One of the oldest tools used by machining services is called the Lathe. It is a tool believed to have been created by the ancient Egyptians back in 1300 BC. It is known as the mother of machine tools, as it was the first machine tool that led to the invention of other machine tools. It is used to perform turning operations in which unwanted material is removed from the workpiece rotated against a cutting tool. Ancient Rome improved the Egyptian design with the addition of a turning bow. In the Middle Ages, 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. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the role of the lathe became increasingly significant as it began to be used to craft parts for other machine tools, while lathes evolved into hydraulic lathe machines which had thicker, more rigid parts. During this time, steam engines and water wheels were attached to the lathe to turn the workpiece at a higher speed which made work faster and easier. These lathe machines were a crucial building block in the modern era and helped to pave the way for current industrialization and automation. By the end of the 1800s, electric motors began to be the power source of choice for lathes which revolutionized the industry and further speed up production. In the 20th century, lathes modernized the industry even further and helped to provide computerized precision and CNC (computerized numerical control) lathes were introduced.
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 and anything with an axis that can be held from either end and turned. The first lathe was a simple lathe which is now referred to as a two-person lathe. One person would turn the woodwork piece using rope and the person would shape the workpiece using a sharp tool. In modern times there are three types of the modern lathe: center lathe, bench lathe, and engine lathe. The engine lathe is predominantly what’s used today, as it is almost entirely automated. Center lathes can either be automated or manual powered and are more common for many smaller projects. A bench lathe can be mounted on a bench, used for the smallest, most detailed projects.
With the development of electronics and automation engineering, advanced computer-controlled lathes have been developed. The advanced lathes have many benefits over the conventional lathes. In conventional lathes, the lathe operator checks the dimensions regularly to get perfect precision and the time taken to complete the work is more for high precision works. This is very important because if the operator removes the excess metal from the workpiece, the whole workpiece will be wasted which will result in loss of money and time. But even though lathe machines are very helpful, they can also be dangerous especially with inexperienced turners since lathes are not as widely used as table saws, bandsaws, jointers, etc. Sufficiently heavy catches can also break tool rests and steel turning tools. Other dangers include loose clothing, jewelry, and long hair getting caught on the workpiece or spindle.
If you’re interested in buying a CNC Lathe, please look through our inventory of used CNC Lathes or contact us today and we’ll guarantee that we can help you find the right machine that’s perfect for your application.