What Is A Lathe Used For?

The lathe is one of the oldest tools ever invented by man to make the woodcraft easier than before. In the beginning, it was only for the wooden planks. With time, certain innovations made it suitable for giant metallic blocks as well. You can check out the best models of mini metal lathe here.

What Is A Lathe Used For

Before delving into the elaborations, let us tell you that Lathe isn’t its real name. It is an acronym for Longitudinal Axis Tool Holding Equipment. Following this, if you haven’t heard this name before, we have got all the necessary details in one place for you. Keep reading to become pro at lathing at once.

Primary Objective of Lathing

The primary usage of the lathe is to remove the material from the wooden surface and to give a new shape to the project under progress.

You may do this by taking the wooden block and placing it horizontally into the lathe. As it rotates, the material keeps falling off unless it depicts the shape that you want.

In the past centuries, there would be a separate worker to rotate the lathe. But in today’s age, the lathe has become more programmed than ever.

Similarly, if you are working on a metallic object, let us disclose one more thing. The lathe can have multiple ways to work with and this goes true also in the current case. For metals, you may have to place them both horizontally and vertically to get the desired shape.

This may take some time but as compared to human efforts, lathe works pretty faster. Why would you go for saws when the artists from Egyptian kings’ age has pre-designed such a versatile tool for you. This is true that wooden industries are making gigantic progress every day. Despite this pace, lathe remains indispensable. It may take some time to conquer lathing, once done this can help you in unthinkable ways.

Composition of a Lathe

Nothing explains a lathe better than its composition. It doesn’t have any complicated alignment excepting a few key structures that you would soon get on your fingertips.

lathe components
Image: americanmachinetools.com

The topmost one on the list is the parallel rigid bed on which you lay the piece you are working on. The two stocks are also important, headstock retains its position but you may move the tailstock depending on the thickness of the wooden piece.

Let us share with you an exciting part of a lathe.

There is a spindle in the headstock that often comes as headstock spindle. This spindle runs on an electric motor that needs a gearbox for the connection. As the spindle rotates, the carriage present on the sideways of the parallel bed also starts moving.

Moreover, if you are a beginner, you can also slow down the speed of the spindle through the electric motor, the same goes for the intricate designs as well.

There is a jargon list, learning which can help you a lot in lathing. The wide device that holds your plank is termed as chuck and it is present right in front of the spindle. When you rotate the spindle, the chuck also goes with it. In addition to all this, there are many threads and point tools present on the tool post to explore whom you’d have to scroll to the section below. 

How to become a pro at using Lathe?

Becoming a pro at anything needs patience and efficiency, but in lathing, fortunately, you can achieve this overnight. Of course, professional coaching is irreplaceable. But instead of going for the long instruction manuals, we have got the simplest way for you to start with.

First, you can take a wooden plank that has even edges. The irregular ends give a shaggy appearance to the smooth surface always turns out neater.

Then using a compass you have to draw equal circles on both top and bottom. We could have avoided this step. But since you may not have come across a lathe ever before, this step has to be mandatory here.

Secondly, you can place your block on the center of the headstock and gradually bring close the tailstock. The former keeps the positioning balanced throughout the lathing. While the tailstock tackles with the vibrations produced within the Lathe.

We suggest you keep the tool rest at the top of the checklist. Using it is not a Herculean task but the right placement can bring a revolutionary change to your task. All you have to do is just to bring it closer to the plank you have set up. Then, rotate the plank with your hands, ensuring the tool rest doesn’t touch the plank surface.

Why is the variable speed of Lathe so important?

If you see any artist praising a lathe, chances are it is because of lathe’s variable speed. This is the vital concept that makes lathe undefeatable even in this age of technology.

For instance, you are working on the metal stock. This requires you to move the lathe at a greater speed. Because the metallic surface is comparatively harder than a wooden one and takes more effort. The slow speed can affect the work rate as well as the neatness of the project.

Secondly, if you have a wooden plank that is thicker, still you would have to go for a faster speed. This is the biggest misunderstanding that even professionals seem to come across. Just because wood is a lighter material, it doesn’t mean that you need to make a special change in speed for this. This can increase the work duration and expenditure of power. And even after all this, your project would still have rough edges and irregular cut surfaces.

Let us just forget all this for a while, consider that you are using a cheap wooden plank. If for this block, you use a faster speed, the shreds will fall off in the air. These have often sharp ends and there is a risk that they may hurt your face or hands directly. That is why a little expertise here can save you from long-term damage.

In essence, lathes have an extensive backdrop stretching back to Egyptian times, but to this date, it has proven to be matchless. Let it be for a job or home projects, a lathe can transform any boring task into a masterpiece overnight.

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