Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

the lathe is basically the one machine required to kickstart the industrial revolution. (and a way to drive it ofcourse).

Also, three surfaces that can be ground truely flat is also vital.

i can highly recommend the youtube series "machine thinking" if you have interest in this[0], aswell as the book "the perfectionist"

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNRnrn5DE58 [1] https://www.amazon.com/dp/0062652559

Although truly flat surfaces can be easily generated (relative to building a screw cutting lathe from scratch). It just takes a lot of time and labor, but lapping two granite plates together would produce a good-enough surface plate; considering the accuracy likely to be achieved with a one-off homemade lathe.

Realistically, the absolute hardest part would be the castings. Cast iron is no simple feat, as I'm sure the future posts in this series will show.

Lapping three surfaces together is the path to flats.

Lapping just two together is how we make concave/convex hemispherical pairs for telescope mirrors.


The Gingery books' path is via cast aluminium.

Here is a video series of someone building the Gingery Lathe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPGZg45dGXA

Aluminum is going to be much harder to manufacture on Mars than iron, at least initially, because it requires so much more energy to process.

Cast iron is much easier than steel. You won't get to the lathe without cast iron (and what will you lathe anyway?)

You can make a lathe from other materials. Most people building one in their garage these days use aluminum. Cast iron is better in a lot of ways, but the temperatures of aluminum are much easier to deal with, and today we can get good aluminum alloys to work with. You can also use bronze if you wanted. Granite is probably better than cast iron if you design for it. Concrete has been used commercially.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact