Knowing the Principal Features of a Centre Lathe

The centre lathe is a very common tool among steel and plastic manufacturers. It is a complex tool with many different components. Here are some of the main features you need to be aware of with a centre lathe as well as its purpose.

What is a Centre Lathe?

To answer this question, you first have to understand what a lathe is. A common lathe is used by woodcutters or machinists who are creating parts. The basic premise of a lathe is that it will suspend an object in the air and rotate it evenly. While this is done, a tool can be pressed against it to evenly affect the object. This can be to cut away from the object, cut a design into the object, sand it, or many other functions. The main appeal of a lathe machine is the ability it provides the user to alter an object with perfect symmetry around its axis.


A specific type of lathe is the centre lathe. It is used to manufacture cylindrical pieces that are used in complex machinery like engines. The centre lathe can be operated by a person (manual lathe) or it can be programmed to be operated automatically by a machine (CNC lathe). So what parts go into making a Lathe?

Centre Lathe Breakdown

A centre lathe is similar to any other lathe except for the fact that it is completely metal or steel in its construction. The lathe is mainly a combination of three parts. On the left hand side is the headstock. The headstock is a compartment that houses the spindle or chuck. This is where you will put the part that you want to work on. It is adjustable to grip the part and then rotate it as it is suspended horizontally out to the right.


On the right side of the lathe is an adjustable tailstock. This part will support the other end of the object while still allowing it to rotate evenly. It is able to slide to accommodate everything from a metal piper to a chess piece.


In between the headstock and the tailstock is the bed of the lathe. This is a long horizontal foundation that will run parallel to the suspended object you are working on. It is there to hold the saddle as well as catch any debris that may be produced while cutting away from an object. The saddle holds a tool post that will be in direct contact with the rotating object you are working on. It can hold a variety of types of tools against the surface of the object for a variety of effects such as cutting, designing, or sanding evenly as it spins.

Headstock Spinning

The headstock is responsible for holding the object in place and rotating it as it is worked on. This is usually from a series of gears inside the headstock that rotate to cause the object to spin in place. These gears can be adjusted electronically to different speeds or can manually be replaced with various sizes to produce a different spin speed.