Difference between revisions of "Lathe Training"

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3 places:-
3 places:-
* User: experaince level TBC  
User: experaince level TBC  
* User: experaince level TBC  
User: experaince level TBC  
* User: experaince level TBC
User: experaince level TBC
=== Previous Sessions ===
=== Previous Sessions ===

Revision as of 12:16, 23 June 2014

3 in 1 lathe

This page is to coordinate people offering and requiring training on the machine tools (lathe, mill and 3-in-1). If you have previous experience you will normally be allowed to use the small lathe and mill freely, and the 3-in-1 after a short induction session (to cover any queries and provide a brief guide and warnings).

The problem with these machines is that there are hundreds of techniques to learn and much needs to be done hands-on, so it isn't practical to run lectures. Most people will have knowledge only of the techniques that they have needed to date. You will only need to learn basic rules and the techniques important to you, but getting started and gaining a proper respect for the machines to ensure your and their safety requires some instruction. Once you have learned to use the machine safely, you will have to acquire more knowledge through asking people, reading books, and from internet resources.

If you have no previous experience you will need much more careful training probably in small groups or one-on-one. It will probably be best to do some initial sessions on the small machines and move to the 3 in 1 if required or when ready. This need not be long unless you're especially hamfisted, but even this requires a reasonable effort from people willing to offer training so please appreciate the level of commitment required. This is not a 5 minute talk and a bit of software.

Adding your details to request training will not result in you being contacted. It's just to help gauge the needs and show the information needed. Please make contact with trainers yourself.


New for May 2014

As of May 2014 a new concerted effort has been made to bring the machine in to a serviceable condition. The motor to power the milling part of the machine has been used to replace the main spindle motor which is now dead. The powered lead screws are broken, and it has been decided to leave this non functioning at this time. However an new nut for the saddle slider has been sourced and fitted. The sliders including the compound slide has been dismantled, clean and refitted. This work has resulted in a serviceable manual machine, suited to basic turning operations and teaching basic tuning skills.

To this end a training syllabus has been drawn up to assist in trainers willing to teach, student guidance notes to assist post instruction self learning and some worked practice pieces have been drawn up selected to allow the student to practice basic skills.

Training Sessions

Please replace empty slots with your name to sign up to the next training session - do not create new slots!


Good footwear, Eye protection, No Baggy clothing or un-restrained hair. £1.00 if you choose to buy material to do the stepped shaft example.

Please indicate your experience level when putting your name against a slot!

Next Session

Sunday 29th June 2014 1pm to 5:30 (Note. I must leave at 5:30)

Trainer: Liam Lynch (Note. I must leave at 5:30)

3 places:-

  • User: experaince level TBC
  • User: experaince level TBC
  • User: experaince level TBC

Previous Sessions

Training sessions should be copied into this section when they've been completed.

14thJune 2014 Saterday @ 13:00 - 18:00

Trainer:- Liam Lynch

  • Laurie Baggett _Some experience but some time ago. Turning, parting, spinning
  • Eugene Nadyrshin - No practical experience, learned how lathes work from trying to repair the mini lathe
  • Neil Bennett _some basic experience years ago, so best assume none

1st June 2014

Trainer:- Liam Lynch 1st June 2014 (Open Day) @ 12:30 - 9:00

  • User:Oni _Experiance level TBC
  • User:SamLR_Experiance level TBC
  • Salman_Experiance level TBC
  • Daniel Garrido_Experience: None - Knowledge of CNCs
  • Max Bye_Experiance level None (Yet!)

Suggested training

Aim : To be able to use the machine safely and produce a simple piece of work, e.g. a cotton reel shape.

  • Basic safety
    • Controls
    • Chuck key
    • Check clamping
    • Check unobstructed operation
  • Tools
    • Choosing a cutting tool
    • Mounting and setting centre height
    • Tailstock chuck
  • Speeds
    • Choice of speed
    • Changing gears
  • Working
    • Facing off
    • Centre drill
    • Drilling from the tailstock
    • Parallel cut
    • Profiling
    • Short taper with the compound slide
  • Thread cutting (optional)
  • House keeping
    • Cleaning lathe
    • Cleaning lathe floor area
    • Cleaning and replacing tools used

Steve Ganly's thoughts on training

We want to help people get used to using the lathe - at least for basics. It's impractical to give people a whole long course and impractical for people to learn far more techniques than they need to start making basic things. Work out what basic training is needed - it's more like a pyramid than a linear stack of skills, but here's a start...

Level 0 is about safety - not hurting yourself, others, the machine or the tools. How the motor turns the chuck, what happens when things get caught in it - either death or parts of bodies removed. Can be very safe once the basic safety is understood. Things that can get caught: hair, sleeves, gloves, ties, etc. Bare hands and bare arms are best. No jewellry - no exceptions. [1]

Level 1: Basic lathe. Start with an easy material like nylon, delrin or aluminium. Should be round bar and the bar should be less than 30cm to avoid excessive wobble. Chuck up the bar. How the chuck works. Re-iterate dangers of leaving the key in the chuck. Test turn by hand before power on. How the work can wobble - work with less than say 10cm from face to chuck for now; any longer may need turning between centres which comes later. Planning how to face the end of the stock (assuming it's been hand sawn so can be fairly wonky). What tool to use? How to move it? Approaching the work, moving the tool across the work. Checking tool centre height and setting centre height. Do the facing... intermittent cuts versus solid cuts. Depth of cut. How would the tool break? Where would it go if it broke? Turning a bar to a diameter. What tool? How to move the tool across the stock? Depth of cut. Surface speed.

Separating your work piece from the bar stock. Remove and hacksaw for now since doing it on the machine (parting off) comes at a later level. Rechuck the workpiece the other way round and face the new rough end. Chamfer the sharp edge.

Repeat in one or two new materials. Get signed off for being competent at Lathe Level 1.

Level 1.5: Basic construction

We'll make something useful for the hackspace: an equipment stand (like a lab stand used in Chemistry, etc.)

Look at drawings or photos of existing ones (not available yet as I've just dreamt this up).

Square base with four legs. One leg piece is longer than the others so it goes through a through hole through the base (fixed with two grub screws). Other two legs screw fitted into blind holes into the base. Can do all kinds of variation on base shape and legs. Upright of the stand screw fit into the base - missing the legs...

Upright is longer so is to be turned between centres. Screw threads for the upright to be cut on the lathe? Others can be done with tap and die.

Clamp for the stand can be square that has a central hole - drilled then bored to size? With a gap cut by slitting saw to allow the clamping action. Use modified bold for the clamping - making the bolt head round then fluted or knurled to be finger friendly.

Make parts for the legs to the right dimensions.

Level 2: Basic mill. Understanding the machine some more - configuring for mill and drill. How the basic mill differs from the lathe - the work moves past the cutter instead of the cutter moving past the work.

Cut some plate or bar stock to size. Square up the stock.

Drill some of the holes (as accurately as possible).

And so on... the idea is to build up a selection of stands for the space as demo items of what people have made on the lathe. Can have some snazzy round bases... The first piece cut in plastic could make a good clamp or spacer for the stand...


The current maintainers on the 3-in-1 are, Ian, Adrian, Liam Lynch, Dean Forbes and Russ

External resources

MIT have made a series of videos about safely working in a machine shop. The relevant ones are:

  • Lathe 1: Lathe basics; turning and facing; cutting off a part
  • Lathe 2: Tapping; boring; knurling; cutting tapers; turning shafts with a live centre; single point thread turning
  • Lathe 3: Chucking large items; using lathe arbours; turning between centres; working with irregular shapes & thin materials.

Related pages

3 in 1 lathe