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The most important rule for building anything! (I think)!
"Pay infinite attention to detail" This is an old Mercedes Benz racing team slogan. Work as
carefully as you can. A careless fit will cause "chattering" (cutter vibration) that may take months
to diagnose! Several careless fits will compound the errors. Because of the flexibility of the
MultiMachine you will eventually try things that are almost impossible! Give the machine a
So... to work!
Step 1, What do you want your machine to do?
What kinds of machining jobs are likely to come up in the future? Should it be able to make
models or oil field tools. Should it weigh 100 lbs or 150 times that much. The smallest and
largest machines can be built in almost the same way and in each case there are interrelated
choices between things like cylinder size, spindle size, spindle bore size and bearing and chuck
type and size. Remember that a vertical slide that is meant to be raised and lowered is not going
to be long enough or wide enough for some kinds of jobs (of course no lathe is long enough for
some jobs!). The MultiMachine can make up for this by having a huge bore in the spindle for the
workpiece to pass through. Most modern lathes work this way but few have a 4.8" or larger bore
size that is easy to get on a MultiMachine that is based on a Dodge/Cummins pickup engine
block. Every design decision involves trade offs. A really big spindle and chuck in a relatively
light MultiMachine will only work at low spindle speeds. High speed sawing and grinding will
be almost impossible without careful and expensive balancing.
Step 2, Really learn the instructions!
Unless you have a lot of money to waste, don't begin construction until you have thought
out every tiny detail of how the parts will fit together. Having to build a machine twice
makes it cost twice as much and worse than that, may relegate it to your unfinished project
pile! As far as I know no machine tool is built using engine blocks like LEGO and no
machine tool uses a 3 bearing spindle in this way. Sit back, think everything through. Know
where every single part is going to come from and that includes every bolt and nut! The
extra extra heavy walled pipe that is used for the spindle may be common in one area but
hard to find in another. You may have to redesign your whole machine if one component
can't be found. Be sure to know the exact size and condition of your chosen engine block
bore and to what size it can be re-bored to for our purposes (not to hold water).
Step 3, Getting the stuff together.
You obviously have to have planned every detail first.
This is what would be needed for a conventional two engine block version.
(1) The "big" 6 cylinder engine block, this can be anything from a Mercury 6 cylinder outboard
block for an apartment sized MultiMachine to a 10+ foot long industrial engine block. For these
instructions I'm going to assume a size common in the USA, a 3 7/8" bore 6 cylinder engine
block. Similar sizes have been used for trucks in many other places. The first place to look for