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4 Things Lathes Are Used For

4 Things Lathes Are Used For

12 Feb 21

A lathe is a machine that has been in use since Ancient Egypt, helping labourers to create precise stoneware in the early years. Over the centuries, the technology and the lathe structure have developed alongside civilisation and our needs. In the modern world, lathes can be used with various materials, including metals and wood. 

Rather than requiring a manual operation, we now have a computer numerical control (CNC) process that can be applied to our lathes, where coding dictates your workpiece’s rotation. Companies such as GEMINIS fully commit to developing CNC lathes since they are still instrumental in product creation to this day.

If you aren’t educated on the manufacturing process, it can be challenging to identify what everyday items are created and developed with lathe operations. Here are 4 things lathes are used for, and some may surprise you!


Jewellery Bangles

Wooden bangles are very commonly shaped with a lathe machine! Since they need to be perfectly round and smooth, a lathe machine’s precise operations suit bangle-making entirely. Woodwork comes easy to a lathe machine since the material is relatively soft, and wooden jewellery can be a trendy statement piece without being unreasonably expensive. Since jewellery making can make a fulfilling hobby, bangles are likely to be created by amateurs with Knuth manual lathe machines rather than on a larger scale with industrial CNC lathes.


Pen Turning and Making

Whether you favour acrylic, brass or aluminium as a material, a lathe is commonly used to shape a pen’s body. Making a pen is straightforward enough to be a hobby project on your manual lathe. On an industrial scale, CNC lathe machines are perfect for pen manufacturing since their operations are exact and every batch will be identical. CNC machines require minimal interference from employees as their instructions are in code, so companies such as BIC save money having to hire fewer workers! While a CNC industrial lathe is an expensive investment, it fast pays itself off in the manufacturing world.


Steam Engines

With just a slight step up from a pen, lathe operations can also produce a steam engine’s components. Creating a functioning steam engine could be a personal target, but the process used to be carried out industrially. Steam engines have been used for applications in factories, mines, steamboats and trains! When we consider steam engines history, you may assume that they aren’t often used anymore in favour of electricity, but this is not the case. Steam engines have a new future in supplying us with energy from eco-friendly geothermal sources, so CNC industrial lathes will be back to making plenty of steam engines before we know it! In the meantime, you can try building basic steam engines as a passion project.


Musical Instruments

Historically, musical instruments have been made with a lathe too. Rainsticks, maracas and recorders can all be produced by configuring parts produced with lathe operations. More complex instruments such as a guitar require closer attention and string winding after you’ve created the initial body. Even though requiring the oversight of a workman, a lathe ensures that all the instrument pieces will fit together with fewer gaps and imperfections than only handworked bits. Depending on the instrument’s price, some manufacturers will closely tailor their instruments with a manual lathe for a unique build.


For friendly, helpful and reliable advice on choosing the right lathe for your needs, contact us at DTS UK. We will carefully consider the projects you’re looking to complete with your machine, and ensure that the model you select is the right investment for you.

Article written by: Mike

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