Understanding lathe machine

Lathe machine as one of the oldest machine tools, considered as the mother of all machine tools. It is a machine tool that rotates a workpiece about an axis of rotation to perform various operations as well as giving the workpiece desired shape and size.

Today we’ll be looking into the meaning, history, types, working principles, parts and applications of lathe machine tools.

History has shown lathe machine to be an ancient tool, the first screw-cutting was designed by an Englishman, Henry Maudslay in 1797, which becomes one of the basic operation done on lathe.

lathe machine



Applications of lathe machine is broad as its offers great advantages to their operations. It is used in woodturning, metalworking, thermal spraying, metal spinning, glass-working, parts reclamation. lathe application also include pottery shaping best known as potter’s wheel.

Metalworking is the popularly known for the use lathe machine as various operations can be accomplished these operations include cutting, sanding drilling, facing, knurling, turning, and deformation.

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Working principle of lathe machine

The working of lathe machine is quite easy as it requires some basic knowledge before using it. However, the basic know-out of using a lathe is by placing the work piece between the headstock and tailstock which is said to be “between centers”. Well, for small piece, the operation should the done on smaller version of lathe which can be held strongly by only the spindle. In this working condition, facing operation is done as less force is applied via the cutting tool. Work can also be done at a right angle to the axis of rotation

An eccentric turning or multi-axis turning can be achieve when a workpiece is mounted with a certain axis of rotation. When it’s then remounted with a new axis of rotation, resulting to various cross sections of the workpiece are rotationally symmetric. But the workpiece is not rotationally symmetric.

The tool post firmly holds cutting tools toward the revolving work piece which help to achieve the desired cut.

The video below shows the working principle of lathe machine:

The following below shows complete diagram of lathe machine;

diagram of lathe machine

Specification of lathe

Lathe can be generally specified as;

  • Swing: the largest dimeter that can be swung on for the lathe bed
  • The center between the headstock and the tailstock center
  • Length of the bed in meter
  • Speed range and number of speeds of HS spindle
  • Horse power of the machine
  • The weight of the machine in tone
  • Pitch of the lead screw

Parts of lathe machine

The lathe machine consists of several parts which form one effective tool, but there are some major parts that must be known as an operator.

The followings stated below are the major component of lathe machine;

  • Headstock
  • Bed
  • Tailstock
  • Tool-post
  • Carriage
  • Saddle
  • Cross-slide
  • Compound rest
  • Lead screw
  • Feed rod
  • Chuck
  • Main spindle
  • Leg

Read the explanation of these parts

Types of lathe machine

Apart from the lathe machines used in other field, new invention is introduced as technology advanced. The following are the various types of lathe machine that exists due to categorization;

  • Center or engine lathe
  • Speed lathe
  • Capstan and turret lathe
  • Tool room lathe
  • Bench lathe
  • Automatic lathe
  • Special purpose and
  • CNC lathe machine

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Lathe machine safety precautions

While using lathe machine, there are some safety an operation must know and follow to keep the operator, work and machine safe. These include;

  • Brush should be used to clean up chips but not hand
  • Work piece should be support using holding device, don’t use hand
  • Adjustment should not made while machine is working
  • Do not measure on revolving parts
  • Use goggle to avoid flying chips from entering the eye
  • Ensure all machine parts are securely tight
  • Avoid flying cloth or loose cloth
  • Tools should not be place on drilling table

I hope you found this post interesting and you’ve attained knowledge. If so, you can freely give your point in our comment section and please share with other students. Thanks!

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