A lathe is a widely used machine tool, that can shape workpieces through spinning them around a designated axis. The power of the lathe also allows it to perform a variety of functions including cutting, sanding and drilling. With the attached cutting tool, external threads can be cut with exact precision by turning the workpiece at a speed corresponding to the material and desired thread declarations, while the cutting tool can be moved along the axis of the workpiece passing through the rotational direction, to construct the thread.
Lathes have become a staple tool in businesses across a huge spectrum, ranging from automotive to aerospace, and even energy. In hobbyist circles, they can be relied on to shape items such as bowls, pens and more, allowing for significant creativity on a miniature scale.
From the production of automobile engines to other equipment, engine lathes lie at the heart of modern manufacturing. The design of these lathes features a horizontal bed upon which the headstock and tailstock are placed at either end, with the workpiece mounted between them. The cutting tool is then affixed to a carriage which travels back and forth, completing the essential machining process.
The wood-specific lathe is a remarkably useful machinery, often referred to as the “woodworker’s best friend”. This type of lathe features a horizontally placed bed, with its headstock and tailstock placed at the opposite extremities. To use it effectively, one must mount the workpiece between the headstock and tailstock, before applying the cutting toolset to the carriage – which is located on the bed and is helpful for mobility along said bed.
Lathe operations can be divided into two distinct categories – manual and automated. Manual lathes are operated by skilled human hands, while CNC lathes employ state-of-the-art computer numerical control to achieve faster, more exact results. This technology allows for the crafting of advanced, intricate shapes that would be impossible with manual processes.
Machining a range of items for industrial purposes requires a reliable lathe. When deciding on which model to choose, factors such as the workpiece, precision, and the control system should be taken into account.