Publication Date

Fall 2014

Document Type

Final Report

Embargo Date


Problem Statement

The main objective of this senior design project was to design and build a treadle-driven, metal-cutting lathe that has the ability to cut 3/4" diameter material and produce small parts up to 3" long. The main challenge in this project was to successfully generate enough power through the treadle driven system to successfully cut metal at the proper specifications, while simultaneously meeting all of the user-needs. The entire system needed to be operated and pedaled by a single person, which put constraints on the location of the treadle relative to the lathe itself so the user could comfortably operate both at the same time. Furthermore, in order to generate adequate power and RPM to cut metal, implementing an energy-storage element to the treadle system was crucial. A heavy flywheel (salvaged from an old exercise bike) was the main source of energy storage in the system. The flywheel, coupled with a drive-wheel and a proper gear ratio proved to generate enough power to drive the system. To further aid the user, especially when initially pedaling the treadle to get started, springs were added at the pivot point of the pedal to help the treadle make full revolutions while getting up to speed. Wood and metal supports were placed in critical locations in order to reduce vibrations and increase the structural rigidity of the system in order to withstand the continual input forces from the user. Once the treadle-driven lathe was in working condition, the last step was to ensure that the lathe could operate at multiple speeds, which was achieved. We were successfully able to meet all of our key design metrics and user needs.

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering Design Project (MEMS 411)