Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Big Machines: They aren't that scary.

I came to college not knowing ANYTHING about manufacturing or combustion engines. For you worry-warts out there: that's okay! A little secret: most of the guys in my classes didn't know either. 

Here's Serena's basics of manufacturing:
  1. What is the design of your part? If the part's feature is circular: use a lathe (like how they make baseball bats!).  If the part is basically cutting away material in straight paths: use a mill or drill press (which makes holes). If it's super intricate, use an EDM (Electric Discharge Machine) but chances are you won't need one right away.
  2. It's all about positioning.  Where does the tool go? Define the paths on paper (or in your head) before you even get CLOSE to a machine.  Easy enough. Actually sounds kinda fun. 
  3. Figure out how the machine (mill, lathe, EDM) works.  A basic shop class will take care of this. Most of the hard work is done in your head. 
  4. Manufacture your part! wasn't that hard! 
Next post: my experience with EDMs and the Intron, a tensile testing machine.

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