A lathe (pronounced /ˈleɪð/) is a machine tool which spins a block of material to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object which has symmetry about an axis of rotation. A machine tool is a powered mechanical device typically used to fabricate metal components of machines by Machining, which is the selective removal of metal Cutting is the separation of a physical object or a portion of a physical object into two portions through the application of an acutely directed force Abrasive Paper is a form of Paper where an Abrasive material has been fixed to its surface Knurling is a manufacturing process typically conducted on a lathe, whereby a visually-attractive diamond-shaped (criss-cross pattern is cut or rolled into metal Drilling is the process of using a Drill bit in a Drill to produce cylindrical holes in solid materials such as wood or metal In Materials science, deformation is a change in the shape or size of an object due to an applied force. Generally speaking an object with rotational symmetry is an object that looks the same after a certain amount of Rotation. A rotation is a movement of an object in a circular motion A two- Dimensional object rotates around a center (or point) of rotation
Lathes are used in woodturning, metalworking, metal spinning, and glassworking. Woodturning is a form of Woodworking that is used to create wooden objects on a lathe. Metalworking is craft and practice of working with Metals to create individual parts assemblies or large scale structures Metal spinning, or spin forming, is a Metal working process by which a disc or tube of Metal is rotated at high speed and formed into an axially Lathes can be used to shape pottery, the best-known design being the potter's wheel. Pottery is the Ceramic ware made by potters It also refers to a group of materials that includes Earthenware, Stoneware In Pottery, a potter's wheel is a machine used in the shaping of round ceramic wares Most suitably equipped metalworking lathes can also be used to produce most solids of revolution, plane surfaces and screw threads or helices. In Mathematics, Engineering, and Manufacturing, a solid of revolution is a solid figure obtained by rotating a Plane curve around Ornamental lathes can produce three-dimensional solids of incredible complexity. The material is held in place by either one or two centers, at least one of which can be moved horizontally to accommodate varying material lengths. Examples of objects that can be produced on a lathe include candlestick holders, cue sticks, table legs, bowls, baseball bats, crankshafts and camshafts. A candlestick, chamberstick, or single candelabrum is a holder for one or more Candles used for illumination rituals or decorative purposes A cue stick (or simply cue, or more specifically pool cue, snooker cue, or billiards cue) is an item of sporting equipment essential to the Furniture is the Mass noun for the movable objects which may support the human body (seating furniture and beds, provide storage or hold objects on horizontal A bowl is a common open-top container used in many cultures to serve Food, and is also used for Drinking and storing other items A baseball bat is a smooth wooden or metal club used in the game of Baseball to hit the ball after the ball is thrown by the pitcher. The crankshaft, sometimes casually abbreviated to crank, is the part of an Engine which translates reciprocating Linear The camshaft is an apparatus often used in Piston engines to operate Poppet valves It consists of a cylindrical rod running the length of the Cylinder bank
The lathe is an ancient tool, dating at least to the Egyptians and, known and used in Assyria, Greece, the Roman and Byzantine Empires.
The origin of turning dates to around 1300BC when the Egyptians first developed a two-person lathe. Ancient Egypt was an Ancient Civilization in eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now One person would turn the wood work piece with a rope while the other used a sharp tool to cut shapes in the wood. The Romans improved the Egyptian design with the addition of a turning bow. Ancient Rome was a Civilization that grew out of a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 10th century BC Early bow lathes were also developed and used in Germany, France and Britain. In the Middle Ages a pedal replaced hand-operated turning, freeing both the craftsman's hands to hold the woodturning tools. The pedal was usually connected to a pole, often a straight-grained sapling. The system today is called the "spring pole" lathe (see Polelathe). A pole lathe is a Lathe that uses a long pole as a return spring for a Treadle. Spring pole lathes were in common use into the early 20th Century. A two-person lathe, called a "great lathe", allowed a piece to turn continuously (like today's power lathes). A master would cut the wood while an apprentice turned the crank. 
During the industrial revolution the lathe was motorized, allowing wooden turned items to be created in less time and allowing the working of metal on a lathe. The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture manufacturing and transportation had a profound effect on the The motor also produced a greater rotational speed, making it easier to quickly produce high quality work. Today most commercial lathes are computer-operated allowing for mass-production that can be created with accurate precision and without the cost of employing craftsmen. A computer is a Machine that manipulates data according to a list of instructions. An artisan, also called a Craftsman, is a skilled manual worker who crafts items that may be functional or strictly decorative including furniture clothing
A lathe may or may not have a stand (or legs), which sits on the floor and elevates the lathe bed to a working height. Some lathes are small and sit on a workbench or table, and do not have a stand.
All lathes have a "bed", which is (almost always) a horizontal beam (although some CNC lathes have a vertical beam for bed to ensure that swarf, or chips, falls free of the bed). The abbreviation CNC stands for computer numerical control, and refers specifically to a computer "controller" that reads G-code
At one end of the bed (almost always the left, as the operator faces the lathe) is a "headstock". The headstock contains high-precision spinning bearings.
Rotating within the bearings is a horizontal axle, with an axis parallel to the bed, called the "spindle". Spindles are often hollow, and have exterior threads and/or an interior Morse taper on the "inboard" (i. A machine taper is a system for securing cutting bits and other accessories to a machine tool's powered rotating spindle e. , facing to the right / towards the bed) by which accessories which hold the workpiece may be mounted to the spindle. Spindles may also have exterior threads and/or an interior taper at their "outboard" (i. e. , facing away from the bed) end, and/or may have a handwheel or other accessory mechanism on their outboard end. Spindles are powered, and impart motion to the workpiece.
The spindle is driven, either by foot power from a treadle and flywheel or by a belt drive to a power source. In some modern lathes this power source is an integral electric motor, often either in the headstock, to the left of the headstock, or beneath the headstock, concealed in the stand.
The counterpoint to the headstock is the tailstock, sometimes referred to as the loose head, as it can be positioned at any convenient point on the bed, by undoing a locking nut, sliding it to the required area, and then relocking it. The tailstock contains a barrel which does not rotate, but can slide in and out parallel to the axis of the bed, and directly in line with the headstock spindle. The barrel is hollow, and usually contains a taper to facilitate the gripping of various type of tooling. Its most common uses are to hold a hardened steel centre, which is used to support long thin shafts while turning, or to hold drill bits for drilling axial holes in the work piece. Many other uses are possible.
Metalworking lathes have a "cross slide", which is a flat piece that sits crosswise on the bed, and can be cranked at right angles to the bed. Sitting atop the cross slide is a toolpost, which holds a cutting tool which removes material from the workpiece. There may or may not be a leadscrew, which moves the cross slide along the bed. A leadscrew is a screw specialized for the purpose of translating rotational to linear motion
Woodturning and metal spinning lathes do not have cross slides, but have "banjos", which are flat pieces that sit crosswise on the bed. The position of a banjo can be adjusted by hand; no gearing is involved. Ascending vertically from the banjo is a tool post, at the top of which is a horizontal "tool rest". In woodturning, hand tools are braced against the tool rest and levered into the workpiece. In metal spinning, the further pin ascends vertically from the tool rest, and serves as a fulcrum against which tools may be levered into the workpiece.
Unless a workpiece has a taper machined onto it which perfectly matches the internal taper in the spindle, or has threads which perfectly match the external threads on the spindle (two things which almost never happen), an accessory must be used to mount a workpiece to the spindle.
A workpiece may be bolted or screwed to a faceplate, a large flat disk that mounts to the spindle. A lathe faceplate is the basic workholding accessory for a wood or metal turning lathe. Alternatively faceplate dogs may be used to secure the work to the faceplate.
A workpiece may be clamped in a three- or four-jaw chuck, which mounts directly to the spindle or mounted on a mandrel. A chuck is a specialised type of clamp used to hold rotating tools or materials A mandrel (ˈmændrɨl and also spelled mandril; in American English also called an arbor) is either an object used to shape machined work a Tool
In precision work (and in some classes of repetition work), cylindrical workpieces are invariably held in a collet inserted into the spindle and secured either by a drawbar, or by a collet closing cap on the spindle. A collet (ˈkɒlɨt is a holding device—specifically a subtype of chuck —that forms a Collar around the object to be held and exerts a strong clamping force on Suitable collets may also be used to mount square or hexagonal workpieces. In precision toolmaking work such collets are usually of the draw in variety, where as collet is tightened the workpiece moves slightly back into the headstock, whereas for most repetition work the dead length variety is preferered as this ensures that the position of the workpiece does not move as the collet is tightened, so the workpiece can be set in the lathe to a fixed position and it will not move on tightening the collet.
A soft workpiece (wooden) may be pinched between centers by using a spur drive at the headstock, which bites into the wood and imparts torque to it. A lathe center (or center) is a tool that has been ground to an included angle of 60 ° and is used to accurately position a workpiece about its axis
A soft dead center is used in the headstock spindle as the work rotates with the centre. Because the centre is soft it can be trued in place before use. The included angle is 60 degrees. Traditionally a hard dead center is used together with suitable lubricant in the tailstock to support the workpiece. A lathe center (or center) is a tool that has been ground to an included angle of 60 ° and is used to accurately position a workpiece about its axis In modern practice the dead center is frequently replaced by a live center or (revolving center) as it turns freely with the workpiece usually on ball bearings, reducing the frictional heat, which is especially important at high RPM. A lathe center (or center) is a tool that has been ground to an included angle of 60 ° and is used to accurately position a workpiece about its axis A lathe center (or center) is a tool that has been ground to an included angle of 60 ° and is used to accurately position a workpiece about its axis A lathe carrier or lathe dog may also be employed when turning between two centers. A lathe carrier (or lathe dog) is a device that clamps around the workpiece and allows the Rotary motion of the machine's spindle to be transmitted to the workpiece A lathe carrier (or lathe dog) is a device that clamps around the workpiece and allows the Rotary motion of the machine's spindle to be transmitted to the workpiece
In woodturning, one subtype of a live center is a cup center, which is a cone of metal surrounded by an annular ring of metal that decreases the chances of the workpiece splitting. A lathe center (or center) is a tool that has been ground to an included angle of 60 ° and is used to accurately position a workpiece about its axis
A circular metal plate with even spaced holes around the periphery, mounted to the spindle, is called an "index plate". It can be used to rotate the spindle a precise number of degrees, then lock it in place, facilitating repeated auxiliary operations done to the workpiece.
When a workpiece is fixed between the headstock and the tailstock, it is said to be "between centers". When a workpiece is supported at both ends, it is more stable, and more force may be applied to the workpiece, via tools, at a right angle to the axis of rotation, without fear that the workpiece may break loose.
When a workpiece is fixed only to the spindle at the headstock end, the work is said to be "face work". When a workpiece is supported in this manner, less force may be applied to the workpiece, via tools, at a right angle to the axis of rotation, lest the workpiece rip free. Thus, most work must be done axially, towards the headstock, or at right angles, but gently.
When a workpiece is mounted with a certain axis of rotation, worked, then remounted with a new axis of rotation, this is referred to as "eccentric turning" or "multi axis turning". The result is that various cross sections of the workpiece are rotationally symmetric, but the workpiece as a whole is not rotationally symmetric. This technique is used for camshafts, various types of chair legs, etc.
The smallest lathes are "jewelers lathes" or "watchmaker lathes", which are small enough that they may be held in one hand. Although the workpieces machined on a jeweler's lathes are metal, jeweler's lathes differ from all other metal working lathes in that the cutting tools (called "gravers") are hand held and supported by a T-rest, not fixed to a cross slide. The work is usually held in a collet. Two spindle bore sizes to receive the collets are common, namely 6 mm and 8 mm. Two patterns of bed are common: the WW (Webster Whitcomb) bed, a truncated triangular prism (found only on 8 mm watchmakers lathes); and the continental D-style bar bed (used on both 6 mm and 8 mm lathes by firms such as Lorch and Star). Other bed designs have been used, such a triangular prism on some Boley 6. 5 mm lathes, and a V-edged bed on IME's 8 mm lathes.
Lathes that sit on a bench or table are called "bench lathes".
Lathes that do not have additional integral features for repetitive production, but rather are used for individual part production or modification as the primary role, are called "engine lathes".
Lathes with a very large spindle bore and a chuck on both ends of the spindle are called "oil field lathes. "
Fully automatic mechanical lathes, employing cams and gear trains for controlled movement, are called screw machines. A screw machine is a metalworking machine used in the high volume manufacture of turned components
Lathes that are controlled by a computer are CNC lathes. Metal lathe or metalworking lathe are generic terms for any of a large class of Lathes designed for precisely Machining relatively
Lathes with the spindle mounted in a vertical configuration, instead of horizontal configuration, are called vertical lathes or vertical boring machines. They are used where very large diameters must be turned, and the workpiece (comparatively) is not very long.
A lathe with a cylindrical tailstock that can rotate around a vertical axis, so as to present different facets towards the headstock (and the workpiece) are turret lathes. Metal lathe or metalworking lathe are generic terms for any of a large class of Lathes designed for precisely Machining relatively
A lathe equipped with indexing plates, profile cutters, spiral or helical guides, etc. , so as to enable ornamental turning is an ornamental lathe.
Various combinations are possible: e. g. one could have a vertical CNC lathe (such as a CNC VTL), etc. The turret lathe is a form of metalworking lathe that is used for repetitive production of duplicate parts (which by the nature of their cutting process are usually interchangeable
Lathes can be combined with other machine tools, such as a drill press or vertical milling machine. A drill (from Dutch Drillen) is A milling machine is a Machine tool used for the shaping of Metal and other Solid Materials. These are usually referred to as combination lathes. Metal lathe or metalworking lathe are generic terms for any of a large class of Lathes designed for precisely Machining relatively
Woodworking lathes are the oldest variety. All other varieties are descended from these simple lathes. An adjustable horizontal metal rail - the tool rest - between the material and the operator accommodates the positioning of shaping tools, which are usually hand-held. With wood, it is common practice to press and slide sandpaper against the still-spinning object after shaping to smooth the surface made with the metal shaping tools.
There are also woodworking lathes for making bowls and plates, which have no horizontal metal rail, as the bowl or plate needs only to be held by one side from a metal face plate. Without this rail, there is very little restriction to the width of the piece being turned. Further detail can be found on the woodturning page. Woodturning is a form of Woodworking that is used to create wooden objects on a lathe.
In a metalworking lathe, metal is removed from the workpiece using a hardened cutting tool, which is usually fixed to a solid moveable mounting called the "toolpost", which is then moved against the workpiece using handwheels and/or computer controlled motors. Metal lathe or metalworking lathe are generic terms for any of a large class of Lathes designed for precisely Machining relatively Metal lathe or metalworking lathe are generic terms for any of a large class of Lathes designed for precisely Machining relatively The term tool bit generally refers to a non-rotary cutting tool used in metal lathes, Shapers and planers.
The toolpost is operated by leadscrews that can accurately position the tool in a variety of planes. The toolpost may be driven manually or automatically to produce the roughing and finishing cuts required to turn the workpiece to the desired shape and dimensions, or for cutting threads, worm gears, etc. A screw thread is a helical or tapered structure used to convert between rotational and linear movement or force A worm drive is a gear arrangement in which a worm (which is a gear in the form of a screw) meshes with a worm gear (which is Cutting fluid may also be pumped to the cutting site to provide cooling, lubrication and clearing of swarf from the workpiece. Cutting fluids are various fluids that are used in Machining to cool and lubricate the cutting tool Swarf (or turnings or chips are shavings and chippings of metal—the debris or waste resulting from Metalworking operations Some lathes may be operated under control of a computer for mass production of parts (see "Computer Numerical Control"). Metal lathe or metalworking lathe are generic terms for any of a large class of Lathes designed for precisely Machining relatively A computer is a Machine that manipulates data according to a list of instructions. Mass production (also called flow production, repetitive flow production, series production, or serial production) is the production of The abbreviation CNC stands for computer numerical control, and refers specifically to a computer "controller" that reads G-code
Metalworking lathes are commonly provided with a variable ratio gear train to drive the main leadscrew. This enables different pitches of threads to be cut. Some older gear trains are changed manually by using interchangeable gears with various numbers of teeth, while more modern or elaborate lathes have a quick change box to provide commonly used ratios by the operation of a lever.
The threads that can be cut are, in some ways, determined by the pitch of the leadscrew: A lathe with a metric leadscrew will readily cut metric threads (including BA), while one with an imperial leadscrew will readily cut imperial unit based threads such as BSW or UTS (UNF,UNC). The metre or meter is a unit of Length. It is the basic unit of Length in the Metric system and in the International British Association or BA screw threads are a largely obsolete set of small Screw threads the largest being 0BA at 6 mm diameter Imperial units or the Imperial system is a collection of units first defined in the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824 The Unified Thread Standard ( UTS) defines a standard thread form and series—along with allowances tolerances and designations—for Screw threads commonly
The workpiece may be supported between a pair of points called centres, or it may be bolted to a faceplate or held in a chuck. A chuck has movable jaws that can grip the workpiece securely.
Cue lathes function similar to turning and spinning lathes allowing for a perfectly radially-symmetrical cut for billiard cues. A cue stick (or simply cue, or more specifically pool cue, snooker cue, or billiards cue) is an item of sporting equipment essential to the They can also be used to refinish cues that have been worn over the years.
Glassworking lathes are similar in design to other lathes, but differ markedly in how the workpiece is modified. Glassworking lathes slowly rotate a hollow glass vessel over a fixed or variable temperature flame. The source of the flame may be either hand-held, or mounted to a banjo/cross slide that can be moved along the lathe bed. The flame serves to soften the glass being worked, so that the glass in a specific area of the workpiece becomes malleable, and subject to forming either by inflation ("glassblowing"), or by deformation with a heat resistant tool. Glassblowing is a glassforming technique that involves inflating the molten glass into a bubble or parison with the aid of the blowpipe or blow tube Such lathes usually have two headstocks with chucks holding the work, arranged so that they both rotate together in unison. Air can be introduced through the headstock chuck spindle for glassblowing. The tools to deform the glass and tubes to blow (inflate) the glass are usually handheld.
In diamond turning, a computer-controlled lathe with a diamond-tipped tool is used to make precision optical surfaces in glass or other optical materials. Diamond turning is a process of mechanical Machining of precision elements using Computer Numerical Control ( CNC) lathes equipped with natural or synthetic Unlike conventional optical grinding, complex aspheric surfaces can be machined easily. An aspheric lens or asphere is a lens whose surfaces have a profile that is neither a portion of a Sphere nor of a circular cylinder. Instead of the dovetailed ways used on the tool slide of a metal turning lathe, the ways typically float on air bearings and the position of the tool is measured by optical interferometry to achieve the necessary standard of precision for optical work. The finished work piece usually requires a small amount subsequent polishing by conventional techniques to achieve a finished surface suitably smooth for use in a lens, but the rough grinding time is significantly reduced for complex lenses.
In metal spinning, a disk of sheet metal is held perpendicularly to the main axis of the lathe, and tools with polished tips (spoons) are hand held, but levered by hand against fixed posts, to develop large amounts of torque/pressure that deform the spinning sheet of metal. Metal spinning, or spin forming, is a Metal working process by which a disc or tube of Metal is rotated at high speed and formed into an axially Metal spinning, or spin forming, is a Metal working process by which a disc or tube of Metal is rotated at high speed and formed into an axially
Metal spinning lathes are almost as simple as woodturning lathes (and, at this point, lathes being used for metal spinning almost always are woodworking lathes). Typically, metal spinning lathes require a user-supplied rotationally symmetric mandrel, usually made of wood, which serves as a template onto which the workpiece is moulded (non-symmetric shapes can be done, but it is a very advanced technique). For example, if you want to make a sheet metal bowl, you need a solid chunk of wood in the shape of the bowl; if you want to make a vase, you need a solid template of a vase, etc. Sheet metal is simply Metal formed into thin and flat pieces It is one of the fundamental forms used in Metalworking, and can be cut and bent into a variety The vase (ˈveɪs /ˈveɪz/ or/ˈvɑːz/ is an open container often used to hold cut Flowers It can be made from a number of materials including Ceramics and
Given the advent of high speed, high pressure, industrial die forming, metal spinning is less common now than it once was, but still a valuable technique for producing one-off prototypes or small batches where die forming would be uneconomical.
The ornamental turning lathe was developed around the same time as the industrial screwcutting lathe in the nineteenth century. It was used not for making practical objects, but for decorative work - ornamental turning. NOTICE TO WOULD-BE-ROMEOS*************** By using accessories such as the horizontal and vertical cutting frames, eccentric chuck and elliptical chuck, solids of extraordinary complexity may be produced by various generative procedures. ChucK is a concurrent strongly-timed audio Programming language for real-time synthesis composition and performance which runs on Mac OS X, Linux A special purpose lathe, the Rose engine lathe is also used for ornamental turning, in particular for engine turning, typically in precious metals, for example to decorate pocket watch cases. A rose engine lathe is a specialized kind of ornamental Lathe. As well as a wide range of accessories, these lathes usually have complex dividing arrangements to allow the exact rotation of the mandrel. Cutting is usually carried out by rotating cutters, rather than directly by the rotation of the work itself. Because of the difficulty of polishing such work, the materials turned, such as wood or ivory, are usually quite soft, and the cutter has to be exceptionally sharp. The finest ornamental lathes are generally considered to be those made by Holtzapffel around the turn of the 19th century. Holtzapffel & Co was a tool and Lathe making company in London founded by German immigrant John Jacob Holtzapffel in 1793
Many types of lathes can be equipped with accessory components to allow them to reproduce an item: the original item is mounted on one spindle, the blank is mounted on another, and as both turn in synchronized manner, one end of an arm "reads" the original and the other end of the arm "carves" the duplicate.
A reducing lathe is a specialized lathe that is designed with this feature, and which incorporates a mechanism similar to a pantograph, so that when the "reading" end of the arm reads a detail that measures one inch (for example), the cutting end of the arm creates an analogous detail that is (for example) one quarter of an inch (a 4:1 reduction, although given appropriate machinery and appropriate settings, any reduction ratio is possible). A pantograph (from Greek roots παντ- 'all every' and γραφ- 'to write' from their original use for copying writing is a mechanical linkage connected in a
Reducing lathes are used in coin-making, where a plaster original (or an epoxy master made from the plaster original, or a copper shelled master made from the plaster original, etc. ) is duplicated and reduced on the reducing lathe, generating a master die. Die making is the process of creating a tool for the manufacturing of precisely shaped objects from a stock of workable material
A lathe in which softwood logs are turned against a very sharp blade and peeled off in one continuous or semi-continuous roll. Invented by Immanuel Nobel (father of the more famous Alfred Nobel). Immanuel Nobel (1801-1872 Swedish engineer architect inventor and industrialist (21 October 1833 Stockholm, Sweden – 10 December 1896 Sanremo, Italy) was a Swedish chemist engineer innovator armaments manufacturer The first such lathes were set up in the United States in the mid-19th century
Watchmakers lathes are delicate but precise metalworking lathes, usually without provision for screwcutting, and are still used by horologists for work such as the turning of balance shafts. A screw is a shaft with a helical groove or thread formed on its surface and provision at one end to turn the screw A handheld tool called a graver is often used in preference to a slide mounted tool. Hand Engraving in Metalworking is the act of carving decorative or functional grooves into a substrate usually a metal plate using hand tools such as small chisels called The original watchmaker's turns was a simple dead-centre lathe with a moveable rest and two loose headstocks. The workpiece would be rotated by a bow, typically of horsehair, wrapped around it. Horsehair refers to hair taken from the Mane or tail of Horses It has various uses including Brushes and the bows of musical instruments
Small metalworking lathe
Large old lathe
Turned chess pieces