The research presented here details the development of an instrumented lathe tool post which has potential use in conducting a wide range of vibration monitoring studies, including condition-based maintenance or prognostic health management. The system developed allows for the modular mounting of instruments in differing configurations on an industry-standard tool post, which was developed in collaboration with a first-year graduate class in sensors and signals at the Colorado School of Mines. Data acquisition and the development of an interactive data analysis tool used for post-processing is discussed using results from a case study obtained by turning 304 stainless steel on a shop lathe. It is shown that chatter can be detected using a novel bi-level FFT approach at low computational cost. Potential future applications for the developed system are introduced, including real-time tool condition analysis and the development of a fully instrumented machine shop.

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