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In stock for immediate shipment

Positioning and spinning machine for glasswork
Extremely wide positioning range, including true vertical in both directions
Electromagnets lock in place and release when lever is pressed
Variable speed thumbwheel control
Footpedal controls pause and reverse
In step mode, each time the pedal is pressed, the workpiece rotates a user-defined number of degrees
Windows USB User Interface for configuring operating parameters (Android Interface coming soon)

Hand made, in the USA, by the inventor, using CNC and manual tools
Made of anodized, aircraft grade aluminum (6061-T6) and zinc plated steel
High quality, Oriental Motor (Japan) stepper motors (used in industrial automation)
Powder coated base and horizontal arm
Padouk (African hardwood) handle
High temperature (200C) PTFE wiring in steel flex conduits
All screws secured with Loctite
Bearings secured with high temperature Loctite
Prototypes tested by top glassworkers for over 6 months without failure

User Manual

Contact Information

sales@nqalha.com - All sales are direct through this address

info@nqalha.com - Information requests should go here

support@nqalha.com - Owners can use this for help

Beta tester Kaj Beck talks about his time with the NQALHA

Beta tester Kaj Beck visited the shop, and I made a custom mount for the NQALHA on his "battlestation"

Specifications

Max workpiece diameter 65mm. Min workpiece diameter 8mm

The design spec was 6mm, but unexpected interferences prevented this on Release Version 1. RV1 units can be modified to accept 7mm, but achieving 6mm may not be possible without a lot of changes

Maximum speed of the drive rollers is 281 RPM, Minimum speed is 0.009 RPM

The rotational speed of the workpiece depends on the mathematical relation between the drive roller diameter and the workpiece diameter

Weight capacity

I hung a 5 lb dumbell on a steel rod 7" from the face, and the NQALHA held it

During testing, Marcel made a large solid object. Precise measurements are not available, so I rely on eyeballic estimates. The object appeared to be 6" long and 6" in diameter, with a big moil, on a steel punty. The NQALHA could rotate it if it was on center and no paddle pressure was applied. Looks like we found the limit

Options

The NQALHA is intended to be a flexible, configurable tool for artists. The standard model may be good for many, but options are available

Mounting

The standard NQALHA base is a 12 x 12 inch piece of 3/8 steel plate on rubber feet. This option provides the maximum portability and adaptability. You can put it on any bench, in any position

As glass artists integrate the NQALHA into their work routine, they may find that they want different mounting options

One option is permanent attachment to the workstation with screws. In this case, the large steel plate is not required. The steel plate is heavy and increases shipping cost

Other options are being explored as more glassworkers use the machine and offer ideas for improvement

Lock Collars

The NQALHA drive rollers are very precisely made, but they're not perfect. Same with the O-rings and the glass itself. As a result of this, the glass will drift sideways when rotating

The drift is unpredictable and depends on many factors. The most important factor is time. If you are doing a fast operation, like flaring a tube, drift will not be a problem. If you are expecting the workpiece to be rotated for a long time, drift must be understood and managed

Some glassworkers manage the drift, using techniques like sharpie marks and direction reversal

For positive control of drift, lock collars are required. These are applied to the rod or tube and tightened with a screw. The lock collars fit in the space between the two forward drive rollers and stop drift

Two options for lock collars exist

Standard industrial shaft collars can be used. They are available from stock and are inexpensive. Unfortunately, every different size uses a different sized screw, so a collection of hex drivers will be needed when working with multiple sizes

MPM&E sells custom delrin lock collars. All sizes use the same screw. Since they are custom made, they are more expensive than off the shelf industrial products. Also, since they are plastic, they can melt or ignite if they get too hot. Many glassworking procedures can be successfully completed without overheating the delrin lock collars

Road Case

The NQALHA fits securely in a slightly modified Pelican case. Other less expensive road case options are being investigated

Design Goals

Invent a single sided glass spinning and positioning machine--smaller, lighter and more flexible than a rigid two sided glass lathe

The angular orientation of the workpiece should be easily adjustable and able to be locked in place. When unlocked, the machine should feel effortless and balanced, like an extension of your hand. When locked, it should support the piece being worked and resist the forces commonly applied in glasswork

Inserting a workpiece should be easy, and once inserted the piece should be held securely enough to resist the forces commonly applied in glasswork

The rotation speed, direction and more complex motion should be CNC controlled. When released from CNC control, the workpiece can be manually rotated

Controls should feel comfortable to the glassworker

How Much Experience Do I Need?

Before using the NQALHA, it's necessary to know how to safely deal with hot glass and glassworking torches. Make sure you have learned basic handwork skills before attempting to use the NQALHA, and that you are experienced in safely working with hot glass and hot flames

I've encountered a few misconceptions when showing the NQALHA

A few experts fear it will take the skill out of glasswork

Some novices hope it will allow them to make work beyond their skill level

Some call it a robot

It's not a robot. It's not a magical shortcut that will allow you to bypass years of work. It's a tool--an assistant. Like a belt sander for woodworking, it does the boring or tedious work, allowing the artist to concentrate on the art

It can relieve some of the pain glassworkers feel when spinning a heavy piece for a long time. It can reduce the chance of Repetitive Strain Injury. It can help injured glassworkers continue their art. It can provide an adjustable workholding platform. It can provide a uniform spinning surface that the glassworker can manipulate with two hands. It can give a moment of relief in an artform that's sometimes brutally hot and demanding

It won't magically turn a novice into a master. In fact, some master handworkers struggle with it the first time they use it

Like a guitar player learning to play the saxophone, it's a new instrument that requires many hours to master. The master "virtuoso" technique has not been invented, but the NQALHA opens up an exciting new world of possibilities to explore

I'm excited to see the new techniques that creative people invent when using this new tool

Remember, the electric guitar was invented for Hawaiian music. Years later, people used it to invent rock and roll. Years after that, others invented heavy metal

Warranty, Support and Parts

The NQALHA has a "lifetime" warranty (my lifetime, I'm 65). As long as I'm able, I'll do whatever I reasonably can to support users of the NQALHA. Any defective part will be replaced for free. If you damage or destroy anything, parts will be available at a reasonable cost. As the design evolves, upgrades will be available, either free or at a low cost, depending on the details

Since the NQALHA is large and heavy, and shipping is expensive and potentially damaging, maintenance and repair is better done on-site. The NQALHA is a modular design. All complex parts can be replaced at the module level. The buyer needs to have a set of basic hand tools (hex drivers, wrenches, wire cutters..etc), and the ability to work with screws, cable ties and connectors

To All Potential Buyers

Buying an NQALHA is a bit different from buying most commercial products. It's more like joining a club, where the inventor loves working with the artist to perfect the invention. I love glass. I love art. I look forward to working closely with artists as they make beautiful and amazing creations with my invention

I intentionally priced it low in order to make it affordable to glassworkers

A commercial shop, making a machine of this quality and complexity in very low volume would sell it for $10,000, $20,000, or more; after a quarter million in R&D. I'm not joking or exaggerating. This is the economic reality of the places I worked at for most of my professional career

The project is a labor of love. I'm an artist, making tools for artists. I would love to sell it for less, but I have bills to pay

Videos

Build History

Release Version 1

Release Candidate 3

Release Candidate 2

Release Candidate 1

Prototype 11

Prototype 10

Prototype 9

Prototype 8

Prototype 7

Prototype 6

Prototype 5

Prototype 4

Prototype 3

Prototype 2

Prototype 1