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THE CENTRE LATHE
V. Ryan © 2003 - 2022
 

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The Centre Lathe is used to manufacture cylindrical shapes from a range of materials including; steels and plastics. Many of the components that go together to make an engine work have been manufactured using lathes. These may be lathes operated directly by people (manual lathes) or computer controlled lathes (CNC machines) that have been programmed to carry out a particular task. A basic manual centre lathe is shown below. This type of lathe is controlled by a person turning the various handles on the top slide and cross slide in order to make a product / part.

 
 
 
 
  The headstock of a centre lathe can be opened, revealing an arrangement of gears. These gears are sometimes replaced to alter the speed of rotation of the chuck. The lathe must be switched off before opening, although the motor should automatically cut off if the door is opened while the machine is running (a safety feature).
The speed of rotation of the chuck is usually set by using the gear levers. These are usually on top of the headstock or along the front and allow for a wide range of speeds.
However, sometimes the only way to set the lathe to a particular speed is to change the gear arrangement inside the headstock. Most machines will have a number of alterative gear wheels for this purpose.
 
 
 
 
SOME OF THE EQUIPMENT USED WITH THE CENTRE LATHE
 
 

QUESTIONS:

Draw a simple diagram of a typical centre lathe and label the important parts.

 
 
THE MODEL ENGINEER CENTRE LATHE
 
This is every bit as functional, as a full sized centre lathe, except it is smaller and fits on a bench top. It has all the functions of the larger version, but has a limited chuck capacity. It is an ideal lathe for precision model makers and for those learning to use a lathe. The cost of one of these lathes is normally much less than a full sized lathe. It has all the accuracy expected of a precision machine. Some schools and colleges prefer to train students on the smaller version, due the the costs involved.
 
 
 

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