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The Lathe

Modern industrial production has become automated and mechanized, but there are still a huge number of machines in the engineering industry that can be operated manually. The lathe is such a machine, and the operation performed on a lathe is called turning.

Turning and the Lathe

The basic principle of turning is that a lathe tool made of high speed steel (HSS), cobalt steel or carbide is fed against a rotating workpiece.
The workpiece is clamped in a chuck which is mounted on the spindle of the lathe.
The lathe tool is mounted in the tool holder and the operator feeds the lathe tool (which can be of various shapes) against the rotating workpiece, and swarf from the workpiece is removed according to the required dimensions.
If you work with long workpieces these are supported in the tailstock.

Tasks and Activities

Parts of the Lathe

Turning Processes on the Lathe

Before watching the video, try the vocabulary task below.

Lathe - Vocabulary Test

When you feel confident that you understand the vocabulary, make a table like the one below. Watch the video about different turning processes on the lathe, pausing the video at the times suggested and then complete the table with information from the video.

Pause video at Name of turning process/processes What does the process do? Other details about the process


After you have filled out your table, try the quiz to check if your answers are correct.