What is a metal lathe? A metal lathe is designed to machine metallic materials. This means they are generally used for shaping metals by rotating them. Over time metal lathes have been improved to do various things such as drilling, cutting, and producing screw threads. As simple as it looks, you will need to how it works.
If you are just about to start a new project, understanding how metal late works is key. We have prepared a ‘how to use a metal lathe step by step’ just for you. Now that you know what it is, we can answer how does metal lathe work.
How Does a Metal Lathe Work?
Understanding how a metal works is great for you to get the best results. Check how to use a lathe step by step.
Understand the machine– Metal lathe has two ends: the headstock and tailstock. The headstock will help you rotate your stock. The tailstock is used to fit the stock in position comfortably. While the headstock is fixed, the tailstock is movable.
The bed on the lathe is the beam that runs horizontally across the lathe. The lathe has a spindle and chunk. The spindle is used for rotating while the chunk is used to hold in place what you are working on. The tool rest serves as a secure place to rest your tool.
Setting up– a metal lathe, like any other machine, requires a set up before being used.
You can turn on your metal lathe either manually or automatically. Check if the lathe is well lubricated. If it is not, do so generously. Dry parts will get damaged if they are not well lubricated.
Go ahead and gather all the equipment you will need for the project. Place them safely on the tool rest then wear all the correct gear. As a safety precaution, always have your working gloves and glasses on.
Using the machine -Since there are so many things you can do using this machine, we will explain the basic procedures you can do.
Cutting-Place the aluminum piece into the bed as far as you can, and this will help reduce the vibrations. Once in position, tighten the clamp.
Place your ruler between the stock in the chunk and the tool. Set it at 900 from the tool. To check if your ruler is straight, insert a new aluminum piece under the tool after untightening the clamp. Repeat this until the ruler is straight.
You can slowly move the carriage using the carriage handwheel, bringing the tool closer to your piece.
Set the speed of your lathe. The speed depends on the type of material you are working on. If the material is tough, use a slower speed when turning.
Go ahead and adjust the slide handle. By doing this, your tool will move more into the piece and touch it slightly. Move the carriage to the right placing it at the end of your piece. Use the cross slide and move it using the dial meter as a guide. Move to the left using the handwheel.
Congratulations, you have cut.
Drilling– To drill your piece, you need to use the tailstock. Pop the drilling tool using the lever on the tailstock then lock it down. After that, bring it over the piece that is rotating, and you are done!
Sharpening– center your bit by bringing the chunks together using the key chunk. Secure the bit by tightening the holder. The tool holder should have the bit mounted on it. Bring it to the center closer to the workpiece, place it horizontally as the piece is turning.
Why Chose a Mini Late?
A mini metal lathe is similar to a normal metal lathe, with the difference being its size and capabilities. There are various reasons as to why a mini lathe will work for you. If you have a small working area, this machine will fit in perfectly as it is compact.
If your project does not have large, heavy materials, then a mini late will work for you. It also works best for pieces that require small precision. This machine will give you the fine details and the mechanical accuracy that you want. The best mini lathe is one that can serve your small needs and deliver as expected.
For those who do this as a hobby, a mini lathe will probably suit you best. They can easily fit in your basement or garage. The mini lathe is what you should look for those who engage in fabrication or jewelry. Here are some tips on how to choose the best mini metal lathe.
How much are you willing to spend on the metal lathe? Different metal lathes come with different prices. You deserve quality for your money. To do this, do not just look at price being equivalent to quality. Ensure you do thorough market research and read plenty of reviews before making that purchase.
Storage space and working area space play a vital role in your decision making. You do not want to bring a lathe home that cannot fit anywhere. If you have a small room as a workshop, consider a mini lathe. For those with a big workshop, then you can go as big as you want.
- Size of the project
Are you doing a big project? Does your project require heavy materials? If the answer is yes, then stay away from a mini lathe. Look for its counterpart instead. Also, check if the lathe you have picked can perform a good number of functions. Big projects involve plenty of work hence find the lathe that will be all around.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I maintain my metal lathe?
First of all, keep its parts lubricated throughout. Store your lathe away from moisture to prevent rusting. Also, brush away any debris after working. This will prevent clogging.
Are there spare parts for a metal lathe?
Yes, there are. You can find them in the same shop you bought the metal lathe or the nearest spare part shop.
How do I keep safe when using a metal lathe?
Ensure you wear your protective gear and remove anything that can get stuck in the metal lathe. Such as wristwatches.
Metal lathes are a big investment. You should, therefore, keep them maintained for them to last a long period. It is also dynamic and hence may seem hard to operate. Do not worry yourself too much. Practice as much as you can, and you will slowly master it. Remember, this machine can cause a lot of hazards. Please keep safe whenever you are operating it. You now know how does metal lathe work.