Machine tools

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Ladies and Gentlemen, please meet Frank Hoose and Chris Wood, great resources on low-cost but well-made machine shop equipment and related information, including educational materials.

Frank and Chris, please meet the One Laptop Per Child community, which is working on the full range of educational software and content for the OLPC XO computer. The XO is currently (or in some cases, very soon) going into nine countries (a few locations in the US, Uruguay, Peru, Haiti, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Mongolia), with more being announced at odd intervals. I have just seen a report that Sri Lanka has signed on. Brazil has had some trouble with its procurement bidding process, but definitely wants to join in.

If you would like to join this community, you can do so at Please tell us more about the online interest groups, besides these.

"One of the best sources of information is the 7x10 interest group [1], a very knowledgeable and experienced group of guys who are always ready to welcome and help newcomers. Discussions are by no means limited to the 7x lathes so feel free to ask any question even remotely related to machining and you will get plenty of good advice...The 7x12minilathe group [2] is a spinoff of the 7x10 group, limited to on-topic discussions. While not nearly as active as the 7x10 group, nearly all of the postings are on-topic...Check the Home Shops links [3] on my Links page and you will find lots of great tips from other mini lathe owners."

I would also like to invite you to share the Earth Treasury booth at the next Linux World conference (Thanks, Don) and at other events which will showcase the OLPC XO, or to get your own booths if you prefer. Others in your community will also be welcome.

Project Proposal

We don't have anything much on the OLPC Wiki about industrial and shop education, which will be vital to economic growth in our target countries. I found only this question:

Educational_Software#Software_to_create_Equipment_Simulations "I think this is what we want to emulate: Industrial Equipment Simulators. An example, Lathe Simulators: Could it be done using open free country tools? Can these tools run in the OLPC? Truly yours: MEXICO/Ags/--Dagoflores 22:37, 7 November 2006 (EST)"

Simulations are good, but there is no substitute for the real thing. CAD and Numeric Control (NC) software are also very important. Students will clearly need guidance on design, QA, and other related topics.

I'm going to start a Wiki page, and I invite discussion of what software would be appropriate for the XO.

Here is a reference for an inexpensive mini-lathe and other tools, along with instructions for making numerous upgrades and yet more tools. This is on Frank's site. Frank refers readers to Chris's site on another page referenced below.

"Mini-Lathe Mini-Mill Bandsaw Grinder Anodizing Lapping Links Safety Premium Content

"Mini-lathe: Accessories Adjustments Capabilities Chucks Dial Indicators Features Getting Started Glossary Introduction Materials Modifications My Shop Operation Reviews Sieg Factory Tool Grinding Troubleshooting Tuning Versions"

The manufacturer is Sieg Machine Tool Factory in Shanghai.

Instructional material

  • Lathe Safety
  • Facing Operations
  • Drilling Operations
  • Turning Operations
  • Parting Operations

"Little Machine Shop is a great source of accessories and replacement parts for your mini lathe. Chris Wood, the proprietor of LMS, is a minilathe hobbyist himself, and actively participates in several of the online interest groups. LMS can be counted on for quick and courteous service. LMS has put together a very useful manual on the minilathe which you can download as a PDF file.

"Another great source of training information is Jose Rodriguez's instructional tapes and DVD's. Jose was one of the first to promote the potential of the minilathe and he is a wonderful instructor. His lessons have an informal, homey feel, and are filled with useful information. I have watched mine several times and pick up a few more pointers each time I watch."

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Don Marti <>
Date: Feb 12, 2008 8:50 AM
Subject: Mini lathe site
To: Edward Cherlin <>


It was good to run into you at SCALE [Southern California Linux Expo--Ed] -- here's a
company I would never have heard of if it weren't for
a hobbyist web site:

Lots of other good info on getting started
with inexpensive machine tools elsewhere on the site, too.

Don Marti                                             office +1 510-814-0932                            mobile +1 415-734-7913
Speak at LinuxWorld San Francisco:
Edward Cherlin
End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay

External References