April 5th, 2009


The MultiMachine. 3rd world machine shops from junked engine blocks.

The design goals of the MultiMachine were to create an easily-built machine tool, made from "junk," that is nonetheless all-purpose and accurate enough for production work.

In almost every kind of machining operation, either the work piece or the cutting tool turns. If enough flexibility is built into the parts of a machine tool involved in these functions, the resulting machine can do almost every kind of machining operation that will physically fit on it. The MultiMachine starts with the concept of 3-in-1 machine tools - basically a combination of metal lathe, mill and drill press - but adds many other functions. It can be a 10-in-1 (or even more!) machine tool.

At a high-level, the MultiMachine is built using vehicle engine blocks combined in a LEGO-like fashion. An almost no-cost version of the machine can be built by using engine blocks originally made with cylinder "sleeves" and then replacing bearings, adjusters and pulleys with parts cast from a very strong zinc aluminum alloy that can be made from vehicle salvage.

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