Machine Your Own

Author Ian Wallace
March 01, 2003 - 11:00am

A step-by-step approach to machining collets and jaws for lathe workholders.

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Related Glossary Terms

  • lathe


    Turning machine capable of sawing, milling, grinding, gear-cutting, drilling, reaming, boring, threading, facing, chamfering, grooving, knurling, spinning, parting, necking, taper-cutting, and cam- and eccentric-cutting, as well as step- and straight-turning. Comes in a variety of forms, ranging from manual to semiautomatic to fully automatic, with major types being engine lathes, turning and contouring lathes, turret lathes and numerical-control lathes. The engine lathe consists of a headstock and spindle, tailstock, bed, carriage (complete with apron) and cross slides. Features include gear- (speed) and feed-selector levers, toolpost, compound rest, lead screw and reversing lead screw, threading dial and rapid-traverse lever. Special lathe types include through-the-spindle, camshaft and crankshaft, brake drum and rotor, spinning and gun-barrel machines. Toolroom and bench lathes are used for precision work; the former for tool-and-die work and similar tasks, the latter for small workpieces (instruments, watches), normally without a power feed. Models are typically designated according to their “swing,” or the largest-diameter workpiece that can be rotated; bed length, or the distance between centers; and horsepower generated. See turning machine.


Production Team Leader

Ian Wallace is production team leader B.C. Instruments, a precision machine shop in Schomberg, Ontario. This article was excerpted from their book, “Mastering C.N.C. Lathe Set-Up: A Guide to Becoming an Effective C.N.C. Lathe Machinist.” For additional information, call or fax 905-985-4995, or visit