A lathe is one of the oldest machine tools primarily used for shaping metal or wood. It functions by rotating the workpiece on an axis of rotation of the stationary cutting tool. The lathe machine performs operations like sanding, knurling, cutting, drilling, turning, deformation, and facing.
It removes the unwanted parts of an article leaving behind the desired shape of the workpiece. The lathe is often used to create cylindrical and plane surfaces at a right angle on the axis.
Items like bowls, musical instruments, screws, candlesticks, gun barrels and table legs are made using the mechanism of holding and rotating.
- Metal spinning
- thermal spraying
- glass working and
- pottery shaping
These are some of the best-known functions of the lathe machine.
Parts of a Lathe
The Bed- It is a solid structure; the base of the machine and guiding member. The bed should be able to resist stresses of the cutting force of the tool and twisting. It is usually made of cast iron.
The Headstock- It is secured inner ways on the left-hand end of the lathe bed. It comprises of hollow spindle and mechanism for driving the spindle speed.
The Tailstock- The tailstock is located on the right side of the bed. It supports the other end of the workpiece when it is moving between two centers.
Carriage- It is made of various parts to support, move and control the cutting tool.
Feed mechanism- Present at the headstock it is used to determine the direction of the feed; longitudinal, cross or angular.
Different Types of Lathes
A lathe machine tool can be classified into different types depending upon the construction and design.
This is a small machine that is used for precision work that requires high accuracy. It is mostly employed by manufacturers. The bench lathe is mounted separately on a prepared bench. It accommodates all the attachments of a larger lathe and is capable of performing the same functions. The only difference is the size.
Speed Lathe is wielded for woodturning, polishing, centering and metal spinning. It is a high-speed spindle used to create bowls, baseball bats and furniture parts. The speed lathe has supporting legs cast and fitted to the bed.
The lathe consists of headstock, tailstock and tool turret. It has no gearbox, carriage, the lead screw and provision for power feed. The tool is mounted on a tool post on the adjustable slide. Hence, actuated by hand.
It is the most used type of machine. The names have been derived from the 19th,20th historical value. It was powered by the steam engine, though the modern-day engine lathe is driven by motor drives.
The engine lathe is ideal for metal manufactures for operating metalworking such as drilling, boring and reaming. It looks similar to a speed lathe but is bigger and studier. The large mechanism provides multiple speeds to the spindle.
The feed mechanism can operate the cutting tool in both longitudinal and lateral directions. It is available in 3 types.
This engine lathe is belt driven and receives power from an over-line shaft. It is equipped with cone pulley with back gears. It aids to adjust to the desired speed.
It obtains its energy from the individual integral motor.
It gets its force from a constant speed motor and range of speed is obtained by shifting gears.
Capstan and Turret lathe
This lathe is utilized for mass production. Instead of the tailstock, the turret lathe has a hexagonal turret mounted on the saddle. Numerous tools can be inserted on the hexagonal turret.
Therefore, multiple operations can be carried out in sequence. The several operations enable high voluminous production. The capstan turret lathe is semi-automatic and little skill is required to operate the machine. Various operations carried on the same machine, reduce error and save time.
Tool Room Lathe
In matters of extreme precision toolroom lathe is an exemplary choice. It has relatively more angle of speed and feed. The gearbox enables a wide range of speed from very low to high speed up to 2500rpm.
The exclusive features include chuck, taper turning attachment, steady and follower rest, pump for coolant draw in the collect attachment. It is functional for drilling, turning, reaming and boring.
This machine is extremely advanced to manufacture products automatically. Once the tool is set, it executes all the operations automatically. The change in feed and tools is automated. A single operator can guide 5-6 automatic lathes simultaneously. It is a high speed and heavy-duty machine yielded to boost the quality and quantity of production.
Computer Numeric Control Lathe avail CNC programs to accomplish the task. High level of accuracy can be achieved in a fraction of time through this lathe. CNC lathe is constructed of the same components as manual lathe but is additionally equipped with a CNC control panel.
Once the operation code is set, it can be applied without re-entering the second time. It is the most advanced type of lathe employed in various industries ranging from automotive to aerospace.
Some lathe machines are specifically designed to meet special requirements. The special lathe is efficient for a particular project. Certain special lathes are:
Wheel Lathe: It is produced to complete the journals and to turn the thread on the railroad, automobile cars and locomotive wheels.
T- Lathe: It is used for machining the rotors for jet engines. The axis of the lathe bed is at right angles to the axis of the headstock spindle.
Duplicate Lathe: It has a tracer connected to the carriage, which moves along with the template. Mechanical, pneumatic and hydraulic devices are used to coordinate the movement of the tool. It is used for mass production of identical objects.
Vertical Lathe: It carries a vertical column in which the cross and verticals slides are fitted into. It is used for boring and turning heavy rotating parts like flywheel and gear banks.
These are various types of lathes available for the manufacturers. The extract would help you determine which type is best suited for your needs. Certain lathes are wielded for accuracy and some for mass production. There are advanced ones as well to meet special needs.