Lathe turning is a process in which blocks of raw material are cut, ground and deformed into an object. Lathes are used in metal working, glass working and wood turning etc. Lathe turning creates objects that have symmetry about the axis of rotation. It is also used to make pottery. The best and most famous object made on a lathe is the pottery wheel. Objects that can be shaped on a lathe are candle holders, table legs, bowls, baseball bats, musical instruments and much more. Lathe machines are available in various categories of which the most commonly used are as under:
Woodworking lathe is a very unique tool to produce wooden objects as in woodworking lathe the piece of wood spins instead of the tools. These lathes are found in a variety of shapes and sizes but the most commonly used are either small table top lathes or very large free standing lathes that are fastened to the floor. There are two types of woodworking lathes available.
Spindle turning: it is often used to create elongated objects such as table legs. To start the process of converting a piece of wood into a finished object the raw material is fixed from both the ends. The first side is attached at the headstock of the lathe where rotating spindle is attached and the second side is attached to the tail stock. The rotating spindle is then turned on with a motor or foot pedal which starts the rotation.
Faceplate turning: This type of lathes are used to produce objects like wooden bowls etc. In such lathes the raw material i.e. the piece of wood is attached to one faceplate and then it is further fixed to the spindle of the headstock of the woodworking lathe.
While wood cutting lathes are used to shape wood pieces into usable products (finished or semi finished), metalworking ones are used for shaping metal pieces into desired objects of a variety of shapes. Hardened tools are used to shape metal as it is much harder and difficult to cut, shape and mould. These hardened tools are attached to a solid mounting, which is movable; this is then rubbed against the piece one is working on to give its shape. Tools come in variety of shapes like diamond, round, square and triangular. Some lathes are also worked under computerized machines in order to do mass production. Manual metalworking lathes are used for finer pieces with more work and individual needs.
Glass working lathes
Glass working lathes are quite the same in their design but different in the way they work. They rotate the piece slowly while working on it and the temperature also has to be controlled by having a continuous flame under the piece. Flame is needed to soften the glass while it is being worked on. The glass piece is held firmly from both sides and rotated simultaneously; then once shaped is cooled or perform glass blowing by blowing air into it.
In a diamond turner a computer controlled machine is used but it has a diamond tip as only a diamond can cut another diamond to be able to shape it.
Initially the varieties were very few but with the help of latest technologies you have been given a wide range of such as: cue lathes, metal spinning lathes, ornamental turning lathes, reducing lathes, rotary lathes and watchmaker’s lathes. These varieties help us to produce different kinds of products easily and do not even consume much time.