BOCA BEARINGS 2014 INNOVATION COMPETITION

Concrete Lathe

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Pat Delany
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ABOUT THIS PROJECT


Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another function?

It is a way to build very low cost machine tools in the developing world. The multi-purpose machines could be used in schools, shops and small factories.

When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?

I started the low cost tool project 10 years ago. Several years into the project I saw a mention of World War One tools, made from concrete, that were used to make millions of cannon shells. It wasn't until eighteen months ago that I was able to find a 3 page article in a 1915 magazine that I was able to use to get started on the plans for a screw cutting metal lathe using this type of construction. These last months have been used to design the changes needed to convert the hundred year old munitions making machine to an accurate general purpose metal lathe that could be built in rural areas of developing countries.

What was your goal in building this project?

The design of a machine tool that could be made by a mechanic using regular hand tools, very low cost materials (concrete mix, scrap) and little or no "outside" machining.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

Machine tools are critical to the problem of raising the standard of living in the Developing World yet are unaffordable in most areas. My idea uses a unique but almost forgotten technology to drastically lower machine tool costs. I had to invent a simple way to give the machine screw cutting ability. I also had to invent a way to pre-align the machine carriage.

What makes your idea unique?

Machine tools are critical to the problem of raising the standard of living in the Developing World yet are unaffordable in most areas. My idea uses a unique but almost forgotten technology to drastically lower machine tool costs. I had to invent a simple way to give the machine screw cutting ability. I also had to invent a way to pre-align the machine carriage.

In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?

Tapered roller bearings on the spindle would give the machine the accuracy and spindle speed needed to produce many types of related lathes, drills and milling machines.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?

This is not "pie in the sky". The concrete machine tool concept brought the designer, Lucien Yeomans the nation's highest engineering award, the Franklin Prize. My changes were meant to scale down his 10 ton machine and make it so that it could be built and aligned in relatively primitive conditions.

How will you use the $10,000 prize?

To get the word out to schools in the expectation that news of the machines would migrate from there.

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