How to Use a Metal Lathe - Kevin Caron

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at an email the other day the gentleman

said could you just do a really basic

lathe video or just a metal lathe he

wanted to pick one up knows nothing

about them whatsoever so can I just show

them around mine a little bit so this is

an old Sheldon tool room lave probably

from about the mid 40s you'll maybe a

little bit earlier than that and there's

a we know there's a tag right here on

the side on the backside of the gear

train cover that says war finish /

military order blah blah blah blah you

know military production department so

you know that's why it's all battleship

gray so we figure it probably served in

World War 2 someplace but just a decent

sized little lathe it's got plenty of

horsepower to it so it can turn anything

I'm going to play with here so just your

real basic components on this machine

it's got the on/off switch located on

the back of it and yes that's where it's

supposed to be forward turns the spindle

this way backwards turns the spindle the

other way you know like for polishing or

something so you know pretty

self-explanatory that way this is your

Chuck right here it's for holding your


this one is a 3 jaw Chuck and it is a

it's what they call an auto scroll

through an auto auto scroll I think it

is so when you turn the turn the key in

any of the three adjusting holes all

three of the jaws move at the same time

there are others like that I've got a

big four jaw Chuck down here that's

independent so each one of them moves

independently so you can get you know

some oddball shape and chuck it up in

there you could put it in there Center

it because you can work the chuck any

way you want to this is the bed of the

lathe now the rails this is what the

carriage moves on moves on the rails

back and forth on the bed this is the

apron that moves back and forth from the

front of the machine in the back of the

machine it holds the tool holder and

this is what the tool holder looks like

you've got set screws here to hold this


it holds the cutting edge holds the

cutting insert and this is an adjusting

wheel to adjust it up or down in the

tool holder so you can adjust it up or

down so you're not too high or too low

on your stock now on this machine

because it's set up for threading so you

can turn threads into this and make a

great big old nuttin you know make a big

bolt out of it so that's what some of

this is for this is this is the speed

adjustment for this little turn screw

that's going to move the carriage that

or move the carriage back and forth as

you're putting threads in so this is for

threading this is another speed setting

for threading and this is to engage a

different set of gears inside your train

here to slow everything way down so your

stock is just going to barely be turning

and you'll be able to cut threads as

it's moving along this lever right here

is to turn is to set the direction of

the feed screw down turns it one way up

turns it the other way so on the back

side of the machine this is called a

tail stock basically it just holds the

tail end of the stock you've got

something long and you're Chuck you

don't want it wobbling around out of the

far end of it so you would slide this

over and it would help hold the end of

the stock to keep the stock centered

till you would just slide this in

basically they'll tighten up the little

nut near the via set nut on here to keep

it from lock your lock it down and keep

it from moving

and then you

got an adjusting wheel to shove this

live Center and this is called a live

Center because this one turns it's got a

little bushing inside of it so when your

stock is turning this is turning also so

a live Center as opposed to a static or

a dead center that's just a point and

your stock or up just rubs up against it

and you just kind of help it just kind

of helps keep things from wobbling too

much so you would just tighten down this

block nut right here and just run your

Center into your stock lock it down that

way now we can start turning so let's do

that so basic safety applies you know

put some glasses on no gloves moving

parts moving machinery your the feed

screw and what-have-you no gloves you

don't want anything getting hung in

there no loose shirt you don't want like

you know an open you know a button-down

shirt flapping in the breeze or

something because this is whirring

around and it'll jerk you're right

inside there oh Danger Danger Danger a

couple of different ways you can turn

you can you can run this carriage go

back and forth either direction and a

lot of it depends on just how you have

your insert set so you don't want to cut

just on the point of your insert as it's

moving along because you don't want to

wind up with little grooves like on a

record so it's better to turn that

insert just a little bit so you're

cutting kind of on the edge of the

insert whether you're going this way or

whether you're coming back this way it

just gives you a smoother cut so usually

I'd make some kind of joke about let's

make some sparks now let's make some


so put your glasses on and here we go

you can feed this by hand like I'm doing


or with it with the auto feed on this


you just flip a lever down and now it'll

feed all by itself and you can adjust

this speed of this with this adjustment

or even this adjustment yeah here's a

good example right there she can

definitely see the difference not only

between where I was and feeding it and

then I stopped you can see a groove for

just a little line and then that's nice

shiny smooth surface where I turn the

auto feed on slowly and that when I made

this coarse adjustment and it really

sped up fast and you can see now

starting to cut threads I'm starting to

kind of groove in there which is

basically it's just cutting thread you

know if I go on deeper with it and sped

up the machine even more they would have

a thread going there so that's just a

basic look at you know a machine blade

your metal aid it all depends on which

ones you find you know you can go

looking for an old good old one

somewhere lots to learn you know before

you buy an old one make sure you know

what you're looking at before you pick

one up or you can buy a small new one

for a little bit more know you can get a

little table top 1/4 turd in a little

tiny parts you know those are fun to

learn on and they're not too expensive

to play there to start out with and play


so speaking of playing I'm going to go

back to it you guys

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I'm going to go have fun I'll see you

guys next thing

it's still ugly

so let me fire the team back up and

still want one pen and let me just

turning every ball the way up let's see

how far damage we can get out of it on

one pen they say he sounds like me like

a tear