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The Lathe-Inator

MIT 2.72: Elements of Mechanical Design

 February 2023 - Present 

This spring, 6 other students and I are designing, modeling, and constructing a tabletop lathe. So far, we've constructed the lathe spindle, and along the way, I've learned so much about constraints, bearing lifetime, fatigue, and other mechanical parts. Only a month has passed, but I feel I have a much more grounded and thorough approach to engineering; by the end of the class, I feel I'll have much more confidence in my skills as an engineer.

My main role so far has been machining the spindle shaft; I volunteered for this task since I was familiar with turning shafts due to my 3 roll mill project. Even so, I learned so, so much about using lathes, from swapping their gears, to making crisp threads, to dial indicating. The spindle took lots of practice, but I'm glad for the time I spent on it because it challenged myself to go out of my comfort zone. At this point, I feel like the machine I know how to use the best is the lathe.

Now, my next task is to run FEA on our lathe flexures to determine the right dimensions for the performance we're looking for. Stay tuned!

P.S. Our team is called Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated, hence the name "Lathe-Inator."

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