What is Lathe Machine? – Parts, Types, & Operations

What is a Lathe Machine?

A lathe is a machine tool that rotates a workpiece about an axis of rotation to perform various operations such as cutting, drilling, sanding, facing, knurling, deformation, and turning, with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object with symmetry around this axis.

The lathe is a machine tool that uses a cutting tool to remove material from the surface of the workpiece, which is placed in the chuck to hold the workpiece, and which is fed to the workpiece provided by the tool to remove the material . It is the most versatile and widely used machine in industries, institutes, etc.

One of the oldest machine tools is a lathe. In 1797, an Englishman, Henry Maudslay, designed the first screw-cutting lathe, which is the forerunner of today’s high-speed, high-performance production lathe.

What is the main function of a lathe machine?

To remove metal from a piece of work to give it the required shape and size is the main function of the lathe.

This is accomplished by holding the work securely and rigidly on the machine and then turning it against the cutting tool which will remove metal from work in the form of chips.

How Does a Lathe Work?

A lathe is a machining tool that is used primarily for shaping metal or wood. It works by rotating the workpiece around a stationary cutting tool. The main use is to remove unwanted parts of the material, leaving behind a nicely shaped workpiece.

It holds the workpiece between two rigid and strong supports called centers or in a chuck or faceplate which revolves.

With the cutting tool fed either parallel or at right angles to the work axis, the normal cutting operations are performed. In a tool post that is fed against the revolving work, the cutting tool is rigidly held and supported.

What are the parts of lathe machine?

The main Parts of Lathe Machine are:

  • Head Stock
  • Tailstock
  • Bed and
  • Carriage
  • Lead screw
  • Feed rod
  • Chip pan
  • Hand Wheel
parts of lathe machine
Parts of lathe machine

The main parts of the lathe are:

1. Headstock

The headstock is usually located on the left side of the lathe and is equipped with gears, spindles, chucks, gear speed control levers, and feed controllers.

The headstock is usually on the left side of the lathe and is equipped with gears, spindles, chucks, gear speed control levers, and feed controls.

2. Tailstock

The workpiece is usually on the right side of the lathe and supported by Tailstock at the end.

3. Bed

The main parts of the lathe, all parts are bolted to the bed. It includes the headstock, tailstock, carriage rails and other parts.

4. Carriage

The carriage is located between the headstock and tailstock and contains an apron, saddle, composite support, cross slide, and tool holder.

5. Lead Screw

The lead screw is used to move the carriage automatically during threading.

6. Feed Rod

It is used to move the carriage from left to right and vice versa.

7. Chip Pan

It’s on the bottom of the lathe. The chip pan is used to collect the chips generated during the lathe operation.

8. Hand Wheel

It is the wheel that is hand-operated to move a cross slide, carriage, tailstock, and other parts with a handwheel.

9. Chuck

It allows the mounting of difficult workpieces that are not round, square, or triangular.

10. Cooling device

The cooling device mainly uses a cooling water pump to suppress the slotted liquid in the water tank and spray it on the cutting point, wash the chips and lower the cutting temperature. Smooth the surface to improve tool and tool life. Surface processing quality of the workpiece.

11. Legs

They are supports that carry the entire weight of the machine over them. The prevailing method is to use cast legs. Both feet are firmly secured to the floor through foundation spots to prevent vibration in the machine.

12. Slide box

This is the control box for the feed movement of the lathe. It is furnished with a mechanism that turns the rotary motion of the light rod and the lead screw to the linear motion of the tool post.

13. Spindle

The hole through the headstock to which bar stock can be fed, which allows shafts that are up to 2 times the length between lathe centers to be worked on one end at a time.

14. Cross Slide

Mounted on the traverse slide of the carriage, and uses a handwheel to feed tools into the workpiece.

15. Apron 

Attached to the front of the carriage, it has the mechanism and controls for moving the carriage and cross slide.

What are the types of lathe machine?

Following are different types of lathe machine:

  • Center lathe or engine lathe machine
  • Speed lathe machine
  • Capstan and turret lathe machine
  • Toolroom lathe machine
  • Bench lathe machine
  • Automatic lathe machine
  • Special lathe machine
  • CNC lathe machine

The most common machine tool is a lathe, which can be divided into different types according to different processing conditions for the turning process.

1. Center lathe or Engine lathe Machine

This is a type of lathe that is currently widely used and can perform operations such as turning, end face, grooving, knurling, and threading. The feed mechanism of the engine lathe can operate the cutting tool in both longitudinal and lateral directions. The center lathe can be divided into belt drive, motor drive, and reducer depending on the drive source

This is a type of lathe that is widely used these days, capable of performing such operations as turning, grooving, knurling, end face, and threading. The feed mechanism of the engine lathe can operate the cutting tool in both longitudinal and lateral directions. The center lathe can be divided into belt drive, motor drive, and reduction gear depending on the drive source

2. Speed Lathe/Wood Lathe Machine

The high speed lathe can also be called a wood lathe which can be operated at high speed and operated manually. The speed range for high-speed lathes is between 1200 and 3600 rpm.This lathe is used for turning, centering, polishing and processing wood.

3. Capstan and turret lathe machine

Capstan and turret lathes are improvements in engine lathes that can be used for high-volume production and large jobs. The head of the machine tool is a hexagonal head, which can be rotated to change the operation without manual change, including turning, end face, boring, and reaming.

4. Toolroom lathe machine

The tool room lathe is similar to the engine lathe, but its parts are manufactured with great precision and in order, so this machine is used for high precision grinding machining.

5. Bench lathe machine

The small size of the bench lathe can be used for smaller and more precise work, with parts similar to engine lathes and high-speed lathes.

6. Automatic lathe machine

The automatic lathe can work automatically and can be used for mass production. The automatic machine changes automatically without having to change the tool manually. The advantage is that one operator can operate several machines at the same time. The automatic lathe is a high-speed and high-performance machine.

7. Special lathe machine

Special lathes are used to perform special operations that are not possible with the rest of the lathe. Special lathes include vertical lathes, wheeled lathes, T-type lathes, multi-axis lathes, production lathes, duplex or tracer lathes, etc., which are known for their heavy-duty production of the same parts.

8. CNC lathe machine

The CNC lathe is used to control the operation of the machine tool through a computer program. Once the program is input in steps, mass production can be performed with high precision and high speed, and once the operation code is set, it can be produced without re-entering the next time.

CNC lathes are the most advanced types of lathes available today, and the tolerances of the parts they produce are extremely precise.

Lathe machine Operations

A lathe is a machine that rotates the piece on the axis in order to perform various operations like cutting, facing, knurling, deformation, and more. Metal spinning, thermal spraying, woodturning, and metalworking are the common operations performed with a lathe machine.

The general operations done with the lathe are grooving, turning, cutting, grinding, sanding, etc. In order to operate the lathe first, you must know the feed rates, cutting speed, depth of cut, and how the tool is used. Each lathe operation has its own factors that must be considered before starting work.

The factors should be used properly so that mishandling and mishaps are avoided in any type of lathe operation. With every cut desired the speed, depth, and feed of the lathe are changed for reasons of precision.

Types of Lathe Operation

Different Types of lathe machine operations:

  • Turning Operation.
  • Facing Operation.
  • Chamfering Operation.
  • Knurling Operation.
  • Thread cutting Operation.
  • Filing Operation.
  • Polishing Operation.
  • Grooving Operation.

The working of the lathe machine changes with every operation and cut desired. There is a lot of operation used for using the lathe machine. Some of the common lathe operations are:

Lathe Machine Operations
  • Facing: This is usually the first step in a lathe operation. The metal is cut from the end to fit the right angle of the axis and the markings removed.
  • Tapering: Tapering is to cut the metal to nearly a cone shape with the help of the compound slide. This is something in between the parallel turning and facing off. If one is willing to change the angle then they can adjust the compound slide as they like.
  • Parting: The part is removed so that it faces the ends. For this, the parting tool is involved slowly to make perform the operation. For to make the cut deeper the parting tool is pulled out and transferred to the side for the cut and to prevent the tool from breaking. 
  • Parallel Turning: This operation is adopted in order to cut the metal parallel to the axis. Parallel turning is done to decrease the diameter of the metal.
  • Contour turning: In this operation of the lathe machine, the tool is not fed in a straight path. Instead, the tool follows a contour. A contoured form is created in the turned part. Feed: Contoured feed. Not parallel to the axis of w/p rotation.
  • Rough turning: It is a process of removal of excess material from the workpiece in minimum time by applying a high rate of feed and heavy depth of cut. The depth of cut is around 2 to 5mm and the rate of feed is 0.3 to 1.5mm/revolution.
  • Form turning: In this method, a specially shaped tool is used. The tool is inserted radially. Feed for forming: Radial. Diagram for lathe machine operation which involves facing, forming, and contour turning.
  • Chamfering: Only the cutting edge is used at the corner of cylindrical shapes which is used for stress relieving of the workpiece.
  • Boring: A single-point tool head is fed linearly to the end of the workpiece (on the inside diameter). Feed: Linear.
  • Drilling: Drilling and reaming are done by feeding the lathe tool along the axis of the rotating job part.
  • Knurling: It is a metal forming method that creates a regular cross-hatched pattern. It is not a machining process. It does not involve any cutting of the metal.
  • Reaming operation: Reaming is the operation for sizing or finishing a drilled hole to the required size by a tool called a reamer. This tool is fitted on tail-stock.
  • Spinning operation: In this operation, the job of this sheet metal is held between the former and the tail-stock center rotates at high speed with the former. The long round nose forming tool rigidly fixed on a special tool post presses the job on the periphery of the former. So, the job is taken exactly the shape of the former. This is a chipless machining process.

Lathe Cutting Tools

A lathe is a machine that rotates the workpiece about an axis of rotation to perform various operations such as turning, undercutting, knurling, drilling, facing, boring, and cutting, with lathe cutting tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object with symmetry about that axis.

For general purpose work, the tool used is a single point tool, but for special operations, multipoint tools may use. Watch the below-mentioned video to get understand lathe machine operation.

In lathe machine work, different operations require different types of lathe cutting tools, according to the process of using the lathe cutting tools. which are as follow,

Types of Lathe Cutting Tools

Different Types of Lathe Cutting Tools​

  • Turning Tool.
  • Boring Bar
  • Chamfering Tool
  • Knurling Tool
  • Parting Tool
  • Thread Cutting Tool
  • Facing Tool
  • Grooving Tool

There is a wide range of lathe tools that can be classified according to materials, structures and purposes or uses.

Lathe Cutting Tools
  • Turning Tool: Turning tools are designed for removing the materials from the stock, a rough turning tool is used to remove the maximum amount of material and the finishing turning tool is serve for good surface quality, just remove a small amount, to make the piece more accurate.
  • Boring Bar: A boring bar is required when you want to make an existed hole bigger, a boring bar can easily bore into the hole that is already drilled, and widen its diameter. It can enlarge the hole quickly and process it in the proper size to fit other components correctly.
  • Chamfering Tool: Chamfer is a transitional edge between two faces of an object, also defined as a form of the bevel. The chamfering tool is used to create a bevel or furrow on the part. A chamfer can be used to smooth sharp or hazardous edges on a workpiece.
  • Knurling Tool: Knurling tools are used to produce knurled lathe parts, through creating or pressing a pattern onto a round section, used as a grip for a handle, also usually created on fasteners like nuts. A knurling tool is designed with a specific pattern.
  • Parting Tool: A parting tool refers to a narrow-bladed tool used in turning or planing or for cutting a piece in two, or defined as a tool used for cutting off pieces from the main body of stock being machined, it is manufactured in many forms.
  • Thread Cutting Tool: Thread cutting tools are used to cut a thread on the lathe part. In external thread cutting, the piece can be held in a chuck or mounted between two centers, in internal thread cutting, the part is held in a chuck, the tool moves across the part linearly, taking chips off the workpiece with each pass.
  • Facing Tool: A facing tool is used for facing operation on the lathe to cut flat surface perpendicular to the piece’s rotational axis, the tool is mounted into a tool holder that rests on the carriage of the lathe, during the process, the facing tool will feed perpendicularly across the rotational axis of the part.
  • Grooving Tool: A grooving tool is usually a carbide insert mounted in a special tool holder, it’s designed to an insert with multiple tips, often ground to the dimensions and shape required for a particular job, including cutting a slot and complete other work.
  • Forming Tool: Forming tools are made flat or circular in shape when used in the lathe. Simple forming tools have cutting edges ground to the shape of the groove, undercut, or thread to be cut.
  • Shoulder Turning Tool: A square shoulder is turned by a knife-edge turning tool or facing tool. A beveled shoulder may be turned by a straight turning tool having a side cutting edge angle and zero nose radius. A filleted shoulder is turned by a straight turning tool with a nose radius corresponding to the fillet radius of the work.
  • Counterboring Tool: The counterboring operation can be performed by an ordinary boring tool. The tool cutting edge is so ground that it can leave a shoulder after turning. A counterbore having multiple cutting edges is commonly used.
  • Undercutting Tool: Undercutting or grooving tool has a point and form of the cutting edge exactly similar to the form of the required groove. Clearance angle is given at all the sides of the tool. For the recessing groove cutting edge, the longitudinal feed is employed. The front clearance angle depends upon the bore of the work.

Application of Lathe Machine

The Applications of Lathe Machine are as follows

  • Lathes are used in woodturning, metalworking, metal spinning, thermal spraying, parts reclamation, and glass-working.
  • Lathes can be used to shape pottery, the best-known design being the Potter’s wheel.
  • Lathes are used in Forming, Contour Turning, Machining of Cams, Ultra-Precision Machining, Hard Turning.
  • lathe machines are mainly used in industries to replace metal components as well as wood components with metal lathes and wood lathes.
  • A CNC lathe finds its application in the fields of aerospace, automotive, medical, textile, automobile industries, etc.
  • Lathes are used in various institutes to perform laboratory experiments.
  • lathe machine Make round or partially round parts, Cut male and female threads, Bore and drill holes.
  • Its use in Cut off material, Knurl a knob, Polish a surface of a round part, Taper a shaft, Face or dress rough stock.
  • I use my mill for milling, but it is possible to mill small parts on a lathe. Chuck up a cutter and clamp the part on your tool post.
  • Power things like a hydraulic pump that have no motor. I can set the direction and speed of any shaft that fits in my chucks.
  • it uses to Align 2 pieces of a broken shaft before repair and Bevel an edge.

Advantages of Lathe Machine

The Advantages of Lathe Machine are as follows.

  • The accuracy is much higher in the case of CNC lathes than in general machining lengths.
  • The flow of production is high.
  • This requires some operators in a manual lathe.
  • The lead time will be very short.
  • Greater production over a given period.
  • More economy in floor space.
  • Improvement inaccuracy.
  • Floor space maintenance and inventory requirements are reduced.
  • More consistently and accurate work than turrets.
  • The more constant flow of production.
  • Scrape loss is reduced by reducing operator error.
  • During machine operation operator is free to operate another machine/can inspect complete parts.
  • Machining in the lathe and CNC lathe was very quick.
  • Due to the CNC logs, the time to experiment was much shorter than that of conventional machines.

Disadvantages of Lathe Machine

The limitations of lathe machine are as follows

  • If maintenance was not good, it would damage the parts of the machine by not using lubrication.
  • The device also wears off rapidly, if the operator is not good enough to handle the experiment.
  • Due to the speed of the bite, the smell will be very high in the atmosphere which also affects health.
  • These machines were more expensive than other conventional machines as you can perform almost all operations on a lathe.

Top Ask Questions

What is a lathe machine?

A lathe machine is a machine tool that removes the undesired material from a rotating workpiece in the form of chips with the help of a tool that is traversed across the work and can be feed deep into the work.

What Are the Parts of Lathe Machine?

Different parts of lathe machine:
1. Head Stock
2. Tailstock
3. Bed and
4. Carriage
5. Lead screw
6. Feed rod
7. Chip pan
8. Hand Wheel

What are types of lathe machines?

Different types of lathe machine:
1. Center lathe or engine lathe machine
2. Speed lathe machine
3. Capstan and turret lathe machine
4. Toolroom lathe machine
5. Bench lathe machine
6. Automatic lathe machine
7. Special lathe machine
8. CNC lathe machine

Which are the operations performed on lathe machine?

Types of lathe machine operations:
1. Turning Operation.
2. Facing Operation.
3. Chamfering Operation.
4. Knurling Operation.
5. Thread cutting Operation.
6. Filing Operation.
7. Polishing Operation.
8. Grooving Operation.

What are the tools used in lathe?

Different Types of Lathe Cutting Tools​:
1. Turning Tool.
2. Boring Bar
3. Chamfering Tool
4. Knurling Tool
5. Parting Tool
6. Thread Cutting Tool
7. Facing Tool
8. Grooving Tool

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