The 7 Machining Processes Supported By Lathes

Lathes are used extensively in the manufacturing industry to remove material from a workpiece. Whether it’s made of wood or metal, most workpieces can be altered using a lathe. The workpiece is attached to the lathe, after which it rotates against a stationary cutting tool. Using these mechanics, lathes support a variety of machining processes.

#1) Cutting

If a manufacturing company needs to cut a significant amount of material off a workpiece, it may use a lathe. Cutting is a machining process that involves the separation of material from a workpiece, typically using a sharp cutting tool.

#2) Drilling

In addition to cutting, lathes can also drill holes into workpieces. For drilling, the lathe is equipped with a special drill bit. As the drill bit presses against the workpiece, it digs a circular cross-section hole that’s able to support screws, bolts and other common types of fasteners.

#3) Sanding

Lathes are frequently used to finish workpieces via sanding. For sanding, the lathe uses a tool bit equipped with an abrasive material, such as sandpaper. As the workpiece rotates against the abrasive material, it creates a smooth and uniform surface by removing small amounts of material.

#4) Knurling

Another common machining processes supported by lathes is knurling. What is knurling exactly? Knurling refers to a machining process that involves the creation of a patterned and textured surface on a workpiece using a roller. The roller features many raised spikes that, when exposed to a workpiece, pierce holes into the surface of the workpiece.

#5) Deformation

Of course, lathes are fully capable of deforming workpieces as well. Deformation is a machining process that’s used to change the shape of a workpiece. The workpiece is physically altered to achieve a different shape. Lathes are highly effective at deformation because of their ability to easily remove material from workpieces, resulting in a different shape for the workpiece.

#6) Turning

Many manufacturing companies use lathes to perform turning on workpieces. Not to be confused with milling, turning involves the use of a stationary cutting tool to remove material from a rotating workpiece. It’s called “turning” because the workpiece “turns” against the lathe’s cutting tool.

#7) Facing

Finally, lathes support facing operations. It’s a common machining process that’s used to cut the surface of a workpiece. The facing tool is secured to a mounting system on the lathe. Once in place, the facing tool will press against the workpiece to cut away a uniform amount of material from its surface.

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