Centre lathe

The Centre Lathe

The purpose of a centre lathe is to shape metal bar into various desired shapes. The work piece (metal bar) is secured in a rotating three jaw chuck. The tools which are made from High Speed Steel (HSS) are secured in the tool post. An electric motor spins the work piece to which the cutting tools are then brought into contact with the metal bar.

The 4 main processes that can be carried out on the centre lathe are

  • Facing off
  • Parallel turning
  • Taper turning
  • Knurling

The Gearbox controls the speed that the work piece will rotate at.  There are a number of reasons that you would want to change the speed of the machine, these include:

  1. The process being carried out, i.e. you would run the machine slower for parting off and for knurling.
  2. The quality of finish you want to achieve, i.e. higher speed for a finishing cut when parallel turning, Taper turning or facing off
  3. The type of material being turned.  Brass, steel, aluminium, plastics, etc.
  4. The material that the cutting tool is made from