A metal lathe or metalwork lathe is a tool designed to accurately machine harder materials.
Originally, they were designed to machine metals, but thanks to the fact that they’re versatile, they can be used for a wide variety of application and a wide variety of materials.
It basically removes material from a workpiece that rotates with –usually- linear movements of a variety of cutting tools including drill bits and tool bits.
Lathes have been developed to produce screw threads, tapered work, drilled holes, knurled surfaced, and crankshafts.
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Generally, lathes can be divided into three types: an engine lathe, a turret lathe, and a special purpose lathe.
You can get a semi-portable smaller lathe and mount it on a bench or if you’re not going to move it at all, you can get one of the harder-to-transport larger lathes that are mounted on the floor.
An engine lathe is ideal for field and maintenance shops that use a lathe which can perform many operations and isn’t too large to be transported from one site to another.
Turret lathes and special purpose lathes can be used in production or job shops that specialize in mass production or specialized parts.
You should always lubricate and check your lathe for adjustment before you operate them.
If you don’t do the lubrication right or if you leave loose nuts and bolts, your tool will wear out quickly and the operation conditions would be dangerous.
You should make sure that the lathe is clean of any dirt or grit and that the lead screws and gears don’t have metal chips lodged in the gearing system.
You should also make sure that your lathe is leveled before operating it to avoid any vibration and wobbling that may lead to risky situations.