Dan Gelbart

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{{Hint|Immediate relevance of an air bearing lathe would be to a water or air lubricated Open Source Piston Engine.


Master prototyper down to 1 micron. Makes air bearings in his backyard. However, from discussions, he does not appear to believe that distributed quality control and distributed fabrication is feasible, from my email communication. - MJ


Read this about his entrepreneurial, professional, and family life:


Dan Gelbart's Curriculum


  1. Part 1 - Request assistance on open source water jet cutter design. - [1]. When braking pieces for enclosures, make things out of 2 u's, then spot weld together, as bending 4 lips up takes more time. Use teardrop holes for screws, and things that snap together, not things with screwholes. Flextures with springs. Springs can be cut on waterjet. Captive screws!
  2. Part 2 - [2]. Woodworking tools are most dangerous. Table saw - don't go to other side as it can pull you. Do not stand in front of a grinder. Don't hit hard on hard. Do not put your finger on a thread in a lathe. Do not get pulled into a lathe. Brass danger - drill goes into it easily, gets stuck. Drill - hold with vice grips. Rag wrapping. Bulletproof guard on shop press - fracture danger is real when shattering. Brake - motion up.
  3. Part 3 - Water jet cutting. Catch basket for water jet cutter. Tennis ball half on tip.
  4. Part 4 - Bending.
  5. Part 5 - Spot bending. 15kVa - 3mm limit, 15 cycles. Spot welder up to 25kVa. Where spot welding stops, regular welding starts - based on thickness. Can spot weld screws, and spot weldable nuts. Threaded standoffs. Spot welded balls for 3-point mounts. Making custom electrodes. Copper chrome alloy for tips of electrodes. Put silicone between 2 pieces of metal, then spot weld, and it's a water tight tank?
  6. Part 6 - sand blaster. Needed for clean surface to paint. Replace window with store crystal scanner windows. Peel test with duct tape especially after bending. Not solvents. Only sand blasting works. Wetting with water vs beading. Wetting is desired. Torch to 300 degrees also wets. Comet works. High surface energy - makes it wet. Must paint within 1 hour of preparing, or hydrocarbons infuse into metal from air. Columbia coatings - cheap guns for powder coating - $100-500. Powder coating. Chrome paint - beautiful after heating. Powder melts and fills holes when you put it on hot metal.
  7. Part 7 - 400 ton press. It is dangerous when shatters. 1/2" polycarbonate will do a good shield. 10 tons per square centimeter. Small pieces like a washer - can damage press. Press against rubber to get ribbed shape. To get deep ribs, anneal it between presses. You can stamp shear using rubber base.
  8. Part 8 - Enclosures. You can plug up defect holes with a spot welder. You can do knockouts with a waterjet. 2 Us for an enclosure. Captive hardware so fasteners don't fall out. Paint - 275C for 20 min. Powder coating hooks are not reusable as they get painted. Excsss powder cleans up with vaccuum. Tap on a drill retap nuts. Keyholes + slots - extends your life 1 year.
  9. Part 9 - materials. Mild - gauge 10 + gauge 18. Gauge 12 + 18 in stainless. Series 300 stainless for springs, full hard or 3/4 hard. Stainless cut ends - http://www.sidecuts.com/.
  10. Smooth surfaces - [3]. Scraping and lapping. Hydrodynamic = zero friction, zero wear. Reversal method - with a dial indicator - to get straightness or flatness or runout of an object. Can separate roundness from runout. Reversal method is critical to precision and metrology.
  11. Strength vs stiffness - 2 bars held with rubber bands are stiffer then a single one as long as the 2 bars don't separate. [4]. Clamping vs set screw - we use this on the heavy tractors:). Design 101 - think of wire first. CNC wire bender. Second - sheet metal. Multi-disc clutch. Then go to solid. Design of machine vs instrument. Design for disassembly. Hydraulics/water below electrical. Does not apply to air. If is 100% functional, it is always beautiful.
  12. Part 1 - Request assistance on open source water jet cutter design. - [5]

Having Dan Gelbart teach a course would be extremely worthwhile.

DIY Air Bearings from Applied Science


  • Dream workshop for high precision - [6]