The lathe is one of the oldest machine tools and came into existence from the early tree lathe which was then a novel device for rotating and machining a piece of work held between two adjacent trees. A rope wound round the work with its one end attached to a flexible branch of a tree and the other end being pulled by a man caused the job to rotate intermittently. Hand tools were then used. With its further development a strip of wood called \u201clath\u201d was used to support the rope and that is how the machine came to be known as \u201clathe\u201d. This device continued to develop through centuries and in the year 1797 Henry Maudslay, an Englishman, designed the first screw cutting lathe which is the forerunner of the present day high speed, heavy duty production lathe a machine tool which has practically given shape to our present day civilization by building machines and industries.
(a) Belt drive.
(b) Individual motor drive.
(c) Gear head lathe.
The lathe bed forms the base of the machine. The headstock and the tailstock are located at either end of the bed and the carriage rests over the lathe bed and slides on it. The lathe bed being the main guiding member of the tool, for accurate machining work, must satisfy the following conditions :
4. The bed should be seasoned naturally to avoid distortion or warp that may develop when it is cooled after the bed is cast. On the top of the bed there are two sets of slides or guideways- outerways and innerways. The outer guideways provide bearing and sliding surfaces for the carriage, and the innerways for the tailstock. The guiding surfaces are accurately machined to make them parallel to the lathe axis, absolutely horizontal, and sufficiently plain. The guiding surface should also be resistant to wear. Chilled castings are sometimes used to improve wear resisting qualities.
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