The American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont, is celebrating its 40th year of operation with The Cutting Edge: Machines That Shape Our World, an exhibit dedicated to explaining how machine tools work. The exhibit groups its various machines into seven types based on the seven basic methods of shaping metal to precision tolerances or dimensions: turning, milling, grinding, drilling or boring, planing and shaping, stamping and sawing. The machines are color coded by type to give visitors a better understanding of what they do and how they work.
The collection dates back to the 1840s and goes well into the 20th century but does not include any of the CNC machines used by modern machine shops.
John Alexander, the collections technician at the museum, said some visitors in the past had felt frustrated viewing the machines because they did not know what all the machines meant. He says a lot of people view the exhibit and do not get it, they are not into machines that much. This exhibit is making it clear how the machines do what they do and the place they have in our lives and how they have formed our world, he adds.
The museum is located in the former 1846 Robbins and Lawrence Armory, considered by some to be the birthplace of the precision-machining industry in America when it started making interchangeable parts for the rifles of the US Army. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through the end of October. (www.americanprecision.org)