Our own Matt Mets has been experimenting with a metal lathe at Hack Pittsburgh, and made this aluminum rod with a captive ring in collaboration with Matt Stultz by carving the ring our of a section of the rod. Rad, and great photo!

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern ( is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).

  • A M

    I think it is cool that you are experimenting with your machining talents. Just a practical suggestion, now that you know you can do this, on a new piece, cut the main shaft on a taper that narrows as you go towards teh finished end after you cut out the captive ring in that approximate area of the piece. Then machine the tip of the unfinished piece into a bullet nose and you have a spinning top… if you calculate the diameters correctly and can do some advanced machining, I think the ring should float up along the tapered shaft as the top spins and then settle back down as it looses revs.

    Hey, not sure if it works that way, but I love to see people making things and I follow the blog and think it’s a great idea. Everyone ! Keep up the great work and congratulations to all MAKERS !


  • Simon

    I know a wood turner who makes 1/12 scale dolls house stuff including wine bottles and goblets with captive rings on the goblet stem only a few mm round!

  • Patrick IV

    It’s a classic turning piece. Mine ends with two polished spheres, and is done in 6061 aluminum. Not sure why this was featured, considering how old it is.

    • oskay

      Actually, I think that the dismissive comment about how something has “already been done” is even older than captive turnings on a lathe. :P

      • Becky Stern

        Yeah, I agree, @oskay. It was featured because it’s exciting that a member of our community is learning something new (no matter how old it is to you, Patrick), and he also took an amazing photograph!

  • Andy L

    Now, I want to see someone use the makerbot-manufactured lathe on Thingaverse to do this!

  • fubarator

    Yay! Real stuff! Not a computer-rendered object! Not that there’s anything wrong with that.