Nowadays, the tool room work and workshop machine activities; are done by machine repairers or through suitable lathe machines. A lathe is a machine tool utilized to perform various functions like turning, cutting, drilling, grooving, knurling, parting, threading etc. They are used to produce accurate products made from metal, plastic, wood etc. The basic lathe machine operations are as follows:-
Turning is an essential and important lathe operation. It is used to create circular objects and for reducing the diameter of the work. Taper turning refers to the process where the tool narrowly cuts the job at a specific angle. Knurling is done using a knurling tool; it has two slashed lined wheels that are pressed against the rotating work piece to produce a knurled object.
The drilling operation uses a drilling tool which is held in the tail stock and fed into the work by using a handle on tailstock. Threading is a precise operation, where the tool is fed into the job at a constant speed. This is done by attaching a carriage assembly with lead screws that are connected to the driving mechanism through gear trains. Two types of threading are external and internal threading.
Grooving is done before external threading by feeding the grooving tool perpendicular to the rotating work piece. Parting is done for cutting a work into smaller parts. Chamfering refers to slitting or cutting the edges of the object.
The major parts of a lathe machine are bed, headstock, saddle, tailstock, top slide; apron, cross slide, lead screw, countershaft, tool rest, chuck and gears. The bed is the base of a lathe, the chuck holds and spins the work piece; whereas the apron grips the gears, and the headstock allows the spindle to rotate at variable speeds. The tailstock holds the end of the work; and the carriage houses the cross slide, top slide and saddle.
Many types of lathes are available including the wood lathe. Here the cutting tool is operated manually by skilled workers to precisely form smooth curves and complex shapes on the work piece. The spindle is normally driven by a belt connected to the motor, and the speed can be varied manually. Lathe tools are held manually against the work, with the help of an adjustable tool rest; that is clamped to the base at a suitable position.
Engine lathes are machines with a longitudinal base, where the headstock and tailstock are mounted. It has an advanced spindle drive that runs at variable speeds; the selectable gears help to operate the machine at higher speeds. The lathe cutting tools are moved against the work using hand wheels; or automatically using a lead screw that is power driven by gears in the headstock. The carriage moves back and forth on the bed for longitudinal turning. The cross slide and compound rest are mounted above the carriage to enable cross and angular cutting.
Finally during any lathe machining operation, always take necessary precautions; even if you are an expert, or are handling an important process.