Lathe Machine: Parts, Operations

A lathe machine is a mechanical device in which the workpiece is rotated against a suitable cutting tool for producing cylindrical forms in the metal, wood or any other machinable material.

Lathe machine

Figure 1: Lathe machine

Various types of lathe machine tools:

  1. Copy Lathe
  2. Automatic Lathe
  3. Turret lathe machine
  4. Engine lathe
  5. Bench lathe
  6. Chucking lathe
  7. Speed lathe
  8. Automatic screw machine or a bar machine
  9. Numerically controlled lathe

Lathe Machine parts:

Lathe machine parts

Figure 2: Lathe machine parts labeled

Different parts of Lathe:

  1. Headstock: Headstock supports the central spindle in the bearings and aligns it correctly. It also houses necessary transmission mechanism for different speeds. It supports the main spindle in the bearings and aligns it properly. It has a mechanism for getting different speeds. Accessories mounted to headstock spindle are 3/4 jaw chuck, lathe center, and lathe dog, collect chuck, face plate, and magnetic chuck.
  2. Split nut: When closed around the lead screw, the carriage is driven along by direct drive without using a clutch.
  3. Carriage: Carriage moves on the outer ways. Used for mounting and moving most of the cutting tools.
  4. Compound rest: Mounted to the cross slide, it pivots around the tool post.
  5. Tailstock: Fits on the inner ways of the bed and can slide towards any position the headstock to fit the length of the workpiece. An optional taper turning attachment would be mounted to it.
  6. Apron
  7. Main Spindle
  8. Tool post
  9. Cross slide
  10. Dead center
  11. Hand wheel
  12. Bed
  13. Led screw
  14. Feed rod
  15. Clutch
  16. Longitudinal & transverse feed control
  17. Chip pan
  18. Clutch
  19. Feed selector

Machining operations that can be performed on a lathe:

machines are highly versatile and capable of some machining processes that produce a wide variety of shapes as the following list indicates:

Variety of machining operations that can be performed on a lathe

Figure 3: Various machining operations that can be performed on a lathe

  • Turning: [Fig. 3. (a-d)] to produce straight, conical, curved, or grooved workpieces, such as shafts, spindles, and pins.
  • Facing: [Fig. 3 (f)] to produce a flat surface at the end of the part and perpendicular to its axis [Fig. 3 (e)], useful for parts that are assembled with other components. Face grooving produces grooves for applications such as O-ring seats.
  • Cutting with form tools: [Fig. 3 (g)] to produce various axisymmetric shapes for functional or aesthetic purposes.
  • Boring: [Fig. 3 (h)] to enlarge a hole or cylindrical cavity made by a previous process or to produce circular internal grooves.
  • Drilling: [Fig. 3 (i)] to produce a hole, which may be followed by boring to improve its dimensional accuracy and surface finish.
  • Parting: [Fig. 3 (j)] also called cutting off, to cut a piece from the end of a part, as is done in the production of slugs or blanks for additional processing into discrete products.
  • Threading: [Fig. 3 (k)] to produce external or internal threads.
  • Knurling: [Fig. 3 (l)] to provide a regularly shaped roughness on cylindrical surfaces, as in making knobs and handles.

Vinodh Reddy is an Editor-in-chief of ME Mechanical. He holds Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree in Mechanical Engineering from BITS-Pilani. He also writes for vrcworks.net and EduGeneral.

All Comments

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    shitawa yeshambel Oct 28, 2015 2:24 pm Reply
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    Ebenezer Gordon Nov 20, 2015 1:01 pm Reply
  • I love this blog..because these posts are very helpful to me as i m undergraduate mechanical engineer.
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    mayank Mar 21, 2016 7:56 pm Reply
  • Very nice
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    md najmool haque Apr 7, 2016 8:09 am Reply
  • I didn’t know that there were different kinds of lathes out there. I used one to work on a baseball bat. It was actually really fun and it helped me to understand how the lathe actually worked. I wonder if these lathes are mostly automatic because standing at one took a lot of time to cut everything down to the right size.

    Charles Kemp Aug 2, 2016 8:57 pm Reply
  • Sir i am Milan an undergraduate student of mechanical engineering branch. This blog is very useful for our exams. thanks sir.

    Gangadiya milan Aug 19, 2016 3:52 pm Reply
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    joseph May 16, 2017 9:44 am Reply

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