In order to make any of the parts that I need to complete the business card, I needed to be able to use the machine shop that's available to Georgia Tech students to use. I've been an avid consumer of YouTube machining channels for last year or two, so it was awesome to finally get some hands on time with the mill and lathe.
The class was split into two individual three hour sessions that were a week apart. The first class was lathe training and the second class was mill training. We also received some training on the vertical and horizontal band saws. After each class we were given a technical drawing of a part to create on the machine that was covered. To receive certification to use the machine shop, each part had to be made and checked off by an administrator.
Here are the parts we had to make.
The lathe training focused on manual lathe techniques using the DRO. We learned how find a reference and how to dimension cuts. We also learned how to set the gearing up to do the automatic feed to make a cleaner surface finish. -- The mill training was much more fun. Most of the traditional knee mills in the shop are two-axis CNC controlled with a three-axis digital readout. The interface allows for programming of milling operations. The software keeps track of when the Z axis must be moved, and prompts the operator to move the tool up or down manually before continuing.
We were taught about some of the basic parts of the knee mill: when to use a collet chuck or a drill chuck, how to lock the quill, and how to use the powered draw bar. We were also taught how to use an edge finder, the difference between traditional and climb milling, and the basics of using the ProtoTrak CNC software/DRO installed on the mill. Overall, pretty basic stuff, but enough to make a fair amount of complex parts on the mill.
Here's a pocket being milled into the part I had to make.
Here are my completed parts.
Although I'd like to get onto milling the business card parts, I did want to get a little more practice. They had some more plans for another project that a lot of people in the machine shop build, which is a little C clamp. It includes multiple parts that have to be machined on the mill and lathe. For some more practice translating drawings into 3D models, I put it into Solidworks.
I got pretty far into making the main body of the clamp before realizing I'd like to get going with the business card. So I've stopped working on it for now. Machining the clamp taught me how to think about the ordering of cuts and how to strategize how the part will be clamped.
If anyone is looking for some interesting/educational videos regarding machining, I'd recommend (in no particular order), This Old Tony, Abom79, Clickspring, NYC CNC, Keith Fenner, and Suburban Tool Inc, to name a few.