Lathe Machine Accessories and their Functions
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A lathe machine is machine tool that is used to remove metals from a work piece to give the users the shape and size they want. In other words, a lathe machine is employed to modify the work piece to perform several metal removal operations including chamfering, grooving, knurling, forming etc.

A lathe machine is a versatile and widely used equipment which is also known as the mother of all machine tools. The work piece is securely held in the chuck or in the central position of the lathe machinery and then turned against a single point cutting tool, which removes the metals.

A lathe machine is comprised of various accessories and we will look at the most important cogs in the equipment below:


There are two basic types of centers, named live centers and dead centers. Firstly, a center that can accommodate a headstock spindle and also revolved with the work piece is called a live center. On the other hand, a dead center is used in a tailstock spindle and is not capable of revolving.


Chucks are an important aspect in lathe machines since they are meant to hold and rotate the work pieces. For instance, work pieces that are too short and cannot be held between centers are fastened between the chucks.It is connected to the lathe spindle by two bolts and the back plate is secured on the nose of the spindle.

There are many types of chucks but we will look at the two that are used most frequently. The first one is called a three jaw universal chuck. This is a self-centering chuck or a scroll chuck and is used to batten round and hexagonal work pieces.

The second type is called a four jaw independent chuck. It has four distinct, reversible jaws, hence the name. Each of these can be adjusted accordingly to hold the work pieces. They are able to hold square, round and irregular shaped work pieces as well.


The work piece is placed on a mandrel or locked between centers and is rotated by clamping the dog or carrier to the end. It is engaged using a pin that is attached to the drive plate or face plate. The lathe dog or carrier may either be straight or bent in shape.

Drive Plate

Next, we have drive plates. This is a circular plate that is threaded in a manner so that it may be attached to the spindle nose. The drive plate is also fixed with a hold for a pin which is only used when the work piece is held in a lathe carrier with a straight tail. When a bent tail dog is used, this pin is removed and the bent portion is inserted into the hole.

Face Plate

Finally, the face plate is quite similar to a drive plate. What separates them is that the former is larger in diameter. It accommodates more open slots in order to use more bolts to adequately clamp the work piece to the plate’s face.

If you want to learn more about a lathe machine, we suggest having a look at the JF Berns website!


Blog Categories

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Your customer service (Nick) and engineering (Matt) could not have been better in assisting me with my last two customer orders. I look forward to working with JF Berns on spindle liner orders in the future.

Jim Brehm / Sussex Tool & Supply



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