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How to Use A Metal Lathe

How to Use A Metal Lathe

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Published by masterviking

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Published by: masterviking on Jul 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The lathe is a machine tool used principally for shaping pieces of metal (and sometimeswood or other materials) by causing the workpiece to be held and rotated by the lathewhile a tool bit is advanced into the work causing the cutting action. The basic lathe thatwas designed to cut cylindrical metal stock has been developed further to produce screwthreads, tapered work, drilled holes, knurled surfaces, and crankshafts. Modern lathesoffer a variety of rotating speeds and a means to manually and automatically move thecutting tool into the workpiece. Machinists and maintenance shop personnel must bethoroughly familiar with the lathe and its operations to accomplish the repair andfabrication of needed parts.
Lathes can be divided into three types for easy identification: engine lathe, turret lathe,and special purpose lathes. Some smaller ones are bench mounted and semi-portable. Thelarger lathes are floor mounted and may require special transportation if they must bemoved. Field and maintenance shops generally use a lathe that can be adapted to manyoperations and that is not too large to be moved from one work site to another. Theengine lathe (Figure 7-1) is ideally suited for this purpose. A trained operator canaccomplish more machining jobs with the engine lathe than with any other machine tool.Turret lathes and special purpose lathes are usually used in production or job shops formass production or specialized parts, while basic engine lathes are usually used for anytype of lathe work. Further reference to lathes in this chapter will be about the variousengine lathes.
The size of an engine lathe is determined by the largest piece of stock that can bemachined. Before machining a workpiece, the following measurements must beconsidered: the diameter of the work that will swing over the bed and the length betweenlathe centers (Figure 7-1).
Slight differences in the various engine lathes make it easy to group them into threecategories: lightweight bench engine lathes, precision tool room lathes, and gap lathes,which are also known as extension-type lathes. These lathe categories are shown inFigure 7-2 Different manufacturers may use different lathe categories.
 Lightweight bench engine lathes are generally small lathes with a swing of 10 inches orless, mounted to a bench or table top. These lathes can accomplish most machining jobs,but may be limited due to the size of the material that can be turned.
Precision tool room lathes are also known as standard manufacturing lathes and are usedfor all lathe operations, such as turning, boring, drilling, reaming, producing screwthreads, taper turning, knurling, and radius forming, and can be adapted for specialmilling operations with the appropriate fixture. This type of lathe can handle workpiecesup to 25 inches in diameter and up to 200 inches long. However, the general size is abouta 15-inch swing with 36 to 48 inches between centers. Many tool room lathes are used forspecial tool and die production due to the high accuracy of the machine.
Gap or extension-type lathes are similar to toolroom lathes except that gap lathes can beadjusted to machine larger diameter and longer workpieces The operator can increase theswing by moving the bed a distance from the headstock, which is usually one or two feet.By sliding the bed away from the headstock, the gap lathe can be used to turn very longworkpieces between centers.

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