Machinist project demonstration ideas needed for threshing shows

Realizing that so many of you with nothing else to do can turn anything into
political rant, I took a long time composing the subject for this post.
It is NOT of a political nature.
I do a lot of blacksmithing at historical reenactments and threshing shows
to show the visitors "how things used to be done". I really enjoy getting
the visitors interested in what I am doing, but I realize that mostly, their
attention spans are limited and what I am trying to portray may not be high
on theirs list. There is always that "it's like watching paint dry" issue
if I try to do a project that takes a long time, so I try to choose things
that move along quickly and produce items which which the audience can
----Been doing this for many years and I think I can do it pretty well.
----But, we are in the process of setting up Machine Shop sections within
two of the venues that I attend annually. So we are in need of projects for
this part of the shops that will "wow" them and at the same time teach a
What do you folks do?
Pete Stanaitis
Reply to
Pete S
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"Pete S" fired this volley in news:F6- dndJRZ_h0rJXPnZ2dnUVZ
Pete, my main occupation is designing automated machinery, but I live in cattle country, and do work for my own farm gear, and for the neighbors, as well as the first thing.
"Wowing" a crowd with a machining process is a pretty high aspiration. The average machining process is pretty boring (excuse the pun). It doesn't glow red hot. It doesn't CLANG on the anvil. It doesn't throw sparks, and doesn't need a stoked fire. And it doesn't change shape rapidly.
About the most 'visual' machining process I can think of is turning coarse threads on large stock with heavy feed. It throws smoking chips. It gets visibly hot. It happens pretty quickly. It drastically alters the look of the piece, and produces - from a 'plain' bar of metal - something brand new that the audience would immediately recognize; a screw!
About half of the things I do for local farmers involve cleaning up a part, welding on a new 'stub' and turning threads on it. So it's a legitimate farm repair.
Slow, big-hole, heavy-feed drilling with lots of gooey, dripping, brown cutting oil would also be pretty visual, and those curls are impressive (I guess).
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
first question is...old time machine shop..or state of the art (within reason) modern machine shop?
Either way..first thing you do is machine little gizmos out of aluminum or steel as give aways. Something cool and neat and fast and cheap.
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Now if old time machine have to have a shaper and a drill press first of all. Then a lathe and then maybe a mill.
When you add the machine shop...this is the PERFECT time to have close by..small engines and steam engines and cannons and whatnot, made by yourselves and others. Perhaps a display of small internal combustion engines that run..etc etc.
I can probably find you a very inexpensive screw machine to demonstrate how "automation" came to being. Sthrom, Tornos, something along that line....
Make a little gizmo out of a bar of cheap steel or stainless....shrug. Steel push pins or something along those demonstrate the evolution from blacksmithing to machining...
One can also get kids involved by turning out parts that simply screw together into some neat little device, made out of donated bar stock. Fill up some boxes with the parts...put up a sign on how it all goes together..and let the kids and adults assemble a gizmo that they can take as a freebie.
Reply to
Gunner Asch
Minor point: it's lathe before shaper or mill. We often forget it now, but everything that involved motive force or a screw required a lathe -- shafts, pulleys, journals and bushings. Shapers and mills came later.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Assuming antiques, I think this would be cool. Lots a gears and cams flying around. I suppose you know these things are very hard to setup. Have it make one simple part out of a soft metal like brass or AL. Never touch it again.
Reply to
Karl Townsend
The machine shop at Greenfield Village let anybody work an old turret lathe set up to make small brass candlesticks for a small fee. We let our nephew do it years ago, I think he still has the candlestick. It's quick and fascinating to watch.
There was a volunteer to guide the effort, and the person doing the "operating" just pulled the feed handle under the volunteer's direction.
Pete Keillor
Reply to
Pete Keillor
If you are using automated machinery - CNC or screw machine - you could probably design some little thingies that required several operations and were good for something - key ring, etc.
Watching someone bore a 4 inch hole in something is boring :-) but watching an automated machine making bolts is sort of interesting.
Reply to
John B.
THreading is good, gear cutting might be good as well. Perhaps stack some small AL blanks on a semi long mandrel and crank out stacks of 12 tooth keychain gears?
Reply to
Pete C.
Do you still have bottles with corks that need an opening tool? Punch or machine some opening tools (that attach to key-ring) as give-aways. I have one in my keyring I got some 15+ years ago, cnc-machined from some hardened aluminium. Could simply mill one from empty ammo cardridge.
Use a custom die to form some simple candle-holders from plate, could also use something like spot-welding to assemble holder piece (for finger). Especially girls/women might be interested for making their traditional night-light-candle-holder.
If sparks are allowed and a little excitement, make simple throwing knives and throw them to a target after finishing each.. Would be easy with (plasma-cutter and) belt-grinder, for example. Throwing knife doesn't need to be too fancy from material point of view, so easy to make so it lasts a few times of throwing. Wow-factor of 2 with sparks AND throwing knives for all males.
Reply to
Kristian Ukkonen
I recall posts from that shop instructor in Connecticut (what was his name?) about NEMES going to shows and making whistles that were give-aways.
Here we go, kinda: it was Errol Groff who posted. And the NEMES site has a "WHISTLE plans HERE" box, but with no link. Wait ... I found a post from Errol on Google Groups with this link:
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Reply to
Bob Engelhardt
...then there were the little trinkets that the boys at the Corning Glass exhibit at IMTS-82 were making for their visitors of a certain age -- hash pipes machined from MACOR machineable ceramic.
Not recommended for family events...d8-)
Reply to
Ed Huntress
One of the places I visit runs a small chain making machine, another has a high speed thumbscrew machine. They never seem to have a crowd near them though....
Reply to
Steve W.
Most people like to watch other people exercising their expert skill. They are usually not as interested in a machine doing something by itself. So, I do not have any specific recommendations on what to make, just that it should have a lot of quick operations with a lot of operator intervention. Maybe use a lot of fine metrology tools. People are usually amazed that you can make something to a couple of 1/10000" without ultra hi-tech equipment, especially when you explain that is about 1/20th of a human hair.
Reply to
This looks like an interesting tool to make & demonstrate:
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there are a lot of designs online, and they all claim to have invented it.
Reply to
Michael A. Terrell
No idea. The guys I've seen listing them are in England and all they had was an email address, no web page. Stanley tools is supposed to be selling a commercial version in their Fubar series. That's why I'm going to see about making my own. I had bookmarked a dimensioned drawing, but it was pulled from that page. I'll bet they could make something similar & sell them at the show, after letting people try them on some scrap skids.
Reply to
Michael A. Terrell
How about a captive nut.
Has mystery and not too many steps. Somebody gets to go home with a cool toy.
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"Pete S" wrote in news:F6-dndJRZ_h0rJXPnZ2dnUVZ
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