Engine Lathe

The engine lathe is one of the most common general-purpose metal cutting lathes. The engine lathe like most lathes has a headstock, tailstock, a bed and tool holding device. The one advantage with the engine lathe is the greater number of spindle speeds. 

Controls: The controls on the lathe in the materials processing laboratory consist of the follow:

  • A power switch to turn the machine on and off.
  • Cross feed Knob.
  • Apron hand wheel.
  • Speed control knobs.

To see an enlarged image of the controls click here

Note: There are numerous other controls that the lathe has for different operations.

Operation (Facing): Facing is smoothing the ends of a piece of stock by machining it flat.

  • Place the piece of stock in the chuck.
  • Using the chuck key tighten the piece of stock so it will not fly out of the chuck when the lathe starts to spin. Remember to remove the chuck key.
  • Place the cutting tool beside the stock but not too deep in.
  • Turn the lathe power on by using the switch on the front of the machine.
  • Using the cross feed knob or automatic cross feed slowly move the cutting tool removing some of the end of the stock. (Repeat this until it is smooth)
  • Turn off the machine and check to see if it is smooth. Do not touch the stock while it is running, you could be cut from chips or sharp edges.

Note: There are many other operations this machine can do for example it produce screw threads, tapered work, drilled holes, and knurled surfaces.

This is the cutting tool that is used for our facing operation. The cutting tools is placed on the outside of the stock and then you proceed to make the cut.

This is a self-centering, three jaw chuck. You place the work piece that you will be faceing in the middle and clamp it in using the chuck key.

Potential hazards: The lathe has sharp tools and a moving chuck and stock. Some of the hazards of using the lathe are.

  • The blade is sharp, you could get cut if you handle it incorrectly.
  • Loose clothing can get caught in the lathe
  • The piece of stock could come out and cause damage.
  • The chuck key can fly out if it is not removed.
  • The chuck can hit the tool rest if there is not enough clearance.
  • Chips can be sharp and hot, and can fly out of the lathe.

Safety practices: When using any power tools there are a number of safety practices that you must follow. Here are some safety practices that should be followed when using the lathe.

  • Secure any loose clothing, hair , or jewelry that could get caught in the spinning chuck or work piece.
  • Handle all tools with care.
  • Remove any chuck key before turning on the lathe. 
  • Always wear safety glasses. 
  • Turn off the lathe before making any adjustments.
  • Make sure the work piece is in the chuck firmly.
  • Adjust the speed for proper cutting.
  • Do not touch the spinning chuck or work piece.
  • Turn the chuck by hand to assure that it clears the tool post holder.

Watch the video

Dept of the Army Welding Handbook website http://www.machinist.org/army_welding/

Write, R. Thomas, Processes of Manufacturing, Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc Il 1990.

ITT 252 - Materials Processing
Department of Technology
University of Southern Maine
Prepared by Jason Lanoie, 11/15/2001