made either from acrylic or stainless. A trigger of some sort will operate a valve to dispense the beer... Well it's going to take some planning but I'll keep you updated!

I also have been thinking about building a small model transmission (A DF-188 from a deere log skidder) but the cost of gear cutters is making me shy away. I was thinking I could grind my own cutter to use on the shaping attachment but I dont think I can make a correct involute profile to well. Any other ways to cut gears easy?

Your Old Dog
12-25-2006, 08:24 AM
Thanks for all your replies, I really like the tool bit grinder, but I do think I've come up with something that I can make which will be very usefull as well. A while ago I built a keg-o-rator, and although it's great to have draught beer whenever I want at home, when I go to a friends place I have to buy a case. So a friend sugested that I build a small pressurized thermos with a spout on it which I could fill from the keg and bring werever. I did some thinking and I think I can use those 12 gram CO2 cartridges they use in BB guns and a build a small regulator. I think the actual pitcher part will be made either from acrylic or stainless. A trigger of some sort will operate a valve to dispense the beer... Well it's going to take some planning but I'll keep you updated!


Hey, clever idea! That would look good on a job resume for skill sets! :D I think Evans idea is much better, it fits in a closet when not needed and gives you something to do when bored. It also makes you a machinist and not a drinker! Remember, it may be a good many years before you have access to the kind of equipment you can lay your hands on today. Make the best of it.