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If a lathe could talk.........

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  • If a lathe could talk.........

    Okay, you might think I'm crazy but I'll take that chance and post this question.

    I was wondering if sound is imparted into a workpiece while it is being turned on a lathe - providing it isn't put in a grinding machine for a finish? It could record kind of like using a stylus.

    Just think of all the interesting things one might discover if it could be played back. It would sure put a new meaning to "chatter".

    Now most shops I have stepped into, country music or talk radio would most likely be there for posterity. Who knows, maybe one might even hear Edison saying "...I was just over at Tesla's having a small drink of Vodka and I saw what he was making. If I can get this machined today, I can claim...". Also, I'm sure one would hear billions and billions of, shall we say, one word sentences.

    All joking aside - could this be possible? I'm sure the "whir" of the motor would be a constant background but voices or other sounds could be a possibility.

    Anyway, give a reply. Humorous or serious -both are welcome.

    [This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 04-20-2003).]

  • #2
    Better yet, we could make a diafram and stylus and make our own recordings. Anyone want to try?



    • #3
      Very interesting idea. I'm sure that sound does get transferred, as does all other vibrations. You're right, motor noise and cutter friction noise will be overwhelming, but that doesn't mean that sound is not there. Problem is, the amplitude of the sounds will likely be within the range of brownian motion of atoms, and so won't be detectable or discernable. Just my opinion, of course.

      [This message has been edited by darryl (edited 04-20-2003).]
      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


      • #4
        I remember in years past when this was looked at very seriously by the archeological community inreference to pottery made on a potters wheel. Didn't work out though. If any audible noise were to be caaptured I would think that the noise of the material being torn apart would be the dominate component.
        Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.


        • #5
          John and Tubbs
          John stared at the configuration with absloute awe. It was working and he couldn't beleive it. Tubbs had an idea it may work out but they both had their money on a long shot.
          John and Tubbs were the best of friends, going back many years. They were both machinist's and spent a lot of time together in one or the other of their home shops. Talk about a mismatch of fellows. John was a tall and thin fellow, very wirey, while Tubbs kinda looked like a small pit bull. Tubbs was the one with the imagination and John was the perfectionist. They complimented each other nicely.
          Their current project started with Tubbs having a problem with a little Super 10 South Bend that he couldn't get a good finish with to save his life. He had tried bigger toolbits, stiffened the toolholder, tried all different speeds and feeds and was just about to give up when he thought about something he heard one time. He remembered something about electric current harmonics could impart a strange type of finish that kind of looked like a phonograph record. Remember those? Well, the more he thought about it the more he was convinced this must be his problem. After much discussion they got to wondering if this phenomon could possibly record sounds. John had another friend that was an electronics expert and the next time they got together John ran the idea past him. The friend told John it sure enough sounded like a strange idea to him, but he would think about it some. John got a call from him about a week later and the friend told him he had decided to build a contraption to test their theory.
          It was Friday evening and John and Tubbs were working in John's shop trying to get a fixture set up on Johns Bridgeport when the friend walked into the shop with a cardboard box under his arm. After the greetings and a few good natured jabs about somebody dropping their dial indicators on the floor today, the friend pulled a strange looking contraption from the box and said, "Fellows, here is your lathe playback machine." John and Tubbs looked at each other and grinned. They both ran for the piece of stainless that Tubbs had been turning a couple weeks before with the strange finish. Tubbs cought his toe on the old bluetick hound that was sleeping half under Johns Monarch lathe and stumbled half way across the shop. The old dog, scared out of his mind at being so crudly awakened in such a manor shot straight up into the chip pan with a good thud! Tubbs almost had his balance back when he careened into the Bridgeport, grabbed the fixture and they both went down with a great crash. The friend was standing there laughing himself to death. John didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but his jaw was sure slack. When John saw that Tubbs wasn't hurt, He said "Tubbs, if your done screwing around, we'll give our experiment a try." Tubbs was a little speachless and knew it would be a long time before he lived this one down. The poor old dog didn't show up for a week.
          They mounted the piece of stainless to the spindle of the playback machine and plugged in the electric cord. The stylis was adjusted and the friend said, "She's all ready fellows, lets see what happens!" Somebody turned the machine on and from the small speaker static came. Then a voice said, "That darned John doesn't know his butt from a hole in the ground! I knew it wasn't the toolbit, I can't imagine he thinks I can't sharpen a tool bit, the dummy!One of these day I'll just pop him in the nose!" They all looked at each other with eyes as big as coffee cups! It worked! Tubbs was so shocked, he forgot to look a little sheepish at being cought red handed ranting about his good friend while turning the piece of stainless.
          Well, they had made a discovery. Quite a shocker really. Who would ever have thought..... Well, they decided to keep their little discovery to themselve's for awhile as they didn't quite yet understand what this meant. For the next three months, they played every piece of turned steel they could find with the strange looking finish. Of course, 95% of the playbacks had nothing but machine noise, but sometimes they would be rewarded with voices. Sometimes pretty funny stuff, like one lathe operator having an affair with the boss's daughter. We won't say anymore about that one. And then one day John brought home a load of scrap from an old shop that had closed down. As he and Tubbs unloaded it, they come accross a piece with the markings they had come to look for and John took it in the shop and put on the workbench for later testing. Several days later they were cleaning Johns shop and Tubbs ran accross the old round stock and said, "Hey John, lets take a break and try out this piece!" The piece went into their time machine and Tubbs turn it on and adjusted the spindle speed until he dialed in a voice saying, "Well, I'll tell you this much, If they don't quit shooting the coppers, they won't last long, thats for sure!" John and Tubbs looked at each other with wrinkled eyebrows. Then the voice continued, "Bonnie was almost cought last week, but Buck saw the copper and managed to walk her in another direction before the copper saw her. They stopped in last week and I put them up for a couple days. Buck gave me $29,000 to hid away for them, and they took of again. Buck instructed me to tell you where I hid the money just in case something happen's to me. I dug a hole behind an old shed at 143 S. Second street. There were two old post's behind the building and I buried it there. There is also a lot of jewelry with the cash. The floor boss is heading this way, so scram." John and Tubbs fell into their chairs not knowing what to say for awhile.
          They pondered the message day and night. It was Tubbs that finally put it together. He enjoyed reading history and knew those names seemed to fit something. Then it hit him, Bonnie and Clyde! Clyde's brother was Buck! Now it all fit like a glove. John started doing some research about Bonnie and Clyde and discovered a couple fellows suspected of being in their gang did work at the old machine shop. Seems the fellows were killed in a shootout with the police while an attempt was being made to arrest them as they left work one evening. Then it occured to John and Tubbs, what if the money and jewels were still there? Could it be possible? They decided to find out. Problem was, they couldn't find any S. Second St. John finally found the street in some old archives at the planning and zoning office and discovered the name had been changed to Sunset Blvd in 1946. Well, this is getting kind of sureal, turns out John lives at Sunset Blvd., and if that wasn't shock enough, he lives at the same address! Tubbs believes the spot where the treasure was buried is right under Johns shop! They are now trying to decide whether or not to start digging through the concrete floor to see if they can find it. The guy that buried it and his friend were killed. Its doubtful that the rest of the gang knew where it was buried. Is it still there? What would you do?
          Michael Az


          • #6
            I'm going to have to give this a try. I think I have some old victrola parts in a drawer somewhere, and a big funnel for a speaker. I know I have enough pieces with chatter on them to try this out. But all they will probably say is: Give Me Support - Give Me Support - Give Me Support!


            • #7
              There was a recent post (Dr ROb?) where someone made a fine spiral cut on a disc and played it, just got noise. Might be if it were played backwards there would be a complaint or advice from the lathe on it?


              • #8

                Shellac, and then vinyl records are turned on a record lathe - the spiral groove that is cut in the surface is done with a heated diamond tip that vibrates side to side.

                I am stunned at the theoretical s/n ratio available with records - so far unachieved but them, but almost surpassed by Digital 24Bit 96kHz Super Audio Discs (Audio only DVD).

                IBM and others are working on memory systems that use atomic molecular storage of binary data in liquid and crystal forms - these could be in consumer hands within a decade.

                All matter and energy in the universe imparts effects on one another. Any two masses have gravitational effects on each other - even if we cannot measure the actual forces involved. An electric field induces a magnetic field and vice versa. Anything in the universe has effect on the rest of the universe and vice versa.

                Ergo, if the metal could talk, what tales it could tell! It chatters away, but we ignore it, despite it trying to tell us something...

                I had a point, but I forgot it.