Machining Parts for the World’s Largest Digital Camera

The July 2018 digital edition of Modern Machine Shop covers topics such as large-part machining, horizontal machining centers and workforce development.


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Modern Machine Shop’s July issue cover story takes a look at the big picture. So big, in fact, that it details how one shop has gained the machining expertise necessary to manufacture parts for the world’s largest digital camera, which will be installed inside the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. This telescope will one day be installed on a mountaintop in Chile and survey the entire southern sky once every other night. The enormity of the project makes the camera difficult to design, build and integrate. With limited access for repair, accuracy in machining these large parts is crucial for this project.

Aside from their record-breaking uses, cameras are becoming a more common sight in machine shops. For instance, they can enable managers to remotely check in on machines running unattended or to take photos and video during new job setups to digitally document proper setup procedures. In this story, a shop installed cameras in the spindles of Swiss-type lathes to simplify the alignment of tools to the spindles’ centerlines.

Of course, this issue isn’t all about cameras. It offers practical advice, such as tips for thread milling tricky materials and a look at the German vocational system to help develop shopfloor talent. One story even walks through the questions a shop had when it considered switching from vertical machining centers to horizontal machining centers.

Find these stories and more in the July 2018 issue of Modern Machine Shop magazine.