Mini Antique / Vintage Style South Bend Lathe in CAD and future DIY build

So life is busy. VERY busy. I start a new job on Monday as a CNC Machinist. Which is good. I need a job. and the money. And i shouldn’t hate it. I’m actually qualified, but i don’t feel qualified, and no idea what to really expect. Nervous. I guess you could say i’m nervous.

And i’m getting married in a month. yep. scary. Way scary. I guess i shouldn’t be freaked out, but i’m more than freaked out. It’s freaky. yeah. it is. And the worst part? People don’t really advertise that it might be normal to freak out. ‘Cause i mean, it could be normal. But i don’t feel normal. I feel weird. like i’m the weirdo in the room. Bleh, It’s terrible. argh.

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So yeah. In other news, i really want my own machine tools. But i don’t exactly have a ton of cash to spend. I’m thinking about trying to build my own gingery inspired mini lathe. I mean, honestly, a Chinese made mini 7″x14″ Grizzly brand lathe is pretty affordable as lathes go and at least usable for the money. And most people would argue that if you make your own lathe from scratch you don’t really save much money and the machine you end up with is crap and has terrible runout and tolerance. And you know what? they’d be right on all counts. But you know what? I’m probably going to attempt it anyway for a few reasons. 1. i don’t exactly have the permission of my fiance to spend that much right now, and 2. i think i can sufficiently cut enough corners to get some sort of working machine. Which is really all i want so i can scratch this itch. Plus making things like this yourself really teaches you a lot you can’t get otherwise. Like when i build my own 3d printer from scratch. It actually cost me a bit more than just buying one, but in the end i know my printer inside and out. And i learned a lot along the way. Like A LOT!

And recently I’ve been greatly inspired by the Makercise videos by Cressel Anderson. It just goes to show you that it IS possible. All thanks to this dude who is not afraid to fail or give up or listen to the nay sayers.

 

So, yeah. I’m currently designing my own gingery hybrid lathe. I don’t have pictures of it yet, but i may come back and edit this post when i do. It incorporates some gingery simplicity with some better design ideas i picked up from the vintage south bend lathe blueprints i modeled up in Solidworks recently. It was actually really fun to draft up a lathe from scratch. I even posted it on GrabCAD for those of you who are interested.

https://grabcad.com/library/8-inch-lathe-v0-1-2-1

 

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Rediscovering 3d CAD because of 3D Printers

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This past week (maybe 2) I’ve been utterly obsessed with 3D printer stuff. It has gotten me excited about 3D drafting and CAD all over again. Simply because you can create a 3 dimensional object on a computer in a matter of minutes or hours and render it to look completely realistic, but now because of 3d printers you can actually make those objects (if you so wished)! Awesome!

Yesterday and Today I’ve been playing around with Solidworks again. My ancient 2007 version of solidworks. lol. But it works non-the-less. Although i’d love to try out Autodesk 123d Design (which is free). But, why oh why are there still no good CAD programs that run nativity on Linux. Especially if you have a Mac version. If it runs on Mac it can easily be ported to Linux. Why do you think the Arduinos and the rep-raps, and open-source, and so many other great things have taken over the world by storm? Yes it’s because they are great products, but also because they are cross-platform! Okay, End-Of-Rant.

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But Seriously, i actually really like designing something in CAD if it’s something i’m excited about. Today i ventured into the realm of something relatively simple, test tube racks. But sadly there are not currently very good designs for test tube racks available. Which actually surprised me. The three best places I look for pre-made CAD files are at 3dContentCentral, which is the oldest site of this kind that i ever encountered. It is mostly for people who use solidworks, but the great thing about the site is that it has a tool that can convert to and from many different CAD formats, including solidworks formats, IGES, STEP, STL, etc. The second is GrabCad. GrabCad is a new community also aimed at engineers sharing CAD models freely. It dosen’t have the nice file converter that 3dContentCentral has, but it has a vibrant community that provides feedback, help, and will check out your designs. Someone on GrabCad actually helped render the nice  looking wood rendering of my 1950s style test tube rack. How nice! Thank You! And the third is the famous MakerBot Thingiverse. Thingiverse is less focused on CAD formats and instead is focused on creative designs optimized for 3D printing. At minimum an STL file will be available for anyone to download and print on any 3d printer they have access to. I currently dont own my own 3d printer, but am currently using the Lulzbot mini that currently resides at my local library. How’s that for public access?!!

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So these are the three test tube racks i modeled today in Solidworks. Not super amazing i suppose, but i’m proud of them. My favorite is the nice wooden 1950s style test tube rack. I partly chose to start with that one because i have one that looks just like that looks like it was made by a monkey in china. It seriously is not as nice as my virtual one and not anywhere near as fancy looking either. But also because it is the standard test tube rack featured in the banned 1960s DIY chemistry book: The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments. It was just begging to be brought into the modern world.

I then ventured into modeling a simple test tube rack because there were none available that i liked. I may make a smaller version of this one for 3d printers that have small print beds. Perhaps one with only 4 test tubes.

The last one i modeled after a nice round plastic test tube rack I’ve seen on the internet. I don’t have one, but I’ve been meaning to buy one. But i wanted to model one in Solidworks and create one that fit on a Lulzbot mini 6″ X 6″ print area that other people could print out too. So i made one of appropriate size and then made it able to split in two to be printed easily. I really like how the design came out. I hope to be able to test it out by printing my own sometime.

1950s Style Test Tube Rack:

Thingiverse3dContentCentralGrabCAD

Economy Style Test Tube Rack:

Thingiverse3dContentCentralGrabCAD

Round Mini Test Tube Rack:

Thingiverse3dContentCentralGrabCAD