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How Does A Lathe Machine Work?

How Does A Lathe Machine Work?

29 Mar 22

Every manufacturing company needs a lathe machine! Both vertical and horizontal lathe machines are primarily used to shape cylindrical wood and metal parts. Material is promptly removed and reshaped by rotating your workpiece around a stationary cutting tool. You can quickly turn bowls, pens, and furniture parts with a lathe. In contrast, milling machines accommodate more awkwardly shaped pieces by rotating a cutting tool around a stationary workpiece. So, perhaps you’re questioning ‘how does a lathe machine work?’ or whether the device will suit your production. Keep reading to learn and make an informed decision.

Lathes Consist Of Multiple Parts:

To understand how a lathe machine functions, you first must break down the tool parts. The essential components of any lathe are the bed, the motor, the spindles, the headstock, and the tailstock. Let’s break them down.

The Lathe Bed

Every single machine part is attached to the bed. You can consider the lathe bed as the base of your tool. The distance from the primary spindle to your bed tells you the maximum diameter of material you can handle.

The Lathe Motor

The lathe motor is typically found on the underside of the bed, outside of plain sight. Engines can be both electric and hydraulic depending on the machine model, so assume individual models run differently. For repairs or servicing, you’ll find the motor is located slightly left, parallel to the headstock.

The Lathe Spindles

You can fit your spindles with different accessories, including the central fixture. Attachments can include screw chucks, faceplate rings, and Stebcentres. Your machine’s main spindle will be threaded on the outside to accommodate unique fittings.

The Lathe Headstock

Your lathe headstock is where the cutting will occur, so it is imperative. The machine will direct all energy from your motor to the left of your device, where your headstock sits. The model will likely position your main spindle in this area too.

The Lathe Tailstock

With most lathe machines, you may be able to remove your tailstock entirely. It is an adjustable piece designed to accommodate your long workpieces during operation. Large and heavy workpieces benefit from the stability a tailstock can provide. Still, you may remove the part for day-to-day machining.

How Lathe Parts Work Together:

Every component of the machine works in harmony to reshape your material. Here are the five steps that will occur when you start shaping, drilling, cutting or turning wood and metal in your lathe.

  1. You’ll position your workpiece into the chuck attached to your spindle.
  2. The spindle is powered by an electric or hydraulic motor and will move.
  3. An operator will dictate the speeds at which the part can spin.
  4. Cutting tools will reshape your material, travelling up and down one rotation axis.
  5. If you’ve applied a tailstock, it’ll act as a stationary drill piece at the centre of the part.


Will A Lathe Machine Suit Me?

Before you invest in a CNC automatic or a manual lathe, you must be confident you’ll apply it plenty. Our team at DTS UK will help you determine whether you’re ready to introduce a manufacturing machine into your arsenal.

You Need A Lathe If:


  • You create furniture. Table legs, cabinets and chairs alike can benefit from the precision of a lathe machine, and you’ll notice you complete projects faster too.
  • You manufacture pens. Dedicated and impressive machinery ensures you’ll have an identical product nearly every time. It’s worth remembering that a milling machine can’t handle cylindrical parts as efficiently as a CNC lathe.
  • You work with glass. Any scientific glassblowing shop would benefit from a glassblowing lathe. The machine’s primary purpose is to hold and rotate rods or apparatus during fabrication.
  • You wish to sell bowls and platters. You’ll create exceptional products from wood in a speedy time with the assistance of a lathe machine. What’s more, you’ll achieve higher precision than working purely by hand.


Contact DTS UK To Learn More About Lathes



Are you still unsure whether a lathe is an ideal fit for your business? Contact us today, and we’ll consider your concerns before recommending the perfect piece of machinery.

Article written by: Mike
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