Back in the day, around 1300 BC, the Egyptians created a lathe. And, believe it or not, it is a tool we still use to this day. 

However, not many people know exactly what a lathe is or what it is used for. And they are completely unaware of how our everyday products are machined from them. 

But, once they realize how useful lathes are, they can then begin to see how important they really are in today’s industry. 

So, if you’re curious about what a lathe machine is and how it works, keep reading to find out!

What is a Lathe

A lathe is a tool that takes unwanted materials off of a product. It rotates the product and cuts away until the desired form is created. And it is usually used to shape metal or wood. 

While many think one type of lathe works for every material, there are actually different lathes for different products. But, they all mainly operate in the same way, holding and rotating. 

This tool is so versatile and can be used for machinery, hobbies, or work. In other words, it can create products like motors, bowls, or equipment parts. 

Types of Lathes

There are so many different lathe types and their uses vary widely. It’s important to choose the type that works best for your needs. And some lathe machine examples include:

  • Engine Lathe – This is the most used and popular by far. Its functions include facing, turning, grooving, knurling, and threading. 
  • Speed Lathe –  This is the most simple of the bunch due to its hand operation. Its functions include woodturning, metal spinning, and polishing. 
  • Turret Lathe – This is for large-scale and heavy-duty products. Its functions include drilling, reaming, and tapping.
  • Bench Lathe – This is a small lathe that mounts to a workbench. It’s used for smaller jobs. 
  • Automatic Lathe – This lathe does its job automatically and is usually used for mass production. 
  • CNC Lathe – This is the most advanced and accurate lathe. A computer controls its functions during large-scale production. 

Main Lathe Parts

Most lathes have 8 common parts that work together to create your products. These parts and their functions include:

  • Headstock – Transfers power to various parts of the lathe. 
  • Tailstock – Holds tool or product for stability. 
  • Bed – Base of the lathe. 
  • Carriage – Stabilizes, feeds, and guides the tool that is in use. 
  • Lead Screw – Used when threading to move the carriage. 
  • Feed Rod – Moves the carriage back and forth.
  • Chip Pan – Collects the chips that fall from the product. 
  • Hand Wheel – Moves other parts of the lathe that have handwheels. 

Do You Use a Lathe Machine?

While you might not have known all that a lathe machine is capable of, it’s important to recognize how important they are in today’s world. 

You never know how many of the things you use in your life have been created or have some connection to a lathe. And that is a pretty cool concept to think about. 

Contact us today for any other questions you have regarding lathe machines and how they work in today’s industry!