In my last six month of my bachelor studies I set up my own project in the metalworking shop on the University to learn how to machine metal.
Machining metal is an essential skill for a prototyper, as it opens up a whole world of mechanical possibilities.
Over the course of the six months I learned how to use the hand file (you got to start somewhere!) the drill press, the lathe and the mill.
As an end assignment I created a C-clamp from raw stock, as it covers all the topics.
The clamp body is constructed from aluminium. This part is made on the mill. The inside curve is one smooth surface, and was the most complex cutting operation of this project. If I would stop or overshoot the smooth inner surface would be ruined.
This tool path was redone several times until the part was up to dimension.
The supporting parts are made of brass and are created on the lathe. Brass is a very nice material to work with and offers an attractive contrast with the aluminium. The clamping head can rotate freely, so it will not damage the surface of the clamped object.
The screw is made from steel, and so is the handle.
After this metalworking project I am confident in creating my own parts, expanding the possibilities of my own prototypes.