The invention of machines has resulted in saving our time, money and energy. Additionally it even helps us to produce better quality goods. The lathe is one of the oldest and most important machine tools. The earliest types of lathes were manually operated and included hand held tools with manual feed for the work piece. However nowadays these lathe machines are power driven, highly versatile and computer controlled.
The conventional lathe machine is a standard lathe that is used for holding and turning various types of materials such as metal, wood, plastic etc. against a cutting tool in order to produce a cylindrical object. Besides this it can even perform many other functions like grinding, boring, threading, polishing, reaming, drilling etc.
Many types of lathe machines are available; with exclusive features to perform a variety of machining operations. The wood lathe or a woodworking machinery lathe is the simplest and oldest type of lathe; which is specially designed for turning wood. Wood lathes are used for wood working and to create several wooden objects such as wooden furniture, sports goods etc.
Metal lathes are used to remove material parts from a metal item using an integrated cutting tool. Metal lathes are mainly utilized to cut, grind, drill, bore and ream harder and heavier materials like metal. However, nowadays they are even used for cutting various types of materials including plastic and other composite materials.
There are several kinds of metal lathes, such as a center lathe, a capstan lathe, a turret lathe etc. Engine lathes or center lathes or bench lathes are basically metal turning machines. This is a traditional lathe machine with an automatic feed for the cutting tool. They come in various sizes and are capable to work with almost all types of materials.
It is also known as center lathe, where the work piece remains fixed and the dual heads move towards the work piece and make a central drill hole from each end. Moreover, mini lathes and micro lathes are just small sized lathes as compared to the typical general purpose engine lathes.
The tool room lathe is a medium sized engine lathe that is specially used for very accurate work and for high quality machining. A tool room lathe can deliver better accuracy and precision as compared to an engine lathe. These machines are commonly used in tool rooms and die shops; as well as for manufacturing precision machine parts and accurate fixtures. While producing tool room lathes, the main focus is towards the spindle accuracy, smooth operation and precise alignment of the carriage and cross slide.
Turret lathes and capstan lathes are mostly utilized in the production machine shops where numerous back to back processes are performed on a single work piece. This is due to the fact that removing a work piece from one machine and re-holding it in another will affect machining accuracy and work alignment; and is also expensive and time consuming.
Today, several conventional lathe machine manufacturers supply a wide range of lathe machines at competitive prices.