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  • #31
    Originally posted by J Tiers
    It is entirely too high tech.... No I am not kidding.

    In many of the areas where this might be useful, all sort of the parts required (which don't look too bad to us), are totally unavailable.
    Having travelled quite a few third world countries during my time in the military, I would tend to agree with your point about materials J, but to add further...many thrid world countries do indeed have modern machine tools. I was rather shocked a few years ago on a raid in Northern Iraq to happen across a Haas machine center that was less than a year old. Anyone that pays attention on PM will also notice once every month or so new posters asking questions from Afghanistan, Africa, and Indonesia. Manufacturing does occur in every country, just not every part of every country, but that is largely due to a lack of demand and not the impossibility of getting tools in these areas.

    Unfortunately, in this country we try our best to help the "third world" without realizing the true capabilities of many of these nations. More appropriately said, I simply think we do not realize how truly close to being considered a member of the thrid world we really are.

    IMHO these "plans" are more appropriate for the home shopper in this country who would like to attempt to make their own tools, though it would be far cheaper, easier, and result in higher quality to simply buy some older iron and refurbish as necessary.
    Last edited by justanengineer; 12-04-2011, 01:40 AM.
    "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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    • #32
      Originally posted by justanengineer
      Having travelled quite a few third world countries during my time in the military, I would tend to agree with your point about materials J, but to add further...many thrid world countries do indeed have modern machine tools. I was rather shocked a few years ago on a raid in Northern Iraq to happen across a Haas machine center that was less than a year old.
      The question of "appropriate technology" comes up...... In Iraq, I have little doubt that many people have the ability to run and program that. Iraq qualifies as a proto-industrial country, largely due to war, war materials, and the various efforts of Saddam Hussein. Spares and repair...? probably, but less certain.

      Move South, and there is a big problem..... Africa has not had an industrial society for perhaps 4000 years. There IS some evidence for lathes of some sort in use somewhat before the egyptian Pharoas, due to hard stone bottles and vases being made quite round.... But nothing recent.

      A lathe such as illustrated is for making machine parts...... as repairs, or new. You must have, or need, machines to need a lathe.

      Machines such as regular lever pumps can be made with lathes, but lathes are not really required, they just can be used to make better pumps.

      Most attempts by outsiders to supply technology to backward areas fails*..... Either the materials are not present, the need is not present, or those are OK, but the local ability to maintain the equipment is lacking.

      What we think is "junk" and available for use is repaired or re-purposed in poor areas..... nothing is wasted, nobody can afford to waste it.

      Oh, yeah.... That $100......... in some backward places, that is a year's income for several people..... An impossible amount of money.....

      The methods that work are when the locals get the knowledge, and then put it to use, selecting what THEY need, and leaving out other things that outsiders may THINK are needed.

      And then the locals make the stuff themselves, using local materials. Having done that, there is no maintenance issue, they know how to make it, fix it, etc.

      * An exception is cell phones...... they are actually simple to use, and they are so complex that even in highly industrial countries they are almost never repaired, even rechargeable batteries are seldom replaced when they go bad.

      Consequently, the issue of repairs does not come up. The only other issue is tower repeaters, and those are usually field unit-swapped anyhow, again no issue in the field aside from transport.... Cell service is not available in really "out there" areas, so.....
      CNC machines only go through the motions.

      Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
      Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
      Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
      I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
      Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

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      • #33
        I'm a Rotarian & have seen some amazing results for a few dollars. An example is a guy that started making artificial limbs from PVC pipe for about $5 ea that turned beggers into productive citizens from mine riddled counties. Or a current project of making bio-sand water filters that provide clean water for several families for a delvered,set up cost of $60 including teaching the families to use & maintain it. Or building complete homes in India for $600 ea. So it is possible. My point being many times don't take a lot of money to help people, it takes dedication, teamwork, leadership & a workable idea. I'm no expert but I would think the full size version would be the one as it's been made,was sucsessful, proven & the plans sound like they are still available. How do I get a set of the original plans for the full size one that was produced?

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        • #34
          This subject has always interested me, that of making your own lathe. With the most basic of requirements known (need a headstock with spindle, a bed, a tool carrier, and possibly a tailstock), you can proceed to design the means of tying it all together, which is to say make your own lathe, basically. I applaud those who are willing to go through the process of designing and subsequently building the machine.

          But we all would have different criteria to meet. In this case it's to be able to build the thing from the most common of materials in order to be able to have a lathe in the first place. In my case it would be to improve upon, or eliminate the deficiencies of an existing design, in order to be able to have a lathe of sufficient capacity, rigidity, smoothness, and tightness that I could not afford otherwise. Others here have shown machines which they have made to their own specs, which apparently work fine, and in which the various 'innovations' they have incorporated are doing the job they were expected to.

          In the past few years, I've had interest in building a lathe, using round rod ways and a surface plate as the basis- a gantry type milling machine having a relatively long x travel to accommodate long workpieces- and amongst other ideas, a vertical spindle, large bore, large diameter face plate, gantry type powered tool holder machine for short but large diameter work. I've also been interested in epoxy/granite construction, though I haven't heard much about that recently. I do not yet weld, so I would have to farm that part out if I was to incorporate a re-bar structure within a casting. That alone puts me off, as I'm seldom particularly happy with work done by others when I'm looking for a fair degree of precision.

          The guy making chess pieces- whether or not he had a 'real' lathe inside his shop, the one he was using in his video was working according to his expectations. To me it was unacceptable crude, but he's not me and I'm not him. For me to build a machine, the design must prove to me, before anything is even built, that it will be at least equivalent in specs to what I'm desiring to build. If I can't see that it is going to satisfy, I won't build it.

          Coming back to topic now- while I applaud the effort in the OPs project, I wouldn't build my lathe like that. I can see that it wouldn't satisfy my minimum specs. Putting it simply, I think it's a wet noodle. No insult intended-
          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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          • #35
            There are lathes in all of Africa. The point about low annual income is irrelevant. There are rich people in Africa. When I first went to Kenya I was surprised at the proportion of Mercedes on the road. I worked for a municipality that had a loan program to help employees buy their own bicycles.

            It would make a lot more sense to buy used US and European scrap machine tools and rebuild them with local (cheap) labor. Cost of transportation should be no more than taking them to China for melting down anyway.
            "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

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            • #36
              Originally posted by jep24601
              There are lathes in all of Africa. The point about low annual income is irrelevant. There are rich people in Africa. When I first went to Kenya I was surprised at the proportion of Mercedes on the road. I worked for a municipality that had a loan program to help employees buy their own bicycles.

              Riches (and politics) are local............ The keyword is "municipality" in the above....

              While I personally have not been there, I know several people who have been to Africa, on various projects, peace corps, etc. They don't paint quite the same picture of widespread industry

              There are vast stretches of some countries where there are no "real" roads.... people almost do not use money....have no services.... it is 24 hours or more journey to any medical facility, let alone a doctor. Some of these areas don't even have latrines, so flies cause a lot of blindness through eye infections spread from crap.

              While it is arguable that needs for machine tools are small in such areas, they still could improve their life if they had good pumps and so forth, and availability of basic tools along with the knowledge to use them and keep them working would be good.

              I don't think there are enough old machines *of suitable types and sizes* in teh US to fill the void, even if we all donated our entire shops, and took up playing bridge instead.

              Most of what we have would likely not suit them at all, zero parts availability, dependent on good electricity, heavy, over-featured, etc. The best machines for many areas would be stuff more like old Barnes treadle lathes.....

              And Africa is by no means alone..... some areas of asia, and south America are nearly as remote and lacking in services.
              CNC machines only go through the motions.

              Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
              Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
              Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
              I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
              Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

              Comment


              • #37
                As an owner of a very cheap and inadequate Chinese 3in1 lathe, etc.. I have 2 contradictory points:

                1) my junk lathe is more than adequate for most of the very simple things I ask of it... 'turning a shaft down to fit a wheel' kind of things. Yeah, it probably takes me longer but that's not really a concern for me. Basically, it makes an otherwise near impossible task possible. So, I can see even a junk lathe as useful. With time, I've also done some fairly precise things with mine - at least to my standards.

                2) I've spent way more than the cost of my lathe on accessories. I see that as a problem for this design. What about work-holding? What about anything besides turning between centers with a basic tool bit? I wouldn't expect a person building this lathe to need all the extra crap I've bought for mine. Hell, I've not used half the crap I've bought. But, doing most anything is going to take some extra stuff, and it's going to cost more than $100. Yes, some of it could be built... but bootstrap-tooling take a whole lot of time. Somehow, that seems impractical for someone trying to feed a family with the equipment. Yeah, it could be possible for someone to make a specific set of tooling for one particular task... but that's not a maintenance jobber-type shop... which takes flexibility and that takes a lot of tooling.

                Honestly, I'm interested in the design... mostly the conceptual ideas rather than exact plans, but I'm interested. Of course, if I were to make anything, it would have mt3 spindles so I could use all of the tooling I already have. No idea how practical it would be for really poor people starting with nothing, but I have my doubts.

                Besides that, isn't there some project out there for converting an engine block to a lathe for developing-world areas? How would that compare to this?
                http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by macona
                  What a piece of crap.

                  Sorry, it just is. Looks like it was designed by someone who heard the description of a lathe and designed it from there.
                  Wow. Are you having a bad day?
                  The plans strike me as the lathe's equivalent of a Dobsoinian sidewalk scope
                  and I mean that is the best possible way. the purpose is to reduce barriers to the point that something (anything) is achievable without prior knowledge or peers with experience. would it be crap? yes for many purposes but it would still be better than nothing for the person who could think this was a viable option and most importantly, the next one they built would be better.
                  all in all I would rather have thought disparaging an enthusiast was beneath you.
                  Last edited by Astronowanabe; 12-05-2011, 04:55 AM.
                  --
                  Tom C
                  ... nice weather eh?

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                  • #39
                    The interesting bit is not: can I build a lathe for $xxx, but: how good a lathe can I build for $xxx.

                    Phil

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                    • #40
                      Without pictures and a video, it's vapor ware and hardly even worth commenting on.

                      And I have also been in more then a few parts of the world that they 'nominally' are aiming this at --and as has been noted it's an absurd notion --if the things exist that one would use a lathe for, then better lathes then this also exist there. Where those things don't exist, this (or any) lathe is a silly non necessity. A goatherder society needs lots of help, but a lathe isn't high on the list.

                      Well we all have a viewpoint, mine is that this is just 'mother earth news' type dreaming about total self sufficiency on a 5 acre parcel of land. Only gonna work if you don't count money from mom and dad that keeps things going.

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                      • #41
                        I always wondered why people that want to build things like this don't use more car parts? Junk cars can be had pretty much anywhere for cheap if not free and have almost everything you need to build a lathe, mill, shaper, surface grinder, etc.
                        Andy

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by + or - Zero

                          And I have also been in more then a few parts of the world that they 'nominally' are aiming this at --and as has been noted it's an absurd notion --if the things exist that one would use a lathe for, then better lathes then this also exist there. Where those things don't exist, this (or any) lathe is a silly non necessity. A goatherder society needs lots of help, but a lathe isn't high on the list.
                          There IS a "flavor" of someone having decided that "these folks need lathes", rather independent of reality.

                          I suppose the best way to put it is that NOBODY NEEDS LATHES. NOBODY. NOWHERE.

                          A "lathe" is of NO USE...... it is an utterly worthless and expensive item.

                          What people NEED is what is MADE WITH the lathe..... They just put up with the lathe as a means to get what they really need, and ONLY if that is the sole (or best) way to get what they really need.

                          The lathe does not grow food, it does not weave clothing, it does not drill wells..... it is not useful to build houses, and is only marginally useful to make furniture. The only reason to have it is if you need it to make something ELSE that helps you to get food, clothing, water, housing, etc.

                          The people in remote areas already HAVE these things, although very possibly not enough of them ..... the reason to have a lathe might be to do a better job of getting these things. But the lathe is only one possible tool for making other tools for getting more of those things.

                          Many of these areas would be better served by that bow lathe that made chess pieces.... That guy could make cart axles, wheel spokes and whatnot lickety-split. Stuff that could be locally useful, using local materials to make it.

                          If you can come up with compelling reasons why the contemplated lathe would have been a needed, useful, or even usable tool on a US farm west of the Mississippi a hundred and 50 years ago, then you have a small chance of it being useful elsewhere in backward areas.....

                          I suspect that there IS no such set of reasons, and that the lathe is a solution in search of a problem for much of the area where it is supposed to be used.


                          Originally posted by vpt
                          I always wondered why people that want to build things like this don't use more car parts? Junk cars can be had pretty much anywhere for cheap if not free and have almost everything you need to build a lathe, mill, shaper, surface grinder, etc.
                          That has been discussed..... junk cars are a source of material, but are not common..... in areas of potential usefulness, neither "junk" nor cars are common.... Any junk is recycled into something ASAP.
                          Last edited by J Tiers; 12-05-2011, 09:43 AM.
                          CNC machines only go through the motions.

                          Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                          Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                          Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                          I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                          Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Yes but machine tools are also useful for repairing or recycling other things that are useful. The farmer on a US farm west of the Mississippi a hundred and fifty years ago might not have needed a lathe but the local blacksmith could probably have put it to good use.

                            Phil

                            PS: You can't prove that something is not useful by identifying situations where it is not useful.
                            Last edited by philbur; 12-05-2011, 10:17 AM.

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                            • #44
                              Where would we, who participate in this Forum, be had the machine age never come? I submit that the lathe is probably the most important advance of the machine age. Almost all other machine tools are based on the lathe or some form of it. With that said, any lathe is better than no lathe. In my youth, when I had almost no money, I would have given my eye teeth for a lathe of any type, in any condition and the knowledge to use it rather than making do with a bench grinder (home made) and electric drill to "turn" things to size. Even having access to those tools was a blessing others in my neighborhood didn't have. Whether this lathe concept will actually perform as desired, I have no idea. Hopefully someone will take up the challenge to actually make one so we can see what it does and doesn't do. Meanwhile, I see no need to belittle the design or thought process that gave birth to it. Most of us here are blessed to have the where with all to own factory built machines of some sort. Others in the world are not so fortunate. Personally, I am blessed to live in the U.S. and have had the opportunity to become educated and earn a good living. If those less fortunate take up the challenge to build a machine, concrete or otherwise, to improve their condition, I applaud their efforts, regardless of how their efforts stack up against the machines of the more blessed among us.

                              To those here who think people in poverty don't need a lathe I say, give a man food and feed him for a day, give him the tools to do his own farming and he is free to feed himself forever. While a lathe may not be his first concern, after he has a source of food and shelter, the lathe and other tools, along with knowledge will allow him to further improve his condition.
                              Last edited by firbikrhd1; 12-05-2011, 12:17 PM.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Astronowanabe
                                Wow. Are you having a bad day?
                                The plans strike me as the lathe's equivalent of a Dobsoinian sidewalk scope
                                and I mean that is the best possible way. the purpose is to reduce barriers to the point that something (anything) is achievable without prior knowledge or peers with experience. would it be crap? yes for many purposes but it would still be better than nothing for the person who could think this was a viable option and most importantly, the next one they built would be better.
                                all in all I would rather have thought disparaging an enthusiast was beneath you.

                                A dob has science and known practices behind it, this mess is just theoretical conglomeration of ideas being sold as lathe plans. And a dob is many times simpler to design and build than a lathe.

                                A bad tool is not better than no tool. This seems to be a misconception. Not having the tool and finding another path to accomplish your ends will be less frustrating than making a tool that should but wont, do.

                                There are many ways of doing traditional lathe type work with limited facilities. Worn shafts can be built up with brazing and set between pillow blocks and turned to shape freehand with a rest, wood lathe style.

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