Overview of Engine Lathe Setup 205

This class describes the proper setup for a typical lathe operation and explains how to align, adjust, and select the components on the lathe.

Class Details

Class Name:
Overview of Engine Lathe Setup 205
This class describes the proper setup for a typical lathe operation and explains how to align, adjust, and select the components on the lathe.
Number of Lessons:
Additional Language:
Related 2.0 Class:
Engine Lathe Setup 231

Class Outline

  • Objectives
  • The Importance of Lathe Setup
  • Determining Spindle Speed and Tool Feed
  • Workholding Devices and Spindle Noses
  • The Chuck
  • Chuck Installation/Removal: Threaded Spindles
  • Chuck Installation/Removal: Bolt and Cam-Lock Spindles
  • Mounting a Workpiece Between Centers
  • Part Alignment
  • Part Alignment: An Example
  • Aligning the Cutting Tool with the Spindle Centerline
  • Cutting Tool and Spindle Alignment: An Example
  • Lathe Feed Ratios
  • Cutting Tool Selection
  • Readout
  • Zeroing the Cutting Tool
  • Adjusting the Cross-Slide
  • Applying Coolant
  • Part Inspection
  • Summary


  • Describe the importance of lathe setup.
  • Describe ways to determine spindle speed and tool feed.
  • Describe common types of spindle noses.
  • Explain how to install a chuck on a threaded spindle.
  • Explain how to remove a chuck from a threaded spindle.
  • Explain how to install a chuck on a bolt or cam-lock spindle.
  • Explain how to remove a chuck from a bolt or cam-lock spindle.
  • Describe how to mount a workpiece between centers.
  • Describe part alignment.
  • Describe the best way to align the workpiece with the spindle centerline.
  • Describe the importance of aligning the cutting tool with the spindle.
  • Identify the best device for aligning the cutting tool with the spindle.
  • Find the diameter of a cut part using lathe ratios.
  • Describe the importance of cutting tool selection.
  • Distinguish between analog measurement and digital readout.
  • Describe how to zero the cutting tool on the Z-axis.
  • Describe how to zero the cutting tool on the X-axis.
  • Describe how to adjust the cross-slide.
  • Describe different methods of applying coolant.
  • Describe common tools used to inspect parts during machining.


  • MSSC Manufacturing Processes and Production


Vocabulary Term Definition
alignment The arrangement of a machine's components so that they are "lined up" according to design requirements.
aluminum A silvery white metal that is soft, light, and an effective conductor.
analog measurement A type of readout that uses dials with scales inscribed on them to display dimensions on the lathe.
axial runout A type of alignment that describes the workpiece when one end is concentric and the other is not.
axis An imaginary straight line that is used to measure the dimensions of an object.
backlash The relative movement of interlocked mechanical parts that occurs when motion is reversed.
blueprint A document containing all the instructions necessary to manufacture a part. The key sections of a blueprint are the drawing, dimensions, and notes.
calibration The comparison of a device with unknown accuracy to a device with a known, accurate standard to eliminate any variation in the device being checked.
caliper A measuring instrument with two pairs of jaws on one end and a long beam containing a marked scale of unit divisions. One pair of jaws measures external features; the other pair measures internal features.
cam-lock A type of fastener used to secure a chuck to a cam-lock spindle nose.
cam-lock spindle nose A type of spindle nose in which the workholding device is held in place with cam-locks around its perimeter.
center The device located in the tailstock of a lathe or turning center that supports the end of a cylindrical workpiece opposite the spindle.
center-drilled Using a center drill to make a tapered hole in the end of a part so that it can be supported by a center.
centerline The imaginary line that runs through the center of the spindle along the length of the lathe.
chuck A workholding device that typically has three to six jaws that hold work securely as it rotates.
chuck key A device used to loosen the bolts or cam-locks on the chuck.
CNC lathe A lathe that is controlled by a computer running programs that contain all the necessary instructions for machining parts.
collet A slitted device that holds a workpiece in place as it rotates. A collet has a hole through which the workpiece passes, and it is designed to hold specific dimensions.
concentric Having a common center or sharing the same axis with another object.
coolant A substance that is used to prevent a workpiece from reaching excessively high temperatures during machining.
cross-slide feed lever A lever located on the carriage assembly that controls movement of the cross-slide.
cutting off Another name for parting. Cutting off is the last operation that separates the finished part from the stock.
cutting tool A device made of hard, tough material that is used to remove metal by creating chips.
dead center A type of center that is solid in construction with no moving parts.
dial indicator A measuring instrument with a contact point attached to a spindle and gears that move a pointer on the dial. Dial indicators have graduations that are available for reading different measurement values.
digital readout A type of readout that uses a special encoder attached to a machine that transfers information to a digital display. Very precise measurements can be made with digital readout.
drill A multi-point cutting tool used to make round holes.
drilling The process of using a multi-point tool to penetrate the surface of a workpiece and make a round hole.
drip A method of delivering coolant to the workpiece that uses a brush to apply the coolant onto the surface of the workpiece.
eccentric Not having the same center.
encoder A device that translates mechanical motion into a digital signal.
engine lathe The original and most basic type of lathe.
flex The amount that a part bends due to pressure from the cutting tool.
flood cooling A method of delivering coolant to the workpiece with a low pressure pump.
form tool A cutting tool ground to a specific shape that is used to machine a special pattern.
grinder A machine that uses an abrasive to wear away at the surface of a workpiece.
heat treatment The controlled heating and cooling processes used to change the structure of a material and alter its physical and mechanical properties.
height gage A type of measuring instrument with a precision finished base, a beam that is at a right angle to the base, and an indicator.
hole-making tool A type of tool that machines a hole into the interior surface of a workpiece.
lathe dog A device that clamps onto the workpiece and transmits turning motion from the faceplate or chuck, allowing work to be mounted between centers. Also known as a drive dog or carrier.
live center A type of center that is designed with bearings so that the point of the center rotates with the workpiece.
micrometer A handheld measuring device used to inspect the dimensions of parts. The typical micrometer is accurate within 0.001 in. or 0.02 mm.
micrometer stop A mechanical device attached to the ways of the lathe and mounted in front of or behind the carriage that limits the travel of the carriage assembly when in automatic mode.
mist cooling A method of delivering coolant to the workpiece with a mist applicator that carries cutting fluid and air to cool the workpiece.
Morse taper A hole in the sleeve of the tailstock that narrows to a point and holds tools or a center. A Morse taper allows the tool to lock in place and be easily removed.
offset turning A turning operation on the lathe in which the workpiece centerline axis is not continuously aligned with the lathe centerline axis.
parting An operation that performs two cuts simultaneously to separate a piece of metal from the original stock. A parting operation produces metal scrap along with the part.
planer gage A work aid consisting of two right triangle metal blocks fastened together that allow the user to adjust their outer parallel surfaces to any dimension within a given range by sliding one block onto another.
quick-change gearbox A set of controls mounted to the front of the lathe bed that engages the leadscrew to drive the carriage for turning operations.
quick-change tooling A set of toolholders that consists of several tool blocks or bars that help to speed up the production of parts.
radial alignment A type of alignment that describes whether or not the workpiece is concentric to the centerline of the spindle.
ratio A numerical expression representing a part of a larger whole or proportion. A ratio consists of two numbers separated by a colon.
readout The process of removing information from a device and displaying it in an understandable form.
reamer A cutting tool with straight cutting edges used to enlarge or smooth holes that have been previously drilled.
ruler A measuring instrument with a straight edge used to measure short distances.
run true Another term for having a common center or the same axis with another object.
runout The radial variation from a true circle.
short taper spindle nose A type of spindle nose in which the workholding device is held in place with fasteners around its perimeter.
single-point cutting tool A cutting tool that has a single cutting edge. Turning and its closely related operations use single-point tools.
smearing A condition that causes a tool to leave burrs on a workpiece when it is not properly lubricated during machining. Smearing causes a poor surface finish.
spindle nose A type of plate onto which the spindle is mounted. The type of spindle nose on the lathe determines the appropriate workholding device to use.
spindle speed The rate at which the machine spindle rotates. Spindle speed is typically measured in rpm.
spirit level A measuring instrument designed to indicate whether a surface is level when a bubble is centered in a tube of liquid.
threaded spindle nose A type of spindle nose that is screwed onto the spindle. Threaded spindle noses are often used on small lathes.
tolerance A blueprint specification indicating an unwanted but acceptable deviation from a given dimension.
tool feed The rate that either the workpiece or cutting tool changes in position during the length of the cut. Feed typically defines a linear or contour movement.
turning An operation performed on a lathe that feeds a cutting tool along the length of a cylindrical part to reduce its diameter.
X-axis The linear axis that determines the size of the part's radius or diameter.
Z-axis The linear axis that describes motions along a line parallel to the spindle.