Strangely enough, one of the oldest tools is a tool used by machining services called the lathe. It’s a tool believed to have been created by the ancient Egyptians. Since then, technology has advanced tremendously, but the principles behind many of the tools we use today remain the same.
This ancient machine has evolved a great deal since then, but ancient sources have seen some of the same uses such as turning chess and backgammon pieces. Anything with an axis that can be held from either end and turned. Think of the two ends of a baseball bat, turning quickly, while interchangeable tools are used to shape the wood piece into a properly shaped baseball bat. This is done on a lathe.
What Lathe Machines Do We Have Now?
In short, there are three types of modern lathe: center lathe, bench lathe, and engine lathe. The engine lathe is predominantly what’s used today, as it’s almost entirely automated. Center lathes can be either automatic or manual powered and are common for many smaller projects. A bench lathe is able to be mounted on a bench, used for the smallest, most detailed projects (watchmaking, for instance).
Maintain Your Machine
Lathe repair and maintenance are an essential part of keeping your machine tool in tip-top shape. Professional care is always recommended if you’re not entirely sure what to do. However, there are some quick and easy tips that should be practiced when using your lathe.
First of all, be safe. These are dangerous machines. Proper safety precautions are necessary. You’re forming wood, metal, glass, or whatever you’re turning, and pieces can fly off at high speeds. Safety goggles and gloves should be worn for protection. Loose clothing and gloves can get caught in the turning parts, so be wary while using your lathe.
You’re using a machine that spins very quickly. Allow it some time to warm up before getting into the bulk of your work. As with anything that’s turning quickly and involve metal, be sure it’s well lubricated. Poor lubrication can put undue stress on the machine and impede your project.
Store your lathe and clean it properly. As with any machine, once you’re done using it, ensure it’s well cleaned and stored. Outside elements can (and will) slowly eat away at your machine if it’s improperly stored and/or cleaned. Be vigilant with your tools and if you’re ever in doubt, your local professionals at the machine shop will have you sorted!