The lathe is a kind of machine tool that is used for shaping pieces of metal by causing the piece to be held and then rotated while the tool bit is being advanced to the work, thus causing the cutting. The modern ones offer different rotational speeds and ways to automatically and manually move your cutting tool to the workpiece. A basic lathe on the other hand is specifically designed to cut cylindrical types of metal stock. It was developed further to produce tapered work, screw threads, knurled surfaces, drilled holes, and crankshafts. Given this, maintenance shops and machinists need to be very thorough and familiar with lathe repairs when necessary.
Different Types of Lathes
Lathes are divided into three different types: engine lathes, turret lathes, and special purpose lathes. The smaller ones are mounted on benches and are semi-portable. On the other hand, the larger ones are mounted on the floor and may need special transportation if they need to be moved. Field and maintenance shops use a lathe machine that could be adapted to different operations and that is not too big to be moved from one place to the next. The engine lathe is best for such purpose. A well-trained operator would be able to accomplish more machining jobs using an engine lathe than other machine tools. Special purpose and turret lathes are often used in job shops for specialized parts or mass production, while engine lathes are used for any type of lathe work.
Care and Maintenance
Lathes are considered to be highly accurate machine tools that are designed to operate around the clock, given that they are well-maintained and fully operational. Lathes should be checked and lubricated before operation. Loose nuts and bolts and improper lubrication could cause wear and lead to dangerous operating conditions.
The gears and lead screw need to be checked regularly for any metal chip that can be lodged in the gearing mechanism. Check each of them before operation in case there are broken shear pins or missing parts. Always refer to the manual before you attempt to lift the lathe. A newly installed lathe that is transported in mobile vehicles need to be properly leveled before the operation in order to prevent wobble and vibration.
Any lathe that is transported out of the shop need to be protected from excessive heat, dust, and cold conditions. Make sure that you change the lubricant regularly, especially when working in dusty conditions. In the case of hot working areas, use proper care to avoid overheating or damaging the seals. Only operate it at slow speeds when in cold environments.
All operators of lathe machines need to be constantly aware of all safety hazards associated with the use of the machine. Also, they should know how to perform lathe repairs, as well as all the safety precautions so injuries and accidents will be avoided.