Mastercam, Haas Partner with American Precision Museum

Mastercam applications engineers designed and machined a scaled-down version of the waterwheel originally used to power the factory that now houses the American Precision Museum. 


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Replica waterwheel

CNC Software Inc., developer of Mastercam, has announced a new partnership with the American Precision Museum (APM) and Haas Automation. APM combines an original 19th-century water-powered manufacturing facility with a collection of historic machines. It explores industrial history in the context of innovation, creative problem solving, and the impact of precision manufacturing on American history and culture.

The APM factory was first powered by a great water wheel, located in the basement, which drove a drum that carried belts up through the ceiling to the overhead line shafts on the factory floor. Those shafts turned smaller belts, which powered the machines. APM is partnering with Mastercam to recreate a waterwheel display to demonstrate how running water was turned into power.

The applications engineers at CNC Software Inc. designed a functional, scaled-down version of the original waterwheel, inspired by a 2009 study of the original factory and wheel. The assembly was designed in Mastercam for Solidworks, and programmed and machined using Mastercam. Most of the assembly is made from ¾" prefinished plywood and was machined down on a three-axis router. The aluminum and steel mechanical components were machined on a Haas VF2. The scaled-down version has a working drive gear assembly, and for display purposes is not powered by water but instead uses a small pellet stove gear motor.

“APM is helping to tell the story of how mass production changed the world and shaped America,” says Meghan West, CEO of CNC Software. “Exhibits like this are intended to spark imaginations and inspire younger generations to get involved with manufacturing. We are 100% behind that.”

“Using advanced manufacturing methods to recreate an 1846 device is a great way for us to demonstrate how manufacturing continues to evolve,” adds Steve Dalessio, APM’s executive director. 

The display will be unveiled for Manufacturing Day 2020.