Design, refinement, implementation and prototype testing of a reconfigurable lathe-mill
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This article documents the design, refinement, and implementation of a reconfigurable machine tool that provides a flexible platform for turning and milling. Advances in the design and capabilities of machine tools drive modern industry. In fact, the expanding capabilities of the machines permit novel and economic changes in the manufacturing and design of products. After the flexible manufacturing (FMS) boom, a more recent, but no less significant, area of machine development involves the reconfiguration of milling machines. This reconfigurability can also be applied to lathe-mills. The present work demonstrates satisfactorily the reconfiguration characteristics of modularity, integrability, and convertibility. We prototype and test a completely functional bench top reconfigurable lathe mill machine implemented using a $10,000 USD budget and developed following a synthesized machine tool product development methodology that begins with concept design and cutting forces to end in prototyping. In addition to reasonable results in runout, positioning, and surface roughness, the machine demonstrates the capability to produce parts with a Cpk of 1.009, thereby demonstrating the ability to fabricate this type of machine in Mexico for the local jewelry industry. © 2013 The Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.