Five Flute

Section View: Issue #14

Mills and lathes from newschool hobby grade to oldschool industrial, open source designs, DFM communication tips

Welcome to Section View, a newsletter for curious engineers and hardware people. Brought to you with ❤️ by the Five Flute team.

These days the youtube algorithm seems to be recommending manufacturing videos to the entire Five Flute team, so we’ve been thinking a lot about machining, machine shops, and how things get built. So much so that I thought we could feature machine tools in this week’s Section View. So lets dive in!

Manufacturing Spotlight

Scratch Built CNC Mill

This is easily the most impressive home built CNC milling machine I’ve ever come across, with bonus points for the dry and hilarious commentary. Despite the home brew nature of the machine, there’s lots to learn in this video about precision machine design, linear stage building, and how to dampen machine vibration using sand!

Home built CNC mill

Toolchangers and internal stress

For a less industrial but equally entertaining build, Marius Hornburger adds an automatic tool changer to his CNC gantry router. The design and build video is full of helpful lessons like this one about the difference between the internal stress of bar stock and cast plate stock and how the stress state of the stock material can impact the finished part geometry. One of the very first articles in our engineering guide on CNC tolerances covers this phenomenon explicitly in the context of part warping during manufacturing.

Internal stress state in bar stock before and after machining

There’s also some very interesting research done by NIST to map the internal stress state of bar stock using neutron diffraction and validate this with a finite element model.

NIST research into bar stock internal stress state

Oldschool cool - 700 hour lathe restoration and hydroptic jig borer

Vanover Customs restores this absolutely beautiful Clausing Colchester lathe. A meditative tribute to a machine tool of a bygone era.

Clausing Colchester Lathe rebuilding

Speaking of machines from a bygone era, I love the ridiculous precision of this jig boring machine featured on the Cutting Edge Engineering Australia channel. This 9400kg machine was made in the 1930’s and can hold 1 micron accuracy! Ridiculous.

Hydroptic Jig boring machine

Failure Analysis

This issue we don’t have any awesome failures to highlight….buuuuut, we’re wondering if you guys do! If you have an engineering war story or a product failure that you know of or were involved in, we’d love to feature it here. Just let us know at

Designer’s Corner

I absolutely love this open source design for a programmable haptic feedback button with an integrated display. Using a brushless gimbal stabilizer motor (pancake style) to spoof the feeling of detents and return springs is just awesome. Big kudos to ScottBez1 for open sourcing this design.

ScottBez1 open source haptic feedback knob

One interesting design tip from this model is the use of writing directly on CAD model surfaces to communicate assembly intent (in this case calling out VHB double sided tape). Here’s a Five Flute model and markup that I created that shows off this technique.

DFM technique of using writing on CAD parts

In Case you Missed It

Last week I was on a webinar with the folks at Jiga and OpenBOM. We talked about engineering and manufacturing collaboration in depth. Unfortunately I don’t have a full recording to share, but I’ll be releasing helpful snippets in the coming issues of Section View as well as on Linkedin.

In the meantime, lots of folks in the webinar were interested in what books I recommend for gaining manufacturing process knowledge. Here’s the bible of manufacturing processes that everyone should have as a reference text - Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals.

Also, here’s an engineering drawing that demonstrates some of my top tips for DFM collaboration and drawing best practices.

That’s it for this issue, thanks for reading and good luck with your hardware projects!

William Burke

William Burke

Five Flute Founder & CEO

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