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Observation

The world of glassworking tools is a world of extremes

There are hand tools and full size glass lathes

This project is an attempt to create a tool in the middle

Design Goals

Invent a single sided glass rod and tube spinning machine, smaller, lighter and more flexible than a full lathe

The spin axis should be easily adjustable, in many angular orientations, and be able to be locked in place

When unlocked, it should feel effortless and balanced, like an extension of your hand. When locked, it should support the piece being worked and resist the forces commonly applied in glasswork

Inserting a rod or tube should be easy, and once inserted, the rod or tube should be held securely enough to resist the forces commonly applied in glasswork

The rotation speed, direction and more complex motion should be CNC controlled

Controls should feel comfortable to the glassworker


Engineering Approach

Since I don't have a full set of engineering requirements, the project is being designed empirically

I start small and light, and add power, strength and complexity as needed, based on the results of testing

This is an open source project. I invite all with a helpful idea to participate


Current Project Status

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The current version, Prototype 11

Beta Test Program

Proto 11 is nearing completion. If it works as well as I predict, the design will become Release Candidate 1, and be distributed to beta testers

The purpose of the beta test is to see how the machine stands up to many hours of use. As parts fail, the design will be updated to address the weaknesses

In order to participate in the beta test program, glassworkers must agree to use the machine for many hours

It's a hard machine to learn, and will require a substantial amount of practice to become proficient. The technique required to master the machine hasn't been invented yet

Beta testers will be selected by me, Matt Gieseler, and Marcel Braun. Machines will be provided at no cost for a limited time. At the end of the test period, testers will have the option to purchase at a discounted price. Please contact any of us if you would like to participate

After beta test is finished, I'll determine the cost of production. The price will be then be announced, and I'll get real hard evidence of whether or not it's a viable product. If it is, it will go into production... slow, limited, handmade production

If customers are happy, and orders exceed handmade limits, production will be outsourced to US CNC shops

Videos

Build History

Prototype 1

Prototype 2

Prototype 3

Prototype 4

Prototype 5

Prototype 6

Prototype 7

Prototype 8

Prototype 9

Prototype 10

Prototype 11