Difference between revisions of "Lathe Training"

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(Toby's training notes added as uploaded file)
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== Authorised Members ==
== Authorised Members ==
* 2022-06-23 / Sara / HS34984 / L1 Beginner - TM
* 2022-06-08 / Dragos / HS32771 / L2 Power Feed, Collet Chuck - TM
* 2022-06-08 / Dragos / HS32771 / L2 Power Feed, Collet Chuck - TM
* 2022.05.25 / Dave / HS33388 / L1 Beginner - TM
* 2022.05.25 / Dave / HS33388 / L1 Beginner - TM

Revision as of 10:35, 24 June 2022

This page is to information for people who are interested in the metal lathe. Although incredibly rewarding and satisfying to use, the lathe and mill are complex tools and so require a more involved induction process than many of the other machines at the hackspace.

The training is divided into a range of different topics/ modules, which are graded level 1 through to level 3. All LHS members will need to start with a level 1 induction, and can then train on additional skills/ topics from the level 2 or 3 series as they progress and become more experienced. Those who have prior experience will still need to attend a session on each skill they want to use, but these can be used as more of a quick recap session and a chance to demonstrate the existing skill (this will take less time, so we can cover multiple topics at once and speed things along)

This incremental training process helps protect the health and safety of the user but also crucially that of the machines - despite its large size the lathe is quite a delicate piece and can be easily damaged by an inexperienced user.

Anyone coming for a training session needs good footwear, eye protection, no baggy clothing or un-restrained hair.


The current maintainers are Liam Lynch, Dean Forbes, Toby Molyneux and Tim

Waiting List

To get a spot on a level 1 training session you will first need to add your name to the waiting list, see Metal Lathe/ Mill Training Waiting List

Then, keep an eye on the 'lhs-induction-requests' channel on the hackspace Discord server for announcements of upcoming sessions.

Level 2 and 3 training sessions should be arranged on a more ad-hoc basis, simply post in the 'metal-lathe' discord channel or speak directly to one of the maintainers and we can set something up

Level 1 – Beginner Lathe Skills

Level 1 training consists of a single course which is designed to take a complete beginner through all the essential skills needed to produce basic but functional parts on a lathe. It will also act as a good refresher/ competency test for those who already have experience from elsewhere. Members must start by watching the recommended videos listed below, to learn as much of the theory in advance – although no substitute for practical experience, machining is a skill where a firm grasp of both is essential and there will not be time to cover both in the induction session. We will start the training session by re-capping the theory and going over the key safety concerns before we move onto taking our first cuts with an external turning tool, facing and turning. We will then introduce the tailstock and explain its role in supporting long workpieces and use it to drill a hole. Finally, we will demonstrate how to measure the work and use the DRO to work to dimensions. The course will end with a semi-supervised test part which you will make, putting the skills you have learned into practice. Note that level 1 only considers use of a 3-jaw chuck, level 2 training is required for other work holding methods. This course usually requires a fee (which goes into a pot for future LHS purchases). This is usually £40, but can be reduced if this is too much for you to pay – please speak to your trainer in advance – we don’t want this to be a barrier to entry.

Beginner users should watch the following training videos before booking a session:

(Lathe Theory)

(Tool Bits)


(Tail Support)



(Turning to a Shoulder)


(Surface Finish)

(Choosing Materials)

(Feeds and Speeds)

(Additional Video on Surface Finish)

Note - most of the videos above are from the Blondihacks 'lathe skills' video series. This whole series is filled with useful content and we would fully recommend watching the rest, although this is not compulsary for a level 1 training session.

The notes used for Toby's training sessions are available here - File:Toby's Lathe Training Notes r03.pdf. Other trainers will do something similar, but might not follow this exact plan

Level 2 - Intermediate Lathe Skills

Level 2 training is broken down into a range of small manageable topics – this means we can really focus on covering the subject in detail. Sessions are less formal then level 1, and should be arranged as and when the new skill is needed, ideally with a part or project in mind so we can tailor the session accordingly. Beginner users can ask for a level 2 session once they have completed at least 20 hours of unsupervised practical lathe use following a level 1 induction (if you can’t think of enough projects to keep you going for 20 hours, speak to a maintainer – we may well have some hackspace maintenance projects in mind that need parts making!). If you already have experience from elsewhere, particularly in the topic you want to cover, then this could be brought forward. Note there is usually no cost for these sessions, apart from tools and/ or materials. Just like level 1, you will need to take the time to learn the theory of the operation before you arrive for a session as this will significantly reduce the training burden. Where relevant, recommended youtube videos are linked to below.

Parting Tools

Learn to use a parting tool to cut parts cleanly and accurately from stock in the lathe (Training Video)

Boring Bars

Learn to use boring bars for accurate, concentric turning on the inside of a part (Training Video)

Power Feed

Learn to use power feed for improved surface finish

External Threading

Learn to create single-point cut threads on the outside of a workpiece. Useful for unusual or custom-profiled screw threads (the tailstock die holder is a better choice for most conventional threads) (Training Video)

Requires at least 5 hours experience with power feeding

Collet Chuck

Learn to use the collet chuck for improved concentricity compared with the three-jaw chuck

4-Jaw Chuck

Learn to use the 4-jaw chuck for improved concentricity, holding square workpieces, or eccentric turning (Training Video)

HSS Tools and Tool Grinding

Learn to use the tool grinder in the cage to create and maintain your own high speed steel lathe tooling (Training Video 1) (Training Video 2)

Level 3 - Advanced Lathe Skills

Level 3 works in the same way as level 2 training - the difference is essentially that level 3 topics are much more difficult and require a more experienced lathe user – we’d generally be expecting at least 40 hours of unsupervised use before arranging a session. Some of these topics are also follow-ons to other topics (e.g. internal threading follows external) so these must be considered first.

Internal Threading

We have equipment to create single-point cut threads on the inside of a workpiece (Training Video)

Requires at least 5 hours practice with external threading

Faceplate Work

We have a faceplate, which can be for all kinds of weird and wonderful lathe setups (note - in many situations a rotary table in the mill is an easier and safer option)

Turning Between Centres

We have the option to setup the lathe for turning between centres, offering maximum concentricity with easy repeatability or for odd-shaped parts

Metal Spinning

We have some basic tooling for metal spinning, a process of forming sheetmetal in the lathe. This is a tricky operation for very experienced users only

Taper Turning

We have a taper turning attachment on our lathe, which can be used to cut tapers longer than can be achieved with the cross-slide

Other topics

If you’d like to try out any technique not covered by these training notes then please get in touch with the maintainers – we generally love to try out new ideas so we’ll do what we can to make it happen, but please bear in mind safety of our members and preventing damage to our machines have to take priority.

Authorised Members

  • 2022-06-23 / Sara / HS34984 / L1 Beginner - TM
  • 2022-06-08 / Dragos / HS32771 / L2 Power Feed, Collet Chuck - TM
  • 2022.05.25 / Dave / HS33388 / L1 Beginner - TM
  • 2022.04.21 / Rob / HS27573 / L1 Beginner - TM
  • 2022.03.25 / Dragos / HS32771 / L1 Beginner - TM
  • 2022.02.28 / Petr / HS33204 / L1 Beginner + L2 Power Feed- TM
  • 2022.09.15 / Chris / HS32763 / L2 Intermediate - DF
  • 2020.09.15 / Ana / HS28349 / L1 Beginner - DF
  • 2020.09.15 / Robert / HS28863 / L2 Intermediate - DF