A lathe is a type of machine used to shape things. Various kinds of work such as woodturning, metalworking, metal spinning, spin welding and glassworking use lathes. A lathe works by turning an object on an axis and applying a tool to shape it. Most lathes turn the workpiece on a horizontal axis; the potter's wheel uses a vertical axis. There are various types of lathe machine but horizontal lathes are used widely.
CNC (Computer numerical control) lathes can perform the same jobs more accurately than manual lathes. Lathes work by using accessories such as cutting tools and rests.
Wood lathes[change | change source]
The lathe is driven by a motor that rotates a blank of wood between two centres – the fork centre and the centre – that hold it in place. The machine rotates the wood and the user uses a variety of chisels to shape the wood by moving the chisels along a tool rest.
Tools[change | change source]
Lathes feature the following kinds of tools: -
- Gouge – scooped in shaped and is used for removing material and rough cutting of the material
- Parting – used for creating inserts, notches or grooves in the workpiece
- Scraper – used to smooth the shape before finishing. These can be either square or round
- Skew – used to create more detailed shapes and grooves
Metal lathes[change | change source]
A metal lathe is like the wood lathe in the type of shapes it can produce but for designed to work on metals. Due to the material the machine is more controlled. The machine is driven by motor that rotates a blank of metal on chuck. The machine rotates the metal and cutting tool moves in different directions to shape metal.
How metal lathes work Types of processes involved in metal lathe manufacturing: -
- Facing off – this when the end of a metal bar is cut level so the end is flat
- Parallel – this when the cutting tool cuts parallel to the centre to reduce the outside diameter
- Chamfer – this is when the cutting tool cuts an angle or taper
- Parting – this is when the cutting tool cuts a notch or groove or can completely cut through the work piece to separate it from the rest
Referenes[change | change source]
- "Lathes - Practical guide: Using machine tools - National 5 Design and manufacture Revision". BBC Bitesize. Retrieved 2022-12-08.