A benchtop lathe is a material reduction machine built into a table or worktable. The benchtop metal lathe takes a solid block of material and reduces it to form a symmetrical workpiece. With a bench lathe, you can cut, knurl, drill, or grind material to create a new object. The lathe is designed to hold the block at two points and rotate it, allowing the user to reduce the material to a new shape.
A commonly used example of a bench lathe is an apple peeler. The apple is held inside the lathe at two points, top and bottom. When the crank is turned, the apple rotates along its vertical axis. The peeler is applied to the peel of an apple and as it moves from the stem to the base it produces a strip of apple peel, reducing the material to reveal another object. A bench lathe works exactly the same way, but for larger materials.
The lathe is designed to hold the block at two points and rotate it, allowing the user to reduce the material to a new shape. The lathe can be used for wood, metal, glass and ceramics. Depending on the skill of the operator, the lathe can make a straight table leg or a very decorative object. Precision lathes use computer software to create very complex designs or mass-produce a specific product.
This type of lathe has a bed or a horizontal beam that allows excess material to fall off the working surface. The headstock is located on the left side of the lathe. The headstock is the section of the lathe that keeps the bearings rotating.
A spindle is included with the benchtop lathe. This hollow bar runs parallel to the bed and is used to attach accessories. These accessories secure the workpiece in place. Very often, these lathes also have a handwheel or external threads so that other accessories can be attached to the lathe if necessary.
On a benchtop lathe, the spindle moves the block of material using an electric motor or a foot. Very often, the motor is hidden in a trestle or in the base of the lathe bench. If the lathe has an engine in the trestle, it is important to carefully consider the installation site of the device and its proximity to an electrical outlet. It is very important to ensure that the electric cable is securely fastened.
When choosing a benchtop lathe, read the product specifications, the type of materials with which it is designed to work, and the warranty. Look at the price of spare parts, tools and accessories as part of the total purchase price of the device. These parts will require timely replacement, and high-quality parts are worth the higher cost. They have a longer service life and give better quality results.
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