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Thread: How did they made these ...in XVI century?

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    Claudio HG's Avatar
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    Claudio HG's Tools

    Question How did they made these ...in XVI century?

    I'm always mermerized when I see the machines made in the past, and I wonder how did they made them. In particular how did they made the parts that I've highlighted with red circles? Say the parts tagged A or B, did they made them with a hack saw and a file?? ...sooo precise?
    And what about the parts tagged C and D?
    (The machine in picture 2 and 3 were made by Vaucanson in 1783. I taken these pictures at the Musee des Art et Metiers in Paris, in 2019.)

    How did they made these ...in XVI century?-pic1.jpgHow did they made these ...in XVI century?-pic2.jpgHow did they made these ...in XVI century?-pic3.jpg
    Last edited by Claudio HG; 08-10-2020 at 04:31 AM.

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    Supporting Member DIYSwede's Avatar
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    DIYSwede's Tools
    Perhaps some more in this post, Claudio?

    1751 metal lathe - photo

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    Supporting Member mklotz's Avatar
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    mklotz's Tools
    Give artisans and craftsmen plenty of time and the results can be incredible.

    Some of the circled features are non-functional. They're beautifully done but aren't necessarily "precise" if closely measured. Still, to the eye, they appear "precise" and enhance the perceived precision of the machine of which they are part.

    Similar high quality work is still being done today. Machinists regularly scrape surface plates/lathe ways/level bases to incredible flatness. Replicators of the Antikythera mechanism hand divide and hand file gears. Hand filing an hexagonal hole in a plate and a hexagonal shape that would fit closely in all three orientations was a common apprentice task back in the day.

    On the artistic side, consider sculptors. Michelangelo took chisels to a block of marble and created the David, a stunningly precise representation of the human form. Remington's bronzes are completely lifelike miniatures.

    Give a troop of humans some hammers, chisels and files, come back in a few years, and voila, there's a locomotive.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Trevithick
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    Supporting Member DIYSwede's Avatar
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    DIYSwede's Tools
    Can't resist putting up a reminder of the eminent literary link in this post:

    World's Oldest Micrometer - 1776! Who made this thing??

    "Tools for the job. A short history of machine tools" by L.T.C. Rolt
    1st pub: Charles Churchill & Co, 1965

    Chapter index:

    How did they made these ...in XVI century?-rolt-ch-index.jpg
    Last edited by DIYSwede; 08-10-2020 at 11:50 AM.

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    Claudio HG's Avatar
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    Claudio HG's Tools
    DIYSwede I already knew the video featured in that post. And indeed was something that followed the same path I had in thinking that the lathe was the machine that made everything. Indeed, inspired by the introduction to a book about a project for a DIY lathe out of concrete (sorry I forgot the title). That's also why I started to make my own lathe. But what I ask here is something different. Look at the part enhanced by the red circles. Those are not made with a lathe. Maybe a milling machine, but there was milling machines at the time? Still, some part really intrigue me. I am not a machinist, so I wonder how to make those "hexagoned eggs" (well I really don't know how to call those parts) circled in D and C.

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    Unkle Fuzzy's Avatar
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    An old Foundryman's "Apprentice Test"

    https://foundry101.com/apprentice-test/#more-372

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    Claudio HG's Avatar
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    Claudio HG's Tools
    Thanks for the link DIYSwede.

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    Supporting Member mklotz's Avatar
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    mklotz's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudio HG View Post
    DIYSwede I already knew the video featured in that post. And indeed was something that followed the same path I had in thinking that the lathe was the machine that made everything. Indeed, inspired by the introduction to a book about a project for a DIY lathe out of concrete (sorry I forgot the title). That's also why I started to make my own lathe. But what I ask here is something different. Look at the part enhanced by the red circles. Those are not made with a lathe. Maybe a milling machine, but there was milling machines at the time? Still, some part really intrigue me. I am not a machinist, so I wonder how to make those "hexagoned eggs" (well I really don't know how to call those parts) circled in D and C.
    One way to make duplicate parts with matching symmetry is to use filing buttons.

    A Google search will provide much to read on the topic so I'll offer only a short summary here...

    The desired pattern is formed in a metal that can be hardened. After hardening, this pattern is clamped to the workpiece. The worker files the workpiece down to the pattern. When he has matched an area of the workpiece to the shape of the pattern, his file will "skate" on the hardened pattern, signalling that he's filed enough at that location. The worker shifts his attention to another area and repeats the process. When done, the hand-filed workpiece is a near perfect copy of the pattern.
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    Claudio HG's Avatar
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    Claudio HG's Tools
    One way to make duplicate parts with matching symmetry is to use filing buttons.
    Yes, that is a clever method. Didn't know those, let's say template, were named filing buttons. Thanks, I learned something new.
    That seems to be a solution for small parts though, but some parts that you can see in the pictures are quite big. However I just realized that those parts could have been made from casts, and then filed or grinded down to the desired dimension and finishing appearence.

    Anyway, I don't know you guys, but I am really fascinated by those old machines and how people did them. I got lost as in a rabbit hole in every museum I visited: London, München, Paris, Milano. The first two are IMHO the absolute best, but they are so large that one would need days to visit them throughly.
    Last edited by Claudio HG; 08-10-2020 at 02:19 PM. Reason: forgot to add quote

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    Quote Originally Posted by mklotz View Post
    Give artisans and craftsmen plenty of time and the results can be incredible.

    ....

    Give a troop of humans some hammers, chisels and files, come back in a few years, and voila, there's a locomotive.
    39 years I once worked at Stromberg-Carlson in Charlottesville, VA. Their chief plastics molding engineer was an old coot named Hasenauer, and had worked his way literally up from toolroom apprentice. He knew both toolmaking, & plastic injection molding backwards and forwards.

    His words about toolmaking: "You gather 3 German toolmakers and a keg of beer around a block of raw steel and you will see MAGIC!!!"

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