29 December 2007

9 Major Categories of Lathes

The major categories of lathes are wood-operating lathes, metal-operating lathes, cue lathes, glass-operating lathes, metal turning lathes, ornamental spinning lathes, reducing lathes, rotary lathes, and watchmaker’s lathes.

A lathe machine is an apparatus that whirls a slab of material in place so it could perform different operations that includes slicing, chopping, sanding, deforming, drilling, knurling and other variations. The result of this is a work piece that now has symmetry about an axis of rotation. The most well-renowned design of lathes is the potter’s wheel since it can also be utilized for shaping pottery. Some products of lathes are baseball bats, pottery, woodwind instruments, and bowls. Find out the categories under lathe machines in this way you will also know what type of spindle repair service you will need in case your lathe gets broken.

Wood-operating lathes

Of all the varieties of lathes, wood-operating ones are the oldest. The rest are modeled from this form. A hand-held and adjustable metal rail adjusts the position of the shaping tools. Another form of woodworking lathes are those without a horizontal metal rail. This one is used in making bowls and plates.

Metal-operating lathes

Metal-operating lathes are sophisticated machines. It works in the manner wherein the object is held and spun on a central horizontal axis. This will be shaped into a symmetrical item. Some items that are produced by metalworking lathes are lamps and you can even make your own creation especially when you are a metalworking enthusiast.

Cue lathes

From the term itself, cue lathes are machines especially made for the purpose of making billiard cues. It turns and spins the block of object into a radially-symmetrical cut. This type of lathe can also be used in refinishing worn out billiard cues.

Glass-operating lathes

This category of lathes is the same in design but with a little modification in the work piece. Compared to other lathe machines, this one slowly rotates a hollow glass vessel over a temperature flame. It can be reshaped through either glassblowing or with the aid of a heat resistant tool to deform it. Some products of this machine are champagne glasses, diamonds and fishbowls.

Metal turning lathes

Metal spinning is almost as simple as wood turning. In this arrangement, tools with polished tips such as spoons are hand-held and a disk of metal sheet is placed perpendicularly to the lathe’s main axis. Usually, templates made of wood that are of the same form as the finished product is used to guide the making of metal tools. For instance, you need a vase-shaped wooden template to make an actual metal vase. Though metal spinning lathes are not that popular because of the advent of die forming, it is still a good choice when making prototypes or small batches for economical purposes.

Ornamental spinning lathes

Ornamental spinning lathes are not for practical materials but for decorating work pieces thus the term, ornamental spinning. Eccentric and elliptical chucks and objects of great complexity are produced through utilizing vertical and horizontal cutting frames. The Rose engine lathe is for special purposes in turning precious metals as decors in watches, necklaces and the likes.

Reducing lathes

Reducing lathes are made for the purpose of duplicating an item into a reduced version. The original object is placed on one spindle and the block of material is mounted on another. One arm reads the original object and the other arm carves the duplicate. Take note that the finished product is smaller than the original item.

Rotary lathes

Rotary lathes are used in peeling both softwood and hardwood in a continuous or semi-continuous roll. This is also called as wood veneer and is used in making plywood and finishing chipboard items.

Watchmaker’s lathes

Watchmaker’s latches are commonly used by horologists who make watches, timers, sundials and marine chronometers to name a few. This is a delicate but precise machine tool that is preferred to be managed using a hand-held tool called a graver. This is used in turning balance shafts.

In purchasing lathes for personal or business use, one must be aware and knowledgeable of the different categories under it so that you will be guided in your choice of variety.

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