A lathe is used for making cylindrical objects, called turned parts. Typically, a metal workpiece held firmly between two centres is rotated, and a tool mounted on a tool post moves past the workpiece resulting in a cylindrically shaped item. A lathe can be used for several operations like turning, cutting threads, making holes, tapers, etc. Miniature lathes are available in the market. They are equipped with fractional horsepower motors with provision for variable speed operation. Generally, they are made with Cast Iron beds and Aluminium construction. They are generally portable and can be fixed on a small Metal table.
Specifications of Miniature lathes
Important specification of a Lathe is 'Swing over bed and Max length between centres', that is, the maximum diameter and length of the workpiece it can accommodate and turn. Spindle accuracy is also essential. That is to what accuracy the lathe is capable of delivering. Operating speed range, power supply requirements, Toolpost cross travel and Top slide travel in inch or mm, Chuck size for holding the job and thread size capability are also specified.
Necessary purchase considerations
When you plan to purchase a miniature lathe, you need to figure out the maximum diameter and length of the work piece required to be handled. You need to check the accuracy and surface finish requirements. Whether the lathe is required for one-off jobs or it is for continuous production. The power supply available should be good enough to cater to the lathe's requirement.
Additional requirements to be looked at
Also, it is to be checked whether the lathe's motor is rated for continuous operation or operation for a specific duration at a time. Space and foundation or fixing requirements are to be checked. It would be worthwhile to check for additional attachments offered & if required; those can be purchased later.