The lathe is an ancient tool, dating at least to the Egyptians and known and used in Assyria, Greece, the Roman and Byzantine Empires.
The origin of turning dates to around 1300 BC when the Egyptians first developed a two-person lathe. One person would turn the wood work piece with a rope while the other used a sharp tool to cut shapes in the wood.Romans:
Romans improved the Egyptian design with the addition of a turning bow. Early bow lathes were also developed and used in Germany, France and Britain.
a pedal replaced hand-operated turning, freeing both the craftsman's hands to hold the woodturning tools. The pedal was usually connected to a pole, often a straight-grained sapling. The system today is called the "spring pole" lathe.Industrial Revolution:
mechanized power generated by water wheels or steam engines was transmitted to the lathe via line shafting, allowing faster and easier work. The design of lathes diverged between woodworking and metalworking to a greater extent than in previous centuries. Metalworking lathes evolved into heavier machines with thicker, more rigid parts. The application of leadscrews, slide rests, and gearing produced commercially practical screw-cutting lathes. Between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries, individual electric motors at each lathe replaced line shafting as the power source. Beginning in the 1950s, servomechanisms were applied to the control of lathes and other machine tools via numerical control (NC), which often was coupled with computers to yield computerized numerical control (CNC). Today manually controlled and CNC lathes coexist in the manufacturing industries.
Parts at conventional lathe machines
|stand (or legs)||sits on the floor and elevates the lathe bed to a working height|
|bed||a horizontal beam|
|headstock||high-precision spinning bearings|
|Spindle||Rotating within the bearings is a horizontal axle, with an axis parallel to the bed|
Spindles are often hollow, and have exterior threads and/or an interior Morse taper on the "inboard"
|tailstock||counterpoint to the headstock|
referred to as the loose head, as it can be positioned at any convenient point on the bed
|toolpost||holds a cutting tool which removes material from the workpiece|
|leadscrew||moves the cross-slide along the bed|
Example product produce by conventional lathe machines