History of Lathe from Beginning of Machine Tool Invention

LATHE – Longitudinal Axis Tool Holding Equipment

Lathe – Introduction

DMTG Extra Heavy Duty LatheLathe is a machine widely used for wood works and machining of metal parts. Lathe is a machine which turns the work piece against a machine tool. The Lathe is used for facing, turning, knurling, taper cutting, threading, gear cutting and many other metal and wood works.

History of Lathe

Lathe is a very ancient tool and its first use dates back to 1300 BC in Egypt. Lathe was also known and used in Assyria and Greece. Ancient Romans came to know about this machine and they further developed this machine. During the medieval period, the use of this machine had spread to most parts of Europe and it was during the Industrial revolution when this machine gained popularity with its use in all the industries. After the development of electronics, automated lathes have been developed.

Evolution of Lathe

The first lathe was a simple lathe which was is now referred to as two person lathe. One person would turn the wood work piece using rope and the other person would shape the work piece using a sharp tool. This design was improved by Ancient Romans who added a turning bow which eased the wood work. Later a pedal (as in manual sewing machines) was used for rotating the work piece. This type of lathe is called “spring pole” lathe which was used till the early decades of the 20th century. In 1772, a horse-powered boring machine was installed which was used for making canons. During the Industrial revolution, steam engines and water wheels were attached to the lathe to turn the work piece at higher speed which made the work faster and easier. After 1950, many new designs were made which improved the precision of work.

Lathes are classified depending upon their application and functionality as

Light duty lathe – These machines find their application in automobile, electronic, electrical industries and are manufactured from quality tested raw materials.

Medium duty lathe – These machines are powerful than the light duty lathes and can work on bigger work pieces and have more strength than the light duty lathes. Click Here to get more information on medium duty lathe machine.

Heavy duty late – These machines are manufactured from highest grades of materials like iron and steel. They are designed for high precision heavy duty operations.

All geared lathe – In all geared lathe, all the rotating components of the machine are driven by the same source at different speeds by using gears to perform various operations.

Imported lathe – Imported lathes are high quality lathes used for high precision operations.

Depending upon the modes of operation, the lathes can be classified as

Manual lathe – In these lathes, the tool handling is done manually and so the precision of work also depends upon the skill of the person handling the machine.

CNC Lathe – CNC lathes are completely automated lathes. We just have to feed the instructions into the computer and the lathe will perform the operations according to the data fed to the computer.

Benefits of Advanced Lathe

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 he removes excess metal from the work piece, the whole work piece will be a waste which will result in loss of money and time. In automated CNC lathes, the feedback system continuously monitors the dimensions and so they complete the operation in a short time with high accuracy. The loss is minimal in automated lathes; they are much faster and more efficient in terms of accuracy.

How the Evolution of Lathe has Benefited Major Industries

The lathe can be rightly called the earliest form of the mother working machine. It has been evolved in such a way that most of its circular parts are processed to make horizontal or longitudinal movements while the rotating piece is fixed on its chuck to change its appearance and shape with minimal wastage. It has been redesigned to make it a very practical product by lathe manufacturers. Over decades, the advanced CNC lathe processing equipment has replaced traditional lathes while the production efficiency has doubled and parts processing has greatly improved being a major part and indicator of national modernization.

Summary

Lathe is a very important machine in engineering which is used in most of the fields. They are used for Diamond turning, ornamental turning, metal spinning, glass working, thermal spraying and many other operations. Lathe work is found in most of the products which we use in our day to day life. Lathe will remain as an important machine at all times

Written by Yash Shah

This blog is written by Mr. Yash Shah about various machine tools including lathe, drill, milling, tool room and sheet metal machines.

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