Various parts can be created using lathe from small watch components to the largest propeller shafts used in marine industry. There are two dimensions in a lathe’s capacity. The first one is the swing or also known as the diameter’s maximum part and the second one is the ‘distance between centers’ which is also known to be the length’s maximum part. In terms of turning tools, the most basic is the lathe used for general purpose. In every lathe, there are two requirements needed for the turning process to take place, the work piece must be held in place while the machine is rotating and there must be something wherein the cutting tool can hold onto while moving in order to do the work.
The material may have a hold on one of its end or both depending on the need. If the work piece needs to be hold in only one end of the material then it must be gripped using various tools such as mandrels, chucks or collets. The lathe’s spindle nose is where the chucks are positioned while the spindle holds the collets. The headstock of the lathe is where the gear train and the motor can be found and they are responsible in making the machine rotates. This is where the spindle is placed. On the other side of the headstock is the tailstock which is positioned across. The work piece is held by the tailstock either in the dead center or end. If the material needs to be held on two ends then it is referred to be ‘between centers’. In the case of work pieces with longer length, a steady rest should be used in order for it to be supported and the rest must be placed in between the head and tail stock.
Usually work pieces are shaped like a cylinder but it is not impossible to work around materials that are odd in shape or is square shaped. It can be done with the help of special fixtures, chucks or collets. Lathe tools used for cutting may be directed in one or many directions. The lathe’s engine determines the movement of the tool depending on the combination used such as the lathe’s compound rest, cross slide and carriage. The Z axis is where the carriage travels in parallel with while every work done perpendicularly travels along the X axis.