Lathe Machine | Parts, Types, Operations, Limitations

By | August 18, 2018

What is a lathe?

lathe machine

A lathe is probably one of the oldest machine tool invented by human beings. It is generally used to generate cylindrical surfaces but many different kinds of surfaces can also be generated by them.

A lathe is a simple to use machine tool and has different types (according to use)

Types of lathe

  1. Centre lathe
  • Bench lathe
  1. Tool room lathe
  2. Special purpose lathe
  • Copying lathe
  • Gap bed lathe
  • Hollow spindle lathe
  1. Capstan and turret lathe
  2. Automatic lathes

Centre lathe is most common and is used for general purpose. They can perform diverse operations but has less productivity

Tool room lathes are generally used for tool making. They have very high accuracy.

Special purpose lathe machines are used to perform specific operations which cannot be generally performed by Centre lathe.

Capstan, Turret and Automatic lathes are used for high production rates. They are generally used for special purpose. They can also run unattended if necessary.

lathe machine parts

  1. Headstock
  2. Spindle
  3. Feed change gear box
  4. Compound rest and slide
  5. Tool post
  6. Carriage (or Saddle)
  7. Cross-slide
  8. Tailstock
  9. Feed rod
  10. Bed
  11. Lead screw

Types of tools that can be used in lathes

There are many tools which are used to generate specific kind of surfaces. They are

  1. Parting tool
  2. Turning tool
  3. Right hand turning tool
  4. Left hand turning tool
  5. Radius turning tool
  6. Thread cutting tool
  7. Chamfering form tool
  8. Internal turning tool
  9. Internal facing tool
  10. Recess or groove making
  11. Internal threading tool

Operations that can be performed in a Centre lathe

  1. Turning
  2. Facing
  3. Knurling
  4. Parting
  5. Drilling
  6. Boring

To increase the capabilities of a Centre lathe and to perform diverse operations following attachments can be used

  1. Milling attachment
  2. Grinding attachment
  3. Copy turning attachment
  4. Radius turning attachment

Limitations of Centre lathe

  1. Setting time for holding job is very high
  2. Only one tool can be used generally at a time
  3. Idle time in between the operation is high
  4. Preciseness of the job depends highly on the skills of operator

For overcoming limitations of Centre lathe, Capstan, Turret and Automatic lathes are invented. They have basically achieved improvements in the following areas.

  1. Work holding methods
  2. Multiple tool availability
  3. Automatic feeding of tool
  4. Automatic stopping of tool at precise locations
  5. Automatic control of proper sequence of operations

Featured image source:

Attribution:┬áBy Internet Archive Book Images – https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14738725566/ Source book page: https://archive.org/stream/streetrailwayrev14amer/streetrailwayrev14amer#page/n871/mode/1up, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43236708

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