How to Choose a Lathe for You

A lathe is a basic tool for everyone intending to thrive in the wood turning industry. It therefore important to beware of the product specifics that will suit your needs. There exist a lot of variety in the market going at different costs.

I can be quite challenging to come up with the best choice but not impossible. Have you ever had to face such a situation? If yes, then this is the thing to beware to make it easier next time.

A lathe is a tool that one uses to shape wood into a particular shape of preference. The machine has cutting tools that shape the material through various operations. These processes include facing, turning, sanding, deformation and cutting.


Types of lathes

  1. Wood Lathe

A wood lathe is an equipment you use to process a wood piece into different shape. The tools can shape the wood to take the form of a bowel, vase or spindle among other shapes.

One can use this tool to come up with eye-catching artifacts for great home decor.

The lathe concept has been there in the early time associated with the ancient Egyptians. It has made significant contributions in the wood processing industry.

Tables wares, pumps, pieces of jewelry and other forms of decorations can be made using this amazing tool. Using the wood lathe increases production tremendously while you spend less time.

This is because using the machine is faster and the products are great and stylish.


  1. Engine lathe

An engine lathe is a type of machine with a plane shape that one can use to cut metal. During the cutting process, the machine rotates the metal using special apparatus to shape it.

The final product is a complete transformation of your metal to the shape you wish for. The most common applications of a lathe machine are to whirl metal panes.

One can use the new metal pieces to make automobile engines and other tools for motor machines. This special machine is dated back to the 19 century and still makes significant contributions to date.

A lot of work has been made easier since its introduction in the metal industry.

Apart from spinning to generate different plans, the machine can do various other functions. Such operation includes boring to produce square blocks.

Many companies embrace the engine lathe to manufacture contemporary designs. You can also effectively use this tool at home to make other productions of your interest.

An engine lathe comprises gears, a pulley to step on, carriage and tailstock. Other combinations will include a cross slide and a compound rest for a more advanced one.

The work of the gears is to control the operation that covers the cutting equipment. The pulley facilitates spindle activity during application. The carriage function is to protect the machine from dirt and broken pieces that it produces.


  1. Turret lathe

This is a type of metal lathe that transforms metal into different forms while producing duplicates.  This machine is useful in performing tedious functionalities during production.

This machine is an improvement of the earlier lathe with the introduction of a turret. The machine permits the transformation of different materials at ago.

In addition, different boring tools function at the same time without one having to intervene in between.  The main purpose of this machine is to emphasize atomization of the metal turning process. This reduces the dependence on the humanitarian efforts in the process.

This type of lathe is perfect for use in performing massive productions. Among the function of the turret lathe are watchmaking and metal processing.


  1. Toolroom Lathe

Toolroom lathe is a type of lathe with high accuracy in performance. Its components include a gearbox and headstock. Using a tool room lathe reduces the chances of spindle runout as the machine has a good precision lead.

Overall this lathe gives great consistency, fewer backlashes on products. The main role of this special lathe is making precisions on applications in the tool room.

Using this kind of lathe gives high accuracy especially when dealing with items that need accurate outcomes. since its discovery tool room lathe has made impressive strides in the metal processing industry.


  1. CNC Lathe Machine

A new computerized technology has been introduced in managing different machines including the lathe. Hence the name CNC lathe. This contemporary technology is known as Computer Numeric Control.

A machine that has this kind of technology is able to effectively perform to give various production applications. The current CNC lathe has become a perfect replacement of the earlier multi-spindle lathe.

This lathe type has a very simple set up process and easy to manipulate while working.  The machine is able to handle tedious performances with the highest accuracy measures.

CNC lathe works on the present version of carbide shaping. A CAD or CAM functions facilitates the programming of this lathe type.

Another option of programming is doing manually by an expert in the field. Once the computer files have been coded, the next step in uploading them on the lathe.

Once complete the CNC machine automatically produces new pieces according to the programmed designs. You can control the CNC lathe using various commands available on the computer menu.

While using the machine one is able to view the steps through which the machine facilitate work to the final product. Your job as the machine operator is just overseeing the process with no need for the specifics.

This aspect isn’t possible if you are using older lathe versions. This kind of lathe come in different plans according to the producers’ likings.

But the good thing about is that they got a lot of similarities in the operations.

So, it won’t be quite difficult to choose what you prefer. The CNC machine complete machine comprises of the spindle and turret. CNC machines function under full coverage for the safety and health of the operator.



Where will you find the Best lathe?

You can be able to find the best wood lathe by researching online stores which are quite a number. An example is Amazon and eBay. While shopping out online, you can opt for the following types of lathe machines;


    Powermatic 1352001 Wood Lathe

This lathe has been found to be the most popular sort after machine in the machines industry. Among its attractive features is a speed motor with a horsepower.

These favorite features enable you to facilitate lots of torque to your material when processing. This machine is durable and less vulnerable to vibrations that might interfere with you working.

The Powermatic wood lathe has a sturdy iron that maintains consistency in your work.


    Wen Benchtop Wood Lathe

This great machine is very affordable with great features to facilitate the current art of technology products. The machine is small in size and therefore easy to handle and work with.

You also able to adjust the speed according to outcomes you expect while using it. The machine starts operating a low pace to minimize damages to your plans or injuries.



Other types of leather to look of for including Delta Industrial Variable Speed Lathe, Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe, and Grizzly Benchtop Lathe.


Making The Buying Decision

For one to be able to make a good decision on what to buy, it is important to be aware of what the market has.

You need to be certain of your exact needs, space and kind of production before deciding.

This implies that what might the best in the market might not be the exact fit for you. Do not be overcome by the market trends rather than focus on your exact needs and work.

Examples of key aspects that will help you make a decision will include;


    The material

Looking and the kind of materials you will be working on has a great impact on what you choose. For the case of the wood lathe, those made from strong materials like a cast iron should be on your top list.

This is because they guarantee stability and suffer fewer effects from vibrations. The kind of components you will be working on will determine the quality of motor to choose.

If you are dealing with huge projects then getting a top-notch motor come in handy. Keep in mind that getting a strong motor can be a bit expensive.

On the other hand, if you output in less, then you don’t need the power motor but something less than that. This way you are able to save on the expenses but still attain your aim.


    Safety

The safety of the work area and the people working in is always key when dealing with machines. Let not the appearance of the new machine fool you to forget paying attention to the safety needs.

You are prone to danger even with the most gorgeous presentation of any machine. The lathe machine isn’t an exception either when it comes to such aspects.

Taking care begins from how you dress while using the lathe. Ensure to always put on short sleeved shirts do avoid it being caught by the machine.

Put on shoes with a solid sole to avoid any chances of slipping while working. Wear protective glasses to shield your eyes during work from any stray pieces from the woodworks.

One should also protect the ears from the loud noise using earplugs. Design a system that deals with the dust as well.  During work it important to clean the dust that builds up as it can be very dangerous.

Lots of dust in the operation room posses’ danger to the machines and very risky in case of fire outbreaks. Besides the safety of the room, your health is also at risk with lots of exposure to dust.

You may be prone to constant respiratory infections such as bronchitis. Your skin isn’t secure as well as you may experience frequent skin irritations.

This will make your skin to become vulnerable to infections and attacks.  Strive to maintain regular cleaning and proper maintenance of your machine and work area.

This will reduce the risks from the above factors in the long run. Once you have all this key point well thought out, you can go ahead and purchase you lathe machine.


How To Use a Lathe

    Always warm the machine first before starting to work with it. set it up to a speed of about a thousand rpm. Also, ensure that the machine has enough lubrication while tightening up all the loose ends

    Identify the tool holder and place the tool blocker in. This is the part where the cutter is put as you set up. Inspect it once more by tightening the tool cutter once more. The cutter facilitates z-axis splitting during the performance.

    Locate the tailstock upon inserting the drill chuck. The work of the tailstock is boring holes in the metal. The crank on the machine will carry out precisions extensions to the cuts.

    Set your machine to zero and then turn off the spindle. Place the tool holder between the metal piece and the tooltip. Ensure that the micrometer wheel is at level zero as well as the z-axis. Set a distance of about 0.5 inches in between these setups

    To cut the metal piece to an o.5 inches keep both the x and z-axis at 0.25. inches far from the metal sheet. Finally turn on the spindle.

Lathe Preventative Maintenance Procedure

o    Dress appropriately preferably in short sleeves. Avoid wearing rings and a watch while working with the lathe.

o    Always stop the machine first if you need to make any adjustments.

o    Wait for the spindle to completely stop before carrying out any changes.

o    Put on protective glasses for your eyes and earplug for the ears.

o    Do not measure the cut while turning the metal as it can be very dangerous.

o    Avoid leaning on the machine


Owning a lathe to facilitate increase and improvement in your woodworks comes with lots of responsibilities. You need to understand well it performance versus your need.

Learn more about its safety procedure before getting to use it. If you have employed, make sure they all get to understand the safety implications necessary for its safe usage.