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Basic Operation of a Lathe

Chapter 3. How to Use a Lathe

Basic Operation of a Lathe

Let's Use a Lathe!

A lathe is a machine tool which turns

cylindrical material, touches a cutting tool
to it, and cuts the material. The lathe is
one of the machine tools most well used
by machining (Figure 1).

As shown in Figure 2, a material is firmly

fixed to the chuck of a lathe. The lathe is

Fig.1, Appearance of a Lathe

switched on and the chuck is rotated. And

since the table which fixed the byte can
be moved in the vertical direction, and the
right-and-left direction by operating some
handles shown in Fig. 3. It touches a byte's
tip into the material by the operation, and
make a mechanical part.[8/20/2015 8:47:33 AM]

Basic Operation of a Lathe

Fig.2, Chucking of Material

Fig.3, Handles of a Lathe


When we use a lathe, the following things must take great care.
(1) Don't keep a chuck handle attached by the chuck. Next, it flies at the moment of
turning a lathe.
(2) Don't touch the byte table into the rotating chuck. Not only a byte but the table
or the lathe are damaged.

Three Important Elements

In orger to get an efficient propcess and beautiful surface at the lathe machining, it is
important to adjust a rotating speed, a cutting depth and a sending speed. Please note
that the important elements can not decide easily, because these suitable values are
quiet different by materials, size and shapes of the part.

Rotating Speed
It expresses with the number of rotations
(rpm) of the chuck of a lathe. When the
rotating speed is high, processing speed[8/20/2015 8:47:33 AM]

Basic Operation of a Lathe

becomes quick, and a processing surface is

finely finished. However, since a little

Fig.4, Three Important Elements

operation mistakes may lead to the serious

accident, it is better to set low rotating

A beginner of a lathe must operate with

speed at the first stage.

low rotating sopeed, small cutting depth

and low sending speed.

Cutting Depth
The cutting depth of the tool affects to the
processing speed and the roughness of
surface. When the cutting depth is big, the
processing speed becomes quick, but the
surface temperature becomes high, and it
has rough surface. Moreover, a life of byte
also becomes short. If you do not know a
suitable cutting depth, it is better to set to
small value.

Sending Speed (Feed)

The sending speed of the tool also affects
to the processing speed and the roughness
of surface. When the sending speed is
high, the processing speed becomes quick.
When the sending speed is low, the surface[8/20/2015 8:47:33 AM]

Basic Operation of a Lathe

is finished beautiful. There are 'manual

sending' which turns and operates a
handle, and 'automatic sending' which
advances a byte automatically. A beginner
must use the manual sending. Because
serious accidents may be caused, such as
touching the rotating chuck around the
byte in automatic sending,.

Cutting Tools for Lathe

There are vrious kinds of the cutting tools for a lathe. We must choose them by the
materials and shape of a part. Three typical cutting tools are introduced in follows.
Then we consider what is an easy process or a hard process.

Form of Typical Cutting Tools

Figure 5(a) shows the most well-used

cutting tool called a side tool. It can
process to cut an outside surface and an
edge surface. Since the material is set at
the right of lathe, then this tool can only
cut the right of the material.

Fig.5, Typical Cutting Tools

The cutting tool shown in Figure 5(b) is

used at parting and grooving processes. Its
pointed end is slim, then it is too weak.[8/20/2015 8:47:33 AM]

Basic Operation of a Lathe

Don't add a strong side-force to the tool.

This tool must send vertical direction only.

The cutting tool shown in Figure 5(c) is

called a boring bar. It is used to cut at an
inside surface. It can make a big hole,
which cannot be process by a drill, and an
high accurate hole.

Easy Processing and Hard Processing

The general cutting tool,

shown in Figure 5(a) is
the most easy hangling.
Then the shape, which
can be make using only
the general cutting tool,
has easy processing.

In the case of the parting

or prooving, The process
becomes hard with

Fig.6, Easy Processing and Hard Processing

decreasing of the width

of a alot, and increasing
of the depth.

In the case of using of the[8/20/2015 8:47:33 AM]

Basic Operation of a Lathe

boring bar, the process of

a penetrated hole is not
so hard. But the process
of no-penetrated hole is
somewhat hard. Because
we cannot see the
bottom surface in during
process. In such cases, we
decide the location of the
tool with the sound or
the scale of lathe.
Moreover, the process of
a small hole (less than 10
mm) or a depth hole is
too hard.

Of course, there are

impossible shapes as
shown in Figure 6(c). In
such case, the part must
be divided or have any

Hearing the Sound

In the case of the lathe process, sharpness is known from scraps of the material or a
processing surface. In addition, it is also important to hear the sound. For example,[8/20/2015 8:47:33 AM]

Basic Operation of a Lathe

when the sound is too high, the processing is not suitable. It is caused by the bad
edge of the tool, too higher rotating speed of the lathe, or vibrating of a thin

Setting of a Cutting Tool

In case a cutting tool is fixed to a
table, thin metal plates are put
between the tool and the table,
and the height of the edge is
adjusted to the center of material.

Fig.7, Height of Edge

In the case of using the general

cutting tool, when the edge is
higher than the center of material,
the edge of a blade does not hit
the material, and it cannot cut at
all. Conversely, if the edge is low,
it becomes impossible to cut the
center of material. Moreover, the
scale of a handle does not have
correct value, then accurate
processing becomes impossible.

If it says which it is ...

Though the height of the cutting tool is adjusted in careful, we cannot unite with[8/20/2015 8:47:33 AM]

Basic Operation of a Lathe

the center of material completely. Therefore, we have to set the tool to the
direction, that the edge is easy to touch the material. The general cutting tool and
the parting tool have to be set a few low position. The boring bar has to set a few
high position.
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