Metal Lathe Basics Tutorial | How To Use A Metal Lathe

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I have an either here with Amber and and

we've got a request for video on some

basic machining operations from

Collinwood and so we're making this

video to show you basically at operation

the first thing that we're going to get

into is bit sharpening because that's

gonna be important and we'll get more

into the basics but I'll start off just

by showing you the machine this is a old

Logan 200 and what this machine is is a

whole 1940's lathe it's a small lathe

something you might typically see that

somebody found it a tool sale or estate

sale so this is a good one for this

tutorial they could be the kind of

machine somebody might buy and then be

looking for how to how to use the type

of videos so what you have here is you

have your speeds so you've got your

pulleys your spindles and your belt and

you've got three different speeds here

that you can change between but then

you've also got what's known as your

back gears so just to give you an idea

of that and get our pulley put back over

here now if we pull the pin right here

that's gonna separate our head from our

pulley and we can and pull out and it

lifts up our back gears and so now our

back gears are coming in contact and so

that gives us a slower speed so I'll

show you how that works these are laid

spinning with our with our back years

we've got our slower speed we're

basically just adding a transmission

you got a little got a little trigger

down here that holds that in place you

just push that up you can slide that

back in that drops your back yours back

down out of the way the cam so then we

just want to put our pin back in and so

this is going to be our slowest speed

without our back gears if we move our

belt down to our other side that would

be our faster speeds so where we're at

right now is going to be about the speed

that we want for what we're going to be

doing in this tutorial

so as far as bit sharpening goes there's

a couple of different things that you

want to think about now I've made a

couple of drawings up real quick to give

you a better idea exactly what I'm

talking about so you have your back rake

which is going to be the angle at the

top of the bit so this is if you're

looking at the side of the bit so here

you'd have a positive a negative and a

zero would be none now this would be

more for high force cutting a negative

you pretty much want to stay away that

stay away from that with the smaller

lathe so this is just to give you an

idea here's your side rake that angles

gonna matter because that's going to

affect chip dispersal which is also

going to affect the heat as you go the

nose radius is something I typically do

on a bit it's going to help keep your

bit from cracking chipping or wearing

out faster another thing that you want

to think about when it comes to grinding

your bit is going to be a clearance

angle now if we're coming this would be

our bit here if we're coming at a piece

that we're turning this would be our

turning this would be our facing you

want to make sure that you've got

clearance if you're trying to make a

shoulder so that's another thing to

think about as you go you don't want to

have your bit at 90 degrees to make a 90

degree cut you want to make sure that

you have that clearance so that you're

not chattering so what the biblical

we've got we got a little bit of

rounding on the nose and you can see

we've got our chip dispersal angle there

and we've got our angle cut in the front

to meet up nicely with our piece so that

the only spot that we want to be making

contact with is with our cutting edge we

don't want any other part of the bit to

be rubbing on what we're trying to do

now another thing when you're grinding a

bit if you're using a high speed steel

you can use

holder's you can use you know all kinds

of things to basically get a lot you

know better angles and and what-have-you

but it's really not that necessary I

always just grind my bits by hand and I

mean you can see that here but even

where there's mistakes or rounded edges

if I didn't have the grinding stone

squared off nice or or you know nice and

clean on the edge then it's really not

that big of a problem the biggest thing

is where your bit is cutting that's the

part that you want to make sure you have

the right angles on the looks of the

rest of the piece aren't as critical the

other thing is is if you're using a high

speed steel if you start to see bluing

from getting too hot while you're

grinding you don't typically have to

worry about that with a high speed steel

because high speed steel it'll take over

a thousand degrees before you're

actually going to knock the temper out

of a high speed steel so even if you see

blue and while you're grinding that's

actually okay so that's something you

all have to worry about so the next

thing is gonna be getting your bit send

it up this is a three jaw Chuck this is

our Chuck key so a good way to do this

it's basically just to bring your jaws

all together once you've got your jaws

all brought together then you can take

and bring your bit over to find your

center point

then once we've got it about a good spot

in our Center then we can tighten down

our tool holder just double-check it

here let me tighten down a bit holder so

we should be good there we've cut out a

piece of aluminum just so that we can

show you what is that we're doing here I

actually run you through it instead of

just talking about us you can see how

the process goes and what you should be

looking for well spin it up and we're

pretty centered they're three jaw Chuck

self centering but they're still not

always gonna Center perfectly so you

might have to make a little bit of

adjustment to it to make sure that

you're actually spinning true depending

especially on what you're doing but this

is good for what we're doing here so

what we want to do is we just want to

come in and we're just gonna take off a

small amount here you can see that angle

that we have coming off the back is

allowing our curls to drop back off of

our bit as we go that way they're not

coming forward and getting caught up in

our Chuck our spinning opponents

and again that's gonna help get the heat

away as well because our heat is

basically moving away with our chips as

we go so that would be turning and this

would be our facing so we can do turning

and facing with the same bit depending

on again what it is exactly that we're

doing and the reason I'm not giving you

specific angles for how to cut a bit is

depending on what you're doing depending

on the type of material that you're

using there's going to be different ways

that you would want to cut your bit but

a bit cut like this it's typically going

to be good for softer materials and

Steel's things like that and then we go

and you can see it's a good way to make

sure that your bits in it as you go you

can see here and we didn't really end up

with much of a nipple at all and if you

have a nipple there it just means that

your bits running a little too low you

want to bring your bit up a little bit

higher to get it centered so that's

basic cutting on the lathe now there's a

couple of other things just to point out

real quick aside from just the just your

back gears and your speeds and how to

cut your bit and again this is a basic

tutorial so we're not going to go into

too many details about these things but

just to give you a little bit of an

understanding of some of the different

things you're going to have for instance

an automatic feed so your automatic feed

is that would be your gears here in the

back of the lathe now you can change out

these different gears to get different

speeds for threading and things like

that typically you'll have a chart or

something in the door of your lathe or

an a manual that would explain to you

what gears you would need where for what

speeds and you can see here in this door

I've got a threading chart in this

particular model but

we're just gonna leave that where it is

just to give you an idea of how that

works so now you can see we're


so our heads just free spinning now if

we engage our gear set to our head now

we're spinning our piece that runs our

automatic feet so we can just engage

automatic feet and now we're pulling in

then we're pulling in to the speed based

on the gears yeah you can also use this

just for cutting if you just want a more

consistent cadre just want it to be able

to clean they're having a hard time

doing that and you can engage and

disengage your feed just with this with

the handle well you're actually running

running your gears so while the machine

is still running you can disengage your

disengage and engage your automatic feed

there's also an automatic feed to move

in and out so you can face an automatic

feeder you could turn with an automatic

feed the other thing I wanted to talk

about real fast was your tail stock and

there's a couple of different things

that you can do using your tail stock

like let's say we've got a really long

piece and we want to turn if you've got

it hanging away out from the chuck

you're gonna have a lot of in latched

basically the end isn't gonna be

supported so for something like that

what you would want to use it's known as

this Center this is a live Center which

means it's on bearing as it spins now to

change out the end of your tail stock

you can just back it up and it'll pop

that loose and then you can just pop

your next piece in so now we're good

there by tightening here you're locking

the tail stock down to the metal lathe

so if we want to use the live Center

we do this first we would shut off our

automatic feed and then we would come in

and we're gonna just make ourselves just

a little pocket

now in order to get

a bit in there we're going to have to

change our angle

so that we can get that

cut in there good

and once we've got a little pocket for

our live center to sit in which normally

you would want to go a little bit deeper

with the pocket but again I'm just

trying to give you an idea of how all

this works also we wouldn't need to use

a live Center on something that's heavy

and short either but just to give you an

idea of how everything works then we

would bring our live Center up to our

piece and then we'd want to tighten down

our tail stock to our bed hug that up

and once we have that snug then we can

bring our tail stock on our live Center

into our piece and now as we run we have

support on the backside of our piece so

we don't have it trying to move up and

down as we're turning it that also comes

in very handy if you're doing knurling

or something which we'll cover later in

a different video now other things you

can do with the tail stock obviously I

just pulled the the Jacob's Chuck off of

there but let's say you wanted to drill

out a piece through the Senate you could

take and just put your Chuck on there

and now you can change out your drill

bits bring it in lock it feed in to

drill out the center of your piece as

you go it helps if you're boiling your

drill bit as you're drilling through the

center of something just because you're

creating heat that isn't getting

dispersed very well and not just on a

lathe but on any equipment even if you

have just cheap drill bits you'd be

surprised how well the lasts mmm

actually how good of a job they'll do

just with a little lubrication cutting

Lube helps with a lot of this stuff same

as when you're trying to tap something

but especially with drill bits the

biggest problem is heat once you get

this hot if you lose temper in your

drill bit what you're gonna end up doing

is you're gonna take the hardness out of

it if you get it too hot once the

hardness has gone out of it is gonna

dull and even if you re sharpen it it's

still gonna dull a lot quicker than it


you just what I kept it cool on a first

place it was a good way of doing that

another thing you want to remember is if

you've got long hair get it up in a bun

or under a cap or something

long sleeves you want to keep them away

from this head is this thing spinning if

it catches anything I could pull you

right into it that's something you don't

want to find out about the hardwood but

other than that I think that pretty much

covers the basics of how to use a small

metal lathe so if you have any questions

or if we didn't cover anything that you

wanted to know about or maybe didn't

cover anything in enough detail or maybe

you wanted some more detail just go

ahead and shoot us a message we'll get

back to you we could maybe even make

another video covering an aspect of

what's going on here that you would like

to see so I think that's it

happy machine