What is Lathe Machine

Lathe Machine Warisha Engineering

Lathe Machine or simply (Lathe) is a machine that rotates an object (workpiece) in order to shape it with the help of its cutting and shaping tools. Lathe machine performs various operations such as drilling, deformation, turning etc.

Lathe Machine Introduction (Brief)

Lathe machine can create almost any kind of object with micrometer precision. There are several types of Lathe machines and each has several tools that helps to create and modify almost any kind of object. Common examples are solid plane surfaces, bolts, nuts, piston, shafts, bushes and etc.

Lathe machines can produce 3D objects of incredible complexity and precision. Musical instruments, candlestick holders, Gun Barrels, crankshafts and camshafts are few high precision examples.

Lathe machines has several tools that perform various functions on different materials. Lathe machines can be used for grooving, boring on metal and wood objects.

Here we discussed The main parts and diagram of the lathe machine.

Lathe Machine Operations

In a lathe machine, the base object which is used to create or supposed to modify is called “workpiece”. The finished objects are derived from the workpiece.

Lathe machine rotates the “workpiece” against the “Tool”. The “Tool” is referred to a cutting or shaping object often made with a very hard metallic alloy (carbide or HSS high speed steel).

The basic purpose of the tool is to remove the material and modify the “workpiece”. In the result the workpiece turns into the desired shape.

The workpiece rotates against the “Tool”. There are several tools in a lathe machine each for a specific operation. There are tools for facing, cutting, drilling, boring etc.

The direction of tool motion is called “Feed”. The tool mostly moves horizontally (x-axis).

The complete list of lathe machine operations are as follows

  • Facing
  • Cutting
  • Sanding
  • Knurling
  • Drilling
  • Turning
  • Contour Turning
  • Form Turning
  • Taper Turning
  • Chamfering
  • Boring
  • Threading
  • Reaming

As a reference for this guide we are using few terms for better understanding.

X-axis: Horizontal movement (Left to Right)
Y-axis: Vertical movement (Top to Bottom)
Z-axis: Horizontal movement (Near to Far)



Facing is often the first operation that is done on the workpiece. Facing is done to produce flat surfaces at the ends of the workpiece.

In this operation, the workpiece is constantly rotating and the tool moves on z-axis (near to far) to shape the workpiece.



In “Turning” operation, the material is removed from the workpiece to give it a cylindrical shape. While the workpiece is constantly rotating, the tool is set on z-axis which determines the diameter of the workpiece and the tool is moved on x-axis to shape the length of the workpiece.



The “Boring” tool is used to create the holes but the boring tool itself can not be used to create holes in the workpiece directly, rather it depends on the drilling tools to create holes and then the boring tools are used to expand the diameter of the hole in the workpiece.

The boring tool set the diameter of the hole on z-axis and it moves on x-axis to create the depth of the hole.



Drilling is the process of making hole in the center of the workpiece. The “Drill Tool” is attached to the tailstock of the Lathe Machine whereas the other cutting tools are attached on the toolpost. In this process, the drills are placed in the exact center of the workpiece.

The tool used for Drilling process is called “Drill Bit”



After the drilling and boring, the reaming is done for finishing with precise measurements to make the holes to accurate sizes.

The tool used for reaming process is called “Reamer”



Counterboring is similar to boring but with more than one diameter. The counterboring is often required when the head of a bolt or screw is supposed to place within the workpiece.

Counterboring has two types, first type is two distinctly different boring diameters and the second type is two smoothly different diameters.

The regular boring tool is used for counterboring.



Knurling is the process of creating grips on flat surfaces. Different Knurling Tools can create various different patterns (e.g crosshatch shape, dots, horizontal or vertical lines) on the workpiece.

Knurling tool is supposed to be used carefully for one revolution (One round of workpiece rotation). In a constantly rotating workpiece, using knurling tool for more than one revolution can deform existing patterns and create unexpected results.



Chamfering or bevelling is the process of smoothing the edges of the workpiece. Chamfering is done on the objects that are supposed to have human interaction so the sharp edges of an object don’t cut the human skin. Chamfering is also done to protect the workpiece from damage and also provide finished look.

Parting Off


After all the processes are done and the required object is ready, it is cut off from the workpiece. This final cutting is called parting off.



Grooves are narrow channels that are created in a workpiece. The purpose of a groove is to allow another mechanical part to fit or move within the groove. Grooves are also done for designing purposes on a workpiece. Grooving tool is rectangular cutter that is used for grooving process.



Forming tools are gauges that are used for monitoring the accuracy and finishing of the workpiece.

Taper Turning


Taper Turning is a process of creating tapered shaped objects (Cone like objects). The regular turning tool is used for taper turning. The process is achieved by turning the “Compound Slide” of which the tool is attached.



The threads of common nut, bolt and screws are created with regular turning tools and the process is called threading.


Sanding is the process of grinding to bring finishing touches to the workpiece. Sanding is also done for polishing.

Sanding is often done by hand and using a sandpaper but to avoid injuries and accidents several safety tools are available to avoid direct human interaction with the workpiece during operation.

Various sanding tools are available for different sanding requirements.

About Zaighum Shah 90 Articles
Zaighum Shah is a mechanical engineer having more than 20 years of experience. Zaighum is specializing in product development in Sugar Mill industries. Zaighum has gone through all phases of mechanical engineering and it’s practical implementation. Zaighum has been solving most complex problems, designing new systems and improving existing models and systems.

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