Lathe

A lathe (/lð/) is a machine tool that rotates a workpiece about an axis of rotation to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, deformation, facing, and turning, with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object with symmetry about that axis.[1]

A metalworking lathe from 1911, showing component parts:
a: bed
b: carriage (with cross-slide and tool post)
c: headstock
d: back gear (other gear train nearby drives lead screw)
e: cone pulley for a belt drive from an external power source
f: faceplate mounted on spindle
g: tailstock
h: leadscrew
A watchmaker using a lathe to prepare a component cut from copper for a watch

Lathes are used in woodturning, metalworking, metal spinning, thermal spraying, parts reclamation, and glass-working. Lathes can be used to shape pottery, the best-known design being the Potter's wheel. Most suitably equipped metalworking lathes can also be used to produce most solids of revolution, plane surfaces and screw threads or helices. Ornamental lathes can produce three-dimensional solids of incredible complexity. The workpiece is usually held in place by either one or two centers, at least one of which can typically be moved horizontally to accommodate varying workpiece lengths. Other work-holding methods include clamping the work about the axis of rotation using a chuck or collet, or to a faceplate, using clamps or dog clutch.

Examples of objects that can be produced on a lathe include screws, candlesticks, gun barrels, cue sticks, table legs, bowls, baseball bats, pens, musical instruments (especially woodwind instruments), and crankshafts.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Lathe, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.