This week’s selection is the 3D Printed Lathe by Thingiverse contributor MELKANO.
France-based MELKANO published an incredible design for a fully working lathe. Lathes are manufacturing systems that rotate a chunk of material at high speed, and an operator chisels off material in circular manner.
The project requires 3D printing of around two dozen parts, which obviously must be assembled into the working system. The design also requires an electric motor, power supply, and other electronic bits, as you might expect. There is an Arduino in the system to control the operations.
MELKANO has provided a couple of videos explaining the system, its design and assembly process. Note, however, that the video is presented entirely en Francais, so non-French speakers may be at a disadvantage. However, it is possible to follow the visuals to understand how it fits together.
This should be considered an “advanced” project for those interested in printing their own lathe, as it involves quite a few parts and a complex assembly. Nevertheless, it is now entirely possible to 3D print a working lathe.
Safety note: Lathes are among the most dangerous devices one can find in a workshop due to the high speed rotation. Material can easily fly off in unpredictable directions and use of PPE is strongly advised. The rotation can also catch onto clothing and limbs, with dire results. If you build this lathe — please take appropriate safety precautions.
Finally, I am impressed by the design because it shows what is possible to make, even with the least expensive 3D printers. All it requires is some imagination.