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Old 09-02-2011, 10:34 AM
trainguy trainguy is offline
Learning to use the forums
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8
Default Re: Lathe parts

To learn how to use a metal (or engine) lathe, try this site.
Don't be overwhelmed by all of the info; an explaination of all of the parts shown there is very helpful, and should be a good guide to starting out. BTW, the tool post holder can be an original "lantern" or post type, but the quick change or turret type is less expensive and more versatile. This also explains chucks, lathe bits, face plates, safety, etc.

Is that handwheel looking item behind the change gears part of a collet chuck device (a threaded, collapsing tube inside the head stock that grips various sized collets for holding round stock)? These are handy, but require a set of different sized collets for different sized workpieces. A 3-jaw chuck is best to learn on, but 4-jaws are more accurate for later work. A 4-jaw can also hold square or odd-shaped pieces.

Have fun with your new tool. This is an engine lathe because of the threaded shaft on the front side, which moves the saddle (and the cutting tool) along the length of the workpiece. Wood lathes are normally used by holding the cutting tool in the operators hands. This shows how much more force can be applied when turning metal.
These lathes are called engine lathes because they are the type first used to build steam engines (the stationary type) and are known as they only machine capable of reproducing itself!

Perhaps you can find a Home Machine Shop club or group in your area to ask for some help (most home machinists are eager to help beginners), check with the local high school or vocational schools for a lead on a teacher willing to help. Or a FRF member in your area might just know how to "turn".

Good luck!


I just tried the site, and it is not working. Try Googling it instead. Sorry!
Dark Blue '97 XLT 2WD, Supercab 4.0L
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